The following blog was written by Gwenn and does not reflect the views of Esther, who is actually the normal one. :)
Priorities change. And then they change again... Before I got married it was meeting men. Before I became a mom, it was buying our home, buying things FOR our home, and enjoying fine (and fun) things with my husband. And before I was a married mom on one income I had never lived on a budget. Yes, I was a spoiled, spoiled girl. So about a year ago, when my husband told me we were going to have to make and stick to a budget, I visualized coupons, cans of tuna for dinner and general deprivation...i'm talking Depression Era, holes in my socks, deprivation. I think the first thing I said (yes, with a straight face) was "I cannot live without a housekeeper or the gym." I did! I said that! But at the time, the thought of being responsible for caring for our semi-crumbling old house in addition to keeping-up with my active, danger seeking toddler was way too much for me to consider. And I needed to exercise for energy because running after my toddler just wasn't the right KIND of exercise. I was clinging to my old life and I chose the things I thought would keep me afloat. I was however willing to sacrifice the following; new clothes for me, my highlights and eating out. So I shelved the Zagats, started budgeting food and mastered the crock pot. And I was good. No I didn't use coupons but I shopped at Stop & Shop, stayed within our $150 a week food budget, and cooked three meals a day for whomever was home, every day (pretty much) for a full year. It felt good! I was pulling my weight and holding things together. But as my hair got more monochromatic, I started to feel more like I wanted to throw the crock pot through the wall. Cooking the same meals was getting boring, they didn't seem healthy or interesting enough, my social life was non-existent and I hadn't been to the city in almost a year.
Fast forward and I look at the things I felt I couldn't sacrifice and it all feels completely ridiculous. Because now I think I can't live without Fresh Direct! After all, my kid won't sit in a cart, runs the aisles at Stop & Shop and turns off the lights at Cary's Pharmacy (true story) so I can't TAKE him shopping, right? So now I clean my own house and don't belong to a gym and while I still cook MOST nights, it is always with organic food, grass fed meats and sometimes pre-marinaded fabulousness (sometimes even on sticks!) Oh and I have really good highlights AND a Keratin treatment and look better than I have in years, which was important to me this, the year I turned 45.
And so it goes, the budget keeps shifting and changing to keep me from feeling bored or deprived (or like i'm actually on a budget) for too long. Some things are never sacrificed; the mortgage payments, diapers, Illy Coffee :) ....but what I've learned is that really, especially considering the harsh realities of the world we live in, I can live without all of these superficial perks. Just not all at once please!!!!
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