Tag Archives: work

Vehicular Therapy

Something new to me is the peace that comes from the solitude found during a morning commute.

Before kids, I would wake at the last possible minute before dashing through my morning routine and flying out the door and down the road to work.

Four years as a SAHM meant no silence in the car, never a true chance to let my thoughts flow and truly listen to what my body and mind were telling me.

Sure, there were times when I could do some introspection, which lead to one of my best posts of all time.

Sure, I could listen to my audiobooks while the kids entertained themselves in the backseat.

Yes, there were chances to talk with other adults on the phone while I drove.

But to truly seek yourself every morning takes either discipline or forced solitude.  Like my morning commute.

Eight Weeks of Intensive Therapy

I have been at my “new” job for a little over two months.  Since we live in the middle of nowhere, I have a minimum of 35 minutes in the car each morning.

I’ve been training myself to select the day’s outfit and pack my lunch the night before plus set my alarm to give me plenty of time to bathe, dress, paint and coif, eat, and possibly care for a small child that woke too soon.  Most mornings, I am beyond blessed to get out the door without the kids waking and seeing me off.

Any parent who has walked away from a crying child with the guilt of “I’m putting my paycheck before you, little one” knows what it means to leave before they’re even awake.

I take my time because I’ve gifted myself that time.  I climb into my little four-door, four-cylinder car, pull out of the driveway, and get my mind into the zone.  No music or audio books.  No rush where I have anger or panic to focus on.  No one in the car to watch me as I silently run through a gamut of emotions because I’m mentally pulling apart the past few years of my life.

Or, some days, my whole life.

I spend roughly 30 minutes every morning picking through my experiences, thoughts, and emotions like I’m untangling a knot of metal chains that have rusted together.

I practice deep breathing and different levels of prayer and meditation.

I am working on picking myself back up, one mile at a time.

Underrated

One day, taking a long lunch away from my desk and picking up a dear friend from her nearby work, I confessed to her what I had been doing.  It was pouring rain and we had a slightly rushed lunch in a loud, packed Panera.  As we sat in her work’s parking lot, I told her that I had been working through some of my issues during my morning commutes.

She nodded emphatically.  She said she knew what I was talking about, knew how critical that alone time is for her in her busy life.  She agreed with me that vehicular therapy is underrated.

That is why I’m sharing it with you.  You need to know this.  You, who get up in the morning (or evening) to go to work, to spend time away from family and home and friends and an ever-growing to-do list; you, who find yourself wound up and bent out of shape before you make it to your lunch break; you, who wonders what more is there to life or if there’s something wrong with you or why can’t I find the perfect job, perfect car, perfect friend, perfect lover.

You, my dear reader, need to know what a blessing your commute time is.  This is your chance to truly be by yourself and look narrow and deep or wide and shallow at your life, your behaviors, your future.

Embrace your vehicular therapy time.

Personally

I’m working through a year’s worth of grief.  I’m working through a lifetime of pain cause by my mother and almost a decade of issues with my mother-in-law.  I’m working through the drama and bullshit that came about after a lying liar lied about me…and was believed.  I’m working through long-term goals and what my hang ups are.  I’m working through marital issues, mommy guilt, crises in faith, and so much more.

I recommend you do the same.

Because I feel more on the level now than I have in a very long time, even though to an outsider it may look like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.

Personally, I will tell everyone I encounter about the joys and blessings that come from 30 minutes of silent introspection at least 5 days a week.

Away From Home

Hello, followers and friends!

Thoughtfully Sought has been neglected these past few months, as I started a full-time position outside of the home.  Being a full-time mom doesn’t change when you become a full-time employee.

This has been an eye-opening experience, to say the least.

SAHD

Although I am quite sad to miss out on my babies’ activities for much of the week, I am blessed with a wonderful husband who is trying quite hard to “fill my shoes” as a stay-at-home dad.

I keep telling him (and have to remind myself) that neither of us should be expecting him to do as I did when home with the children.  We are different people; we are going to pursue common goals differently.

Plus, his workload while home with the kids isn’t what mine was.

I worked on the house.  I was a mother as much as I was a cook and housekeeper and teacher.

The BHE just isn’t.  He is the driving force behind all the work that needs done on all of our properties.  Getting two houses ready for the market while doing upkeep on the third so it won’t be so much work when we go to move into it is much different than what was on my plate when the kids weren’t demanding 100% of me.

Still, this has been bumpy.  That’s parenthood.

And marriage.

Goals

The Murphy Momentum is the same.  We still want to get the little house done and on the market to be sold, so we can use the proceeds from that sale to fix the house at the farm.  When the farm house is ready for us to move in, we can finish the work on the big house to sell it.  And those proceeds will go into creating the farm itself.

The property is there; soon we must prepare it for animals and gardens and more.

My long-term goals have not changed since I began my job.  The steps I’m taking to get down this path are to be thought out differently, though.  Let’s not neglect the idea, either, that some of my loftier goals may need moved to the Dreams column on one of my ever-present spreadsheets.

Blogging

Sadly, this blog has been moved further down my priority list.  Spending time with my children, catching up on the housework that’s been neglected, and sleeping are really my top three just now.  I feel like I’ve fallen behind with my friends, too.  There’s just so much and it feels like it is all at once.  Even though I’m constantly thinking, “Hey, that would make a great blog topic,” I know that blogging is on my back burner.

Speaking of back burners, I’m losing my touch with creating new menu items.  I feel like it is more of a rush to get food on the table than before.  I have two new recipes to share with you, though, so stay tuned to Thoughtfully Sought to learn how I make a super-fast Italian dinner for a weeknight and our family favorite Asian-inspired dish that changes every time I fix it.

Bear with me

I want to grow this blog.  I want my readership to grow.  I want to reach more people to help them discover their own paths through life and how to thoughtfully seek out the best steps to take towards their goals, be it with family, diet and weight, marriage and children, household, or faith.

Stick around.  I will do what I can when I can.

Make sure you’ve liked Thoughtfully Sought on Facebook and are following my path on Instagram.  You’ll find me on eBay and Etsy and Bloglovin’ and Twitter and Goodreads… and there’s more to come.

Thanks for your support.  God bless.

Murphy Momentum: Plans and Thoughts

So much change in so little time…

We are still reeling from the changes of the past year.  Our path has been altered so much, yet we are still able to see how we must and can move forward.

After the deaths of three of the most beloved people in our lives, we became inundated with grief…and their stuff.  We accepted furniture and dishes, we inherited a house and property, we have had to reimagine our dreams and redesign our goals, and we now feel confident about this new path we’ve been set upon.

Forward Thinking

All our hopes and dreams seem within grasp now.  It will not be easy.  The steps we see laid out in front of us, the process we’ve created to handle what comes our way, the plans we have developed to see us from this point to the fruition point are all thoughtfully sought and spiritually guided as we rely on our Maker once again.

We have been through hard times, and we have always been surrounded by bountiful blessings.  Now that we recognize them, we see where we have been blessed, we know how to be thankful and less fearful of the future.

Where We are Now

Yesterday morning was greeted with a lot of excitement and a little trepidation as I phoned my new boss to inform her that I would accept her offer of a position.  I will be the Communications Specialist for the local diocesan office.  My “vast skill set” and “impressive education” have landed me my dream job!

We worked hard to get to this point, but this is merely one step.  Much work will still need to be done.

The BHE will be stepping up around the home as he steps out of the traditional role of breadwinner.  Shortly after I got off the phone, he called his boss to deliver his two-weeks’ notice.  The BHE is now a SAHD!

That’s right, folks:  my bearded, hardworking, dedicated, driven, intelligent husband will be caring for our children day in and day out.

But what about the projects?!  We have so many projects between the three properties we now own that, yes, the BHE is going to need some help.

We discussed at length how we must set aside our control-freak natures and accept the assistance of others.  We must tamp down our pride and stubbornness to get ahead by asking our friends, family, and neighbors for help.

Assistance and Accountability

I’ve been working diligently on 1-year, 2-year, and 5-year plans to show us each step of the way to our goals.  I have been plugging projects into a spreadsheet and constantly jotting down ideas that I toss at the BHE and he tosses back at me.  I am researching ballpark figures for what we want to do, where, and when.  We even had a realtor come out to give us some advice.  Yes, folks, we are moving forward like a steam engine, chugging along but aware we need to slow well before the curves.

The first thing I believe we will ask for is help with the children.  When I enter this 8-5 M-F office job, the BHE is going to need someone to rely on a few days a week to care for our babes.  He can’t get work done with two toddlers!  We figured with the Angel starting PreK in the Fall on MWF, it would be best if he was SAHD those days but a friend or neighbor watched the kids on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Evenings and weekends will see me back in my Mommy role when he can get even more work done.

What is that work, you ask.  Well, that’s where the Accountability comes it.

As much as we would like physical help, like people to paint or build or mow or roof or watch the kids or whatever, we also need to be reminded where we are on our path.  It is all well and good if I print up a pretty checklist or create a spreadsheet that we look at from time-to-time, but we need to be reminded to check things off and follow the steps we have laid out.

When I complete my projects list, when I finish those long-term plan sheets, I will post them here for you to see where we are and where we are going.  I keep thinking something cheesy like Friday Facts to share what we’ve completed and learned then Momentum Monday to explain where we hope to go next.

For instance, this week, I’ve built up our inventory on the eBay site and accepted a new job; next week, I will complete my father-in-law’s taxes so we can be (almost) all caught up on the clean-up of his estate and take a day to myself to prepare my body and wardrobe for the return to the workforce.  This week, the BHE made serious progress on finishing the final bedroom upstairs at the big house and made some dough taking a truckload of cans to the recycling center; next week, he will complete that bedroom and order the replacement windows for the little house.

See?  I’ve told you what we are doing.  Now I feel like I’ll be letting you down if we don’t do it.  That’s how this accountability thing works on my end.  On your end, you get to share in our triumphs and pick us up when we falter.  Thank you, dear reader, for agreeing to be part of our village.

That’s What Friends are For

I look forward to not only getting stuff done but getting connected to my village as we complete projects, move forward, and stay on our thoughtfully sought path towards our dream goals.  In return, I will learn more about you so I can find opportunities to assist you where you need it.  Networking is a powerful tool.  Apply it correctly and we all see our goals come to fruition.

Where are you on your path?  Do you need some help getting up and moving forward?  Do you know how you can help others in your village to do so?

Time

Is Time On Your Side?

Recently, we have been feeling a bit of a lag around here.  Work isn’t getting done; our to-do list has new tasks added regularly but very few are getting crossed off.  What gives?

Hours in a Day

Both the BHE and I were getting upset over the lack of progress around our house.  We have a 115-year-old neo-Victorian that still needs a lot of work, even after the last five years of serious renovating and remodeling.  Now that we have our second child on the way, our list is not only growing but our time to complete projects is shrinking.

There are only so many hours in a day that can be used to remodel, though.  Both of us were getting worked up, and I found myself becoming a nagging, resentful wife.  I couldn’t understand why projects weren’t getting done, why they weren’t even being started!  That’s when it occurred to me that maybe I needed to set the BHE straight on what he is doing with all his time… and accepted a swift kick in my own ass when I realized he just doesn’t have any.

Break It Down

If you find yourself in the same situation,
wondering where all of your time is going and why your tasks aren’t being completed,
I suggest you do what I did:
break down each day or each week into the hours spent
to ascertain what hours are “free” to work towards your goals.

I chose to break down the BHE’s week as it is now, mid-summer.  His work hours and the demands on his time do differ by the season.  This is the busiest time of year for him at work (selling and delivering roofing materials and such) plus the yards* need more attention, among other things.  Let’s start there**.

Hours in a week:  24 hrs/day x 7 days/wk= 168

Work/Job:  He works 7-4:30 M-F plus at least two Saturdays a month from 7-12.  We live roughly 40 minutes from where he works, give or take traffic and weather.  Let’s not forget the time it takes him to get ready for work each day!  Ok, that brings us to him “working” 12 hours a day, five days a week and 6-7 hours every other Saturday.  Boom:  (12×5)+6.5= 66.5

Sleep:  Sleep is necessary for your body and mind to rest and rejuvenate.  I’m talking about actual sleep-sleep, not when you go to bed to when you get up.  Personally, I lay in bed for a solid 40 or so minutes before my mind and body relax enough to sleep.  That 40 minutes is rest, not sleep.  Get it?  Ok, so saying the BHE sleeps 11-5 or 5:30 the days he works and gets an extra  hour on Sundays… (6.25×6)+7.25= 44.75

Rest & Relaxation:  This shouldn’t be discounted, even if you think it falls under the “free time” category.  To me, R&R isn’t free any more than sleep time is:  it is also necessary for your mind and body to function properly.  You should consider what it takes for you when you get home to get out of work mode and into home life mode.  For instance, the BHE can arrive home anytime between 5:15 and 6 but may still need 15 to 30 to bring stuff in from his car, love on me and Angel Baby, go to the bathroom, change out of his work clothes, have a frosty beverage, etc.  Then we will sit at the dining room table to have dinner***.  Let’s consider things like bathing as well as watching an episode of our latest downloaded television programs in R&R.  I’m estimating this takes up anywhere from 2-4 hours of each of his days, depending on the type of day he has had.  If the BHE has a stressful day at work, it may take an extra 30 minutes for him to wind down once he gets home.  If it was a slow Saturday and he gets home right at 1, he may be ready to just keep going (right after doling out hugs and kisses, of course).  Ok, the math:  I’m going with an average of 2 hours each day… 7×2= 14

Church/Mass:  For us, we wake on Sunday mornings and have our Pancake Breakfast.  We get dressed for church (20), drive the 12 miles there (17-20), have an hour Mass (60), chat with other parishioners (5-10), and drive straight home (17-20).  2

Yards:  Like I mentioned, we have two properties he does the yardwork for.  Depending on the weather, that is a good 2-3 hours each week when you factor in the time gassing up the equipment; picking up sticks, trash, etc from the yards; moving the picnic table and downspouts; using the rider; using the push mower; using the trimmer/weed whip; taking the leaf blower to all the sidewalks; putting it all away; cleaning up after he’s done.  Seriously, the people who say it takes them 30 minutes to mow their yards, I want to ask them if they consider all the preparation and clean up as well.  3

Trash:  We live close enough to his father’s property where there is a large hole in which we burn our trash.  If I factor in the time it takes to gather the trash from the house, load it into our flatbed, drive the old-ass thing to and from his dad’s, unload it, AND figure in some social time (it isn’t like he’s just going to show up, dump our garbage, and drive off), we’re looking at a solid hour-and-a-half minimum to “take out the trash.”**** Boom:  1.5

Errands:  For the most part, I handle the shopping for our family.  Three to five times per month I drive the 40+ minutes to the nearest “city” to buy groceries and other necessities, generally taking a whole day to hit a handful of stores to stock up for the week or more until the next excursion.  As he works just down the street one way from our preferred grocery and the other way from Target, he can make quick trips for things we may have run out of or have cravings for (eggs, cider, etc).  He also handles the purchasing of heavy items like cat litter and dog food.  I’m saying that this should add no more than an hour to his day in town before he comes home on the few days a month he has to do these trips.  But let’s not forget he needs a haircut every 9 weeks or so and we may need him to pick up something from a hardware or home improvement store.  3

Eighty Percent Off

Wow!  Seriously.  Are you looking at this with me?  Did you write down what amount of time you spend each week on these or similar aspects of your life?  Good God.  Maybe I’ve been too hard on the boy…

66.5+44.75+14+2+3+1.5+3= 134.75 hours per week

Over 80% of the hours in a week are used just on a few aspects of his life:  work, eating and sleeping, running errands, mowing the yards and taking out the trash, spending some time with his wife and daughter, and going to Mass.  That leaves the BHE a mere 20% of the time allotted to all of us to spend any time on projects around the house, helping his family (or mine), going out to dinner with my dad or his sister, or having a social life at all.

Another Take

Saying he really only uses 134.75 hours for the aforementioned aspects (and doesn’t need a minute more), that leaves 33.25 hours in a week to put into other things.  Some may say that’s like having a part-time job.  In fact, I know people that work one full-time and one part-time job (or a hobby that could generate income); that’s where they find that extra time.  Bravo!  I will not talk down in regards to others’ work and accomplishments?  I hate comparing our lives to anyone else’s, but it is hard not to.  It is hard not to say…

Do they have a pregnant wife, a toddler, a 115-year-old house in need of constant work and upkeep, a needy mother right next door, an elderly father in just as aged of a home less than 10 miles away, and this driving need to help as many people as possible?  Seriously, folks, the BHE has his hands full:  33 hours is not that much!  Just 33 hours to divide between our home, his dad’s house, the extra property we own where his mother lives, the friends that call on him for help with their plumbing or roofs or just needing to borrow his truck and trailer, and anything extra he may need or want to spend his time on.   I haven’t even mentioned getting in quality time with Angel Baby and me, his family, my family, et cetera.

SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE!

What I Learned

I’m an asshole*****.

Here I am, giving the BHE hell for not getting this or that done, for spending his time with this person or that one, for not using “all his free time” to work on what I think he needs to work on.  There he is, with only an hour or two a night and less than a full day each weekend, doing all these other things just to keep us moving forward.  I am really glad I sat and thought about this.

Sadly, the impetus was me wanting “proof” to shove in his face and say, “LOOK!  You could be doing this and this but noooo, you’re just doing that.”  Happily, we can both look at what I scribbled down and see where changes can be made and, more importantly, why it is we should both take it easier on him for the work not being done.  The next time he starts verbally berating himself for not finishing the shed’s roof or not starting the wiring in the third bedroom, we can both look at this blog post and go, “THAT is why.”

Take a Break
Take a Breather
Take it Easier on Yourself
Time isn’t always on your side.

*We own two properties which he mows, trims, etc.

**Please forgive what looks like higher math; it isn’t.

***Yes, every night, folks; unless we eat out (which is rare), we eat either at our dining room table or the one on the back deck.  We don’t eat in front of the tv or standing in the kitchen or anything else.  Sitting to eat a meal in a designated place is very important.

****Well, shit!  Considering what he is paid per hour at work, it might actually be cheaper for us to pay for trash removal.  An added bonus of this exercise:  seeing where change may be necessary.

*****For real.

Disclaimer:  Time is what you make of it.  I know, if you really want to achieve something, you will find the time to do so.  Look at me:  I have a masters!  I have a blog!  I throw awesome parties!  I find the time when I need to.  The point of this little exercise was to see what kind of time there is AFTER all the necessary shit is taken care of.  Can the BHE spend less time on the yard (even though it may not look as nice)?  Sure.  Can we pay for trash removal?  Yes.  Does he HAVE to have a social life?  Well, actually, yes.  Just like he has to have R&R time.  Mental stability and all that jazz.  I guess my point, dear reader, is to evaluate your life and not be so hard on yourself.  That’s the point I needed to make to me and the BHE.