Finding the Balance: Relationships

When I was a young uniform-clad catholic school girl, I learned about a few different types of love. Before that, I always thought love was love. Either you felt it or you didn’t. It seemed pretty black and white, cut and dry.

You can feel love for a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, a pet, and even yourself. All of those are naturally different feelings. You can even feel love for someone you don’t even know.

This morning I read a story about a woman who had to bury her eight-year-old son. About a week ago, a drunk driver who was going over 60 MPH in a 30 zone, slammed into and completely demolished the boy’s car. His father was driving him to daycare. My heart literally sank.

I feel for the father, who has to carry the burden of surviving the crash, while he couldn’t do anything to protect his son. I feel for the mother, who will never see her baby again. I feel for the child, who never got a chance to really live. I also feel for the other driver, whose life will be forever ruined by his terrible decisions. So much sadness.

The Lesson

It is so important to make time for family, friends, and all the people we love. Whether it’s a text to say I love you or a surprise visit, hold on tight because no one is promised tomorrow.

Four Types of Love

There are eight types of love, but for our purposes today, I’m going to stick to four – the ones that resonate most with me (and, I’m sure, you too).

Agape – Selfless Love

I don’t know of a stronger love than that shared between a parent and child – except maybe that of a grandparent.

My mom

My mom and I have had a lot of rough patches, but it’s gotten better as I’ve gotten older. She’s my emotional support system, and I know she’d do anything for me, even if it caused her pain, unhappiness, or sadness.

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See the resemblance?

My mom and I look similar- same body type, frame, etc. We share a lot of the same habits and love to switch places on my grandma!

She always sends me a good morning text, and we talk on the phone after work. She’s the one I go to for advice, support, and encouragement, and she’s always the first one to tell me that I can do anything I set my mind to.

My Nanny

My grandma (nanny) bestows unconditional and selfless love upon both her children and grandchildren. She always calls me her third child.

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Fun in Macy’s years ago.

We talk on the phone every morning and sometimes at lunch, share a love for pretzels, Cheez-Its, and Peanut M&Ms, and love all things French.

During Lent, we’ve been doing a prayer challenge. And while that book wraps up this Sunday, we’ve decided to read another book right after. It was a great chance for us to bond and I’m so grateful to have her in my life.

Pragma – Love in a Marriage

This love is harmonic. It doesn’t happen right away, but it develops over time with a person similar to what you would call a soul mate.

While I don’t think we’ve achieved full pragma, I know my husband and I are on our way. We’ve been married for 5 months. Before that, we dated for over four years. And if you want to go back further, we went to high school together, meeting on the Track team, and graduating a year apart. We weren’t high school sweethearts, but what’s meant to be will always find a way.

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My person.

Tony and I enjoy the same shows – The Walking Dead, Fear Factor, Impractical Jokers, American Horror Story. We like similar foods – Taco Bell, ceviche, pizza! And we love to travel every chance we get.

We don’t have much time together during the week – something we’re working on. We wake up, go to work, and are usually exhausted after. A lot of our quality time is well spent on the weekends.

Philia – Love between Friends

Friendship love is so special and not to be ignored or forgotten.

While I have many acquaintances, I have a handful of quality friendships – some are very new and others have lasted over 20 years. I’m grateful for the people in my life who build me up, support me, and allow me to do the same for them. When we’re young, a lot of time is wasted competing with “friends.” At this age, it’s nice to feel secure and confident when sharing ideas, opinions, and goals.

I speak with one of my best friends daily. I talk to another every few weeks. But in both cases, we always pick up right where we left off and have a ton of laughs when we see each other. I don’t know what I’d do without my girls!

Philautia – Self Love

This is, perhaps, the most important love. It’s about having a sense of worth and pride, but is not narcissistic. I don’t believe you can truly love another person unless you can love yourself first.

Now that I’m 28, I feel a lot more confident and happier with myself. I spend a good chunk of time on myself in the morning – praying, meditating, and working out. But I know I could do more in the lines of reading, writing, and just enjoying alone time.

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The book my nanny and I are reading.

There’s always more to be learned or more things to love (I still can’t stand my freckles!). There will always be challenges and struggles. I’m still my worst critic, but I accept who I am and I love me!

 
Check out last week’s post and stay tuned next week to learn about finding your ZEN. I’m excited about this one because I’ve finally found a routine that works. I’ll walk you through it next week!

Peace, Love, Zen

DS

Finding the Balance: Home

When I was 16, I had this great idea to maximize my day. Back then I was running on the track team, lawyering up in Mock Trial club, studying for the SATs, taking three college-level courses, and tutoring or babysitting in my “spare time.” I thought that if I could just sleep for 6 hours, I’d have 18 left to FIT IT ALL IN. What a dreamer I was.

It was hard to juggle school and extracurricular activities with work and still manage to have a social life. But I was 16. I always came home to a hot meal on the table, folded laundry in my room, and had someone to schlep me around to every activity before I got my license and a car.

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This book is everything I’m feeling.

Twelve years later I’m still trying to find the time to fit it all in. And the thing I hate to admit is that there will never be enough time.

Most days I’m overwhelmed by the piles of dirty dishes and clothes – and don’t even get me started on dog hair. How is it possible to sweep up a full-length fur coat every other day?

It’s the little things

While this topic could go on for pages, I decided to stick two of the things that I struggle with daily: household chores and cooking.

Bring on those chores

Divvy em’ up

I don’t have kids, but if I did, this post wouldn’t even exist – I’d have a wheel of doom…I mean chores…to take care of that. Boom!

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Hard at work. Look at those muscles!

My husband and I do a good enough job of dividing up the chores. He does maintenance on the cars, outside work, takes out the trash, and is the main caregiver to the two pups. I prefer all things related to the kitchen, laundry, and being inside. If I had to write up instructions on what items get cold washed, ironed, no dryer, etc., I’d have a full-color manual in a 2″ binder.

It’s definitely important to find a healthy balance if you don’t already have one. When one person does more or feels like they do more, the resentment can be HIGH.

Make em’ fun

I don’t usually mind cleaning. But I’m often tired after work and doing something as trivial as the dishes, let’s say, feels daunting. There could be only ten things to wash, but it always feels like hundreds.

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Some of my current listens.

I usually put my headphones on and listen to an audio book, Netflix, or Spotify while I’m working. Anything to take my mind off the task at hand. It takes about 15 minutes to wash a sink full of dishes, and when you think about it, that’s really no time at all. I actually find it mindless and relaxing.

There’s always the dishwasher, but I try to save that for meal prep days.

Break em’ up

I like to get all of my grocery shopping done on Saturday. I also clean out the fridge and cabinets, then meal prep for the following week. If I have a lot going on, I’ll split this between two days. After all, it does take a few hours.

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One of the hairy fur children.

Little things like sweeping, picking up, dusting, etc. can be done with ease during the week. 15-30 minutes here and there can make a BIG difference. Sometimes I’ll run the dishwasher (if I have a lot) or throw a load of laundry in while watching a movie. Chores that can be done in the background are the best ones.

It’s not gonna cook itself

Some people love to cook. I am not one of them, believe it or not. I find cooking to be annoying, which is why I always look for shortcuts. And let me tell you, there are some pretty good ones.

Meal Prep

Setting aside a few hours to make a slew of meals for the week helps immensely. It also makes me feel like I have my shit together. I usually throw together one or two  breakfasts, alternate lunches, and portion out some snacks so I’m set for the week. Doing this has saved me a lot of time and tears. If you’re interested in a deeper dive of this topic, check out my #mealprep blog post.

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I can get a little prep crazy. This is like 1/4 of what I do each weekend.

Meal Delivery

I love subscription boxes, and one of my favorites is Plated, a meal delivery that has so much variety and many great-tasting dinners. You do have to cook the food, but all of the ingredients are pre-portioned and the recipes are very easy to follow. And, I mean so easy that [insert the friend you know can’t cook a can of soup] can do it!

I recommend Plated to everyone I know, but it happens to be one of the pricier companies. The box I get is $72 and includes 3 days of meals for two people. It’s worth it because it’s more cost-effective than eating out, there is no waste, you can add more meals or servings, there are always two dessert options (for an extra fee), and their customer service is STELLAR.

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One of the dinners from this week’s Plated box. Delicious.

There are many other services that offer meals from around $9-15 a dish. Some are even catered to vegetarian, gluten free, or Paleo lifestyles. They make dinners after work a breeze and take the guesswork out of what to have. Plus, the whole family can easily get involved. Win, win, and win.

Pre-Made Meals

Now, I’m not one for “TV dinners” or anything that’s frozen in a plastic black tray. In all honesty, it would probably be healthier to eat the packaging. But I can attest that having some pre-packaged food hanging around can help in a pinch.

I accidentally found a few frozen meals from beetnik and Tastefully Plated Paleo Meals while I was perusing the aisles in Walmart. When I was sick a couple of weeks ago, and could barely leave the couch, it helped to just pop one of these babies in the microwave.

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This chicken chimichurri dish from Tastefully Plated was to die for.

There will be times when you just don’t have the energy. There will be days when all you have in the fridge are ice cubes and something green and wrinkled in the produce bin. There will be moments when the only other option is digging a spoon into a jar of chunky PB for breakfast, lunch, and dinner or ordering everything on the dollar menu.

Do yourself a favor and get some emergency food in that fridge of yours.

I don’t know about you…

…but I’m absolutely loving this series of posts. While we might not ever find a good balance between anything, there are many things we can do to make the best of EVERYTHING.

Check out last week’s post and stay tuned next week to learn about finding the balance with relationships.

Peace, Love, Zen

DS