I vacillate between two extremes every time January rolls around.
The first is this pressing desire to declutter my house, deep clean every cupboard, organize every appointment for the entire year, plan every lesson for the whole semester, set two-dozen unrealistic New Years resolutions, and make a multi-paged to-do list complete with graphs and charts for accomplishing all the things in the upcoming year.
The second is to never get out of the sweat pants I wore on Christmas morning, eat every last piece of leftover holiday candy and close the blinds as I cloister myself in corner of the couch under piles of blankets for the next three months of hibernation, blissfully ignoring the outside world until I can leave the house without eight layers of fleece-lined clothing.
This year is no different, minus the fact I’m rapidly approaching my third trimester of pregnancy and moving off said couch gets harder each day so the hibernating thing becomes even more of a tempting daydream. And I’m about to graduate to my husband’s sweat because even my elastic waisted pants are constricting the breath necessary for deep slumber.
So I guess option B is winning.
At least in my head.
But then there’s the whole job situation and there’s something (annoyingly responsible) in me that won’t let me NOT show up when I said I would. Weird. Plus, there’s this thing called nesting that, though I thought it was a myth, strikes even the most resiliently lazy women when a baby is on its way. I’ve found myself deep cleaning storage closets and taking bags of donation items to our local thrift store in my free time.
It seems, maybe, there’s an option C for me this January.
An option where I’m still doing things but at a much slower pace than normal. An option that isn’t limited to couch sitting but still includes plenty time in my (husband’s) sweat pants. An option allowing me to make lists and goals, but then be ok if they don’t happen. An option to show up to work, prepare our home for a baby and contribute to society in at least small ways, but choosing to be present, thoughtful and prayerful as I move through these tasks.
It’s the lifestyle I’ve always craved, but one that is made more necessary by my burgeoning belly and the surprising fatigue I feel after the arduous chore of making breakfast. It might be the best way to make it through these last three months of pregnancy without quitting completely but still having enough energy to push the baby out when the time comes.
I’m on a decluttering kick these days. It seems a baby does actually need stuff, even when you’re trying to be minimalist-mom, and I’ve got to make room for it somehow. I feel like I can’t get rid of enough stuff and it’s possible my entire house will be emptied of all but the couch by the time this compulsion fades. (At least it’ll be baby proofed.) I have to keep reminding myself that just because more isn’t always better, less isn’t always more either. The point is to have enough.
Contentment might be the biblical word for this.
It’s not just about how little you can be happy with, how lightly your suitcase is packed, how few hours of sleep you need to function, how empty your planner is.
It’s also not about the amount of money you have in the bank account, how many days off you have, how much downtime you get, how relaxing your weekend was, how equipped your kitchen is, or how full of beautiful clothes your closet is.
It’s about learning to the secret to be content whether full or empty, whether living in lack or abundance, whether your schedule is packed to the brim of productive activities or left completely blank.
Let enough be enough.
That’s the in-between option I’m craving this January. The place where big dreams and goal scheming meets quiet evenings on the couch with a cup of tea and a novel. The place where a full week of valuable work is followed by a weekend of sweat pants, Netflix and afternoon naps.
It’s a healthy lifestyle, and not just for us pregnant women.
We’re all allowed to let the work we do be enough, even if we didn’t finish every project or meet every goal. We have permission at the end of the day to close our office door, shut off our computers for the night, turn out the lights on our classroom and call it enough. We can leave some dirty dishes in the sink, let there be dirt on the floor, save the unfolded laundry in the chair for tomorrow and go to bed believing that our efforts for the day were enough.
We also get to climb out of bed or get up from our cozy coffee-sipping spot on the couch in the morning and head to work knowing that we’ve had enough. We can turn off the TV after one hilariously-dumb episode of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt or The Office without needing to binge watch an entire season. We don’t have to go back for seconds on the ice cream serving – we had our fill with the first bowl. We don’t have to panic on Sunday evenings when we feel like our weekend wasn’t long enough. We don’t have to hit snooze twelve times when the alarm goes off. We’ve had enough leisure, enough rest, enough time off. Let’s return to our work renewed and with joy.
You’ve done enough. You’ve had enough. There is enough. You are enough.
I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. – Philippians 4:12-13 MSG
Enough is enough.
And that is the option I want to choose as I make my way through these winter months.