A few weeks ago I talked about how our family is having to tighten our budgeting belt right now as we build up our savings again after needing to replace our van right after investing in a new business venture for Matt (radon mitigation).
Naturally, I challenged myself to see how I could cut back on our enormous grocery budget, even though a few weeks before that I’d shared that there was no way I could cut back because…
We eat a lot of food.
I felt all kinds of blah about this, because cutting back didn’t seem possible and also I am trying very hard during this season in life not to…
This time of life filled with a houseful of teenagers with all their friends and comings and goings and activities and growing experiences is very much like (except very different from) my years of raising a houseful of babies. Those were lean and busy years too, also a time in which I was trying to avoid going crazy (while the Blue’s Clues theme song played on repeat in my subconscious). All of life cost less then, seeing as we didn’t have a slew of teenage boys included on our car insurance policy and their shoes and appetites were much smaller.
But the busyness. And the needs. They were/are so great! (“Great” shall be used twofold in this context as the needs are great and the needs are also great. How great that they need me! How great are their needs! This is all so great.)
Through the busy seasons…
These are the years we might need to compromise a little on making all food from scratch and settle for the occasional pre-made tortillas and take-and-bake pizzas. I felt it in the baby-raising-years, had a bit of a reprieve as my kids got old enough to buckle and wipe themselves, but am back to feeling the pinch of time, money, and energy as I am in a season of “hold on for dear life” with my teenage and adult kids.
Add to that the fact that one by one my boys insist on graduating high school and moving out of my nest and I feel the need to use every minute with them for a greater purpose. As I watch these years with kids at home vanish before my eyes, I refuse to use any of this precious time with my back turned to them while I spend time on a task like making Mozzarella Cheese.
All this was going through my head one day recently as I made a grocery list.
“Save as much money as possible!” thought I.
“Nourish us well; this is so very important!” came my next thought.
“Take time to enjoy the family; save your energy; save yourself; buy the pizza!” – and with that I got angry.
Is it even possible to do all of this at the same time? To save money, to eat good food, and to not spend hours in the kitchen while making it all happen?
Yes, I know about the thing called “balance.” I’ve written about it, danced with it, poked and prodded at it, and as of today, I came to the conclusion that while balance is a great word and a great goal for which to strive, today I’m going to have to settle for…
Fine. Good enough. Okay, I guess.
The key word here is “today.” I believe in the long run everything actually will balance out because I truly am intentional about saving money, filling us with nourishment, and not spending all my time in the kitchen. Balance wins out in the long run. But that will no longer be my focus. Right now my focus has to be…
I can’t look beyond today. Today I might feed us all salads and veggies and grass fed meat and beautiful bowls of fresh berries. I might even do it while saving a bundle of money through price-matching and gardening and being resourceful and cooking from scratch. If that is what today looks like, then yay for today!! But tomorrow? Tomorrow…
I might buy pizza.
And sure, I’ll serve it with a salad and slices of pineapple, but I won’t have saved money and I will have filled us with some empty carbs.
This has to be okay, because okay is the best I can do.
The best I can do is actually something to be celebrated. The best I can do truly is the best. Whether it’s a frugal meal that only cost $1.00/plate or a super nourishing meal filled with fresh greens and veggies, or a corndog on a stick that came out of a box.
The best I can do is what offers my family the best of me.
And with that, I’m no longer angry with food and will head to the grocery store.
To be continued…
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Heather Hoover says
This is so true!!!!! I am making way less from scratch, because I’m not home! But that’s ok!!!!!! The most important thing is eating, together if possible! It’s way more important to have a meal ready before baseball and after swim, (on the same night????) And eat together with whoever is there. That is more important than your best cooking or cheapest!
Laura S from WA says
Amy Mac says
Yeah! Hurray for you. Keep telling yourself this.
I really appreciate your transparency with this. It is a struggle!
Laura S from WA says
Your post almost made me cry. One of the verses that has been “my” verse for the year is “Jesus said, ‘She has done what she could.'” Mark 14:8. It’s true. There will ALWAYS be more to be done. I hear the wise words of an older mom say, “are you enjoying your kids?” Oh. Enjoy? Feed, encourage, teach, advise, allow to fail, keep from strangling each other? Yes. Enjoy? Hmm.
My kids are almost out the door too. Graduations, proms, missions trips, solo young adult travel, etc are all exciting, but exhausting. I am also giving myself grace. I figure there will be a day I can focus more on every detail of life. Right now my goal is to “finish off” my kids as best I can. And enjoy them.
I pray. I trust that God has them in the palm of His hand. He loves them even more than me. I do what I can and try to relax about the rest. God is good. I have recently come to believe that “good enough” will still bring glory to God.
Hi Laura…..WE (I usually read and share one of your funny thoughts), enjoyed this post today. You made us smile, 8-) I’m looking forward to reading your continued adventures with your loved ones as the time passes. I wonder what you’ll be doing when you don’t have to focus so much on meals?
Thank you so much for this Laura! I so appreciate the truth you shared from your heart and mind. We can only do what we can only do. Take and bake pizza is not a sin!!! Jesus didn’t die for that!! Matter a fact i believe it to be a huge blessing at times!!! <3 Along with the glorious fruits and veg He offers!! Loving your family is the most important thing. That is a heart issue mainly. There is also the balance of meals and such, but mainly it is a heart thing. I love you honesty here. Please keep sharing and encouraging us to love well and so what we can with our meals. AND no guilt for the pizza or (whateve) sometimes. It is ok. Life is hard, so hard. Loving and sharing Jesus is the very best way to nourish them. You do well, very well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ps. i love that *not go crazy thing* so so relate-able!! :-)
This post was very encouraging for me because I struggle with the same issue. I thought I was all alone and healthy meal planning was a breeze for everyone else! Trying to balance eating healthy, budget friendly meals the whole family enjoys, and does take hours to make has been a major challenge for me. Thanks for reminding me not to feel guilty about buying the pizza if it’s the best I can do at the time. :)