Yesterday, I linked y’all to a lovely young lady who has pledged to make a difference every day for all of Advent. She is blogging about it, and she has gotten some excellent support, including people willing to make matching donations. She has also challenged us to play along.
Now, I think I love Laura for her determination to improve the world, her ability to believe she can do it, and her humility in wanting the rest of us to share the credit. So, you may wonder why I am not taking her up on her challenge (other than the fact that it is only today that I actually figured out what Advent is). I am not joining her challenge because it is a challenge I make to myself every day.
Before you get all mushy and impressed, let me clarify. I need to challenge myself to make a difference every day because if I didn’t, I would be perfectly content to sit with a jar of peanut butter, a spoon, and the remote control for hours while replaying Grey’s Anatomy reruns.
For lack of a better word, I am selfish. Really, I am (and don’t go arguing with me – I am not being self-deprecating and am not looking for reassurance). One of the biggest ways I am selfish is that I want the very best for my kids because they are mine, dammit, and I love them. That means I want them to be better people than I am, inherit a cleaner planet than I inherited, and have happier childhoods than I had.
Frankly, I think I’m setting the bar pretty low on all three of those.
The last one requires almost no effort, because even if I did do the peanut butter and remote control thing, they would still have a more pleasant childhood than I did. The other two, however, do require some work on my part. A cleaner planet and caring, responsible children are unlikely to happen on their own. Sh-t. Just when I was getting cozy. So, I wake up every day determined to make a difference if only to fool my kids into seeing me as a good role model.
In the spirit of Laura’s challenge, I will take some time this month to mention a few of the things I have found effective, particularly on the whole cleaner-planet front. Because, you know, if a pre-teen can’t be your inspiration for better behavior, who can be?
Fortunately, many of the things I do to improve the world and hoodwink my children actually simplify my life and appeal to my inner sense of selfishness. Like holiday gifts. While everyone around me is in a flurry of anxiety about shopping for family and friends, I am contentedly taking long naps and reading trashy novels. (OK, I don’t read trashy novels, but I do like long naps.) Why am I so relaxed? Because most of my holiday shopping is done. I still need some gift cards for the teachers and a tip for the rubbish collectors, but otherwise, we are all set around here. That’s ‘cuz we do not buy gifts for adults. We give to charity, instead. And we ask them to do the same for us. In 45 minutes last night, I made charitable donations in quite a few names, thereby polishing off at least half of any holiday shopping.
Hanukkah, as you know, is eight nights long, and buying that many gifts for our kids could get pretty time-consuming, not to mention spoiling them off their a-ses. We decided to shave a day off. Ask Zachary what we are doing for the first night, and he will tell you there will be no gifts because we are giving the money to children who do not have enought food. In one fell-swoop, we helped someone else, set an example for our kids, and saved us some holiday shopping. That’s what I call a win-win-win situation.
Tune in later for more of the Lazy Mother’s Guide to Saving the Planet. Or just go read Laura’s blog, because her mother has obviously figured out how to set a good example.