Having now attempted this post about four times, I'm just going to write it and stop caring about it being perfect. Forgive any complete acts of duphus-ness or stupidity that might follow as I'm quite good at saying things all wrong the first time around. Tact isn't one of Jules' top five characteristics to look for in a mate, thank goodness!
1) Figure out who is going to be the primary worker and who is going to tend to life. The life-tender should cut back as much working as possible in order to maximize the life-tending. You would be amazed how much money can be saved when someone has the time to actually make things at home. In our house, it makes the most sense for Jules to be the primary worker. Thus, I gave notice I will be letting go of one day a week (hopefully more to follow.) I have also begun tutoring a local boy so that I can work from/close to home. This pays me necessary life money for many fewer hours and much less stress.
2)Go to bed so that you can be productive the next day. Rather than cycling through this dramatic dance of staying up to have time together, then oversleeping and racing through the day backlogged and working too late, only to stay up again to spend time together, just STOP. I began going to bed without Jules. If I get up to make his lunch, his coffee/chocolate milk, set everything out, and see him off, Jules has a much better day and doesn't have to buy anything he has forgotten at home. The day is productive and no one is up late again.
3)Spend time together getting off on the right foot. Jules and I spent an entire weekend cleaning the house, organizing neglected projects we always meant to get back to, taking things to Goodwill, cashing tax-refund checks, buying energy efficient appliances (long overdue tax refund presents), and generally catching up again on making our household the focus. Without starting out well, the entire process of getting back on track would be sabotaged.
4)Be deliberate!We got into this predicament by losing our focus. We were sucked in by all the shiny, fast, quick solutions to many of life's stumbling blocks: More work makes more money so you can just buy the solution, more time away from your family means you can make more money to help your family, new stuff will ultimately be better than repurposing old stuff. Find your own way. Ultimately the outside culture does not yet perpetuate much of a simple life. Stop listening to everyone else and decide what it is that you want.
I'm giving up sleeping in for Lent. We will see how well this combines with the other decision to cut back on coffee which I made about two weeks ago before realizing the time of year it was. God help my family as they try to deal with the cranky woman living in their house.
"...It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness, to sit on a rock in the forest and ask of himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?’ ”