Over 10 years ago I was a barista working at Starbucks about to take on my first “have I actually made it?!” job as an editor for Neiman Marcus (…wait for it…) catalogs. I made sure the little letter that describes the item you want matched the actual picture of it. It was a relatively high pressure job in that if I did get it wrong, it’s finalized and printed and sent to hundreds of thousands of people for all eternity. By the way, I did mess up big time once. It was a Santa Claus special brochure and instead of listing the Santa’s a-e, it was a little more like, a, d, c, e, b. But I guess the Santa’s still sold. Turns out people who are spending thousands of dollars on shirts can usually track the description to the picture all by themselves! So it was a great job. I only left it for a job at the seminary to help scrounge up enough money to pay for my bible schooling. A slight dichotomy to say the least.
As I was saying, I was about to resign as a barista when one of the customers learning of my news congratulated me and wished me well – and with a smirk said, “now you’re going to learn that everyone out in “the real world” is immature.” I was SO devastated by this. I thought I was moving on up to a dignified world where business professionals and experts in their field grew to a level of maturity that superseded basic life standards.
I can’t tell you for sure if what that man said was true in the business world, but in my current real world, the one that I live and breathe every single day, it is very true. Because I’m the “business professional” in our family (the boss, CEO, aka MOM) and I see how “mature” I really am. And this is where my story begins.
My two year olds and I share the same exact value system. We know what we want and want it now. We don’t want to clean up messes and we pout when we have to do something we don’t want to do. They’re TWO. I’m a bunch more years older than two, but I clearly see we share the same motivations.
We are motivated by the very same thing that gets us out of bed, that occupies our minds before we return to bed, and often fills the topic of conversation as the day moseys on. For some of you, you may share the same values with your two year old – and perhaps it’s serving your elderly neighbor who you know is not well – or getting up to go do something fun that day! These are great values.
But no. My sons and I share the exact same single-most important motivating factor that gets us through the day, which is:
Like a child I wake up and just want to shove an empty plate in someone’s face and say “breakfast.” I want more snacks, more crackers, more toast, more waffles, more ba-nee-nuhs. I want to sit on the kitchen floor with my finger in the butter just enjoying that kind of freedom alone. I want to sneak into the pantry and find the super duper hidden snacks and quietly snack on them until my mom busts me. When a meal does not look good to me I want to whine all the way up to my seat and blurt “THIS IS DISGUSTING.” when it’s not what I want.
Because what do I really want?
And most every meal that isn’t that this month is just bringing me down. Chris and I are doing another grueling month of Whole 30. SIGH. Another friend who is doing it alongside us might read this so i’m not going to confess any of my cheats yet. Chris has no cheats. He’s serious. But we are doing it. We are eating veggies and meat and avocados and eggs and drinking water and coconut milk – and it never gets easier. I never pop up from my chair and think “YES! THIS IS IT!” No. In fact, I just wonder why I am doing this to myself. And then I put on my jeans and I’m like – ok fine.
Food is such a funny thing. For many of us, it’s a way to control our lives or comfort our emotions. It’s delicious and nutritious yet can take a turn very quickly into a pre-occupation that probably isn’t the healthiest.
But if I’ve learned one thing from Whole 30 it is this. Food makes me infantile. I get whiny and always want more – and by more – I usually mean more scoops of sugar in my coffee.
BUT, I’ve also learned that when we have mostly fresh fruits and veggies around, with kale to be sautéed at the ready, we ALL eat better. Not just me and Chris. The kids do, too. And that’s not all bad. Just this past week Olive has taken an interest in sauteéing broccoli and carrots and warming up brown rice in the microwave.
She made last night’s dinner. (Chris and I didn’t eat the rice. MEH.)
Like any good discipline, finding a way to creatively replace a former habit can be both fun and annoying. It’s like leaving the TV off all day when you have kids. Way harder on me… but every once in a while you hear your kids making up new games together and laughing and that feels good.
I still just really want to know when my next meal is.
But there is something about roasted veggies and bacon that ain’t too shabby either.
I admire my two year olds. Because for now, they can just be them. In 32 years they’re going to have to man up and eat their veggies while dreaming of ice cream like I do. Ha!
What’s your take on food? I realize this is a loaded question. 🙂
p.s. Not everybody who does Whole30 hates it. For some odd reason, some people really like it. 🙂