Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Lenten Discipline

I've always participated in giving up something for Lent, even when I participated in a church that didn't observe Lent, and even when I didn't participate in a church at all. I think maybe as I teenager I thrived on acting deprived and put out, advancing beyond the physical temptations of this world. Then the self-absorption just gave way to habit.

In the past, I've given up ice cream (the year I had my wisdom teeth removed. dumb), electronic media during certain times (no TV or internet before 8:00 pm), alcohol (did not go so well), etc. All the things I've chosen were to challenge myself to forgo a common worldly vice (e.g. red wine) or to meet a bigger goal (i.e. losing weight). But this year, I was having a really hard time coming up with a Lenten Discipline. As a new parent, I feel like I'm already sacrificing so much. I tell myself I'm a martyr for working, breastfeeding moms. No more boozy Sunday brunches; no more band practice in the basement; no more pretty clothes (unless they have quick boob access, which is mutually exclusive to pretty). I don't even have time to paint my nails or blow my hair dry or put on makeup before work. Of course these are all first world problems, but nonetheless, it's quite a change from my prior, childless life. So why should I give something up for 40 days?

Because. Just because. Because no matter how selfless I think I've become in raising Dot, I still have bad habits. One of which is shopping. Not shopping like I have a spending-money-type-shopping addiction, but shopping like I-need-to-get-away-from-a-screaming-baby-and-a-hairy-husband-so-I'm-going-to-poke-around-Target-for-an-hour shopping. Of course, despite the previous statement, it does lead to spending money. I can go to Target intending to buy wipes and batteries, and come out with four bottles of clearance organic shower gel and a dog Halloween costume. It's just unnecessary. I've also developed this problem where I'm ten pounds below my baby weight. You can hate me for that, but I earned it. So most of my clothes don't fit, and the ones that do, I can't nurse in them. Anyway, this led to a lot of money spent at Nordstrom Rack. It's so easy to just spend $20 here or there, and before you know it, you've blown your whole fun money budget on scented highlighters and house plants.

So to further avoid falling victim to mindless consumerism (a very behavior I should not be teaching my daughter), I'm giving up shopping. No more baby clothes for my really cute baby. No impulsive Nook book purchases. No etsy. No Amazon. Nothing. But groceries of course. But aside from that, nothing. Instead of using shopping as an excuse to get out of the house, I'm going to try exercising perhaps. Or just being satisfied by being in a different room than everyone else sometimes. Even if it's the basement.

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