Make the Right Sacrifice

Like most things these days, I'm chalking it up to pregnancy hormones. My budding belly is calling forth a fresh eruption of ideas and ambitions. Huge, long-term plans. I haven't the energy to get out of bed, so I lie there and list all of the books I'm going to outline as soon as my feet touch the floor and I get a bit of quiet time. 
 
It's ironic that all the ideas are pouring in two months before quiet time will once again be a thing of the past in my house. Meanwhile, third trimester exhaustion has set in. 
 
I understand the need - indeed I have the need - to have a responsibility, a life force, outside my family. Service and work can boost mental and spiritual health like nothing else. And, for this classic insomniac, it's always nice to have something to do at 2 a.m. rather than stare at the ceiling. But I'm at a crossroads now. 
 
Being the type of writer that I am, I get my share of blurbs and books on self-help and success. Overwhelmingly, the professional advice can be reduced to: find what's important to you and focus. Be willing to make sacrifices. 
 
The authors glorify such martyrdom so that, by the end of the book, you're ready to give up anything for the cause. How noble it all sounds. There's nothing wrong with making sacrifices, but, if we're going to be giving up everything, we had better be sure that we've chosen the right cause. 
 
My husband is self-employed and works long hours. Like all entrepreneurs, he knows what it's like to have an office that never closes and an inbox that never empties. Sometimes, when he's exhausted, we curl up on the floor and watch some asinine movie. And I'm not willing to give that up. 
 
During the day, I can lean over whenever I want to and smell my child's hair, a combination of cherry almond shampoo and the fresh smell of sheets hung outside to dry. And I'm not willing to give that up either. 
 
For months, my two-year-old has skipped her afternoon nap. Each day at three, I'd make an expanded to-do list for the next day, wondering what kind of opportunities I was missing because she still needed her mommy time. We'd rock back and forth and she would tell me bits and pieces about her day. Now, suddenly, she has begun once again to nap. And I continue to sit in the old rocking chair and watch her chest rise and fall as she sleeps in my arms. I'm not even willing to give that up. 
 
The financial success books are into focus and sacrifice, too. They say to declare a dollar amount, a specific goal of how much you want to earn in the coming months or year. Post your positive affirmation, they say, and repeat it throughout your day. 
 
But I've decided that money belongs nowhere near my mantra. Meditation is for my spirit, not my pocketbook, and I'm not willing to give that up. I prefer to hand the wheel not to my investments but to my soul, which may drive in curvy paths, to be sure, but which has led me down some beautiful boulevards. 
 
Perhaps that means not a lot of things are going to change around here this year, but it's reassuring to know that, for now, everything can take a back seat while I enjoy and nurture my growing family. As we struggle to keep our resolutions, let us do some spiritual housecleaning, to be certain that our priorities are in order and that our resolve is properly placed.