Sunday, April 19, 2009

Born freeeeeeee!

Published April 19, 2009
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

Sometime last year, I wrote a column about how our family had chosen to go “TV free.” Turning off cable after I separated from my first husband was initially a purely economic choice. Nearly three and a half years later, I’m happy to say we choose not to watch TV because we enjoy this lifestyle and don’t want to go back.

A couple of weeks ago, we held a family meeting and voted unanimously to go “cold cereal free.” This decision wasn’t completely related to finances, though the outrageous cost of cereal did play a part. What it boiled down to was that the kids like hot breakfasts better, I enjoy making them, cold cereal is often wasted along with the milk that congeals around it, the kind we can afford isn’t exactly nutritious, and my four year old prefers to put it on the floor instead of in his mouth. Two weeks into this experiment, we’re still pretty happy with the arrangement. (*Pause to whip up some chocolate cream of wheat for the hungry masses and feel like the BEST…MOM…EVER!*)

Seeing how well freedom from TV and cold cereal is going, I have to wonder. What else could we be free of?

I don’t know about you, but I would go laundry free in a minute. Long ago, when I made the switch from a house that required me to visit a laundromat once a week to a home with a washer/dryer, I told a sister-in-law that laundry was my new favorite chore. That was before I had children. Today, I would happily shift to disposable clothes and bedding in order to avoid ever doing laundry again. I will invest heavily in any company that sets out to invent such a thing.

Much as I like the look of artificial beauty, I could stand to go make-up free. It’s expensive and less and less effective as I get older. Add to that the fact that I spend so much time doing laundry that I often forget to put it on anyway, and it just doesn’t seem worth the fuss. If I went make-up free, people I know could get used to my natural face and would be less inclined to ask if I’m exhausted or sick when they see it. My mom used to say she was going to “put [her] face on.” I’m ready to take mine off, zombie jokes be darned.

Anyone who knows me well knows I would gladly go shaving free for the rest of my life. This may necessitate a move to an Eastern European country, but I’m game if it means never having to put razor to leg again. It’s just hard to stomach the hubris of constantly fighting against what the fates intended for me. There’s hair growing on my legs. Maybe God put it there for a purpose? Someday, there will be a nuclear holocaust and we’ll all learn that leg hair has special protective qualities. Well, I’ll learn it, because the rest of the leg shavers will be dead.

I have several friends who have chosen to go public school free, and it’s something I consider from time to time. These friends are all smarter and more organized than I am, so I remain gun shy. (When they read this, they’ll tell me they’re not. Did I mention they’re also more humble?) I’m going to keep this freedom on the back burner and watch for a time that’s more conducive than it is right now. At this point, if I went public school free and decided to homeschool, we’d probably have a honeymoon period of advanced academic achievement followed by complete educational chaos.

Until someone invents disposable clothes, you can imagine what I’d have the kids doing every day.