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All Things on the Backburner

Katry Maurice

When becoming a responsible adult and parent, prioritizing is natural. Added responsibilities, AKA children, will result in important categorization and organization of time. When all is said and done in one day, there may not be enough time and energy to do other things that make us feel like individual people. We are pulled in so many directions that we forget where we started and that is when we lose ourselves.
On the front burner, there is a constant sizzle and we cannot forget to stir it, take care of it. On the backburner, there is where we forget our boiled eggs until they rot and stink up the entire house. Or that is where personal hopes and dreams go to die (too dark?). It may feel that way sometimes, but in reality they are put on standby so that we can continue to support and cultivate our current dream, our children.

The front burner consists of things that are essential and basic, not simple in any shape or form:

1. Keeping the little people alive. This includes meals and requires patience.
2. Settling into a routine: meals, snacks, naps...
3. Hygiene - not mine! Not yet anyway. This includes: bathing, brushing teeth, wiping butts!
4. Dishes and laundry - they both have cycles that each take about 40 minutes, but the process cycle takes about a lifetime with a touch of forever and a sprinkle of FML.
5. Teaching! Parents are teachers too. We teach our children to walk and talk. We teach them manners and how to manage feelings. We teach them the difference between right and wrong. We raise them to become decent human beings, that will eventually have the responsiblity of keeping their own little people alive.

The backburner consists of things we can put on hold, things we can find ways to accomplish anyway, and are things that feel as if they are so far gone that they seem impossible to retrieve.

1. Sleep - "Who needs it right?" As my eyes twitch while drinking my fifth cup of coffee.
2. Sex - This is what got us here in the first this one can hibernate for a while.
3. Our own hygiene and upkeep - Hello deoderant, ponytails and dry shampoo!
4. Outings and entertainment - Date nights seem like fun but I need number 1 and number 3, and I am afraid it will lead to number 2, resulting in a whole new life cycle.
5. Ambitious projects and endeavours - Oh future, you are bold and bright!
6. Hobbies - May I hide in my closet with a novel and a flashlight?
7. Friendships - an inevitable gap in the relationships occur, but it's okay because the good ones are only one text away. But! Girls' night or Guys' night - pfff no energy, no time, no go. If there is time, it's like a mini vacation that ends in a hangover that starts as soon as you get home; where the tiny humans are going to be awake and happy to see you in less than 3 hours.

The backburner is real and its contents are probably different in some way or another for everyone. As grateful as we are for our babies and our spouses, we cannot help but mourn the loss of the life components that make us, us. Fortunately, those losses are not permanent. The backburner's contents can eventually be transferred to the front burner as priorities change or become less demanding. The important thing to realize is that we cannot wait until the whole house smells with the stench of forgotten eggs before we start recollecting important pieces of ourselves and our relationships.

When the time is right, bring the backburner back to a sizzle, stir it, take care of it.

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