This is not intended to be sacrilegious in any way. Moses was the man, and this is my personal take on what we should do above and beyond not stealing, coveting, murdering and such. Here are my 10 commandments to make life better for you, your family and friends, and all of humanity.
Wine, margarita? Same difference.
1. Thou Shalt Drink the Wine
Really, if it’s your thing, have a bit. Keep it moderate. Don’t get shit-faced around the kids. That’s never cool. Do enjoy a glass or two out with friends or your husband or your own damn self. If it’s not your thing, then have that thing you love—the cheesecake or whatever every once in a while (because all the time makes for bad news). Furthermore, don’t give a shit about whether or not anyone else is having the wine or cheesecake—unless they’re out of hand. Then take the keys and get them an Uber.
2. Thou Shalt Clean the House…Sometimes
Sometimes the house needs cleaning. Family or company is coming. It hasn’t been done in three months, and you’re pretty sure the toilet requires a hazmat suit. The kids are complaining about wading through trash. Whatever. But seriously, there are times when it is way more important that you take the kids for that hike or bike ride or dinosaur-monster display insanity than it is that you mop.
3. Thou Shalt Not Be an Asshole
First, if you’re a parent, the surest way to raise an asshole is to be one. Secondly, you never freaking know what someone else is dealing with. That guy in front of you driving too slow? Who the hell knows? Maybe he just got the worst news of his life and is trying to drive through the tears. Or maybe he’s just a dick. Either way, if you’re not an asshole, life is happier for everyone.
4. Thou Shalt Not Give Shit-Tons of Unsolicited Advice
Every kid is different. Every marriage, divorce, dating relationship—oh wait—every person is different. So stop thinking that anyone else’s experience with anything will be like yours. It won’t. Similarities, maybe, but their experience is theirs. Just shut up and listen. They’ll thank you for it.
5. Thou Shalt Get Off Thy Ass and Move a Bit
That amazing metabolism will not last forever. The ass will spread. The dress size will increase. You’ve had kids and/or a desk job and/or an addiction to Supernatural that has led to binge watching for hours at a time, or whatever other reason, and it seems many of us don’t make the time to move our bodies. Do it. Don’t feel guilty about it. I can’t run a 5k without hella knee pain anymore, but I can walk it. Better yet, I can get the kids outdoors to take a hike. This is self-care. It counts. Do it. There isn’t time? Find it.
6. Thou Shalt Not Envy Another’s Joy
Be happy for your friends when they’re happy. It’s not your life. Maybe you think their relationship is a terrible idea, but see commandment No. 4 and shut the hell up. Just be there when they’re on cloud nine and be there when you have to scrape them off the pavement. It’s freaking hard when your husband hasn’t told you that you’re attractive in seven years and you have a screaming kid tied to your leg. Do it anyway. Escape into their joy, and hope that one day they’ll get to do the same with yours. Speaking of family….
The family we choose really is as important as the family we’re born into.
7. Thou Shalt Not Cut Off Thy Nose to Spite Thy Face
Unless there is something seriously heinous in your family relationships, suck it up and restore those relationships. Yup, your brother is annoying as hell. Your sister constantly insults you. Deal with it twice a year and see them for Christmas and Easter (no one said Thanksgiving too—twice in two months is friggin’ ridiculous). There comes a day when you need them. When a parent passes away, you won’t want to be rehashing the fight over the family trip years ago. Not to be ignored is the family you choose. Love those friends like hell, see them more than twice a year, and learn to forgive, because dammit, they’ll have to forgive you for that time you stole their boyfriend, ruined their dress, or insulted their kid.
8. Thou Shalt Suck It Up
Yes, in general, stop being such a damn whiner. We all have shit. Unless someone asks, we don’t all want to hear yours any more than you want to hear ours. Save it for the spouse/bestie/therapist/blog, and find that stiff upper lip. (And don’t even start on the “you don’t understand” thing here. Depression? Had it. Anxiety? Had It. Lost a parent? Done it. Shitty marriage? Done it. Kid illness? Done it.) Seriously, many of your friends have been through more than you have any damn idea. Stop thinking you’re alone and find adequate support to grow.
9. Thou Shalt Give Back
Volunteer. Donate. Be kind. Your theology may not agree, but I’m pretty damn sure most religions actually require that we don’t judge our fellow humans. Stop it. It’s not your problem. Be kind and help other people however you are able. Take the kids with you—they’ll learn something too (see No. 3).
10. Thou Shalt Forgive Thyself
While you’re practicing not being so hard on others, stop being so hard on yourself. See all rules above. You deserve a little slack, too. This is not an excuse not to stop driving yourself to excellence; it’s just leeway not to kick yourself in the shins when it’s not your best day and you yelled at the kids, the guy on the road was an asshole, and your friend drank all the wine. Forget every day being new; every moment is new. Start over—right now.
So it’s simple, really. When you’re at your limit, remember this: Drink the wine, be kind, don’t be an asshole, listen, love, cry, suck it up, give and hug.