This post has been mulling around in my head for a few days now. Although the inner comic in me could easily churn out a post ridiculing the concept of new year’s resolutions, I thought about it a little and realised that no one is beyond self improvement and taking stock. Change is scary, and usually hard work. That said, my Mom always told us that when you work hard you can make anything happen, and if you don’t know by now, my mother is nothing short of a genius. So for the day that’s in it, here are a set of realistic goals for the year ahead.
1. The Weekend ‘Lie In’ Rota
Husband dearest and I have come to the conclusion that the 6 or 7 O’Clock wake-up call doesn’t need to be a feat we both suffer every weekend morning. So we have come up with the ‘Lie In’ rota. A system where we each have a wild morning in bed til 10am. A morning each, 50:50, to spend alone in bed. Everybody wins. The kids get some early morning play time and at 9am we resume our Brady Bunch family of 4 antics. Winning.
2. Allow Time to Shower
Somehow in the midst of wiping bums, cleaning floors, washing tiny humans and maintaining an acceptable level of chaos during the day, time to stop and shower seems to get lost. Just to stress, that I DO in fact find the time to shower, but it’s usually at 11.15pm when I’m half asleep and can’t figure out why my shampoo isn’t lathering (its because it is in fact conditioner I’ve been rigorously attempting to lather to no avail). Showering is a dreaded chore instead of a relaxing escape, usually because I’m under pressure doing it. In the New Year, I have vowed that I will allow myself time, without guilt or apology to spend 10 minutes in the shower. Cleanliness is next to Godliness and all that, and although I’m far from a Goddess I’ll settle for being clean.
3. Go On more Adventures
Saturday morning comes and it’s raining out, so you just stay in. The kids are feral and you’re fed up. Two hours pass and you resort to a TV ‘break’ for the kids. Needless to say, this results in a lazy day of unremarkable nothingness. Sound familiar? It’s all about making a plan during the week and being prepared. Just getting up and out doing something on a Saturday or Sunday instantly makes me feel more energetic and content that the kids are seeing the real world outside our dimly lit TV room. Fresh air, food and family are what happiness are made of don’t you know.
4. Happy Hour – Turn Off and Tune In
We are all guilty of this one, phones, TV’s, radios, computers and tablets. There is literally technology coming at us from every angle. It shouldn’t be so hard, I mean we all know we should be present, yet the addictive nature of keeping connected to the outside world, is the biggest intrusion in to our own little world. It’s a hard habit to kick and so much of what we do now requires some gadget or the other, be it a calculator or camera on our phone, making leaving it behind, easier said than done. That said, any time I make a conscious effort of being fully present and engaged with the kids it opens my eyes to what I am missing. A little smile, a sneaky joke or arms out for a hug, all of these things that are here for an instant and will be a distant memory before I’m ready.
So here it is, when we arrive home from work, phones on the hall table, playroom bound – party of 4 together in every sense of the word, before dinner together downstairs. All four of us accounted for and fully present.
5. More Time to be ‘Me’ without Mom Guilt
Have you ever heard the phrase “Mind the Minder?” I use it with parents in work all the time and harp on about self care and it’s importance. The basis being if you don’t have your shit together how are you going to hold everybody else’s? I’m great at dishing out the advice and supporting everyone else’s journey. That said, I usually pay no head to my own pearls of wisdom. After three years of pregnancy, breastfeeding and toddler taming, I’m scrapping the Mom guilt and scheduling some Emma time once a week. Why? Because that’s OK, and my own head space and well being is as important as everyone else’s under my roof.
6. Shelf the One-Upmanship and High Five Your Other Half Instead
Before becoming a parent I was a girlfriend, then a fiance and for a short stint there, a loving wife. I married my best friend and we’ve been a great team since my mid-teens. Then in 2015 we became parents, and of all the challenges we faced in our togetherness, this one was the most emotionally charged. Parenting is exhilarating, exciting, exhausting and bloody hard at times. So getting to grips with how to be together in the context of your new addition(s) was bound to be a learning curve. The One-Upmanship of who did what, and whose doing more, whose slept less and whose more hungry, can slowly slip in to your relationship before you realise it. All of a sudden you notice it has taken up permanent residence right in the middle of things, probably where romance used to live.
So shelf it. Instead stop and take a moment to appreciate all the great things about your respective other, all the things they do and what you have achieved together. Let’s face it we’re going to be hungry, tired and immersed in the glamour of parenthood for a while yet, so working together when the kids are trying to break us is likely to yield better outcomes for everyone.
7. Stop and Be Grateful
This may sound a bit ‘fluffy’, but at the end of the day, we can all dwell on the things going wrong for us and in the world around us. Stop, look around and see all the incredible things you have achieved and created. Maybe it’s an amazing partner in crime (not necessarily literally), or a little person you created. It could be the home you have created for your clan, or the amazing friends and family that surround you. We all have something or someone to be grateful for. Sometimes we just need to stop and acknowledge it from time to time. Why? Because a true awareness and appreciation of what’s great in your life, melts everything else into nothing more than background noise.
8. Lead by example
I start my mornings in the kitchen at the counter stirring up a concoction of porridge with all sorts of exciting toppings. Raspberries, blueberries, natural yogurt, cinnamon and honey. Spooning it out into the boy’s little bowls, they gobble it up before I can say ‘more?’. Then I turn to the cupboard and stare blankly and uninspired, before leaving for work without breakfast, again.
I know we often start out in January with the best of intentions to diet and lose weight and get fit. Being honest though, those aren’t motivating goals for me anymore. Fair play to this ole’ body of mine, it has given me two amazing tiny humans, I should probably love and respect it a bit more. So no diets or deprivation for 2018, just feeding myself what I would happily feed the children. That means actually eating meals, allowing myself time to sit and refuel. Essentially, eating more actual food and less rubbish that I’m using to fill a constant gap. Feeding the kids kale muffins whilst secretly scoffing chocolate behind the cupboard door is probably something I wont get away with long term, so it’s about time I got my act together and adopt some self love. Fear not, self love is often served with a glass of red wine from a suitably fabulous glass.