Yes, it’s February, but how many of you are thinking about the new years’ resolutions you made last month? It seems like eons ago, right? I dusted off my thoughts and wanted to share them with you all – and have it serve as a little reminder to myself. Feel free to leave me a comment after you’re finished reading. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Every year, I fumble through the first few weeks of the year trying to think of what could make me a better person, a better wife, a better mother. This year is no exception, and now with two kids (Ella, 5-going-on-15, and Gunner, all-boy at 18 months) up and running through the house, life can-start to feel frenzied – and loud. First and foremost in the New Year, I want to be present with my kids. I want to learn to be loud with them. We bring these tiny lives into the world and so often get caught up in every day distractions that we forget to pause and really be with them. From one working mom to another, these are my four new years’ resolutions.
ONE: PUT DOWN THE PHONE + BE SILLY
Technology is a blessing – from GPS, to product reviews, to email at our fingertips, and a camera at the ready. It offers a lot for daily life. But those offerings can also hinder the time spent with our kids. For me, 2016 is about putting down my phone, letting my emails wait for an hour, sitting on the floor, getting silly, being a human jungle gym and laughing alongside those squeaky, contagious laughs that only little ones have. I want to see the world at their level, through their eyes, as often as possible. It means making more memories.
TWO: YELL LESS, TEACH MORE
I am by no means a perfect mother, and one of my downfalls is how quickly I let frustration turn into a raised voice. I want to focus more on finding the teachable moments, lowering my voice, and helping them through the tough situations. I need to take my own advice as often said to my daughter, “everyone makes mistakes, but it doesn’t define who we are; how we learn from them and act or react the next time, is what defines us.” Actions speak louder than words, and showing Ella that I can react calmly more often than not, is something that we both can learn from.
THREE: STOP WAITING FOR PERFECTION
Life with kids is hectic, loud, and sometimes overwhelming. Most days, after an hour-long commute, working 8 hours, trekking home to get the kids from daycare and Pre-K, and slapping some version of dinner on the table, I feel ready to collapse. I look around at a dirty house, with messes and piles of toys and laundry yet-to-be-done, and wonder how on earth other people do it all. I wonder how their homes look like a magazine, with their perfectly folded linens, spotless kitchens, and couches with precisely placed decorative pillows. This year, I choose to stop wondering. To stop thinking about homes that probably don’t exist – not if they have kids, at least. I stop worrying about how much dog hair is on the furniture, and how many times I’ve washed the same load of laundry because I keep forgetting to put it in the dryer. I stop making my kids wait for my attention while I restore order to the countertops or pack lunches for the next day. I stop waiting for perfection, and just relax for a change. Maybe messy is my perfection.
FOUR: DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF
If there is one thing I have be terrible at since becoming a mom, it’s been taking time away from my kids and husband just for me. I feel guilty and miss them the minute I leave, and find myself spending the time for them. I head to a store to finally get a new pair of jeans, and leave with two bags of clothes and knick knacks for my kids. I go to get my nails done, and skip the manicure to save the $30 for that Lego set Ella’s had her eye on, or the truck that Gunner would surely love. 2016 is about finding balance – about doing the things for my children and spouse that make me feel good, and about finding time to leave the house and be present with myself, also. Solo time is just as healthy as time spent with them, and ultimately, I need more of it. Being a better version of myself this year means treating myself as well as I treat my family – because I deserve it too.
Ultimately, 2016 is about focusing on the right things, and about creating more balance in my life where there may not be enough today. Taking care of myself will make me a better partner to my husband, a better parent to my son and daughter, and a better employee when I feel more well-rounded on the home front. Being engaged with what I’m doing when I’m doing it, and learning to ignore the distractions and frustrations of life will go a long way.
Cheers to 2016, and to working moms who never stop working on themselves.
Written by Jen, a 4moms human resources team member and FOLD contributor. Read more about Jen here.