Learning to enjoy the season you are in can be the best resolution of all.
I love to set challenging goals for myself at the onset of each new year. 2020 taught me … maybe don’t do that. I have been so humbled and reminded that life can throw us any number of curveballs, but life can still be good, even if it isn’t what we expected.
So, I’m simplifying my New Year’s resolutions for 2021 to just one: enjoy this season with my kids. Every other goal or opportunity will be assessed by its ability to help or hinder that primary goal.
For reference, my kids are 3.5 and 1.5 years old, with another due to arrive in March. Every day is not always sunshine and rainbows with these little emerging personalities, so ensuring that I get as much joy out of this season of life as possible will take some intentional effort.
Here’s my plan for my new version of success in 2021:
- Plan ahead. It’s so much easier to enjoy my children (and my life) when I already know what’s for dinner and have prepped some ingredients, or when their backpacks are already packed in the morning, or when I’ve already organized the necessary elements for an easy STEM activity. At the end of the day, it is so tempting to launch myself onto the couch with Bravo and a heavy pour of wine, but taking even 15-30 minutes to prepare for the day ahead makes a huge difference in mama’s attitude.
- Go to sleep!!! No amount of coffee can really undo the damage of a night spent watching just one more episode or reading one more chapter. When I’m well-rested, I am in a much better mood to face whatever toddler calamities the day may bring.
- Jealously guard my time. I say yes to pretty much everything. Some obligations outside of home and family are necessary, and some are fun, but a lot fit neither of those descriptions. When I’m stretched thin, I don’t have the patience for my kids, and I struggle to focus when I’m playing with them.
- Sometimes, say no to my kids. If I’ve successfully planned ahead, gotten rest, cleared my calendar, and spent focused time with my children, I’m eventually going to need a break. Walking away to take time for myself not only refreshes me for another day serving up unconditional motherly love but also reinforces a really important concept for my kids: mommy is a person, too. In the past, I’ve felt guilty taking time for myself because, honestly, I’ve doubted that I’m fully present with my kids and giving them my best. They deserve my best, we all deserve to enjoy our time together and build meaningful memories, and I deserve the opportunity to rest and reset regularly.
- Count a day as sufficiently good and productive if we, as a family, enjoyed it.
I expect to continually practice each of these skills in 2021 rather than master them from the jump. It will definitely be a journey for me, and I look forward to reflecting on 2021 and, hopefully, all the fun we had.