New Year, New Mom goals
Someone once said don’t wait for a new year to start resolutions, start making goals today. I mean, isn’t the stat like 90% of New Year’s resolutions don’t make it to February? I don’t know. All I know is that there were like 10 ladies in the fitness center during my workout time that I’ve never seen before… I’ll come back in February. Totally kidding, I hope they reach their goals.
While I believe in that statement wholeheartedly, it’s hard when a new year comes around to not reflect on the past and plan for the future and, ultimately, start New years resolutions.
One of my “goals” this year is to exhaust more effort into my kiddos. Now I’m not saying I don’t give them all the love and care they need each day, I do. But I often catch myself doing the bare minimum of keeping them alive. And I’m in no way saying that’s a bad thing. We all have days, weeks, months, maybe even years where it seems the best we can give is simply keeping them alive. Life is hard, having kids is hard. Keeping them alive is good. I totally get it. I get a lot of anxiety when it’s just me and the kids and I often get depressed so for a while the bare minimum was what I could do. However, I feel like I’m in a place right now where I can give more, and I want to.
I’ve been asking myself, How much time and energy am I devoting to my kids vs maybe other not so necessary things? Often I feel obligated to read that book, play that game, or go to that place. I want to replace obligation with opportunity.
Here are some Opportunities I thought of:
1. What activity can we do together that we both enjoy?
2. How can I turn this activity into a life lesson or teaching moment?
3. I have 15 minutes at least one evening a week to plan a craft, or a preschool lesson instead of thinking I’m busy or tired.
4. What can I research to learn how to teach my kids patience, responsibility, and love? I’m certainly no expert.
5. Can I take time to cuddle for 10 minutes instead of thinking of my to-do list?
6. Instead of me doing all the shopping, planning, and preparing for dinner, I could get my kids involved. It’ll definitely take longer, but worth it.
7. I want to sit and talk to them at least once a day.
8. Listen more and yell less.
9. Have more patience especially on my impatient days.
10. Have less impatient days.
I’m not saying I want to lose myself or overwork myself, but I want to discover myself through my kids.
Those that know me well know that I struggle with being a stay-at-home mom and the baby stage. I want to look at my kids more like opportunities to learn, grow and love. This year I’ll be working, so it’s an even better reason to start anew.
Here are some New Year’s Gifs for your viewing pleasure:
These are my own highs and lows of being a mother. It’s so good, but comes with some challenges.
Lonely. I have had some of the loneliest days being a mom. I never knew just how much I relied on adult interaction. It can be so hard to not talk to anyone all day but a baby, or a 4 year old. You really have to put yourself out there and get out everyday to talk and be part of the community. It can be really hard at times. I’ve gotten depressed over being lonely.
Getting ABSOLUTELY NOTHING done. Some days are just spent keeping the kids alive. They always need something from you. ALWAYS. even if you’ve gone out of your way to make them comfortable before you sit down and start working in that scrapbook that you’ve been trying to finish for 4 years. You might get lots of things started, but nothing seems to get finished. And if you do start something your children need to be in your lap at that moment. It’s also hard feeling productive. Some days are completely dedicated to your kids and even though you’ve cleaned noses, wiped butts, picked up toys, made dinner, started laundry, started a project, changed clothes, gave baths, read a story, played hide-n-seek, gave hugs, cured boo-boos, and wiped tears, it seems unfulfilling and repetitive.
Speaking of in your lap, Space. Oh my gosh. I’m excited for my kids to go to bed just so they’ll stop touching me. No matter where I am, they find me, and sit on me. If I’m on the couch they are right there! Every time. I mean, I love my cuddles, but I hate being climbed on all day. I am not a jungle gym. Every room in the house seems to belong to them, even if you didn’t intend it that way. Somehow your very nice ________ (everything) becomes theirs. They always find me when I have to go to the bathroom. You just want some space.
Messy. Everything is messy, all the time. They are so destructive. Destroy is their motto. I mean why do you need to beat the DVD case against the TV? Or tear all the ornaments off my tree? OR empty the box of Cheerios all over the floor. Nothing is safe. And you always think “they can’t hurt that”…..oh, but they can! I clean the house 5 times a day, and if I don’t it looks like I haven’t cleaned it in a week. Asking them to pick anything up is just as exhausting as doing it yourself, but you want to teach them good habits so you involve them anyway.
They’re MINE: They love me more than anything (right now). They come to ME when they’re feeling down, hurt, afraid, and tired. That makes me feel so special. I am their number one. I created them and brought them into the world. That’s magical stuff right there!
Discovering yourself. My kids have taught me so much in the 4 years that I’ve been a mom. I’ve learned service, and what it truly means to put someone else’s needs before your own. I make sure everyone is fed before I start eating my dinner sometimes, and boy can I get Hangry!
I’ve learned patience. So much patience. I’m still not completely patient. There is soooo much more patience to be had. But I’m learning it….that’s for sure!
I’ve learned Humility. There’s nothing more humbling then a 4 year old putting you in your place. How are kids so smart? She humbles me everyday.
I’ve learned how to be the person my kids need to be even if it puts me outside my comfort zone. I also want to be the person that my kids look up to and see as their hero or example. I’ve tried to emulate that person through prayer, scripture study, and being a force for good and optimistic.
Love. You learn so much about love and how much your heart can love. With each addition to my family I have that much more to lose in life. I love them more than anything. I would do anything for them. My heart aches when they are hurting or frustrated or can’t understand something. You just want to do everything for them, but teach them how to do it on their own at the same time.
Cute. They’re cute. So much cuteness. I love hearing my daughter talk to me about her day in complete sentences. Or how she asks me questions about life. I love to watch my 1 year old push toys around the house and learning what to do when he hits a wall, or how he watches Rae with the expression “what the heck are you doing”?
I guess I’ll keep them. 🙂
The Best Parenting Advice. . .
While I was pregnant with my first, I was told by many, many people that, “Children are the greatest joy.” I was also told repeatedly that, “Life would never be the same.” Or even, “Say goodbye to your freedom.” Let’s just say that the moment that strip turns positive, suddenly all sorts of mixed advice comes from everywhere and everyone.
All of this random and conflicting advice was so hard to understand at the time. How could my kids be the best thing ever, but also destroy parts of my very being and life? It didn’t make sense then, but it definitely does now.
You know Forest Gump? Well, I’ve never seen it. But, I do know that Mr. Gump believes, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” Just like the contradicting advice that I got while I was pregnant, every morning I wake up as a Mom, I’m not sure what my day is going to be like. Some days, it seems like I am raising cherubs sent straight from Heaven; other days, I wonder what evil creature took possession over my child’s body the night before. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” has never made more sense until becoming parent.
Cleaning up spilled orange juice for the third time in a row, listening to my children scream at each other over toys, waking up to change sheets in the middle of the night for various bodily excrements, feeling so isolated from regular human society while I pick up toys and wipe snot all day long — the worst of times.
Listening to my children say, “I love you, too, Mommy,” watching my babies fall asleep while I rock them and sing songs in my arms, licking the brownie batter off of the spoon together, squeezing their chunky, dimpled bums, hearing their excited laughter when we talk about visiting grandma’s house, trick-or-treating in their sibling-coordinated costumes — the best of times.
I think I stopped hating myself so much when I realized that it was okay to sincerely loathe this parenting thing one minute and then fall back in love with it the very next minute. It’s absolutely impossible to explain this emotional whiplash to an expectant mother, but for all those who tried, thank you. Now that I’m a few years in, I know that all of the ups and downs are normal and to-be-expected. I believe that is what everyone was trying to teach me when they gave their advice to me as a wide-eyed newbie. It’s okay to love it. It’s okay to hate it. It’s okay to miss parts of who you were before kids. It’s okay to long for graduation day. It’s also okay to cry at night because of how fast your children are growing up.
My advice? You’re doing okay Your kids are okay. It’s all okay.
Early March in Provo:
Have you ever hit it off with someone that you just met for the first time? You made it past the small talk and found something you could relate to. Maybe you even got to that level where you could share your struggles without feeling judged. Best of all, you could be yourself.
Welcome to Real Mamas! We’re a group of 9 moms who have shared hours of real talk about life and parenting, which was new to us all when we met. We laughed and we cried. We talked through the rough and tough, and encouraged hopes and joys. We were the exact kind of support that each of us needed.
Once upon a time, we all lived in Provo, Utah. Most of us started our little families there, and we depended on each other for love, comfort, fun, and most importantly, SANITY. We’ve gone our separate ways since then. Some mamas are still in Provo, but mostly we have scattered to other parts of Utah and beyond. We’re just a bunch of cool moms doing our thing and trying to be the best mamas to our (sometimes) wonderful children while keeping the kids alive, being a wife, and finding time to live our dreams.
We hope the different perspectives of our mamas can offer you solace during your own mommy journey. You’re not alone in whatever you might be struggling with–whether with parenting or just life–and our goal is to bring you some uplifting voices and a boost to your sanity.
If you check out our About Us page, you can read about all our lovely mamas. We invite you to read along and share with us this crazy thing called motherhood!