This past year has been a busy one. This is nothing new in our house, but as the kids get older, the sense of never ending hustle and bustle grows with them. This house is now home to five full-fledged individuals, each with their own agendas and wills and desires, and each (or at least the three smallest) full of energy and perpetually on the move. This space abounds with creativity, fun, and laughter, but there are also tumbles, and squabbles, and oh so many toys (too many toys--the subject of another post to come). As fulfilling as motherhood can be, the press of so many needs to be filled--both at home and at work--is often overwhelming. I remember what a particularly wise friend once told me as I was contemplating if/how to return to work while on my first maternity leave. It feels like he needs you so much now, she said, but it's when your kids get older that they really need you there. It was hard for me to imagine as I sat there holding my first precious baby in my arms, but as my children grow I see how right she was. With the onset of walking and language and preschool and the social landscape of friendships and siblings...they are working so hard every day to understand so much. Their needs are so much more complex, and we've entered the stage of big ideas and important values. So much to be careful with as we guide these burgeoning human beings into a world that can be very hard to understand.
All this to say that parenting feels like a whole different job than it did last year at this time, and I find myself thinking more than ever about how to create spaces where my own needs can be met. While it's so easy for parents to be racked with guilt about taking time for themselves, I know from experience that I am the best version of myself--mother, wife, writer, friend--when I'm practicing self-care, even in the smallest of ways. And, though resolutions have never really been my thing (I am classic type A and always make way too many to even keep track of), the new year does provide a good opportunity to contemplate, take stock, and be mindful about how to move forward. I'm still working out all my thoughts for this year, but I wanted to share this rather lovely list from Mother magazine, a gorgeous on-line publication that you should acquaint yourself with if you haven't already. Rather than the classic list of dos and don'ts, wills and won'ts, it's a great way to pause and think a little about where you have been and where you'd like to go. It pairs perfectly with a warm beverage, a cozy blanket, and your favorite new notebook (I love this simple one, this one if you are ready to get organized for the year, and of course this classic).
Here's to a marvelous 2016, triumphs, struggles, laughter, tears, and the whole wonderful lot if it!
Reflections for the New Year:
What 2015 accomplishments am I most proud of?
What are some takeaways from those triumphs?
In which areas did I struggle most in 2015?
Which of these difficult situations did I overcome? (Or work to overcome?)
Which friends supported me most this year?
Which friendships changed and shifted?
What are some new skills that I learned?
What are some things I’ve learned to accept about myself this year?
Name 3-5 positive memory-making experiences from 2015.
Name a couple of negative memory-making experiences.
In which areas did I see the most personal growth and change?
What did I learn about myself in 2015?
What am I most grateful for in 2015?
What did I gain in 2015? What did I lose?
What things do I want to leave behind in 2015?
Which things do I want to take with me into 2016?