January is more than half over! As I mentioned, we’ve been easing into 2017 as best we can, though it’s already been a whirlwind and a healthy combination of good, bad, and ugly. In my (few) quiet moments, I’ve tried to breathe and think about goals for myself. But before I dive into the upcoming year, I took some time to review my goals for 2016. I have to both laugh at and pat myself on the back for my ambition and optimism when creating last year’s list. I guess New Year’s Resolutions can often be that way, but I was less than two months from becoming a mama for the first time and pretty clueless about the speeding train that was about to hit us!
Whoa, people. Whoa. Even so, I’m pretty proud of what I was able to accomplish from the list. Last year, I wanted to:
Continue to nurture my female friendships, near and far. I did my best to stay connected with friends right before and then after Oden was born, but in many ways, it just wasn’t possible. I didn’t make tamales with Nancy. I didn’t hike to the Hollywood sign with Amanda. I didn’t take a girls’ vacation. I did paint with Alison and did spend time with other new mommies, and it made me feel less crazy and inept to hear their parenthood stories!
Expand my culinary prowess. Oh, how I miss my kitchen. My routine of cooking has been greatly altered by Mr. Oden because I simply haven’t been able to juggle the time. I didn’t learn to can/jar food or make homemade pasta with John. I didn’t try as many new recipes as I would have liked, but have slowly been revisiting many of the (seriously awesome) recipes on this site and in my binders. It feels so good to be back in the kitchen! We did host a couple of dinner parties, and it was a happy surprise to learn how well Oden could sleep upstairs with people getting rowdy at the dining room table. And one thing I’m quite proud of is how much of Oden’s food I’ve made myself! The freezer always has homemade pureed fruits, veggies, and combos which he enjoys with every meal.
Reignite my passion for the written word. Fail. Writing, and this website, have suffered with my lack of free time. Any book I’ve read (until the last month or two) has been baby-related. Even when I have a moment, I’m catching up with laundry or washing bottles or sneaking a shower during naptime or simply resting my body. I do have plenty of material ready to put down on paper when I’m able to balance my schedule a bit more. Thank you, parenthood!
Embrace life with a newborn. I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to accomplish this one pretty well. It’s not EASY, but we’ve included Oden in our lives and hobbies as much as possible. He’s been camping a couple of times. He’s been to multiple live music shows. He’s been on hikes, and most recently, snowy walks in his new sled. He’s been to seven (!!) states and taken multiple plane rides to meet or vacation with family. As a result, he seems to be comfortable in new environments and with people, and loves activity and action!
Challenge myself to try something new. How optimistic of me! I may not have learned how to throw a pot on a pottery wheel or tried a new craft, but I did go to a couple of spin classes (a first!). And let’s be honest… the number of things I’ve had to learn in relation to a newborn baby and how to be a parent is staggering. From how to use a baby carrier to deciphering poop to sleep training, every day holds a new lesson. I learned to be a MOM. I have to give myself credit there!
Pay it forward. I will confess that my goal to get out of our bubble backfired. I am quite sure we stayed securely in our new little baby bubble for the better part of the year, just now starting to emerge. I wasn’t able to volunteer anywhere. That said, I’ve got a pile of jackets ready to donate and regularly purge my closet, and make a point to be thoughtful of others daily.
Remember myself. Guys, out of all of the things I didn’t accomplish this year, this one is a bummer. I totally understand now why so many mothers don’t get any time for themselves. They’re too busy taking care of everything and everyone else. I’m guilty! I do try to get a massage once each month and count any hikes I can take as self-care, but really need to work on the balance in this area. It will make me a better mommy! And wife. And HUMAN.
Whew! When it comes to 2017, I’m following suit with a concept I’ve been forced to accept in the last couple of months: cutting myself some slack. I’d already decided, based on the lack of each toward the end of 2016, that my main areas of focus would be my health, my family, and making more joy. But what does that translate to in my day-to-day life? Well, here are a few specific habits I’d like to incorporate into the upcoming year that will address my three goals:
Try to read one book per month. I have stacks of unread books, beckoning me to climb into bed at 8pm with a cup of tea or glass of wine. This goal involves less mindless television and opting to open a book instead of turn on my phone!
Do yoga and go to Pilates classes. A new Pilates studio just opened up near my home! After my back injury, which left me unable to lift/properly care for my son, I committed to strengthening my core (which is extra weak because of my C-section!). This goal will offer “Me Time” and be good for body AND mind.
Go on two date nights per month. We’ve been pretty good about getting out to dinner once a week or so, and it’s so beneficial to our relationship to take time away from the house and Oden to just talk and be a couple. If we can remember we are on the same team, everything else will be easier.
Try a new family activity. John loves to ski and mountain bike. I love to hike. We do these things separately, and it’s getting harder to find that free time. This year, we’re going to try cross-country skiing together. We can bring Cholula and even pull Oden behind us on his sled! We’ll have to brainstorm a summer family activity, too.
Sunday night dinner and check-in. I decided we needed one night per week where we make no other plans but to have a proper dinner together and check in with each other. This is a time for us to talk about the week ahead, share calendars, and clarify expectations regarding work, play, Oden, etc. It’s also a time to just talk and reconnect before the start of another busy week. It’s amazing how parenthood has made it easy not to do this.
Meal planning. With my need to get back into the kitchen more often, I think a little more organization on my part is necessary and will be helpful. I’m hoping to have three meals planned for each week and be able to pick up all of the ingredients I need in one shopping trip. We’ll eat well, and I’ll save time that I usually would spend on multiple market trips. I also want to utilize my huge stack of cookbooks more! When I’m planning the meals for the week, I want to make it a habit to start there when I hunt for recipes to try.
Make time for and schedule play dates and family play dates. We’ve got a handful of friends with babies born within the last two years and want to make it a priority to get together more often. We spent a wonderful New Year’s Eve day with our friends with twins (I’ll share more soon!). The babies crawled around together for a bit and Oden was fascinated! Then we took them all for a snowy walk in the sled. It was so nice to laugh with other parents and enjoy a fun activity with our kids together. More of that!
Travel. Our families are spread out, from coast to coast and in between. It’s important to me for Oden to spend time with them all as much as possible, which means taking trips. We’ve already made some fun memories doing so!
Continue to share the things we love with Oden. Camping, seeing music, spending time outside, being active, spending time with friends and family. We’ve been pretty good about including the little man in our everyday lives and exposing him to the things we love to do. As he grows, it will only become more fun for all of us!
As I read over this list of ideas, each one addresses at least two of the three things I want to focus on this year. For a planner like me, life with a baby is a continual lesson in being flexible, and it’s admittedly quite difficult sometimes. It doesn’t make sense for me to make a checklist of things I must accomplish; I’ll feel like a failure if I can’t check things off. So my intention is to keep these things in the back of my mind and do my best to create some new and healthy habits that will benefit us all. Even if I only get halfway there, I’ll feel good about what I’m doing, which will bring me joy. I’d really love to make a “happy new year” my reality!
What’s on your list of goals for 2017?
One year ago: Whiskey Toffee Blondies.