I am so glad that 2017 is over. Who’s with me?
2017 was a year of major transitions in our lives, and I was not ready for any of it. I’m sure I didn’t come across as handling being pregnant with 2 toddlers very well, and if I did, then I’m sorry—because it was a lie.
Being pregnant is hard enough, let alone having your youngest (and a boy at that) in the most dangerous/active stage of his young life (1year to 2 years) while also having a raging, hormonal threenager who is learning to potty-train. I’m fairly certain I spent most of last year screaming at my kids, doing an unnecessary amount of children’s laundry, and going to the doctors for my pregnancy. It’s no surprise I ended up with a paralyzed vocal cord, and a newborn that is completely un-phased when I raise my voice. But that was last year 🙂
Sure, I’m still yelling at the kids to pick up their toys before I throw them all away, and to stop touching their baby brothers eye-balls/nose/mouth (good grief, the germs!) and to stop picking him up off the floor to put him in their laps….and then practically toss him aside so they can get up and move on to the next “toy”. Because, you know, babies are toys (!?!?!) The quickness of my feet/hands to cradle that poor baby’s head before it hit the floor. Toddlers, guys…TODDLERS! I digress.
The point is, there are certain things about motherhood—or myself really—that are not going to change. I’m ok with that. But after a very hard year of complete self-sacrifice, I have finally found the encouragement to take back my life and find myself again. I realize this sounds like a “normal” thing to do post pregnancy, but having been pregnant for the past FOUR YEARS of my life (the last year transitioning into my thirties, no less) this feels like a much bigger come back, if you will.
I have learned that self-care is important. I have also learned that said self-care goes beyond showering on a regular basis, which I’m happy to report I have mastered. It includes doing things that make you happy, or even feel pretty. It’s going out without your kids after they’ve gone to bed, or even on the weekend when your spouse can spare you a few hours, and getting coffee and reading a book. Its getting your nails done for no other reason than you want to, knowing they are likely going to only be wiping butts, washing bottles and other dishes, or driving to the grocery store. It’s going to the movies by yourself because you should do it at least ONCE in your life, and also because it’s the greatest thing ever.
In 2017, I got my nails done, 1x: for a wedding I was in. I got a pedicure 3x: two attempts to put myself into labor and once for the wedding. I got my eyebrows waxed 2x: once just after finding out I was pregnant (and I had booked the appointment before I knew, otherwise I would have said screw it) and the other before the wedding. Also, for effect: the first wax was in January 2017, the second wax was December 2017. OUCH!
Self-care aside, last year brought a lot of resentment that I didn’t know I was harboring. Not towards anyone in particular, but more-so resenting the fact that I couldn’t get out of the stage of life I was in. I tried desperately to live a life that wasn’t encompassing of a mom with very young toddlers. I wanted to go and do like all of the other moms I had come to know, not taking into consideration their children were older than mine, even if just slightly, and that many of then weren’t also pregnant with such young children. It was hard. We stayed home a lot, which is probably why I yelled…the kids were going stir crazy…and we really just survived for most of 2017.
When our now (almost) 6 month old (queue all the tears!) was born, we had a horrible first month and half transitioning at home with silent reflux. The lack of sleep and constant crying had me living with an extremely short fuse, and pretty uninterested in anything “extra” for months. It was only around Thanksgiving when we finally nailed his medication and dosing, and began to see a true improvement in his feedings/sleeping. It was around this time that I began following Emily Ley and reading her books: Grace Not Perfection, and A Simplified Life. When I began reading these books, I recall feeling myself exhale a giant sigh; almost as if I’d been holding my breath for the last 11 months. Reading these books gave me hope, and new insight. It was like reading a how-to guide on becoming the exact person I had always felt I would be as a mother, but struggled dearly to actually evolve into. Everything she wrote I would silently scream, “YES! That’s it exactly!” Her words described the life I wanted, but also how to achieve it.
Our familial commitments were lengthy in December of last year, and the first part of January 2018 really, but this life of fulfillment and contentment has pulled at my heart for so long that I knew I had to put the wheels in motion soon. The first thing I did was identify what was important to me this year, without overextending ourselves, still being comfortable with saying “no” and leaving blank spaces in our calendar. The next, and biggest, thing I did was connect with my husband and share my thoughts. I am lucky that he is generally very easy going, and is always supportive of the goals I have for us as a family. When he doesn’t agree we talk it out, but in this instance he was very much on board.
I had made goals for myself, sure, but I also included him in this new outlook. He is important, too, and “us” as a couple—and not just mom and dad—are equally important as well. I voiced: my desire to go on a date together every other month, to find time for our health and getting gym time for each of us (and the whole family after this nasty cold/flu season), to have our own alone time doing what we like with friends or truly alone, to have more 1:1 time with each of our kids, to begin a weekly family night—which now also gives me one night off from cooking each week—and to take one family vacation per year. Also on the list, but are not immediately tied to self-care, is getting the kids started in swim lessons ASAP, and putting our (will be) 4 year old in preschool in the fall.
I have to admit it sounds like a lot, but these things are filling our cups, not depleting them. There’s bound to be plenty throughout the year that comes up that will take away from our cups, but this is how we are choosing to fill them back up: by remembering to take care of us as individuals, as a couple, and as a family. It’s something we never really talked about before, we just kind of “did”. There was no intention behind the things we have chosen to do in the past, and I feel quite the opposite with this list and view for our future.
All that to be said, blogging is one of those things that I find joy in on an individual level, and is a place where I will focus some of my energy and creativity. While last year I focused on using the blog as a journaling source to capture very raw moments in motherhood, I also plan on finding purpose and intent with this blog beyond my personal necessity. I want to share useful, tangible items that are helpful in your daily lives, like: meal planning how-to’s and templates, featured products that make life with littles easier, and tried and true routines/schedules that work for us (as there aren’t many out there for use with multiple small children close in age). I’d also love to hear from you on what you want to hear more about, too!
I look forward to seeing what this year brings, and to sharing this NEW space with you!
Happy New Year,