A Good Year
Happy almost new year! I hope 2017 was a good one for you. It was a good one for us. I am sitting here at the computer, cozy in my house, sipping a chai latte made by my husband who is HOME for the forseeable future, looking out the window at snow gently falling. My angel parents have the girls for an overnight (and I'm hoping everyone slept last night because before bedtime Eloise told my mom that she's nocturnal), Nick is on a run, and the house is QUIET! Music to my ears. Yesterday after we dropped the girls off we got massages and went out to dinner--the luxury! I can feel my batteries recharging. (While we were at dinner we saw friends who asked us if there will be a babymoon before the baby comes and Nick told them "You're looking at it! You're on it right now!" ;))
If I sit down and think about it, 2017 brought with it a bunch of lessons, and I'm going to try and form cohesive thoughts and put some of them down here, in case you can benefit from any of them, too.
Boundaries. I need to have them. I need to communicate them, kindly and firmly, and I need to stick to them without apologizing. If I do these things, I've found that they will be respected. I've also found that having boundaries decreases my anxiety because I've put everything out there and don't need to secretly stew and stress over things I haven't communicated.
Don't doubt my intuition and don't feel bad for acting on it. I used to think I could read minds and felt cursed that I was so finely attuned to the intricacies of interactions, but I'm trying to see it as a gift instead and use it accordingly.
As my kids get just a tiny bit older, they will be in situations outside the home. This is still weird to me. I'm used to being their primary adult, day in and day out. There will be teachers, coaches, friends' parents, etc. etc. and while most of these adults will hopefully have my kids' best interests in mind, some won't, and I need to get comfortable advocating for my kids in these situations. This is still an area of growth, so if someone can come help me with this that would be great :) #dontlikeconfrontation
Let my kids be who they are, not who I think they should be or want them to be. And don't despair through tough phases--even if those phases are YEARS LONG--because they will change. And something that goes hand in hand with this--I'm beginning to see that different kids will shine at different ages. Eloise was never meant to be anything but a 4-year-old or older. She is hilarious, smart as a whip, compassionate, a help, and a DELIGHT. Mothers of "spirited" children, hang in there!
Wives want to feel loved and husbands want to feel respected. I haven't read their book yet but I got their daily emails and have gone through a small part of their devotional and have learned so much! I feel like this should be required reading for couples.
HELP. I need it, and I need to say that I need it. I have this belief that everything has to be done by me, and it has to be done my way. If I continue to operate like that, I will both alienate and run myself into the ground. And when I am looking for help, don't phrase those requests in the form of complaints ("There is stuff everywhere!") but rather actionable requests ("Can you please help me pick up the house?").
Kids can be helpful too. Train them young! Our culture is the only one that engages in child worship. Even toddlers can have jobs they can competently complete, and it makes them feel good about themselves! They like being helpers. Eloise frequently asks me for "jobs around the house" and I need to get better about thinking of some for her before she ages out of this! Currently, both girls are expected to help set the table, clear their plates to the kitchen counter after meals, and pick up their toys (to a certain extent). Eloise also gets herself dressed before coming downstairs each morning, hangs her coat up after coming inside/puts her shoes on the shoe rack, and if she's around while I'm folding laundry she'll help me with that too, especially if she spots newborn clothes. She's very recently even started to get Amelia dressed for me! The other morning Amelia (who's still in a crib, although not for much longer) called out her signature "Mimi wake up!" and I heard her door open and some chatter, and had assumed Nick had gone in to get her. Then I heard an "I did it!" and checked the monitor and see her standing on a rocking chair which had been pulled up alongside her crib. Turns out Eloise had gone in, assisted in the crib escape, and changed her sister out of pjs and into pants and socks! She also gets her in pjs for naptime most days now.
On contentment, Mary Oliver says it best: “Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.”
I don't like when my husband travels. Actually I hate it. It stresses me out, especially when I'm pregnant. I haven't yet learned a healthy coping mechanism for dealing with this, and instead have found myself making an inordinate number of online purchases from various stores to combat my anxiety, so I'll gladly take any alternate suggestions.
It is possible to be one of those moms who loves summer and school vacations. I used to be mystified by and a little jealous of those moms, and I just couldn't identify with the sentiment of wanting my whole family around ALL THE TIME because everyone was already around ALL THE TIME and any time at school/camps was highly welcomed. Now, with the girls in preschool 3 and 5 mornings a week, I am turning into that mom. I just want to keep them little forever and I find myself looking forward to school breaks so we can slow down and all be together.
Self-help/parenting/most nonfiction books of any kind make me unhappy. In hard times I tend to seek out answers in a book, but I rarely ever find them there. Patience, perseverance, reliance on intuition and help from personal relationships--those things are actually helpful to me.
A minivan is a mom's best friend. I got one earlier this fall and I will never look back! Oh, the ease of it all!
Phew! That's about all I can muster for now. Did you learn any lessons this year?
I hope you have a happy and healthy new year ahead!