Happy Friday, friends! Today isn’t just any Friday, it’s my 31st birthday! We’re still in waiting-for-Baby-J holding pattern around here. And as much as waiting isn’t fun, I’d prefer the little one stay inside just another day or two. Not only would I prefer not to spend my birthday in hospital, but more importantly, I would prefer my little girl to not have to share a birthday with her fuddy-duddy of a mother the rest of her life. It’d be nice for her to have her own day. But, we’ll see! I guess she’s the only one who can decide when she wants her birthday to be.
We don’t really plan on doing much today to celebrate, but even my super-pregnant self can’t resist the draw of making some goals for the upcoming year on my birthday. Don’t worry, you won’t find any “do a triathlon” or “lose 50 pounds” types of goals on this list—I’m feeling a bit more introspective this year.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to guide my next year on this planet and my first year as a parent, and I figured today is a great time to put those thoughts into black and white. And while I am writing these down, I’m also accepting that I have no friggin’ clue what the next 365 days has in store for me—so I might revisit this post on my 32nd birthday and laugh with the hearty laugh of an experienced mom. Who knows. But we’ll try it anyway!
1. Cut myself some slack. I have to be honest, I put up a pretty high bar for myself, and whenever I don’t achieve it, I tend to have a hard time letting that perceived failure go. It’s something I think a lot of us struggle with. And it’s something that just wont fly with being a parent. Every single day I’m going to do something wrong as a parent. And I have to accept that mistakes happen, not everything is easy, and failure is an option. And that is all okay.
2. Embrace the moment (all the moments). Life is full of its ups and downs. And the older I get, the more I realize that the downs are just as important as the ups. In fact, if the downs didn’t exist, neither would the ups. There are going to be (many) struggles over the next year, and I really want to learn to bring myself outside of the emotion and frustration of that particular moment and accept that this is a normal and even healthy part of life.
3. Live for the sake of living, not documenting. I’m a blogger. I’m a digital native. I’m a social media-aholic. Which means that I really struggle with fighting the “pic or it didn’t happen” mentality. Getting validation through Instagram likes or Twitter replies is not going to make my life any happier or healthier. Sure, I get joy out of sharing my life with people, but I think, like everything else, it’s about balance. I don’t want to be so focused on sharing my life that I forget to live it.
4. Get back to me. It was no secret that I haven’t loved pregnancy. I would take it a step further and say that I haven’t felt like myself since the first time I tossed my cookies way back last fall. There is something about pregnancy—beyond the morning sickness and the aches and pains—that left me feeling so removed from my regular self that I felt lost and down the majority of my pregnancy (it got much better in the last trimester). I understand that this year (well, really, the next 18 years) is going to be a major transition period for me, but I also feel like I have a chance to really reinvent myself and get back to what makes me, me. I can already feel it.
5. Eat good food. These next two are related to #4. I tried to eat as well as I could during pregnancy, but it was really a struggle. I want to take this year and focus on getting back to the basics when it comes to my eating. I want to relearn to live on and love healthy, fresh foods again. It’s the best thing I can do for me and for my entire family.
6. Move again. I know there are a lot of strong, incredible women out there who power through rough pregnancies and keep on exercising and working out, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I am so excited to slowly get back to a normal activity level (after I’ve been given the go-ahead by my midwives). I don’t plan on running any races anytime soon (or, uh, ever), but I do think that as I heal and strengthen, it’ll be so exciting to be able to get back to a baseline level of fitness. I’m not sure I realized how much of my identity was wrapped up in being fit and active, and I’m excited to figure out what fit and active looks like in my new world as a mom.
7. Don’t work so much. I wouldn’t consider myself a workaholic—honestly, I would much rather just lay on the couch and watch crappy TV all day—but I do struggle a lot with figuring out the balance between working enough to keep food on the table and working so much that I end up rocking back and forth in the corner because I’m so overwhelmed. I’ve been doing this freelance/be-my-own-boss thing for nearly two years now (wow!) and I think for the longest time, I was petrified to turn down any opportunity for fear it would be the last that came across my inbox. But I’m beginning to learn that there will always be another opportunity. I started to get a bit more persnickety with what jobs I accepted last year, but I also think I need to realize that even really good opportunities aren’t really good opportunities if they come at a really bad time.
8. Save, save, save. This one might seem kinda counterproductive to #7, but it’s actually not. One of the biggest reasons I think I feel like I need to work all the time is because I’m not a very skilled saver. I can be pretty frugal, but when it comes to actually buckling down and saving for something, I really struggle to delay immediate gratification. I work hard. So I feel like I “deserve” something. So I buy it. And then I have to work harder because I didn’t save that money. It’s a vicious cycle. If I’m being entirely honest, I wouldn’t have to work nearly as hard if I just stopped fickle spending here and there and buckled down. It’s not that I drop thousands of dollars on lavish vacations or buy new cars every two years. It’s that I do things like spend $10 here and $5 there that adds up to hours and hours of work time over the years. This year, I, quite literally, cannot work the hours that I did in years past with a kid, so something has to give. And it’s going to have to be my $5 here and $10 there.
9. Learn to ask for and accept help. I don’t know what it is about our culture that makes it so darn difficult to ask for (or even just accept offered) help, but man, it feels like the absolute biggest of hurdles. I’ve finally had to learn to swallow my pride and get over myself toward the end of pregnancy. It’s something that I really struggle with. I’m not immune to wanting people to perceive me as superwoman, but it’s really just a totally unhealthy way of going through life. There nothing wrong with asking for help. And in fact, I’d say the healthiest people are the ones who do. I have to learn that it isn’t a sign of weakness to ask for help. And if I don’t, I’m not going to make it through this year.
10. Embrace a year of change. Above and beyond all of these goals, I think I have to accept that this year is going to be like no other year I’ve ever experienced. And it probably won’t be smooth sailing for the majority of it. A lot of people talk about “getting back to normal” after having a baby, and I’m trying to live under the philosophy that “normal” doesn’t exist anymore—at least not in the form I used to recognize it. Eventually, I’ll find a new normal (and quite probably, an even better normal than ever before), but I can never “go back”. This is the year of just accepting that I’m in limbo and trying to ride the waves until we, one day, realize we’ve found our new rhythm. I’m going to try my darndest to go with the flow this year.