Wednesday, January 4, 2012
(My house after the festivities. It's clean now and Christmas has been boxed up and thrown in the basement. It feels goooood. I actually missed seeing my floor.)
Now that everything is back to normal, did everyone have a good holiday? Mine was pretty good so I thought I'd better dish on what the hubs pulled out of his hat this year. First off, we decided to scale back this year because we traditionally get a little out of control, especially when it comes to buying for the kids. We set a limit on the number of presents for them and ourselves, which was a first. But we still did pretty well!
For one, my husband bought those lace heels in my Glammy Gifts post. YES! The Windsor ones that sold out right after that! He snagged a pair and I can't wait to show you them with an outfit. I'm not gonna lie, I wore them on Christmas I was so excited. He also got me a new handbag, which I needed desperately. You guys, I was still carrying a white cross-body bag after Labor Day THE HORROR. Now I have a super awesome black slouchy satchel with fringe detail and I'm in love. Also, it has leopard print on the inside. Score! But the most romantic he got me BY FAR was...
...wait for it....
A new desk chair! I know it sounds weird, but as a freelance writer I spend about 20 hours a week parked at my desk. My old chair was falling apart and had no padding left on the bottom and liked to fling me backwards at surprising times. My new one has awesome features like LUMBAR SUPPORT. That makes me feel old, but I actually cared about it. I am a big fan.
Anyway, enough about Christmas, it's time to talk New Year's resolutions. Last year I set out to work on being a better "me" and I think I succeeded. I wasn't as hard on myself as I usually was and I took some deep breaths to get through some stressful times in 2011.
Along with the usual eat better, exercise, read more and grow my nails resolutions that I usually set, I decided on another new one.
The other day I was in the shower, where I do my best thinking. I was thinking about how the words "mother" and "martyr" are so similar. I think a lot of mothers become martyrs without even thinking about it. Once you have a child, all of a sudden the old you dies a little death and you're suddenly someone's mom. The result is that you put someone else before you at all times.
Don't get me wrong. I love my kidlets and would do anything for them, but I had a little identity crisis after having my second. My daughter had a friend playing at our house and she kept saying "Addison's mom?" and I was like hold up, wait! I'm someone's mom? I mean, I had been for several years at that point but I'd never thought much about it.
As moms, there's something we all learn about too well from the start: sacrifice. We sacrifice sleep for a fed, diapered baby. We sacrifice careers to stay at home or sacrifice time with kids to work. We sacrifice a nap for a clean house and a clothing budget to keep our kids dressed. We sacrifice the dinner we want for chicken nuggets and macaroni and then sacrifice The Bachelor for another Netflixed episode of Go Diego Go. We essentially become martyrs the moment we become mothers because that's what you do when you have small humans that depend on you for everything.
But there are some things that I don't think are worth sacrificing. I think it's my opportunity and my responsibility to teach my children how to prioritize. Essentially, the things that they see me stressing over and putting first are those values that they'll come to prioritize themselves one day.
So I won't be the mom who brings the creative and healthy snack to kindergarten. But I still make time to go and help out a couple times a month.
I can't be the kind of mom who does a daily craft with her kids. But I will drag out their bikes so they can play outside.
I won't ever be the mom who carpools, brings her kids to piano, dance and flute lessons, but I can let me kids try new things.
I totally suck at baking from scratch, but I'll make sure my kids can help me pour the premade mix into the bowl.
I'm not the mom who plans daily learning opportunities for her kids, so how about a trip to the dinosaur museum and some frozen yogurt?
I've learned that while I might not be the most maternal person in the world, I can raise my kids on my own terms without being a complete martyr to who I really am as a person. I want to raise a daughter who is independent and plays by her own rules and a son who is curious and funny. I don't want them to think that being the best matters as much as doing your best matters. I can't do that if they see me as a complete slave to stuff that doesn't count.
So, my new year's resolution this year is to prioritize. Not only to show my kids what's really important, but to be a better mom because I'm me, not because I've killed off the old Jae to make room for someone who fakes it. I'll sacrifice my time, my energy and my terrible reality shows for my kids, but I won't sacrifice myself.
I know that my children are mine for a reason. No other mom will do as good of a job with them as I can, even a mom who bakes from scratch and does flash cards from birth. So I accept that challenge and will do the best with the tools and talents I have, even if that means the occasional meal from a box in exchange for pillow fights and making a fort with blankets instead. Because that's the kind of mom I am.
Thanks for another great year on HNTDLAM.
PS: So, now that I've revealed my resolution, what's yours?
PPS: For a great talk on choosing sacrifices and other resolution ideas, check this out.