Starting a new year can be just as much (if not more) about what you’re leaving behind as it is about what you’re starting. I love a clean slate and a fresh start and resolutions give me crazy energy.
That being said, like 97% of the world, I struggle to commit to a laundry list of new to-dos. I want so badly for January 1st to be the beginning of a new life. But it’s not. It’s just the day after December 31st which usually feels like December 89th and typically the only fresh start I get is taking down my Christmas decorations if I’m lucky.
So instead of tracking what new things I hope to bring into 2020 I’m spending January leaving a few things behind.
Both heartbreaking and necessary I decided it was time to unlatch my little booby buddy.
We went a little over 16 months and I couldn’t have asked for an easier more delightful nursing experience, but I was ready to have my body back. I had spent 4 1/2 consecutive years being either pregnant or nursing. I have been either growing or feeding a child with my body since 2015! It was time.
Even if something is good, it’s ok to leave it behind. I loved my time with my boys spent this way, but it felt good walking away from it and I look forward to seeing the changes it brings. I suspect my mental health could improve and my relationship with my littlest buddy can go from a necessity to a want.
As a WAHM my day is for me to fill as I decide. And as a Type 1/Reformer, I’m pretty good at making that time productive. What I’m not good at is making the time joyful.
So I’m trying to structure my time for fun and nothingness if it’s needed. This is a line that would make my husband church laugh at me. Yes, I am so rigid that I need a system for fun. But this year is a year of using my innate strengths to serve me instead of bucking against them to no avail. So if that means setting an alarm to go outside, play with my boys and put my phone down. I’m going to do it. If I have to assign my husband date night planning (thank god he lets me) so that we’re both reminded to leave the house, that’s what’s happening. If I have to blackout hours of momming for writing that’s something the whole family is going to understand. And if I have to make plans to meal prep with my sister so we’re both obligated to just do it, that’s happening too.
Planning doesn’t have to mean there’s no fun. (Such a Type 1 thing to say.) It just means you’re making time to do the things that matter most.
Not going to lie. My boys TRASHED my mid-section. I want to be the woman who loves my post-pregnancy body for all it did and blah blah blah. But honestly, all I feel about what was left behind is massively bummed.
Sorry, but it’s true. And that doesn’t mean I love my boys one iota less. But really? 31 and no bikinis ever again without surgery. That’s some bull shit. So in 2019 I did some things to hopefully help reclaim some of what I feel I’ve lost body image wise.
I joined Pilates at the beginning of last year and that got me back into (and in love) with exercise. When I plateaued there I switched gyms to one with child care so I could go more often.
I also went to physical therapy. And, sidenote, let me tell you… if you’re suffering women’s health issues there is help for you out there! The doctors don’t tell you that. Your friends don’t know it either. But there is insurance covered help for women’s bodies and you owe it to yourself to find it. People wouldn’t get a knee surgery and be wished good luck with life. Just saying.
So this year I feel like a better body won’t be a wish because I’m arming myself with tools to actually succeed. No more wishing for my pre-baby body. No more waiting for a day when I don’t have to lift tiny humans and can get a tummy tuck. Just good ol’ fashion doing the work and seeing where it leads.
Unregulated Screen Time
A big change I’ve made recently is actually using my Screen Time app. It’s really easy for me to take my free time and flush it down the Instagram toilet.
Maybe I’m late to the party but I suspect there’s a lot more people like me… scrolling, knowing it’s a waste and not making changes. So I am going into this year with restrictions on how much time I can spend on my phone and shrinking down how much time I can spend on social media even more.
Don’t get me wrong… I still love a good Pinterest board and an Instagram story binge, but I won’t be letting it overshadow the many other things I hope to accomplish in the next year/decade.
A Half-In Attitude
I am the QUEEN of half in. Working part-time while I stay home with kids. Writing while I try to cook dinner. Eating well until it’s 10 p.m. and no one is there to watch me cuddle up with some White Cheddar Natural Cheetos.
My entire day is a multi-tasking marathon. I am cleaning kids’ bedrooms while listening to a podcast and playing trains. I am doing dishes while helping with homework and starting dinner. I am talking to my mom on the phone while changing diapers and yelling at the dog to get away from a rogue diaper. I’m writing a blog post while attending volleyball practice.
I’m always doing a minimum of two things at once and while on the one hand, that means I get a lot of things done, it also means nothing ever has my full attention.
So this goes back to making room for more structured time where I can focus on doing one thing really great instead of 2-4 things ok.
My Safety and Security
I am someone who values comfort, routine, consistency, familiarity and above all else, predictability.
So the last ten years were about making my life as cushioned as possible.
I’m grateful to all the things that have brought me the comfort I seek, but in 2019 I decided to untether myself from a few very good things to make room for some bold, unpredictability. This year will be the year I publish the first of my books. It’s the year I plan to make my first, self-generated dollar, it’s a year I intend to unbury myself from the fog of baby-raising, it’s the year I show up in a gym even when I don’t feel confident all the time.
I’m ready for change. I’ve been ready for change. But I’ve been hanging on to some financial, spacial, and mental comforts that are keeping me from climbing a hill I’ve been trudging up for a long time.
It’s okay to be both grateful for the things that bring comfort and ready to let them go. Just like with breastfeeding, we can outgrow good things and so in 2019 I said goodbye to a lot of my limiting beliefs that had me comfy, but stuck.
All the things at the top of my list to achieve are very long term things: being a rounded person, a patient mom, a supportive wife, writing books, growing a business, paying off debt, eating healthy and exercising regularly. But I get seriously impatient and seek the comfort of short term joy and then feel so regretful about abandoning my plans.
This is the one I haven’t quite unlocked yet. In some areas, I’ve made progress, but in others I’m still seeking tools and tips to help me acknowledge when something doesn’t elevate my big picture plan and leave it behind. Staying up late watching Netflix, tiny spending sprees on yoga pants to lift a crummy day (and my ass), too many glasses of wine too often, snoozing that early morning alarm. I could name 20+ little things that add up to big deviations from what I want and I’m trying to leave as many of those behind as I can.
I struggle to break into new routines and habits. Did I mention I love my comfort blankets? So instead of saying “I’m going to do all these things” and then feeling like a total piece of crap when I don’t, I’m just saying goodbye to stuff a little bit at a time. Some I started letting go of last year, some I’m still trying to shake off. I know what I want and this year I’m trying to clear the clutter of the things keeping me in the same place.
What are you letting go of in 2020?