Happy New Year, friends.
What. A. Crazy. Past. 12. Months.
On this day one year ago I would have fallen over laughing had someone told me we would have an almost 8 month old, staying home full time, and Josh would be working remotely for an Atlanta-based company. No sir. Yet, here we are. Life comes at ya fast.
I feel like the fog of new parenthood has started to lift, and the last 8 months have started to come into focus. I can see myself changing, our world changing, and our marriage changing. Though in the thick of it, all I could see was one foot in front of my face. My awareness was so primal. Getting through the next bottle, the next diaper change, the next crisis, the next sleep regression…And on and on it went. With plenty of joyful moment in between, of course. But overall, nothing but a blur.
I have learned so much about myself since becoming a mom. I see my control issues, my insecurities, and my shortcomings clearer than ever before. There were months where I felt like the absolute worst version of myself. I say all this because I know I’m not alone, and hindsight, while not 20/20 just yet, is at least coming into view. These little people unearth the best and the worst there is in all of us, and there is no denying both sides of that coin.
While my favorite thing to do in January is spend time reflecting on the year past, I have never been one for big New Years resolutions or “word for the year” commitments. But this year feels different. I sense my locus of control shifting from outside of me to inside. I sense myself missing the routine and the leadership and structure of being employed. For years, I had the luxury of someone else directing my focus, guiding me toward growth, and providing endless opportunities for me to learn. It is time for me to learn to meet that need for myself.
I chose 2 words I want to embody in 2018. The first is participation. Now that I can see straight and feel a little less in survival mode, I feel so ready to do things again. It is shocking how quickly my desire for a full calendar went from zero to ten thousand. I had a moment of panic when my new 2018 planner arrived, and how little I had to fill in. I was so surprised at how disappointed I felt, when just a few months earlier I wanted so strongly to pull back from anything and everything in our already pared-down lives.
Here’s a healthy reminder to myself and everyone else: seasons are seasons. Embrace them, and know that they change. Sometimes faster than ever think possible.
To me, participation means putting myself out there again. Trying new things. Volunteering, Blogging. Doing things that make me feel alive and a part of something bigger than my little family unit. One of the hardest parts for me about bringing a baby home was feeling like it came with the cost of being side-lined. What I offer the world now consisted entirely of what I could offer my baby. I’m ready and excited to transition to a season where I can feel both personally fulfilled and also fulfilled in my role as Ezra’s mom. Both are so precision and important to me.
My other word for this year is gentleness. Other than the fact that “gentle” is the word I repeat more than any other with my super-strong and wild 7 month old who is obsessed with our dog’s ears, it is actually something I have not been great at this last year. The insecurities motherhood has brought out in me have, at times, created a monster. There have been shame-spirals like you wouldn’t believe, unnecessary arguments with my husband related to my own feelings of unworthiness, and certainly more than a few times where I have lost patience with the people around me. I want this year to be grounded in a sense of innate worthiness and self-love. I want to be overly-gentle with myself so that I’m able to be that toward everyone around me.
I saw a quote recently from a woman from the Humans of New York Instagram feed that has really stuck with me. She said, “people who love themselves love others. People who love themselves don’t hurt others, I think.” So simple, and so profoundly true. Loving myself is the best thing I can possibly do for my family in this season where every new stage presents new opportunities for me to either fixate on what I am lacking or embrace all the ways I have been equipped to take on the challenge.
2018, despite the fact that as I write this my entire family has the flu, I really do believe you are going to bring so much growth and goodness into our lives.
Happy New Year!