Two days before Christmas, long after I swore I wouldn’t be leaving the house again until the new year, I found myself wandering the aisles of a grocery store, a petulant child crawling on the floor behind me and wailing that she didn’t want to walk anymore. A deep, dark voice came from the shadows. “Mom?” I was not entirely sure I was the person being addressed here, but I turned to see a heavy-set man in a hair net. “C-O-O-K-I-E?” he spell-asked me. I had to think. This was clearly not behavior that should be rewarded. However, at this point she had probably already seen the c-o-o-k-i-e, and it was a free coo… “Yes, no, maybe so?” the voice interrupted my thoughts. There is simply no time for contemplating parenting complexities in the dairy section. So I took the cookie. Though initially she screamed that she didn’t want it, shortly thereafter she reconsidered, started eating it and walked with me to the checkout.
I doubt that this incident will have far-flung repercussions on either my child’s behavior or my efficacy as a parent. Earlier this month at the doctor’s office, I told my physician, apropos of almost nothing, that I simply couldn’t find time to exercise. He told me I’d look back in a few years, when things were easier (he promised they’d get easier) and marvel at how much work I did. I didn’t doubt him that things will get easier, nor that I’m doing a lot of work right now. I doubted that I don’t recognize the work I’m doing. In the brief and infrequent moments of idleness I do have, between repeated utterances of, “look at me!” and “can I have a treat?!?” I think it’s what I think about most.
Things are easier now than they were, and those few uninterrupted thoughts I do have lean towards redesigning and reclaiming the parts of my life and my time that I can now. Lucky for me, it happens to be the end of December, and a very good time for just such a thing. Here are a few of the thoughts, resolutions if you want, that I have going into 2016.
- I need to buy less stuff. Part of this is born of financial planning interests, but a lot of it is just having too much stuff. In the plainest of speak, in 2016, I’d like to declutter and not reclutter. In terms of a measurable goal, I plan to buy only groceries and necessities in January, then take a good look at my budget. Of course, this resolution is not novel or new. I do it every couple of months, it seems. This time, I’ll write down exactly what I do buy in January. Maybe it will make a difference. Maybe not.
- I need to plan more. I used to be a good planner. But after Sonja was born, the idea that I’d plan something and it would be ruined by a baby who wasn’t concerned with my plans, made planning too difficult to bear. Not that all plans I make now would be honored, but there would be a better success rate. I don’t know why but I’m somewhat easily fatigued, but I think if I planned more, there might be more motivation. In terms of a measurable goal, I bought a planner and I plan on using it.
- I’d like another hobby as well. (This does not jive well with either the spending resolution or the planning resolution.) Just something I can do when I don’t want to do any of the stuff I should be doing. I have no idea what this would be. I don’t really see myself as a knitter or crocheter, and I already write and play music. Painting the house and similar small projects are something I like to do, but which don’t fit well with the amounts of time I have. I need something I can do in the moments I would otherwise be checking Facebook. Which brings me to number…
- I’m taking a hiatus from Facebook. Three months beginning January 1st. I’ll return on or around March 21st, after grades for winter quarter are submitted. I’ve thought about doing this for a while. Sometimes I’ll take a week off. But I feel a need to reset my brain. Facebook used to be more of an occasional thing for me. It also used to be more fun, and less click-bait-y. It has now seeped into every pore of my life. I rely on it to fill in those small spaces of time because I have near constant access to it, and I know I won’t be terribly upset when I get interrupted. But now it acts as a news feed, with news I don’t particularly care about. You liked something your friend’s friend posted, and I’m seeing it in my feed. I spend way too much time scrolling through this crap when I could be working or cleaning or staring off into space. I need to untether and reset, and break this addiction. (These posts auto-feed to Facebook, I’ll leave that functionality.) I won’t lie; this is going to be really hard for me. Like, really hard. But I know there’s something else I could and should be doing, and I’m sure I can figure it out.
- I need to give myself a break. More than anything else, the realization that all of these thoughts can be thought and implemented and practiced without having to be perfect is the biggest hurdle to getting anything done. Life is definitely going to get in the way of these resolutions, but not every deviation is a failure.
So there it is. A year with actual resolutions, and a modicum of personal resolve. We’ll see how it goes. I know 2015 wasn’t a banner year for blogging; I’ll try to do better next year. In the meantime, I’m wishing you all that you want for yourself and your family in 2016. Happy new year!