I love to start a new year with intention, so I decide on a “word of the year.” My 2019 Word of the Year is FOCUS. I feel like my attention has been pulled in a lot of different directions and I’m drifting through my days. I want to focus so I can be more intentional with my day to day life.
2018 was quite a year, not only for my family, but for me as a person. We welcomed our second child, Bellamy, into the world in June and I’ve spent the last 6 month adjusting to being a mother of two. Those 6 months were full of love and joy, but were also incredibly overwhelming. I spent the first year of Mara’s life adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom and balancing being a mom, a wife and myself. Once I reached a point of contentment and thought “I’ve got this!” I became pregnant with Bellamy. The pregnancy was pretty typical for me, being sick for almost 18 weeks straight and then dealing with horrible sciatica up until delivery. I was so relieved and happy when I finally gave birth and I rode that high for about 11 weeks. Then, as postpartum hormones started going wild, I got sucked into a black hole. I felt like I was on a roller coaster and never knew what kind of day it was going to be. A few days a month I’d be on top of the world and full of energy. Other days I felt like I was watching my life go by as I sat on the couch barely able to muster the motivation to go to the bathroom. I developed some really bad eating habits, like eating entire sheet cakes in 24 hours bad. I was short with my kids and complained all the time to my husband. I constantly felt like I didn’t know who I was anymore, like I was lost and would never find my way back.
I decided to take a break from doing anything “extra” outside of taking care of the girls and general housekeeping. That means that the podcast, the blog and my Instagram feed. I started leaving the house more and stopped buying boxed cake mix. I also made it a point to spend some more time with friends. I booked a vacation for myself and my bestie to go to Disney World in February. Plus, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I want out of life (which I’m still figuring out!). Jesse was able to take a lot of time off in December and we had a wonderful holiday. The mountains and valleys that I’d been experiencing gradually started shrinking and are now more like rolling hills. Jesse and I sat and *loosely* planned out our year with what each of us has going on and goals we’d like to achieve. I also sat alone and thought about what I want to focus on for the year. And I realized that what I really need to do is to focus. I’ve been trying to juggle every responsibility, goal, and emotion all at once. I need to actually, as I say to Mara all the time, take smaller bites. Do one thing at a time and do it well. I need to FOCUS.
2019 Word of the Year – FOCUS
Focus On My Family
I’m constantly plagued with guilt for telling Mara “not right now” when she asks me to play or do an activity with her. I make the excuse that XYZ needs to get done or that I’m busy with the baby, but that isn’t always true. I’m often too “busy” checking Instagram or feeling sorry for myself. Rather than juggle the guilt, I’m making it a point to just spend more time on the floor playing with her. I’m also working on not spending all of my one-on-one time with Bellamy on my phone. I know that I will never regret the time that I spend with these girls. I also need for us all to get OUT of the house several days a week. Mara gets a little stir-crazy when we just stay home and I’ve noticed that I get kind of sad and mopey too. I’ve checked the local library’s event calendar, scheduled a few play dates and renewed our children’s museum membership, so we are all set to escape from the house with fun activities.
Beyond spending time with the girls, I want to be more present when I spend time with Jesse too. He complains a lot about my phone addiction, so I want to put it away more. We spend every evening from 5-7 eating dinner and playing as a family, but a lot of days I spend a large chunk of that time on my phone. I want to stop living that way and enjoy our family time to the fullest. Our time with the girls actually wanting to hang out with us is so limited. I want to soak up as much as I can.
Focus On My Health
Remember what I said about eating entire cakes within 24 hours? Well, that has been a weekly occurrence. I developed a wicked sugar addiction and was using baked goods to manage my stress. Baby wakes up early? Have a cookie! Toddler throws a tantrum? Have a piece of cake! Husband has to work late? Eat the whole damn cake! I’ve gained almost 15 lbs. since I gave birth to Bellamy. After Christmas, I started Whole 30 (kinda). I’m still allowing myself to eat beans, rice and peanut butter, but absolutely NO sugar, dairy or gluten. Jesse is doing it with me and we are planning on following it through mid-February (right before my Disney trip). In between that time we will have a few cheats because my 30th birthday is at the end of January and then Jesse has his birthday. Plus, I had a glass, or two, of champagne for New Year’s. But overall, we are trying to ditch bad habits and focus on developing a healthier lifestyle. I also need to exercise again. I started a Jillian Michaels program called Beginner Shred and so far I am enjoying it. It’s way more low impact than a lot of her other programs, so it’s been great for easing myself back into working out. I also started wearing my FitBit again and my goal is to get 5,000 steps a day. I’ve been feeling much better so far and it keeps me motivated to stay moving instead of vegging out on the couch. Sometimes I turn on some Wiggles albums and have a dance party with Mara just to get moving and get my steps in. I’d like to eventually get back to running, but I’m taking baby steps to start off. Plus, it’s cold outside!
Focus On My Home
Clutter and an unkept house take a large toll on my emotions. A to-do list of house chores just makes me so anxious, but I still procrastinate. To the point where I feel too overwhelmed to clean, but not cleaning is what made me that way in the first place! Rather than make a long list of everything that needs to get done for the week, I want to break chores into smaller parts. For example, I will put vacuuming and dusting on my to-do list for Monday and those are the ONLY chores I do. It gives me the satisfaction of accomplishing my to-do list, leaves plenty of time for playing or something else, and by the end of the week all the chores will still get done. I started this a few weeks ago and so far so good! I do have every day tasks that I do, like emptying the dishwasher, cleaning up after meals and laundry (babies are messy!) but those only take a few minutes if I actually do them instead of just thinking about doing them. I also spend 10 minutes, or less, every day tidying things away. Jackets get hung up, Target bags get unloaded, mail gets sorted, whatever! I just have to get it up and off the floor, or the dining table! It definitely makes for more relaxed down time in the evenings.
Focus on ME
My last area of focus is to just make time for me as an individual. Not as a mom, or a wife, or anything that anyone needs me to be. I know that I need to take time away from daily chores and tasks to do something that I love. Spending time with friends and being social is so very important to my mental health, but when I get down it’s the first thing to go. I want to set aside time every week to see a friend or just get out alone. I was so good at doing this for so long, but now I just think about how tired I am. And while I am very tired, I always feel happier and more fulfilled when I get out of the house. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m also taking a vacation ALONE next month. My best friend lives in Florida so I decided to fly down for a few days and we are going to Disney World. We’re staying at Disney Springs and I CAN NOT wait! I know that when the day comes I will be anxious and sad about leaving the girls, but I know that they will be safe and well taken care of. Jesse is taking time off work to stay with them, so nothing in their routine will be disturbed. Well, other than me being gone. Plus, it’s only 2 full days that I will actually miss, so they will all be fine! I’m so excited for the time to just pause, recharge, and spend some time with my friend.
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