It’s several months into the new year, and I’m ready to take stock on how well I my life is aligning to the goals that I set in January. In my profession, self-reflection and self-awareness is imperative to making positive and productive changes. For as long as I can remember, I’ve made lofty, well-intentioned resolutions that fell flat after two weeks (if that long). This year I’ve made some concrete and measurable goals, but more importantly I’ve factored in several methods for accountability. Essentially, I’ve decided to make this year the one where I actively strive to create and remain committed to my own joy.
When I think about my happiness, my mind naturally wonders first to my family. More specifically, to my mini-me. Camille is such a delight. It’s always a pleasure to spend tech-free, quality time with her, but in the last year I’ve found that I haven’t had as many of those moments with her as I would like. In addition to blogging, I have a full time career which consumes much of my time and energy. Most days I leave before the sun comes up and I make it home about an hour before her bedtime. At that time I am emotionally and physically drained and I don’t have much energy to pour into being a mommy. It’s sad but true. I think it’s safe to say that mommy guilt is as part of my everyday life as brushing my teeth. But I’ve realized that it doesn’t have to be.
I hate feeling as if I am inadequate at motherhood and I realize that it is important for me to be there for her. This year the first thing that I’ve resolved to to is to actively combat mommy guilt. I cannot alter the hours that I am needed at my job, but I can decide how to make the most of the time that I do have with Camille. One thing that I’ve tried to do is be disciplined about how my time is spent at work so that I can go home as soon as possible.
Another thing that I have done is pencil in “Camille time” in my planner and I’ve stuck to it. I put my phone on DND and I ditch tech until it is time for Camille to go to bed. This allows me to give my baby all the attention that she deserves – although it is never enough. By the time she goes to sleep I have what seems like 2,693 emails from my job, but I’ve come to realize that the world will keep on spinning while I am spending quality time with my babe. She deserves it and I deserve it. She gets mommy all to herself for the last hours in the day and while it is not ideal, it works for now.
Jo and I have been married for about ten years and throughout those ten years we’ve both evolved so much. We got married super young (I was 20 and he was not too much older) and so it makes sense that we have changed. Although we are not the same 20-somethings that we were when we first got together, the love has remained, but the priorities have shifted. Jo has always been a philosopher and an uber relaxed human. He keeps his cool in any situation and is very open-minded. I used to be this way, but over time I’ve become more pragmatic and conservative.
After Camille came along our differences were really underscored. We both have approached parenthood from different perspectives and I think that it’s a good balance. There is a lot that Camille will be exposed to and I’m excited for the adult that she’ll become one day. Throughout the years we’ve never set relationship goals (crazy, right), but in my exploration for more joy I realized that this was an area that we were neglecting. While we love and respect one another, we’ve decided to find ways for us to become closer.
We’ve set three primary goals: finding ways for us to become genuine friends again since our interests and values have changed a lot, prioritizing consistent date nights, and more *ahem* husband & wife time. Yup. So far we are not fully aligned to our goals but we have a date in place to figure out how to make some changes for the better. Living in New York without family certainly creates some issues when it comes down to finding a trust-worthy baby sitter, but hopefully that will change soon *fingers crossed*.
Ever since I was a child I was a people pleaser. I think my Southern values and hospitable upbringing cultivated this need in me to be extra kind; sometimes to a fault. I started to really learn the value of my time and the power in saying “no” after having lived in New York for some years. New Yorkers have a bad reputation for their rudeness (sorry my New Yorkers!), but I recently realized that you don’t have to be ill-mannered to value yourself and your time. Like almost everyone, I have spent countless hours trying to please and impress others. I’ve taken on projects that I was not enthusiastic about so that I could come off as an agreeable hard-worker.
In my career I’ve opted to designate a lot more projects, I’ve stopped picking up the slack for others so that I could use my time with more intention. I’ve become married to my planner and although some unexpected things occur, I generally am able to accomplish what’s listed out. In making sure that I carefully determine where my time goes I spend about three hours every Sunday to assess the previous week and map out what went well and what I need to improve in the upcoming week. After assessing the previous week, I list out and prioritize what needs to be done during the week and when.
Thankfully, I have become self-aware enough to know that my peak production hours are between 7 am – 11 am, so I often schedule the non-negotiable tasks during that time frame. I also have a digital system in place to help me keep track of important tasks. I wasn’t always this way. In fact, my desk was always a mess and I would experience a lot of anxiety because I knew that I had a lot on my plate, but no real system in place to prioritize and manage my time. I’ve realized that time is just as an important currency as money. My time is limited and I should be able to choose where it goes if I want to truly embark on self-fulfillment.
I am not a highly-efficient person and it generally takes me a long time to get tasks done. Because I take a long time to do almost anything 🐢 I often chuckle at the idea of taking a break. Breaks are a luxury that I cannot afford. Thankfully, I’ve began to appreciate the phrase “busy is not a badge of honor.” Truer words have never been spoken. Steamrolling through life without pit stops leads to exhaustion and burnout. It’s no fun, y’all; trust me, I am all too familiar with it. Lately, my mantra is “When you get tired, learn to rest, not quit.”
I haven’t been the best with prioritizing self-care, but as I’ve become older I’ve become cognizant of the fact that self-care should not be optional. Self-care should be an essential, innate part of our being. For the longest I’d perceived meditation as something for those crunchy-granola types. It wasn’t until a very practical friend suggested meditation, did I opt to give it a shot. Two words: GAME. CHANGER. In lieu of telling our toddler that it’s nap time, my husband joking tells her to “go and charge her battery.” Mediation = recharging your battery. Even if you opt for a five minute refresher, those 5-minutes have so much power. I still feel a little silly when I attempt unguided meditations, so I do at least two guided meditations a day. There are some wonderful apps out there for guided meditation. Seriously try it.
I am proud of the progress that I am making in becoming a more balanced person, although we are only a few months into the year. I already feel significantly more joyous and fulfilled, but it has taken practice and consistency. I’ll do a much more detailed check-in later in the year. No one is perfect, but in order to strive for more well-rounded lives we have to actively work towards it. What goals are you blasting through and what are some areas that you are still struggling with? Also, how often do you examine where you are goal-wise?