On January 1, I completed my annual tradition of Googling the correct way to write “New Year’s resolutions.” Capital N, capital Y, apostrophe s, lowercase r.
Did you know you can do that? You can Google punctuation and grammar rules. I’ve worked alongside a lot of copy editors and I promise you that most of their time is spent looking up and double-checking rules. Next time you want to make something plural and you’re not sure how to do it, ask your friend Google. Make 2019 your year of using apostrophe’s correctly! (See what I did there?) ***
Anyway. Sorry for that completely unplanned tangent.
The tangent, however, is indicative of my first 10 days of 2019. Derailed. Like this post.
Before I tell you how 2019 has been completely derailed, I’ll tell you my resolution for the year. Except I’m calling it an intention, because I’m not a resolution person, and also because this isn’t really specific enough to qualify as a proper resolution or goal.
My intention is to get back to me.
…Let me explain…
After each baby I withdraw into a little postpartum cave. I emerge in stages, and the more babies I have, the longer it takes. I don’t mean just fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans. Everyone focuses on that little detail, but I’m talking about having the energy, confidence, and independence to get back to things that are important to you.
There are things I’ve given up entirely since having kids, and I’m ok with that. There are things that I hope to get back when all of my kids are older. I’m ok with that, too. And then there are the things that I let fall to the wayside because our family is in we-just-had-a-baby survival mode. No, I will not join the PTA. No, I will not be in your book club. No, I will not change out of my pajamas to go to the grocery store.
Survival mode has lasted a long time with Anna; over a year. But now I’m starting to feel like I have the energy and space in my day to resume a lot of things I gave up.
I’m not being crazy here. I’m not talking about signing up for a half-marathon or getting regular haircuts, CALM DOWN! These are normal, day-to-day things that I truly enjoy and were once part of me as a mom, wife, and individual. I’m thinking of things like cooking from scratch more, hanging my clothes on the clothesline, exercising regularly, growing a garden, reading a book, making time for friendships and ministry.
I’m not trying to reclaim my twenties or resurrect “Amanda Before Kids.” I just want to get back to things I used to do and enjoy. Everyone says that when you have a baby, you survive by lowering the bar. The baby is a year old; I’m ready to put it back up half a notch.
Sometimes even when I read the archives of this blog, I see activities and crafts I did when David and Mary were little and I think, “Where did that mom go? What has happened to my creativity and energy?” (Answer: Thomas flushed it down the toilet.)
This will not happen in a year, or two years, or five years, I know that. It will also not happen without effort and discipline and rearranging of schedules. I know that, too. But it’s my intention for the year, and perhaps that’s the first step.
It’s been 10 days and I already have an update.
Here’s how the year has played out so far:
January 1: I shook off 2018 with optimism and energy! I ate a salad!
January 2: I’m on a roll! The kids went back to school and Thomas, Anna, and I started cleaning up from Christmas.
January 5: I went for a run, a walk, AND I had a good attitude!
January 6: I wake up with a low fever and the tell-tale signs of mastitis. Again.
January 7: 103 fever. Too sick to watch Real Housewives. Spend 36 hours in bed.
It’s January 10. I’m still recovering and I feel discouraged to be derailed so quickly. I’ve read that mastitis is the body’s way of telling you to slow down and rest, and I’ll be honest — that’s discouraging, too. It’s frustrating to think that I only have enough energy for the things I have to do, not the things I want to do. I can change diapers, do laundry, and pack lunches. After that, there’s no energy left for cultivating friendships or intentional movement. Is that what mastitis is telling me?
I had a great appointment with my doctor and we discussed why mastitis is recurring, and hopefully this was my final episode.
Instead of getting discouraged, I’ll take the setback as an early reminder to not get derailed. This will keep happening in different forms — a kid will get sick, Tom will travel for work, Anna will cut a tooth, the premiere of the Bachelor will last three hours.
Things will upset my schedule, and take my time and energy. But that’s ok. That’s part of getting back to me, too. It’s seeing challenges, dealing with them, and accepting it as a setback but not a failure, and moving on.
***Just a quick note that I realize I make grammatical errors and typos all the time. You’ll forgive me, I hope, because I am tired and have limited editing time AND ALSO, as I mentioned above, I used to write with the help of a copy editor. You are welcome to leave me messages and publicly shame me into fixing them (which is honestly hard to do from up here on my high horse).