January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!
Some people do not believe in making new year's resolutions but, for me, the fresh start on a new calendar is the perfect time to reflect upon where I am.  Like some of you, my good intentions get lost somewhere between the piles of laundry (clean, of course -- just not folded) and the ever-present scatter of cars, dinosaurs, and Legos in the family room; my goals get sidelined by poorly timed fevers, impromptu playdates, and tired kids (mine) and parents (my husband and me).  The promise of a whole new year is full of hope and this motivates me to try again.

Here are my resolutions:

  1. To continue exercising.  A couple of years ago, in the midst of Ryken's tumultuous preschool years  (the Dark Ages, I sometimes call them!) I was on the brink of stay-at-home parent burnout.  I was exhausted most the time from caring for two little ones and I would fall into funks regularly.  And being a parent to kids with food allergies only increases my daily stress level.  I realized I needed to take control.  I started being better to my body by caffeinating less and sleeping more, and exercising regularly with cardio like this and exercise classes.  Yoga class has been a great escape because it forces me to slow down and focus mentally and physically on only me.
  2. To eat more naturally.  Every year since we were "blessed" with food allergies I have improved what I feed myself and my family.  We are buying fewer processed foods and preparing more fresh fruits,  cooked legumes, and vegetables on a daily basis.  However, eating vegetables is the real challenge for my kids -- they just don't like 'em! -- and therefore a challenge to me as the sole chef.  But after seeing this film and arming myself with plant-based, vegan cookbooks, I'm ready to try again.
  3. To eat fewer sweets.  This kind of goes along with the previous resolution but I thought I should 'fess up and say that I indulge myself in way, way too many sugary treats.  The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?
  4. To try to balance my roles as parent, spouse, employee, and human being on a weekly basis.  Raising children is an incredibly challenging, endless marathon.  And to survive succeed at it, I need to pace myself.  Yes, there are some things I have to do but I also need to do what makes my heart sing --and it sure isn't catching up on laundry.  I need to take time every week to regroup, recharge, and reflect whether it's through exercising, meeting a friend for dinner, carving out weekly quiet time to blog or read, or simply escaping the house for an hour to run an errand alone.  Balancing for me doesn't mine being accomplishing all my duties as a parent to perfection.  It's come to mean doing some things well and some things acceptable so that I can still have energy for my own goals.
  5. To not be so hard on myself.  In the continuous attempt to balance it all, there is a lot of opportunity for mother's guilt:  My son wants me to play Mastermind but I told him I'm busy finishing this blog piece.  I'm hanging up laundry when I could be reading to my youngest.  I yelled at my kids for creating a big mess although it's really because I'm just plain exhausted.  I often question whether some of my choices were right.  And I will need to remind myself that (a) I'm doing the best I can with what I've got, (b) my kids are happy, healthy, and safe (no small feat for those with multiple food allergies!) and (c) tomorrow is another day when I will make more choices.
So there you have it -- the things I will think about as I'm driving the kids to school and as I'm putting my head down after another long day.  Do you have any personal goals or resolutions for the new year?