Let’s Not Call These “Resolutions”

We know, we know – New Year’s resolutions are so two weeks ago. So instead we’re thinking about what we’d like to focus on this year. Call them goals, or, if you want to channel your inner Frenchwoman, perhaps “Mindful Mots.” Bonne année, fellow introverts!

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KathyMy major goal for the year is this: preserve my energy for my family. I have a tendency to spend too much time on other (usually worthy) pursuits, only to find that I have nothing left over at home. That doesn’t seem fair to iDad and Doodlebug, and it’s not making me happy.

So this year, I will:

Plan more family outings. If I’m using up energy, I might as well use it with them, right? We just instituted Museum Mondays – each month we’ll pick a museum to visit on one of Doodlebug’s early dismissal days. For the first one, we picked her up from school, drove downtown, enjoyed a planetarium show and some ice cream, and scooted home in the HOV lane. It was a quick trip and the museum wasn’t crowded, so I didn’t even feel too wiped out. Success!

Figure out this whole volunteering thing. I’ve got a handle on the classroom situation this year, but now the Brownie troop requests are piling up. I have to keep reminding myself that there are ten kids in the troop, thus ten sets of parents. It’s not my job to cover everything. The plan: pitch in, but in a way that doesn’t put me in charge of a gaggle of girls any more than absolutely necessary.

Work on the “witching hours” between school pickup and bedtime. Doodlebug often needs time to unwind in the afternoon, which I completely understand. While she chills out, I always seem to find myself sucked in to Facebook and/or cramming in one more work session. Before I know it, it’s past time to start dinner and everyone’s frazzled.  I already have a self-imposed Internet blackout between 6:30 and 8:30, but I’m wondering if I should extend that. I might also try making the time a work-free zone. We used to have a good routine going with game time after dinner, and I’d like to work that back in, too.

My other goal for the year, which I hope will help everything else in my life run more smoothly, is to get more sleep. Seriously and for real. Last night I tried Tiffany’s patented method of going to bed early with a book. I was asleep earlier than usual, but I woke up at 5 AM. Progress?

— Kathy

tiffany_head_128So here they are.  Four things of which I will be mindful in 2014.

1.  Stick to the Schedule. Although part of me loathes being this Type A, maintaining a routine helps enormously. The most important part: a firm bedtime and a firm lights-out time. After a few consecutive nights I start waking up before the alarm goes off. For anyone who knows me well, this is roughly equivalent to the Jesus-turning-water-into-wine thing: a MIRACLE.

The goal here is not only to ensure adequate rest but to start getting up earlier so I can …

2.  Move My Ass. In 2009, motivated by the abject fear of wearing a bathing suit on a Hawaiian vacation, I hired a personal trainer. It was mentally and physically transformative. After the trip I got pregnant with Lunchbox and well, let’s just say three and a half years later I have some baby jiggle to jettison. And for transparency’s sake there’s cookie, pasta, and wine jiggle to firm up too.

My trainer moved to the West Coast and hiring a new one isn’t in the budget. So I’ve discovered the Cafemom channel on YouTube; FitBottomedGirls is also another helpful site. At work I’ve started printing documents to a machine three flights of stairs above my office. And, in defiance of the Desk Lunch culture in my office, I’ve begun walking for thirty minutes after eating.

My goals are small and appropriate given my life right now. This helps to …

3.  Set Up for Success. Yes, this is a phrase most likely found on one of those cheesy posters in the Dunder Mifflin office. Establishing achievable objectives, however, is key to keeping my introvert self happy.

For example I will no longer cram the weekend “To Do” lists full of tasks I know are impossible to finish. This weekend’s list includes:

Saturday:

  • Exercise 30 minutes
  • Complete grocery list
  • Do three loads of laundry
  • Write five thank you notes

Sunday:

  • Exercise 30 minutes
  • Do three loads of laundry
  • Prep and cook two meals
  • Write five thank you notes

You get the idea.  While it is challenging to let go — particularly when staring down Slim’s black hole of a closet or Lunchbox’s toy-bombed room — it helps to repeat “Martha Stewart is not coming over today.” Critical chores get priority and thus downtime becomes available. A bit of spare time allows me to …

4.  Write It Out. Remember this post? No need to repeat why writing is so important to me. I am thankful, dear reader, to have an audience and an excuse to marinate in my own thoughts once a week.

I am hopeful these four simple mots will, as Kathy writes, help to better manage my energy levels and to generate more, if possible, for my family. Because at the end of the day being a happy and sane partner to Dreamy and a good mom to Slim and Lunchbox is the whole point.

Now. Raise your hand if you want Beyoncé to make a workout video.

— Tiffany

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