Monday, December 31, 2012

Lessons from 2012

2012 has definitely been a year to remember.  We gained another member of our family, and that's always big.  The world at large had some pretty amazing acts of kindness, and acts of evil too.

I've already recapped the general scope of our year, but on this last day of 2012, I'm feeling pretty reflective.   Here are some things I've learned this year.

1) Hold on like hell to what you have.  Cherish it daily, because it may be gone tomorrow.

I can't think of another year where this point has been driven home as much as it has this year.  There are no guarantees of tomorrow.  Accidents happen.  Circumstances change.  Horror happens.  No matter what kind of day we had here, when it's time for bed, I always make it a point to snuggle and kiss the girls.

I'm also trying as hard as I can to let go of anger, grudges, and disappointment.  When one of these end of the world prophecies comes true, do I really want to have my last memories be irritation?  I'm not so naive to say I'll never let things bother me.  But I'm not fixating on what would be perfect "if only".  I'm holding on to the joy I have right now.

2) I will never be a parenting "expert".

Anyone who claims to be has far more confidence than I.  I have two little girls.  I know when I became a second time mom, I was more relaxed, but Reagan challenges my prior knowledge all the the time.  There are times when I have two peas in a pod, and times where the girls are as alike as apples and pillowcases.  Then when I finally feel like I've got something under control...the girls yank the rug out from under me and force me to stay on my toes.  I don't know if I'll ever feel like I have parenting "down". 

3) Stepping outside my comfort zone opened up a great world.

I am a horribly insecure person.  I'm always wondering what people are really thinking of me.  Usually it takes me quite a while to open up to people.  Once I do, that's another story.  I'm my father's daughter and I'll talk your ear off and tell you long stories that usually wrap up with telling the story again.

Therefore, writing a blog - and actively pushing it out into the world - has been been a bit scary at times.  I'm sharing in a very public way, and if I want my writing to grow, I have to continue to do that.  I have to email strangers, asking for support and help.  I have to actively promote myself.

But it's been unbelievably rewarding.  Those who read, and comment, and let me know I struck some sort of chord with them, whether it's that I made them laugh, or let them know they aren't alone, or reminded them of something in their own life, are why I do this.  I've made several virtual "almost friends" as I stumble through networking and opening myself up.  Right now, I'm like the kid standing outside the circle of cool kids as they talk, listening to their witty banter and off the cuff hilarity and interjecting gems like "yeah!", but I hope that someday, they can be virtual "real friends".  There are so many people out there with great things to say, and I'm glad that I found that world.

4) Staying home isn't always rainbows and unicorns.

There are people who don't believe that.  I know.  I was one of them.  I've been a working mom, and I thought it was incredibly hard (it is) and that life would be exponentially easier if I could just stay home.

But while there are certain things that are easier, there are definitely new challenges.  My house is messier than it ever was while I was a working mom.  Messier.  People wonder how on earth that can possibly be.  I know I did...until I realized that by staying home, by having the house lived in 24/7, there was more mess created daily then in a week's worth of out of the house work and daycare.

And there's still guilt.  Guilt that since I'm home full time, and I have all this time, I should be able to make three homemade meals, keep the children occupied with homemade projects and no TV, and stay on top of laundry and housework.  When I can't do that, I think "why????"  What am I so darn busy with?  (I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 10 month old.  That's what.  They are more work daily than my job.  I love that work...well, most of it...but I'm definitely feeling like we underpaid Madison's babysitter).

If you're looking for life to get easier, I don't know that this is the answer.  I've been home 11 months now, and my life isn't magically less stressful.  But it's rewarding, and I don't regret my decision one bit, and we're going to try as hard as we can to have our family stay this way. 

5) Try.  Just try.

I've had a few failures this year.  I learned that I will never be crafty.  I learned that some experiences are best held off until the girls are a bit older, no matter how much I'm itching to do them.  I learned that some relationships will never be what I hope they will.  I learned that there will be goals I set that I don't have control over, and that simply won't be reached.

But I've had successes.  And they've taught me to keep at it. 

Sappy?  Yup.  Told you I was feeling reflective.

Now I'm off to force some napping on the girls so we can head out and party like...ummm...I don't have a good word, but we'll have two stay at home moms, two nice guy dads, and four kids under the age of four.  We're going to live it up until the ball London. 

Coming resolutions.  I'm horrible at resolutions and usually don't make them.  If I don't make them, then I don't break them.  I just say things like "I'm always looking to improve!  I don't need January 1st for that!"  (BS Translator:  Really not interested in setting myself up.  So this is my "I'm so above that" lie.)  Thank goodness I have readers to hold me accountable now because there are some things I'm - dare I say - looking forward to improving!

Happy New Year!  Stay safe!

Don't forget to make sure you've got all your entries in for Ollie!  I added one more way to enter...share a post and let me know in the comments that you did!  And don't forget to show Traci some love...she definitely deserves it and you'll love it!

1 comment:

Spirit of Hope and Kindness Awards said...

Great post..totally relatable too. Ohh the guilt of staying home - it never goes away. Funny how we think we're supposed to be a live Pinterest board for everything we do since we don't 'work outside the home''s such a hard job. As far as a parenting expert goes - I always say - the only thing I know for sure about parenting - is that I know nothing. :) Cheers to another year of blissful blogging. xo

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