Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year, New Goals

Since today is the last day of 2009, it's time to have some goals for the new year. In 2005, after having my second child, I really wanted to set goals but also accomplish them, so I set up this system of little things I could do every day to accomplish one big goal (like losing the baby weight, so I exercised either Pilates or walking every day). It worked well for me, so I did it again in 2006, but it wore me out. It wore me out to the point I haven't really set goals at the new year since. However, I am a goal-oriented person. Having goals and an idea in my head of how to accomplish them makes me feel like I'm doing something. Like my life is in order, organized, instead of chaotic and messy (even though chaotic and messy is really more or less what real life is like).

So this year, I decided that I need to set goals again. I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish next year for about the last month or two. I want to be a better mother--more patient with my children, spend less time online and more time doing interactive activities with them. I want to be healthier, more fit. Actually take the vitamins that are filling up my cupboard and stretch every day to try and regain some of that awesome flexibility I had a decade ago. Maybe learn yoga. I want to write a book. I realize I probably say that every year, but every year I do nothing to accomplish that goal and I feel time slipping away. The only dream I've ever had since I was a kid besides being a wife and mom was to write a book and be a published author. I'm 32 and haven't even come close to realizing that dream. I'd also like to re-learn the violin, and I'm trying to decide if I should take formal lessons again to refresh my memory on certain techniques or if I should just buy a beginner/intermediate level book and go from there. I do remember some, I picked it up the other day and played a bunch of primary songs.

I need to be more spiritual, read the scriptures every day and pray every day, two things that for some reason, I find painfully difficult to do. I have my children pray morning and night regularly, but I myself hardly ever do it anymore. I also want to find a better way to manage the family finances and maybe tuck some away in savings. Maybe find some way to bring in a little extra cash to pay off those debts and save for another house (which all seems SO far in the future).

Okay, so I have a lot I want to accomplish and maybe I should write these down in an achievable way instead of just blurting out all that I want to do. Too hard to do while I'm trying to manage my children at the same time, so I'm signing off for now...

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Finding That Balance

I can't find the balance between being a mom and being a person. For the most part, the "mom" me is me. It's too hard to separate the two, but in essence, because I can't separate me the person from me the mom, I end up just being me the mom. Does that make sense?

There are many parts of me that have been ignored since having children. I used to be an interesting person. I read good books, studied about other places and cultures, kept up on current events. I played the violin, the guitar and the piano. I tried to stay involved in church or school or community. I was active, joining the church basketball team or going hiking with friends or going out country dancing.

I've tried to incorporate some of those activities into my life as a mom, but I find that it is too stressful and distracting to try and be that person on top of trying to raise four children. If I sit down to play the piano, either all my children are climbing all over me trying to play on the piano too or they are in the toy room destroying it.

I feel like if I try to do anything that interests me, I'm being way too selfish and neglecting my children. I just can't seem to figure out how to do all that I want, like even keeping up with this blog. I love to write, and probably could get much better at it if I ever had time to actually do it. Moments like these right now are rare, and, in fact, I can think of about a half dozen other things that are probably more important and need to get done while the kids are in bed before I'm too tired to do them.

So I guess me the person surrenders to me the mom. I have to put her aside for a few more years. If I don't, then I will just continue to feel like a horrible mom who neglects her children. Yet, if I do put her aside, then I feel like a worthless person with nothing to offer.

So what gives?

Maybe 2010 will be my year to find that balance.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tis the Season

When I was growing up, December was my favorite month of the year. Everything about it was glorious to me. The cold that caused your breath to come out in little white puffs. The homes brilliantly lit with thousands of colorful lights. The boughs of holly and bright red berries decorating doorways and stores and everything. The fact that my birthday falls a few days before Christmas. The wondering and waiting for Christmas morning, the excitement to watch family members open gifts from me and the thrill of opening my own gifts. I loved it all.

Back in those days, I was able to earn my own money baby-sitting, and around this time of year, I spent much of that money on cards and gifts for my friends and family. I started sending out Christmas cards in the sixth grade. Yes, you read that right. Sixth grade. That year I sent them to my closest friends, and probably some cousins and friends who lived in other places. And every year after that, I always had at least a dozen cards that I would send out.

I loved wearing Christmas sweaters and little Santa hats and just red, green and white. I used to have a whole wardrobe just for Christmas.

The music in choir and orchestra--Silver Bells, The Carol of the Bells, Candlelight Carol, Wassail, the Hallelujah Chorus--so many of my favorites we sung and played. One year, when I was in 8th grade, I got to lead my junior high school orchestra at the winter concert in a few pieces. I remember that I wore a white skirt with a red Christmas sweater to conduct. I wanted to stand out. I think most everyone else in the orchestra wore dark colors, but I wore that bright red and white. I think the concert may have been on my birthday, or very close to it.

Fast forward a decade or two.

I haven't really listened to any Christmas music this year.

I don't own any Christmas-specific clothes, just a red sweater or two.

I do still send out Christmas cards, and I love to do that.

My son asked me today why we can't just use rocks to trade for what we need and want instead of money. He said there seemed to be a lot more rocks than money, so we should just use rocks.

Christmas just isn't the delight it used to be for me. We just never seem to have enough time or money to do everything we want with the season. I don't know how to ignore all that and focus on the one thing that really matters, which is Christ. How do I focus only on that and teach my children to focus on that when everywhere around me is talk of the best Christmas deal and Santa Claus and how I HAVE to get my son's teacher a gift and I HAVE to take all my neighbors plates full of goodies and I HAVE to do this and that and everything in between.

And then yesterday I stopped to think. Why is Christmas this necessity? We spent a bare minimum on Christmas this year. Yet, I wonder, that money could probably be much better spent on something more important.

How can I make this season joyful again?


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