Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy New Year! (Warning - unbridled introspection ahead)

Almost every year I make a list of New Year's Resolutions/Revolutions. Some years the list is long enough to include headings and subheadings (the subheadings consisting of practical suggestions on how to achieve the headings). I love lists. I'm a compulsive list maker. I make 'em all the time. Do I follow them? It varies.

A list designed to last a whole year is a hard one to follow. I'm pretty good with lists for the day, for a couple of days and even maybe a week - but beyond that it eventually becomes clutter and heads to the blue box.

Every year I vow in my head or on paper to do things to take better care of myself, such as more exercise and eating better. If I do that then I am healthier and happier and, as a result, so is my family. Unfortunately my strategies for weight loss and exercise usually dwindle and I have to resort to my fat pants and maternity underwear at some point in the year.

Over the last few years I have cut the list dramatically. Last year it consisted of three items: Live in the present moment; take care of myself so I can take care of others; and know my limits.

I've covered the second one as best I can; I usually start off well and end the year ready to resolve to try again. The last one is improving - I'm getting better at knowing how much work I can handle before wanting to run screaming from a room.

Living in the present moment - that one needs work. In fact, I totally suck at this.

I can't remember where I read it, but another blogger described a wonderful bedtime experience with her kids. Rather than rushing through the routine, they took their time and everything ended happily.

I get so stuck on routine that I can't stop and smell the flowers - quite literally. I sometimes get agitated if things don't happen on schedule or the way they were planned. As well, there is always something to be done, like laundry or dishes, that "prevents" me from sitting down and really playing with my kids. The whole point of me working from home was to be there for my kids, but sometimes I wonder if they'd get more one-on-one attention from an outside caregiver. (There. I said that out loud.) To meet all my obligations I work a lot of nights, which sometimes makes for Tired Zombie Mommy who goes through the motions but who isn't really "there."

It's a hard thing to do, this living in the moment, but when it happens it is such a beautiful thing. I remember when Girlchild was born and, for the first time in my whole life, I felt complete, utter, indescribable bliss. It was amazing. I would get up in the middle of the night to feed my second child and I would sit there and rock and stroke her fine, golden hair and be so completely there with her - nourishing her, loving her. I was in the moment and I wouldn't have traded it for anything - even sleep.

Eventually, though, life has a way of pulling you in different directions. I like to try to make everyone happy, and you can't always do that and be in the moment, too. Sometimes I'm physically present, but mentally miles ahead, planning the next meal, preparing for the next task, thinking about the next deadline. And then a child interrupts my thoughts or my task and I get snappish, which I always regret.

I've reeeaaalllly got to work on the in-the-moment thing. It will be my one resolution. My babies won't be little forever and I can't waste a single moment regretting this time. I don't want to look back 20, 10, 5 or even 1 year from now and think, "Man, did I ever screw that up." I want to feel that bliss more often. Actually, I want to feel that bliss again. I think, maybe, that by following this one resolution, many other good things will fall into place. Is that nuts? Do you think it can be done? Do you have any ideas on how to make it happen?

Happy New Year to you all! (And for those of you who make resolutions, good luck!)


Heather said...

I am really glad I read this. The live in the moment idea is such a good one. I am often a Zombie Mommy and catch myself reminicing about the good old days when I could do anything I wanted. It could all be very Cats-in-the-cradle-ish if I don't watch it!

Steph said...

Wow...that takes me back to about Grade 12! I had forgotten about that song, but it is so true.