Before I had children, January was a time of personal resolutions. I would vow to workout harder, eat better, stop biting my nails. And sure, those resolutions are still in the back of my mind as I rid the house of rogue snack foods and stock up on greens but as a mama, I’m making a very different list, too. My life is no longer just my own. My time is not split between the things I do for myself and the things I do for my family – everything I do is for me and them. And now, my vows are more intentional, less goal-oriented. They may not be observed so much as felt, or at least that is my hope.
Therefore, this year I am setting my intentions to …
Be present. In 2017, I will put down my phone. I vow to VROOM more cars around the living room, and rock more baby dolls. Emails and social media can wait, but coloring pictures with little hands holding fat thick crayons cannot, nor can real conversations with friends and family over a cup of coffee with devices tucked into pockets instead of easily distracting on the table. I will savor crepes and lattes from the Starving Artist Café with Birdie on Tuesday mornings. I will search for the blue dart frogs in the Berkshire Museum aquarium with Honey. I vow to be in the moments of my life, to appreciate and enjoy them, and to share them with my loved ones. I vow to pay attention, to make memories and to fully give myself to each interaction and experience.
Move. Since I’ve been in a baby-chasing season (and toddler-wrangling season), my back has been sorer and my knees have been creaking. There seems to be a permanent crick in my neck from sleeping with a child draped across my chest. And my yoga practice and workout routines, I admit, have been less than consistent. But the more I hit the mat and the more I move my body, the better I feel. So I vow to move; be it yoga at home or one of the wonderful studios around the area, a swim at Berkshire South, a workout in the basement or walking around the neighborhood playing “I Spy” with the kids. I will move my body because it will feel better. And I will do it so my children see how important it is to be active.
Give. Around our house there are piles of outgrown clothes, unused gadgets, toys we no longer play with and books we won’t reread. Things that may no longer be needed by us can almost always bless someone else. What isn’t handed down to family or friends or set aside to be sold at local consignment sales will go to the Goodwill in Great Barrington or the CHP Family Center. I vow this year to give not only what I cannot use, but what others need when I can. vow to prepare meals for those in need and to give to causes that are meaningful to us. But most importantly, I vow to lend a helping hand, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a quick and easy smile, and an open heart and mind.
Be quiet. A mama’s world is filled with incessant noise. It is delicious little voices singing, heart wrenching cries that wake you in the night, laughter accompanied by loud crashes and obnoxious toys. And then, there is the inner noise and dialogue. Did I remember to turn off the stove? How many loads of laundry are waiting for me at home? What’s Honey doing at school right now? When are the library books due? There is value in silencing the mind. Spending moments alone, in prayer, in solitude, in meditation are vital to my mama heart. And I certainly did not commit to enough of them last year. But in this year, I will vow to find time for quiet, for stillness, and for renewal. I will listen to my heart beat and hear the songs my family has sung into it.
So here we go, waking to the dawn of another year. May we all follow through with the intentions we’ve set and help each other along on the harder days.
What are you hoping to accomplish this year? I’d love to walk the journey with you.