In just a few days I will be 32 years old. I am definitely in that stage of life where the years feel like a complete blur. I use to think it was so silly when people forgot how old they were, like how do you forget your age?? Now I am that person, when someone asks how old I am I still think, 30. Like I said, the years are a blur. But here’s what I learned this past year…
1. Motherhood continues to be everything I expected and nothing I expected
It’s weird to think that I’m smack dab in the middle of the years I often thought about when I was a little girl. Being a working mom with young kids juggling all of the things. I always knew that I wanted to be a wife and a mother, but I didn’t really know what it would feel like to be a wife and a mother. Turns out all of the clichés are true, but they are alway way more intense than I realized. Time really does go fast. Infants really are hard. Toddlers really are hard. TODDLERS REALLY ARE HARD. Motherhood takes sacrifice. Motherhood makes you have feelings of super human and feelings of super…er…incapable all in the same minute. Motherhood is as hard and as rewarding as it gets.
My favorite part about motherhood this past year was the transition my heart made going from one child to two children. I am so aware that this sounds cheesy, because I tried to rewrite it several times. But there is really no other to describe it — my heart grew this year. My love for Hayes and Nellie has truly expanded my ability to love. I am shocked at how deeply I love those little humans. It makes my heart hurt. Like I said, cheesy. But also like I said, true.
2. This ‘word of the year’ thing is a keeper
When I turned 31, it was about a week before Michigan shutdown due to COVID. And I was a little over three months into my very first word of the year — joy. In the book, the authors mention that there will be a sense of intuition when you come across your word and that is how I felt about joy when I first wrote it down on my list of possibilities. I just kept coming back to it, I was drawn to it. I had no idea how much that word would mean to me when I picked it out, but come March it was clear that joy was exactly what everyone needed in 2020.
Joy was the light at the end of the tunnel, a reminder that good things and bad times can coexist, and a reminder to find the things that bring you joy, be grateful for them, and take care of them.
Now, three months into 2021 and my new word of the year — keep going — I am already sure this word (phrase) was meant for me and meant for this year. This blog is something I have always wanted to do. But I have my days when I am insecure and questioning the whole thing. I get caught up when my website traffic is down or posts aren’t getting likes. It goes in waves. And when I’m in a dark place with it all, keep going (and reallyyyyyy awesome friends) pulls me out, dusts me off, and kicks me in the rear. Trendy or not, if you’ve never picked a word of the year, it’s not too late for 2021, try it out!!
3. I can live without cheese and Nutella, I just prefer to live with it
YES. After giving up dairy for 6 months to help Nellie’s belly, I can confirm that I that I can, in fact, live without cheese and Nutella. Actually, it’s not as hard as you think it will be to live without cheese and Nutella if the alternative is a screaming sad belly baby. Honestly, if we have any more babies, I’ll probably give up dairy two weeks before their due date. It made a huge difference for us. But I am now eating dairy again. CHEESE. NUTELLA. You get it.
4. Screen time is ok
I’m a pretty big believer in avoiding an all or nothing mentality. It has never served me to approach my life, my goals, my day as an all or nothing, black and white, right or wrong. I can think of sooo many areas of my life where this applies — nutrition, exercise, relationships. Everything in moderation. 80/20. That’s how I think about things. Moderation is where I judge myself the least. Moderation is where I’m happiest.
For a long time I judged myself hard for moderation in motherhood. Screen time is one example of that. Screen time always felt like a cop out to me. Like I wasn’t parenting when a screen was on. Plus, I want my kids to love the outdoors, fresh air, and being active so screen time = bad. But 31, 2020, and the pandemic helped me realize how great screen time can be. LADIES. Did you work from home with a toddler in 2020? Are you still doing it in 2021? Cocomelon was my main squeeze when I needed a quiet Hayes while I was on an important meeting in May 2020. If screen is all the time, yeah probably not the best. But screen time once in a while, screen time once a day, screen time twice a day when it’s needed, that’s moderation; survival.
5. At-home date nights are a new favorite
I’m not sure why it took a pandemic to show Jeff and I how much fun at-home date nights can be. They aren’t just for quarantine! At-home date nights are perfect when you’re on a budget. At-home date nights are perfect when you have young kids and you don’t want to find and/or pay for a sitter or you don’t want to do the juggle with transferring them from your parents house (seriously, it can be a lot of work!!). Basically, we are big at-home date night fans now. We will not stop out on the town date nights, but at-home date nights are a great option too.
6. Listen and love
I have a lot to learn. There were so many big important issues that bubbled up around the world in my 31st year and while some things were clear to me, with others, I found myself conflicted while sorting through the news and social media. What is an opinion, what is fact, what do I believe? Often I couldn’t quite nail down and simplify what I believed; it was all very complicated. Or the things I believed seemed to be in conflict — if I believe this, everyone will assume that. If I believe that, everyone will assume this. For a while the judgement and hate really consumed me, but ultimately I have come to the conclusion that I don’t have to have it all figured out. I just need to stay curious. I just need to keep learning, keep reading, keep asking questions, keep listening, keep loving, make changes to be better, and keep going. Hey, there’s that phrase again 🙂
Hey hey, 32!
31 was another great year, even with EVERYTHING (you know). I’m grateful for another trip around the sun and I can’t wait to see what 32 brings. Cheers!