It’s the most wonderful time…..of the year. Yes, I love Christmas, BUT, I also adore the day after Christmas, the day when you can clean your house and put your decorations away. The new year is right around the corner and everything feels fresh and new. This Christmas was particularly difficult for me and Cole, because he caught the tummy/fever/crying (mostly me crying) bug, and spent the day sick instead of playing.
So, we move on to brighter days. It is time to sit down and set some goals for 2016. I have always made New Year’s Resolutions in the past, like losing weight (by cutting out all carbs, all sugar, all fun), saving money and simply being a better mama. But last year I made some groundbreaking discoveries that I wish I had made in my 20s but didn’t. I speak loudly and frequently about my struggle with financial freedom, and how, even with my good career and strong support system, it is a struggle, but even with those things in my corner that so many do not have, finances and life for the single parent can be daunting.
In many ways I will be glad to see 2015 go, although it was a happy year for us. I learned so much from 2015.
1. Set some goals. Write them down, in a zillion places. Tell people about them, so that people will hold you accountable. I paid off my credit cards in 2015, only to have to struggle in the fall of 2015 with paying my Homeowner’s Insurance, Property and Real Estate taxes, so some debt came back (Please do not ask me why two of those things do not come out of my escrow? Hello neighborhood bankers, if you are reading this, help a sister out and fix that for me). Another one of my goals was to take Cole on a beach vacation for cash, which I did! It felt good to reach my goals, and to be able to provide for my sweet child.
2. Kick the clutter habit in your home. For Lent this year, I did the 40 bags in 40 days challenge, and found out so much about myself. I am an emotional hoarder. Now I love clear countertops and clean drawers. Today I breathed a sigh of relief to get some Christmas stuff out of my house and back into storage, simply because it cleared up space for my mini me and his farm of house pets to charge through the house. I didn’t realize how much all of that stuff was cluttering up my head and my life. (My desk at work still sometimes looks like a time bomb went off, don’t judge). If you struggle with clutter, I suggest that you read some of Ruth Soukup’s bibles (for me, they have become bibles) about simplicity and parenting and life in general.
3. The biggest thing that 2015 taught me was that I need friends in my life. I have always kind of been a bull headed do it myself kind of girl. Before Cole, I was a workaholic, and just powered through life, filling it with things, and a few good and dear best friends. But after I became a mommy, I became this insecure mess of emotions, thinking that if I couldn’t be perfect, I was screwing up my kid. Cole and I are so incredibly blessed with the support system of my amazing parents, who dropped everything at 9PM the other night to bring us some Tylenol, since Cole’s fever was spiking and I was completely losing it, and could not get it under control. That is simply the tip of the iceberg of what they do for me and Cole on a daily basis. If you are a mommy, you need friends. Not so that they can do things for you, but so that they can reassure you that you are doing ok, and that you are not alone in this blur of parenting. I still have dear, precious friends from my pre-Cole days, who will be my forever friends, but in my darkest times, knowing that I can call Cherie, Krissy, Autumn or Kelly for free medical advice for my kid when I am about to lose it (if you have a nursing or pharmacy degree, or your husband is a doctor, I apologize in advance for when my kid is sick, I lose all reason and need lots of advice, support and texts). I know that Kristen will always tell me that I am not screwing up my kid, that I am doing ok, and that I am not a holy failure as a parent. I travel in a girl gang of boy mamas (and one lone girl mama, Danna) and it is reassuring to note that we are not alone, since they all seem to love superheroes and fart blaster guns. You can go it alone, but why not, when you can have sweet friends in your life to push you and tell you when you are acting crazy (I am looking at you, Cherie, Krissy, Kristen, Kelly and the two Jennifer’s in my life) and you need to just stop.
I am thankful for the new friends 2015 has brought us, with another Autumn, Amanda and Kelly, since children have a way of bringing adults together. If you don’t have a girl gang, you need one (Boss, you are in this girl gang too), because I have no doubt that any of my precious friends would do anything for us like we would for them (like running them some tummy meds when they are trapped at home with a sick little one), or listening to me drone one about the perils of single parenting (I promise to shut up about it already in 2016, right….we know that will not happen).
I am attaching what I use for my goals for 2016, and I am anxious to hear about yours too. I found these at justagirlandherblog.com, if you are wanting to print your own and put them in a happy binder like mine.