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I want so hard to be better. A better mom, a better spouse, a better boss, a better employee, a better…the list could go on. Actually, if you write the word “better” enough, it starts to sound a little crazy, like not a real word at all, like when you KNOW you’ve spelled a word correctly, but it just looks incorrect on the page, no matter how many times you spellcheck.
Try saying better five times. Did you giggle? I did. (Hmm…this does not bode well!)
I was thinking about a fellow blogger Liv’s post about the “2015 in review”—which notes her commitment to not letting the Goblin King draw her into his drama, and often getting drawn in, only to try, try again. How I know this struggle well!
I was thinking about Lisa Thomson’s 2015 coming to a close post, about what we’d like to change about ourselves as we head into the new year, or if there’s really nothing to change at the moment. That sometimes it’s good to not have a plan.
So what is it that I want to change about myself in 2016? Like Liv, I want to not be drawn into my Ex’s drama. I’d like more than anything to not get into knee-jerk reaction mode when I get something nasty via email or text from the Ex. To remain calm. Haven’t I learned after all these years? I need to take 24-48 hours before I can formulate a response. I have to stop worrying about the things that I can’t control. Remember to only give energy to the things I can affect.
I need to loosen up a bit—I’ve been such a “planner” in all aspects of life lately. Before the divorce, I was planning on how to get out of an abusive relationship. During the divorce, I was planning every step of the way on how to legally protect myself and my children (while being confused and terrified I’d make mistakes all along the way!). Being a single parent, I had to plan every step of the morning routine to get the kids off to school and me off to work, only to come home and have an afternoon and evening plan to get homework done, dinner cooked, clean up, bed time. And start all over again the next day. I have to plan every response, every request to my ex who is like a clone of Liv’s Goblin King. I have to plan each pick up and drop off with my ex when they don’t happen at school. I fret and worry about school vacations and time sharing and scheduling extracurricular activities for the girls that must not interfere with his time or the girls get confused and he emotionally blackmails them about not seeing him enough, arggh. Whew, I’m exhausted from all this planning!
I think this ‘over-planning’ thing I’ve got going on is a function of trying to assert control over my life, a reaction to my former life that blew up any old time my ex would have a temper tantrum. Things were so out of control then.
And now that it’s been years after he left—I need to loosen up. A day may not go as planned and that’s okay. That’s life. I don’t need to exhaust myself by planning, sometimes it’s good to have a day where you fly by the seat of your pants and keep your eyes and ears open.
To stop and be thankful, for the moments that you have on this earth. Last week, I was shuttling the girls around from Christmas activity to christmas activity—church, then ice skating with a pal, then back to that pals’ house for movie time, home again so we could relax, and I had an almost out-of-body moment. I was watching myself put the girls in the car, and they were happy to do it. They went along with mom because they knew they were safe, off to somewhere fun, or off home where we could be lazy. And I remember telling myself, gosh, I’m such a lucky mom right now. Sure the girls can be pains about whose side of the car the notebook is on, don’t look on MY side, don’t look out MY window, etc. etc., but the overall picture? They’re just getting into the car, happy and content about where ever we’re going. Listening to Christmas carols, singing along when their favorites came on. Listening to them alternatively argue with each other or giggle along the way.
In 2016, I want to be better about enjoying these moments, even in the times of busy-ness, the acts of doing, the acts of not doing. Let me be grateful and thankful for all that’s good. Embrace peacefulness.
In 2016, I want to share my gratitude and thankfulness with my loved ones, near and far, by spending time with them (I can be a bit of a recluse sometimes), by talking more, by reaching out more.
In 2016, I want to be more patient with my daughters when they argue with each other or with me or when they don’t snap jump when I tell them to get ready.
In 2016, I want to be more forgiving of myself and others, including the Ex (this one will be the hardest one, I think). When the Ex does something or the girls tell me something troubling, I want to lean more on forgiveness for his actions, and concentrate on how to help my girls cope with their dad.
In 2016, I want to be healthier and happier, on the inside and out. (note: I’ve started this 30 day plank challenge, which is doing 10 minutes of core exercises; currently on day 12!).
Gosh, this is a tall order. I better get cracking. Where to start? Ironically, among this list the easiest task is the darn exercising! I’ve already done my work out today, ha!
In 2016, my mantra will be: peaceful, thankful, sharing, forgiving, healthier, happier, loving (towards my kids and hubby and family and friends).
Will this be enough for me to “be better”? Or maybe it’s the act of trying to do these things, the journey, that will one day make me a “better” version of who I am. I hope so.