2016 is almost here and I’m excited!
Personally, I’ll be challenging myself to continue to add balance to my life. Somehow, when I began to have children and then decided to stay home and educate them myself, I made a dangerous trade-off.
Not only did my husband and I decide to become a one income family but I lost something much more valuable than a paycheck. I lost myself.
This is a risk for all mothers, I believe. Whether they mean for it to happen or not. Some women pride themselves in throwing their all into their children’s lives, thinking and feeling like their children and their husband should always be first and be given the focus of ALL their energy and time. I did this at first. I decided to stop pursuing a career in the social work world to instead stay home and raise my first baby boy.
I have never regretted my decision. Our family grew quickly, five babies in 7 and a half years and I was BUSY. Busy with nursing babies and changing diapers, chasing toddlers and teaching preschoolers. Busy learning how to home educate. Busy learning how to be married when the shiny and new wears off and the hard, lean, trying years crowd out romance and time together.
In all that busyness, I did forget to add in a little margin for myself. I let old friendships die, I stopped reading almost completely, I did not write my thoughts or my favorite quotes anymore. I did not go out to eat with a friend and sit and talk for hours on a regular basis. I did not ask for what I needed, I did not seek out ways I could continue to fight for children in foster care and meet the needs of a population I feel most called to help.
I let it all get lost and while I can (and have over the years) blame circumstances and my husband and others for this, the responsibility lies with me. This TED talk really sums up the gist of it. It is up to me to get what I want.
If I want to read, I need to take the time and let the people around me know that it is a priority. If I want to write, I need to do just sit down and write. I have participated in and won NaNoWriMo 2014 and 2015 and that has done wonders for me. In 2015, I challenged myself to read 48 books. I won’t make it to 48, not for lack of trying but because my spinal fusion recovery caused me to miss more reading time than I planned. I am on my 43rd book of the year so I feel like I’ve still accomplished a lot!
Deciding to fight for my health, to fight against my own fear of surgery and the feeling of “who will do it all if I’m out of commission for that long”. Making the decision to have spinal fusion surgery – that was another accomplishment for 2015.
So why I am so excited for 2016?
First, I’ll be adding a photography challenge to my current reading and writing challenges. I know NOTHING (a big, fat zero percent) about photography. All I know is that when I look at some of my talented friends’ photos, I am inspired to be creative.
My children are always asking me, “What do you get if you win?” They aren’t very impressed when I explain that I just get the satisfaction of knowing I’ve done it!
Second, I’ll be training and working as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer again. I did this for a short time when I left the Blount County Children’s Home in 2002. I am so passionate about this organization and advocating for children. I can’t wait to get started!
And last but not least, I turn 40 this year. I plan to celebrate the whole year, but so that I don’t drive everyone around me crazy, I’ll try to limit the blatant celebrating to the month of April.