Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 - the Year of the Babies

So, I've been struggling with the goal-setting for the last, oh, six months or so.  Not that I have a hard time with mapping out goals or working towards them.  On the contrary, I LOVE that part.  The part I was stymied by was the idea that I couldn't do everything I wanted to.  It didn't make sense for me to decide that I was going to work on my Chinese language skills & finish my crafting projects & finally finish fixing up my house & get my ASL certification & serve on the LSC & ... & ... &&&

Even I know that is just crazy.  And that's saying something.

I read Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational in the last couple of years, and there is an entire section (chapter?) that talks about how we humans cannot give up options, even to our own obvious detriment.  It was really eye-opening.  And throughout this whole goal-setting process, I kept thinking of this.  Here I was, not making substantial progress in ANY of these things because I couldn't give up the rest to pursue just ONE.  So silly!  So self-defeating!  And yet, so hard to move past!

So here I am.  We had a really great lesson in Relief Society today about New Year's resolutions.  One comment I felt was particularly good for me to here.  It was about how this women (who is now serving an LDS full-time mission) had tried to do everything, be a super-mom.  And how after she had an accident, she had to really take stock of what was important.  It reminded me of how I feel when I get pregnant; just getting through the day with the kids and myself clothed and fed and alive was a major accomplishment.  Forget laundry, forget cleaning, forget everything else.  That's just frosting, not cake.

And then she said this, "And when I talk now with my kids, they don't remember any of that extra stuff I did anyway.  It wasn't important."

Now, none of what I am saying is new.  Nothing particularly amazing or unheard of.  But trying to actually apply this stuff to my life has been a challenge.  At first, I thought this would be the Year of ASL.  I was going to really get into signing and get my interpreters' certificate and help build our southside Deaf community, etc.

But then I realized that my babies aren't getting any younger.  Heck, my oldest is already in kindergarten, started on a long path of full-time school that will eventually take her away to college.  Do I really need to squander this time with them for an ASL certificate I could get later?  They still want to (beg to!) spend time with me and play with me and talk to me.  How long will that last?  And if we are able to add to our family like we would like to, this time I have now where I can focus on them individually will only get further divided, even if I don't take on any other new projects.

So 2012 will be the Year of My Babies.

This doesn't mean I'll only sit around putting together puzzles and making crafts and cooking mac n cheese.  Although there is nothing wrong with those things.  :)  But it means that everything I do (or don't do) will be weighed against the priority of my family.  So yes, I might just spend some time this year painting my hallways and putting together the family scrapbook.  But will I put off my kids indefinitely while I focus on those things?  No.  Will I involve my kids with those projects?  I sure plan to.  And will I do those things with the intent to benefit my family?  Yes, yes, yes!

So for now, I have to say no to getting my ASL certificate.  Or spending all of my free time improving my Chinese skills.  Or trying to fix up our place to the point where it is finally DONE (although I will still dream of that time!).  No running for the LSC.  Maybe I'll even make a rule that I won't work on small projects in a day until I've spent at least a little time with each kid

This is the year when I focus on what is really important - my family.