I don’t do resolutions well.
I can say I want to lose weight and get in shape after baby number two but … well, doesn’t every woman want that at six weeks post partum, regardless of the date on the calendar? Saying it on January 1st rarely makes it likelier to happen (just the opposite, in fact). So to the gym I go but it’s not a resolution, darnit … it’s just getting back to the healthier life I was living before getting pregnant the first time. If I lose a few pounds in the meantime… bonus. Okay, super bonus. But it’s not a resolution.
Other than the predictable, I think this needs to be a year where I focus on acceptance: Acceptance of who I am as a mother – in the good moments and the difficult moments; Acceptance of the changes in myself and my life as a result of having children – the really gratifying new things and letting go of the things that don’t fit, even if it’s just for now; Acceptance of who I am as a wife and of who my husband is – our faults as well as our positive attributes.
I think the commonality is accepting imperfection. This idea hit me like a lightning bolt and stuck. There is a real pressure as a new mom to not only strive to a certain ideal but also to show at all times that you’re reaching it (complete with high heels, apron, and iron in hand). I went down that road like any unconfident sucker would and it led me straight to post partum depression. And why not? Trying to live up to any unrealistic, imaginary, greater-than-life ideal tends to do that to a person.
But since then, I’ve latched onto this idea that we need to embrace our imperfections. Accepting that there are going to be moments that suck will make them so much easier to reconcile when they get here. Realizing that we are fallible will make us much more patient the next time things don’t go just the way we planned. Remembering that everyone (even the parents of the year) has an impatient moment with their children now and then will be much easier on the self esteem than constantly feeling like we’re missing some fictional mark and beating ourselves up over it. Besides, how are we ever supposed to grow as parents if we are constantly reaching for something unattainable, rather than being in the moment and accepting it for what it is – as screwed up or as perfect as it is?
I imagine I will be more confident in myself if I can just accept my faults once and for all, rather than being railroaded by them every time they show themselves. And if I can be more comfortable being me, I’m sure to be a better mother and wife.
Because really, this is what 2011 is all about and anything that makes life better for them is worth the effort.