Simple is the New Black

I’m not usually the make-a-resolution type of person, yet here I am with a publicly documented list of resolutions. It’s mostly prompted by the fact that I’m turning 35 in a few months. I’m not upset about turning 35, however, I am upset about the pesky gray hair that stands straight up right along the line of my natural part no matter how many times I pluck that sumbitch. At soon-to-be 35, I sort of am who I am going to be, but perhaps I can try to embrace this whole “older and wiser” thing to make some minor modifications that would have a ripple effect to my family, friends, and overall mental health.

Ringing in the new year with our fancy glasses. Champs for mom, OJ and apple juice for the kiddos.

  1. Read more. Originally I wanted to say use my phone less. There’s something about that weekly usage update that makes me feel slightly sick to my stomach and I know I need to cut back. However, rather than make a resolution that seems like I’m taking something away I thought I would add books back into my life. I miss reading and truth be told, I do have time for it. So its time to dust off my library card for more than free DVD rentals and children’s books and invest in some quality literature for myself.
  2. Eat More Veggies. Please note that I didn’t say cut back on wine, cheese, and all things sweet and salty. I need to live my life and those things are essential to my happiness. That said, me and some leafy greens probably need to be acquainted on a more regular basis.
  3. Analyze Less. As my husband is wont to tell me all the time, my biggest problem is that I think too much. I don’t disagree with that statement and am aware enough of the fact that this can lead to my undoing. Just because I heard Anthony snore twice on vacation doesn’t mean he automatically has sleep apnea which means he’s not getting quality sleep which means this is the perfect explanation for his moody behavior. Yes, that’s an actual rabbit hole I went down a few weeks ago. I analyze responses to texts, non-responses to texts, etc etc. Is this person upset? Did they seem off? Are you exhausted yet? Well, I sure am. Enough of the over thinking. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Disclaimer: this won’t apply to my blogs because what would I write about if I didn’t dissect and over-analyze even the most mundane parts of my life for this public diary?
  4. Cut My Kids Some Slack. Contrary to what you may think about my offspring because of this blog – they’re actually pretty good kids at the end of the day.  The tantrums, the talking back, the whining, and the attitude are all – sigh – totally normal and something that all kids do. Our last day at Disney we were headed back to the hotel on the bus from Magic Kingdom. The parents were exhausted and depleted but the kids chirped happily away (maybe a little on the loud side) and it was an uneventful ride. While walking through the lobby an older man and his wife who were also on the bus stopped us to tell us how well-behaved our children were. At the end of my emotional rope, I almost launched myself weeping into this man’s arms with gratitude. Instead, I thanked him and said I really needed to hear that. This isn’t a braggadocious tale of my children’s stellar manners, just a reminder that they are good kids and that sometimes my expectations for them can be unrealistic, which automatically sets them up for unfair failure. That story is also a reminder for all of us that if you see a well-behaved child out in public with their parents TELL THEM! We all need that validation to make up for the times we’ve had to carry a child kicking and screaming from a store.
  5. Get Outdoors More: Some of my best memories in 2018 came from outdoor adventures: looking for beach glass with Anthony, exploring a local hiking trail with the kids, and playing at the beach. These outings were always such a pleasant surprise for several reasons: 1. They were free 2. They occupied our children with the simplest things for well over an hour 3. They were free of the drama that can sometimes accompany more elaborate (and expensive) outings. In 2019 I want to do more of this. I think there’s something so beneficial to getting out in nature and they’re at this good age where they’re curious about animals and plants and don’t mind getting dirty.

    Thankful for a warm day on January 1st to get to work on those 2019 resolutions!

  6. Embrace simplicity See below…

I am exhausted. Plain and simple. I imagined that with both kids in school for a few hours a day, five days a week, that I would magically have all of this free time. And while it’s true that I do have these three magical hours every morning to TCOB, I feel more frantic and harried than ever. This is partly due to the fact that with this extra time, and perhaps a little guilt at having the extra time, I’ve been striving to make everything as magical and extra as possible for the kids. Take their birthdays for example. I’ve always loved making the kids’ birthday cakes but this year, and especially with two back-to-back, it became more of a burden. Anthony wasn’t that impressed with LEGO cake I slaved over and more than half of it tragically ended up in the garbage. Olivia was more wowed with her unicorn cake and that part of it felt good, she’s not even going to remember it. I probably put in 5-6 hours worth of effort between baking, decorating, and cleaning up a disastrous kitchen to prepare these two cakes. Then there were the balloon bouquets that they needed to have. I made two separate trips to the party store that week for a total of 80 minutes spent in the car to get overpriced balloons that cluttered up the house versus having any real impact. The truth of the matter is that they would have been just as happy with a store-bought cake and a single balloon from the dollar store. The expense of my time and money would have been considerably less. At Halloween, I took the time to wrap juice boxes to look like mummies and hot glue gunned googly eyes on them because I thought that the three and four-year olds in Olivia’s class would get a kick out of it. Did they? I honestly don’t know. Was it worth the 45 minutes I spent on it? Probably not. In the past I’ve always been happy to allocate my time in ways like this. Maybe I had more energy or was drinking a lot more coffee but I’m sort of over it. I’m going to pick and choose the things I want to be “extra” about. I just have to. This overwhelming feeling of having a to do list that can never come close to completion means that I need to trim the fat somewhere so I can get my head above water.

I also think the kids need it. This past year we did a lot of really fun and amazing things with the kids. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything and am so grateful that we are able to do those sorts of things. But looking back I realize that it wasn’t necessarily the things that made them the happiest. Or if there were really happy moments, they came at the expense of having to work super hard to make it happen. This past week I jokingly came up with the concept of “Mommy’s Restaurant” where I pretended to take the kids’ orders from a fixed menu I devised and brought their milk out on a little tray from Olivia’s play kitchen. Every day and every meal they asked to do Mommy’s Restaurant because they got such a kick out of it. And then they totally lost their sh*t in a good way when Mommy’s Restaurant turned into a pop-up location inside the fort they made. To compare, they haven’t asked to go back to Disney World once (although they do talk about it a lot). Not that I wouldn’t have done Disney World because I did love that trip and had my first “aw, I really miss it!” moment the other day, but this gave me a little perspective going into 2019. I don’t have to do all of these big things. I can if I want to, and I’m sure there will be plenty of times where I will want to, but these over-the-top things may not be worth the stress it causes on the back-end. Also, it ultimately takes my focus and time away from what’s really important and why I’m doing those things in the first place. So in 2019 I’m going to be more choosy about what I expend the effort on and look for areas to simplify things. Like being okay with putting a pack of plain ol’ juice boxes in Olivia’s backpack for her next class party. That shouldn’t screw her up, right?

Cheers to a great 2019!

Mommy’s restaurant for the win!



One thought on “Simple is the New Black

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