The Resolutions Post

I had been going back and forth on whether or not I would post about my resolutions for 2014, but I’ve finally arrived at a place where I think it’s best to go “public” with my blog readers. So, without further ado…

Spend my lunch breaks more wisely

Most of my lunch breaks in 2013 consisted of me checking Facebook multiple times, looking at Buzzfeed, or doing something else incredibly mindless as I ate my food at my desk. It’s time to stop looking at my computer’s clock after venturing down the Internet rabbit hole and being surprised that my hour is up.

This year, if I’m not running errands or eating lunch out, I plan to read, study, or work out during lunch. No more Internet rabbit holes.

Send out real birthday cards

I live a really, really long way away from a lot of my family, so it takes a special effort to stay in touch. One of the things I plan to do about that this year is to send them all real, paper birthday cards through the actual mail. So much more personal than email.

Give more generously

A and I can be pretty selfish with our money. After all, we’re young, and we struggle sometimes, especially now that A is in school and we’re living on my income alone. Conventional wisdom would dictate that it’s perfectly ok for us to keep all of the money that we make because we can definitely put it to good use.

But.

Is it really okay to describe us as struggling when we’ve been blessed with so much? When people in our own city, in our own neighborhood are going hungry? When our church has served us so faithfully and we’ve given very little back? It’s not ok. I’m not saying we’ll forgo the essentials, but we’re making more of an effort this year with our money.

Work on preparing meals ahead of time

It’s sort of a cliché, but the truth is that the biggest detriment to both my diet and my budget is when I’m pressed for time and unprepared with food. I tend to not be very creative with ingredients that I have on hand unless I’ve made a plan ahead of time. And even when I do have a plan, if there’s an unexpected change to my schedule and I suddenly only have 30 minutes for supper instead of an hour, I’ll panic and get takeout.

So this year, I’m going to try to have a few meals in the freezer, ready to heat up and eat, at all times. I’ve yet to do this for lunches or dinners, but soon. I have done this with my breakfasts, and it’s been way awesome.

Those are the big, specific ones, aside from the ubiquitous ones like spending more quality time with A and Baby I, learning new things, keeping better house, enjoying myself more, etc.

 What are your resolutions for the new year? Do you tend to keep them?

Some More Parenting Talk

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

(Photo credit: kevin dooley)

I have covered my thoughts on the so-called “Mommy Wars” before. But today I feel like I need to plead with my fellow moms (at least, the moms of my generation): stop it. Please, please, stop it.

I have not met a mom of a baby or toddler yet who hasn’t personally felt judged by something someone has said about parenting, whether that something was said on TV, in a magazine, or on Facebook (which I am now calling Hatebook, thanks to my blogger hero Jen Hatmaker).  And I’m pretty sure I have all the types of moms in my friend arsenal: crunchy granola moms, moms who formula-feed, moms who let the TV help them watch the kids for a few minutes, moms who cloth diaper, stay-at-home moms (of both varieties – those who do only because they wanted to and those who do because they wanted to and they can’t afford childcare) and working moms (also of both varieties – because they love their jobs or because they need to for financial reasons). Conclusion: no one is immune from this judgy cloud of paranoia and hate.

Case in point:  I saw this graphic on my Hatebook newsfeed the other day.

The mom who posted it loves her kids and wanted to make a point about responsibility. And I think that’s fine. But in doing so, she singled out a lot of her fellow moms, who were quick to point out that some moms have more photos of themselves than their kids for a multitude of reasons, not least of which is that they don’t feel comfortable posting lots of photos of their kids online (we all know that once you post a photo online, it’s there forever in one form or another).  Responsibility is very good. But is there some number of times which a mom is allowed to go out without her kids before she’s considered in the wrong? And if so, I would very much like to know what that number is (sarcasm here).

I think it’s great to be curious about what other moms are doing (i.e.: method of diapering, breastfeeding vs. formula, age at which to introduce solid foods). But within the past few years, I’ve noticed that as a society, we’ve become nearly incapable of sharing our ideas without inflicting judgment on moms who don’t do it our way. And this is so incredibly hurtful.

Something I need to admit to you, dear readers: I struggled with postpartum depression for a few months after Baby I was born (post about that to come). And I can tell you that one of the most crushing, debilitating things a mom who is struggling can hear is that she’s doing it wrong. It still hurts now that that cloud has lifted and I feel ‘normal’ again. I can’t stand it.

It’s just human nature to think that the way you’re doing things is the best way. After all, it’s your best way, or else you would be doing something different, yes? But let me propose something to you:

Breastfeeding moms: smile at a mom feeding her baby a bottle without mentioning that breast is best. Acknowledge that bottle feeding is a bonding experience as well.

Moms whose babies sleep in cribs: high-five a co-sleeper. Toss that crap about safety out the window. Get warm fuzzies when the co-sleeping mom tells you how much she loves waking up next to her baby. Don’t worry about when/if the baby will move to a separate bed later; that’s the mom’s job. Not yours.

Stay-at-home-moms: praise your working mom friends for finding a caregiver for their babies who loves the baby almost as much as they do. Do not remind the working mom that she spends 8+ hours away from Baby every day. Open your mind to the possibility that this separation is good for the entire family. Do not assume that the family could make one income work if they really wanted to. That family is not your family.

Detachment-style parents: help a baby-wearer carry her grocery bags. Don’t scoff at her and assume she can just put the baby down for a second. Entertain the idea that this is the best nap the baby gets all day.

You get where I’m going right? I know, I KNOW that all the moms out there can remember how tough it can be when they’re uncertain of their parenting choices and just trying to make it work. Taking sides in the mommy wars is a way to proudly proclaim to the world the way you do things. If you can’t do that without implying that someone else’s way is second best, I’m asking you to stop. Think. Empathize. Love. Show respect for your fellow mom, no matter who she might be.

This is not a blog post.

This is just me checking in to tell you I did not quit my blog. Life has been happening lately, and I simply have not had time to create drafts, or to polish and publish the drafts I have on deck. Sorry. I promise I will post an update on what’s been going on lately, and polish those drafts as well. In the meantime, here are some cool websites I’ve been wasting time on when I’m too brain-dead to post:

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Book Review – 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

This is the true story of one woman’s (Jen Hatmaker) year of saying “no.” She identified 7 areas of excess in her life and spent one month each eliminating those things (then she took a two week break in between the months, so it comes out to just under a year). Do not let me understate this: she was hardcore. For example, one month she gave up every piece of clothing in her closet except for seven. Woa.

Now, this book is written from a Christian point of view, but I would still recommend it to anyone interested in our American culture of waste, greed and excess. “7 resonates with people already carrying tension about what enough really means,” Ms. Hatmaker says.

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Sunday Social, Or, My First Blog Linkup!

Sunday Social

Today, I’m linking up with a couple other bloggers (click the button above, ok?) for a fun “Sunday Social.” It’s a series of questions they came up with. If you go to the original post (button above, people), you can see a list of other bloggers who also linked up and answered the same questions. Fun!

So, without further ado, here go the questions…

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