Ah, a new year! What a joy… I’ve always loved new years because of the opportunity to assess, and reflect, and focus. There are a few areas I want to focus on this year, and one over-arching theme. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about lately – and what I hope for from 2019.
My year of play
I’ve decided that 2019 is my year of play. It’s so interesting being a Mom and a person… In the early days of mothering, I felt like it was all kids, all the time. My Mom identity completely took over because there was literally no space leftover for anything else (emotional or physical). But now that the kids are getting bigger (nearly 4.5 and 2 and a bit), I can feel a tangible difference. There’s space to breathe, to explore, to remember who I am and who I want to be, and reflect on that a bit more. So my areas of focus for the year are both personal (all me) and related to being a mom, because they reflect the kind of mom I want to be.
So the theme for the year is play. I want to be more lighthearted, more playful, more ready for a spontaneous dance party or jump on the trampoline (we got a trampoline for the kids for Christmas and it is the best. gift. ever – for me. I am a champion trampoliner!) The key, of course, is that being playful comes from a place of being calm – at least for me. I can only be spontaneous and fun and look for the silly in things when I’m feeling calm and not frazzled or overwhelmed. So play + calm go together.
A focus on focus
The other focus is on focus. I just finished reading Busy by Tony Crabbe – an excellent read. It’s an exploration of busy as an excuse and a way of life and a dangerous habit that can rob the sweetness from life. I recognised many of the ideas, but it was refreshing to have them all compiled in one place, and I have been thinking about a few concepts a lot…. Like focus. I’ve always applied focus to my work, but I think it’s just as important in parenting. I have every afternoon with the kids (from 2.45pm to 5.15pm when Mark comes home) and our best afternoons are when I put my phone in my bag and don’t take it out again. Where we can just be with each other, whether that’s colouring in or jumping on the trampo (yes!) or at a play date or going to the library. The extraordinary ordinary, you know. By contrast, on days when I find it hard to unplug my attention is fragmented, the kids get whiny because they can sense it, and things are generally not very fun.
Sideways listening walks
We’re going to start solo after-dinner walks next week, too, which I’m so excited about. Twice a week (Tuesday and Wednesday) we’ll go for a 20-minute after-dinner walk. One day it will be me and Arty, Mark and Ella, the next it will be me and Ella, Mark and Arty. I want to start it now so that it becomes an ingrained tradition, something that they accept as part of the everyday fabric of our weeks, some sacred solo time together. Hopefully it will help prepare us for the stormy teen days ahead, and keep the lines of communication open… It’s a way to weave sideways listening into our lives – an idea I cottoned onto in this excellent article. “The aim is make this into a habit as your children will know that they can rely on this time with you and that it’s all about them and how important they are to you.”
And finally, I’m going to take one dedicated evening a week to learn more: a Sunday evening, I think. I signed up for this awesome course in Behavioural Economics last year, and still haven’t finished it (despite loving it every time I dip in!) Why? Because I wait till I have time to do it… And who on earth has time, really? So if I choose one evening a week to really focus on learning things I’m fascinated by, I’ll be able to keep learning all year long.
So there you have it: my focus for 2019. How about you?