February 1st is the New January 1st

Many thanks to Kristin for her guest post today. You can also find her at http://mindthemommy.blogspot.com/.

At least for procrastinators. Those who were highly motivated to set new goals for the year, and have only now remembered to add them to the To-Do List. Or those who still have “set New Year’s resolutions” ON the To-Do List.

Or even those who were overambitious in their aspirations for greatness this year, and have suddenly found themselves coldly realistic, and in need of a new wave of encouragement.

I am in the latter group.

In late December I had these miraculous stirrings to finally perfect myself as a daughter of God, a wife, a mother, and a friend. To build my talents while keeping a tidy home filled with charity between family members and welcomed visitors. Ready to tackle the world, I moved into action.

I eagerly joined a gym WITH childcare—a blissful place to increase my endorphins naturally (are stair climbers natural?) and work off the weight of five babies in less than eight years whilst my children played happily in someone else’s care.

I assigned a set of household tasks to each day so my home would not only sparkle like never before, but I would finally unpack the last ten boxes from our move nearly two years ago.

I determined to curb my frequent stops for ready-made food, and actually plan meals in advance.

I resolved to read scriptures in the morning before my kids were up, rather than at night when I was on the verge of passing out. I planned to attend the temple more often.

And I committed to indulge my passion for writing.

To organize my lofty aspirations, I created a weekly calendar perfectly tailored to my life. With one child in school all day, one PM kindergartener, one morning preschooler, one toddler needing a nap, and a nursing baby, my life is only mine in small, frequently interrupted chunks. With my super chart, I could do it all.

Let me tell you, I was AMAZING for about a week and a half.

Then it began to unravel. The reality of my demanding life, coupled with the unexpected annoyances of mortality (like a broken washing machine, a series of unplanned doctor visits, and long nights with ear-infected runny-nosed kids) have led me to consider getting a shower as a major accomplishment.

This morning my discouragement hit rock-bottom—my lofty goals had fallen apart due not only to unexpected life events, but to my own weakness.

Although sick kids kept me from the gym, I could have spent more of my time in the basement on the treadmill, rather than eating ice cream out of the freezer.

I could have spent more time creating an orderly sanctuary in my home, and less time watching Jon and Kate Plus 8.

I could have…and I should have.

But I didn’t.

So now I am left to pick myself up and try again. To congratulate myself for cooking dinners at home all month long.

To appreciate the fact that the scale didn’t move. I didn’t lose, but I didn’t gain either.

To find satisfaction in an orderly family room and organized kitchen cupboards, even if the piles of unfolded laundry are taller than my children.

And to move forward in starting a new trend, where February 1st really IS the new January 1st. I am not behind, just fashionably late. Feel free to join me.

Did you make any goals this year? How did you do in January? What plans do you have in the coming month to better yourself, and how are you going to do it?

11 thoughts on “February 1st is the New January 1st

  1. I’ve often thought that the new year should start in, say, April. Or May. It should coincide with spring. That’s when fresh hope and noble resolves very naturally stir within my soul. January is just an awful time to set new goals. January is just an awful time, period. January is for surviving, not for remaking oneself. I’ve decided that I’m going to think of Easter as the beginning of each new year. Easter’s Resolutions. I like it!

    I’m amazed (and impressed!) that you set such ambitious goals for yourself. Yeah, when I had five little ones at home, including a nursing baby, getting a shower *was* a major accomplishment.

  2. Though it may seem small to you, your accomplishments really are impressive. I like your attitude about February 1 and I really needed that encouragement. Thank you.

  3. That’s so me. I keep saying “2009 is my year!” but have I done anything differently? No. Well, I did buy a scale to track to my hypothetical weight loss. But I love the idea of being fashionably late! I am still going to make 2009 my year (my theme of the year is “Health in Balance”). I need to have more realistic expectations and take Jennie’s advice about baby steps. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one watching Jon and Kate Plus 8 when there are other things I should be doing.

  4. I read this and then noticed all the “Gung Hay Fat Choy” signs today…. lets just say that you prefer to start on the CHINEESE NEW YEAR calendar. Hurrah for the year of the Ox….

  5. Exactly why I never set New Year’s resolutions. If I have low expectations of myself, I am rarely disappointed. lol. Actually I did set one goal this year. For the first time in 10 years I get to go to Sunday School. I was determined to read the weekly lessons so I could partcipate in class. That lasted a good 3 weeks before my husband decided we should take the family history class together. So of course I slacked off on the Sunday School lesson reading. But, you have inspired me. I’m going to read the Sunday School lessons anyway. Really.

  6. For the first time EVER, I’ve kept my New Year’s Resolution for the entire month of January. I have read my scriptures every day for the first time in years. And it’s only because I made a blog for it, so I’d be accountable. (I was making time to blog, but not to read my scriptures, ridiculous as that is. So I’m fairly pleased with myself.)

    But the weightloss. The orderly home. The nurturing of talents……unfortunately, not even conscious goals I made. I will be fashionably late, too. Or Chinese. Whatever makes me not looks bad. =D I’m a big believer in baby steps, too. Doing the little things. Tidying on commercial breaks instead of flipping channels. Choosing a fiber bar over a handful of tootsie rolls. Folding laundry/walking on the treadmill during Jon & Kate + 8. (I love it, too! I just watch the marathons on Wednesdays.)

    Great post. Good luck! February is always better than January.

  7. Your post reminded me of how I have felt too much of my children’s childhoods. I have focused on the unattainable goal of super-woman- when I wish I would have left more days open to the idea of success being 3 loads of laundry, washed and dried but not folded, and everyone still alive and loving each other at the end of the day.

    Yes, it is important to have goals and move forward but in the stage of life you are in you deserve more reveling in those short and precious days of childhood. Maybe what is important is not getting all those things done but in taking the time to enjoy what is happening in your arms and within your home.

    Now I’m off to stress out about the disaster that is my home and ponder who I should invite over for FHE.

  8. I love you, Kristin! I have a blog titled “The Road Paved with Good Intentions.” I walk that road daily. I, too, have lofty goals, but hate the disappointment that seems to always come with them. I like the baby steps idea, and the idea to pick up and start over when you feel like you’ve lost the battle.

    I really struggle with keeping my home the way I would like it to be. I spent so much time about a year ago making plans, charts, etc. to tackle the chore. Well, I still have those charts on my computer, but I have had to take them off of my fridge because it’s just too much for me right now. I have taken necessary chores (vacuuming, dusting, bathrooms, tidying, and laundry) and made them into daily tasks that can be completed fairly easily. I thought I would graduate beyond that babystep a month after I began it. Well, folks, I’m going on 9 months now and have still not mastered that simple daily cleaning.

    But each Monday I smile, thinking “Hooray for today! I get to start over!”

    Kristin, may February 1st be a Hooray! day for you.

  9. Forget Jon & Kate! I want to see a show about the lady with six little kids who just had octuplets. That’s going to be a crazy ride.

  10. Thanks for so many kinds words.

    Sharlee, I LOVED what you said about spring being a better time for new goals. January is kind of awful.

    wonder woman, congratulations on the scripture reading!!! That is awesome.

    jendoop, I appreciate your wise words. Just last week another mom at ballet asked me, as the mother of many small children, if I were the mom who played with the kids, or the mom who felt stressed playing because of the looming to-do list. I pondered before answering. Really, I am both. It depends on the day. But her words made me want to work harder at being the mom who plays more often.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your statement that, “Maybe what is important is not getting all those things done but in taking the time to enjoy what is happening in your arms and within your home.”

    I do think you can have some of both, and should have some of both, but enjoying these little ones has got to be the higher priority.

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