New Years 2017

I feel like I should have some grand epiphany going into a new year; like some huge plan for my existence starting tomorrow.  But I don’t.  I’m not even big on resolutions.  Because, if I’m being honest, I know I won’t stick to something I feel pressured into.  I’m a rebel like that, I guess.  And New Years resolutions feel like just that; some enormous pressure to change my path.

Honestly, though, I like the path I’m on.  Sure, I’d change some minor things, but overall, I’m happy with my life, my family, and my little farm.   So, I’m sitting down writing, not resolutions per say, but the the top 10 choices I make daily that I’m becoming increasingly aware of.

1.  I choose to be real on social media. One of my most favorite messages to receive after I post a video or a blog post is that I make other moms feel normal. Because isn’t it a relief to feel like we’re not alone?!? If there’s a woman out there that’s always on time, in stilettos, with full make-up, who does intricate Pinterest projects with her kids; who never has that screaming kid at wal-mart, never burns a meal, and never forgets a homework assignment, I don’t know her (and I might call BS on her if I did!) I know I’m certainly not her! And I won’t pretend to be. It gives me greater joy to make another woman feel normal than it would to try make make myself look invincible.

2.  I refuse to “keep up with the Joneses.”    I buy most of my kids clothes at wal-mart *gasp* and sneak in off-brand cereal.  I LOVE my stained, missing knobs, broken DVD player Suburban and have no intentions of trading her in for a newer, prettier model.   Now, don’t get me wrong, I like nice stuff, but I’m not trying to impress or outdo my fellow moms out there with a name brand….well, anything.

3.  I choose to distance myself from dramatic people.  Frankly, I have enough crazy under my own roof to try and tame yours too.  It’s taken me 34 years to recognize the difference between a friend looking for genuine help to restore peace to their home….and someone looking to rally the troops, to elicit pity and to stir the pot.  I choose to distance myself from the latter, and instead seek out the peacemakers; the ones who will challenge me to be better when I’m wrong and expect me to do the same for them.  These people are hard to find!  But they make life better!

4.  I no longer feel guilty for scheduling some Me time.  It is vital to my health, my well-being, and my role as a Wife and a Mom.  There’s a reason the airlines tell you in case of emergency to secure you own air mask first.  I won’t have anything to give if I don’t take time to replenish.

5.  I am that annoying mom that brings homemade treats to every school party.  Because I genuinely love to.  Because food is my love language.  But I absolutely do not judge the mom (or dad!) that only had time to grab yesterday’s donuts from the gas station on the way to school.  Because who cares?!?  My part is no more impressive than her part.  And I hope that feeling is mutual on days when I walk in with dirty, mismatched kids.  We, as parents, should function as a team; not as competitors.  It really takes a village, folks.

6.  I need a finished product at least every couple of days to revive my sanity.  As a stay at home mom, I need; not want; need a finished product.  Laundry will be there tomorrow. The floors will be as dirty tomorrow as they were today before I mopped them.  For me, it’s the signs I paint and projects I do.  Whatever it is for you, do it!  Paint something.  Bake something.  Build something.  For the love of all things repetitive, I have to end the day checking something off my list.

7.  I choose to be happy now.  Not when I lose a few pounds.  Not when I bring home more money.  Not when my kids are old enough to keep the house cleaner.  Right now.  Because if none of those things ever happened, I would still have lived a blessed, fulfilled life.  It really is so much about perspective.  Audrey Hepburn was oh, so correct when she said, “Happiest girls are the prettiest girls.”  A genuine smile radiates and attracts people.  No amount of make up, nice clothes, or accomplisments can match that.

8.  I choose to laugh lots and even more when things get hard.  In our house, with 4 young kids, horses, chickens, dogs, cats and sometimes pigs…there’s a lot of room for stuff to go wrong.  And it does so often.   If I let every little mishap get me angry or upset, I’d be a miserable sad sack.  The best thing I can do instead is giggle, put on my big girl panties, deal with it, and then usually make a funny post on Facebook about it, so others can laugh with me.

9.  I learned a long time ago to take the “quit” out of my vocabulary.  Quit, divorce, waste, …they’re not options in my house or my marriage.  I do not like my husband some days.  Heck, I don’t like myself some days.  And I’m sure that feeling is mutual.  But I never threaten to leave or give up.  It’s simply not an option.  There’s a profound strength that comes from figuring out a way around the problem and a genuine comfort that comes from knowing no matter how mad I am today, neither of us is going anywhere.  Because our marriage and our family….we’re worth fighting for.

10.  I choose to lift up people around me.  Whether it be supporting a local business or just pumping up that potato salad someone brought to a party.  I choose to tell strangers in the store that I love their sweater or their haircut.  I choose to smile empatheticly at the mom who just looks wore out because I’ve been there!  Write happy birthday on Facebook walls, pay for the coffee behind me in the drive thru when I can, leave a kind note for a waitress.  I was blessed this year by several random acts of kindness.  Speaking from experience, sometimes the smallest gesture, even from a stranger, can be the grandest pick-me-up.

So there it is.  May your 2017 be full of lots of love, kindness and grace.  May your mishaps lead to good stories and your failures encourage others. May God place people in your life that delicately challenge you while simultaneously making you feel normal.  Happy New Year!!

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