2012 feels to me like a year of starting over. Last year, with the emotional and psychological roller coaster that it was, felt like a year I just lost in my life. Like all progress in parenting, self-sufficiency, financial stability, and personal growth was suspended for months and months, until we slowly, hand over hand, crawled our way out of the abyss, sliding backwards with every other step. As I'm blinking my eyes in the light of the new year, I find I have picked up several nasty parenting habits. My OCPD is flaring up in stealthy ways I didn't realize until it had a good hold in me. While my marriage is stronger than ever before, all the other areas in my life I've lost control of, and I'm more than ready to step forward and get them back.
Although I usually don't do New Year's resolutions, this is a good year to start. I have always had problems being motivated to start, work on, and complete goals. It's like the very process of setting a goal sets me up to fail, as I run from it full speed. I don't want to do that this year. I am going to set personal, parenting, and sustainability goals and I'm not going to let myself back down from them. I've got a few lined out and going already, so I'm going to start listing them here:
1. Sew two clothing items per month. This is to replace something I would have bought. Bonus if I use fabric I already have.
2. Preserve/process one food item per month. This should be easy to achieve as usually I buy bulk meat and then prepare it for the month, but this will keep me on top of things.
3. Reuse/re-purpose one item per month. This is going to be the challenging one. I'm not that great at re-purposing items and a lot of times I'd rather buy something than fix it to make it work. This might be sewing or crafting related, or not. I'm kind of looking forward to meeting this challenge and see how creative I can get with it.
1. Get rid of one bag of THINGS from the house every week. I need to work on simplifying our stuff down so we have more room and less clutter. I can easily meet this goal if I just take time to do it. The problem will be hauling all this stuff to the Goodwill before it gets out of control.....
2. Sort through the socks and get rid of a lot of them. I have more socks in this house than even 9 people need, and I'm going to be ruthless in getting rid of old styles and anything that is worn. My original plan was to take every sock in the house, bag it up, and start over.....but the husband vetoed that idea. I'm still going to pare down as much as I can though.
3. Chores every morning before computer. This will be a hard one: I am quite fond of my morning routine of coffee and/or breakfast and facebook before I get going on the day. But as I'm giving myself a lot more chores and school now, I need to utilize every bit of time that I have. I have plenty of time to goof off online during my lunch (yes, I take a lunch break---it's my prerogative) and after the minions are in bed. Cutting out the morning computer time will be hard but necessary: after Miss Seven gets done with her morning socializing and nursing session, she takes a good nap and I need to get stuff done then.
4. Reorganize the kids' rooms and simplify their area. As of right now, an hour of playing completely covers their floor with junk and it just continues to expand until it spills into the hallway and kitchen. I need to get their area and their toys organized, cut down, and under control so they will enjoy their playtime more and picking up is not such a monumental task.
5. Utilize Mark's days off better. Keep up with daily chores so we can use those days for bigger projects instead of always playing catch up. Cook ahead, clean out big areas, have family time, and just not waste the day.
6. BUDGET BUDGET BUDGET. And as an extension of that, keep the house clean and dishes done so we are not tempted to go out (and therefore spend money) just to get away from the overwhelming-ness of it (is that a word? makes sense to me :D)
1. Less yelling. I can't stand it when I hear an argument in the other room and I'm tied down with the baby or something else, and so I yell across the house. As a result, no one listens anymore when I yell. They know I'm not coming in. I need to physically get up, even if it interrupts something I've been trying to get done for the 100th time today, and solve the problem without yelling. Most of the time, yelling will not even be necessary if I can see what's going on.
2. Listen more. Mark and I had gotten pretty good at not ignoring the kids, at stopping what we were doing and looking them in the eye when they were talking, and not banishing them to the other room. But last year there were many, many, many conversations that we needed to have without little listening ears, and we have been really horrible about being absorbed in ourselves and brushing the kids off. I hate that. They know that we do it, it affects them; and it's just us being selfish. It's going to take some work to reverse this for both of us, but it's so important for us to do so. The kids need to know how important they are to us, and showing them is the only way to do it.
3. Talk more respectfully. See number one. The kids, especially the older ones, have started being snippy, disrespectful, and rude to each other a lot lately. And I know deep down it's just a reflection of what they see amplified into the everyday.
To sum up, I really don't like the type of parent I've become in the past year. For awhile yes, I was in survival mode, but I am not anymore and it's time to step up and deserve the love that I get unconditionally from the seven little hearts in this house. More apologizing, saying yes, hugs, positive interaction, and time spent together. Less yelling, criticizing, hiding, saying no, and punishments. A family is a unit, and all portions of the unit need to work together to make a loving, successful home: the parents and the children alike. Here's hoping that we can re-assess and pull it off before it gets out of control.