This year I will focus more on self-care and less on feeling guilty

I've never been good at New Year's resolutions. I actually stopped making them about five years ago. It wasn't worth the disappointment when the end of the month rolled around and I was still eating carbs or hadn't cleaned out my closet or whatever lofty promise I made to myself.

But 2020 is going to be different.

I'm going to make some different types of resolutions. Ones that are more meaningful and therefore ones I will try much harder to keep. Because these resolutions are critical to bettering myself and my attempt at balance as a full time working mom of two little boys.

I get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that it's become hard for me separate work and home. I feel like I'm always running and don't spend enough time stopping to enjoy life.

I need to simplify.

Here's how I'm going to make it happen:

1. Less phone time

When I get home from the office, I'm not going to check my email. I am going to spend my time playing with my kids without the distraction of my phone. I am going to try much harder to be present in their day-to-day lives. I only get so many hours with them each day and I need to spend them the right way.

2. I'm going to chill out

I don't have to do everything immediately. Even if I feel like I do. If someone texts me and asks me for something at night, it can wait until the morning. I'm off the clock and no one expects me to work at night, so why should I put that pressure on myself?

3. I'm not going to be so hard on myself

No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. If I make a mistake, it's okay. I don't need to beat myself up about it. I shouldn't let the fact that I might have done something the wrong way at work affect me the rest of the night after I leave the office.

4. I'm going to be more empathetic towards my children

Sometimes when I get off work and go pick up the kids, I'm still in work mode. If I've had a bad day, sometimes it crosses over even when I'm with the kids. I can get easily annoyed if they are whining or clingy. But that's the opposite of what I need (or want) to do. I need to love on them and show them empathy.

5. Allow myself to take some time off

I go on vacation every year, but I have a difficult time disconnecting from what is going on at the office. Last year, I unplugged on vacation and it was really wonderful. I need to do vacations that way from here on out.

6. I'm going to plan for a vacation without the kids

Sadly, my husband and I have never been on a vacation for more than three days without our children. I long for the day that we can take a week off and relax somewhere tropical without having a toddler flinging sand a few feet away or worrying about getting up at 6 a.m. We have never made it a priority to put money aside for a vacation for us. It always goes right into our savings or retirement or the kid's 529 accounts. But this year we're going to save for a mom-and-dad-only trip.

7. I'm going to reconnect with my husband

So much of our time is dedicated to work and kids and housekeeping that we've kind of lost each other. We both work full time, my husband coaches high school baseball and I write for my blog and do a lot of freelance work. But we need to set aside time to spend together without distractions.

8. I'm going to ditch my working mom guilt

Nobody has time for that nonsense! I have to work to pay the bills. And that's all there is to it. My boss is very flexible with me, but I'm still going to miss some field trips and lunches. And that's okay. Because I'm going to be more present when I do get time with my kiddos.

9. I'm going to let go of things I don't have time for, even if I love them

Before I had two small children, I spent a lot of time working on fundraisers for nonprofits. And even though I love doing it, I have to let it go. It's extremely time consuming and I need to be spending that time with my kids instead of stressing myself out for months raising money. There will be time in another season—just not in this raising-two-small-humans season.

10. I'm going to stop overwhelming myself

I think I found my new 2020 mantra—Slow down. Chill out. I can't do it all. I think I can. But I can't. And that's okay.

I am really going to work hard to make all of this happen. Hopefully, since I wrote it all down, it will help.

Truth be told, I never thought it would be such hard work to simplify my life. But as a full-time working mom with two little boys, I have to give it a try.

[This was originally published December 2017. It has been updated.]

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Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

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Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

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Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

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Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

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Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

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Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

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Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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