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.
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.]