Okay, this title alone was one I never thought I’d write. Let alone this whole piece. It’s kitschy, a little cliche, a kind of “every blogger does a ‘top 47 things list’ and I do not want to be like all other bloggers” piece, and it references a Taylor Swift song, for fucks sake.
Yet, as I climb off my high horse, acknowledge that this T Swift song ain’t all that bad, and also admit that I love lists to the point of obsession, I realize this is the EXACT piece I need to write to kick off the new year. Plus, there really are some key things in my life that I must say “let it go” to – yup another reference to a song I secretly adore. Haters gonna hate.
2015 beckons an emotional cleanse. Shovel the bullshit off my lawn. Brush the nonsense off my shoulders. More cliches? I think we all get the point. Here is a brief list of that which I will excitedly shake off this year, in a spastic rhythmic dance (in the privacy of my own home, of course).
1. Endless (judgmental) questions about our choice to have one child. I’ve been writing about all the adventures that come along with having an only child for a few years now. A sort of anthropological study of how others react to the fact that our little family does not fit those of the masses. Apparently, we’ve seemed to have broken some social code that dictates having one child is not acceptable. Regardless of the reasons behind the decision. I will make more of an effort to simply say “we are one and done and proud of it”. End of story. Of course, if the questions persist, as they do sometimes, I may have to say “perhaps we are unable to have more children, but honestly, that is none of your damn business.” Guess it’ll depend on my mood and coffee intake (or lack thereof) on how I’ll answer those relentless and judgmental questions. But for the most part, make every effort to shake them off.
2. Feeling guilty for being a working mom. I’ve been super proud of being a working mom. I feel it makes me a healthier person (both physically and emotionally), and a stronger mom to Mia. I savor my adult time, and I am beyond proud of my chosen profession. Plus, I feel I am setting a positive example to Mia. Of course, there are those moments when she clearly lets me know that she misses me during the day. I am not able to volunteer at her school very often. Other moms in her class can. She doesn’t hesitate to remind me of that. Every field trip she asks if I can go. Sometimes I can, most often I can’t. Sometimes she understands, sometimes she cries. It stings. Yet this is the best choice for me, for our family, for Mia. It is also financially imperative that I work, so in that context, it’s not a choice. I shall let go of the guilt. And maybe just buy Mia more stuff to compensate. Yeah, that’s the healthy alternative (this is sarcasm, in case you didn’t realize).
3. A cluttered house (okay, fine, messy). I’m an organized person. Some may say I’m a bit OCD. I attempt to keep my home spotless 90% of the time. Well, that standard has slipped significantly in recent years. Of course no one knows this but my immediate family since I scramble relentlessly to clean every inch of my home in the hours (okay, fine, days) prior to us having company. But if it’s only us, the clutter can get a little out of control. Ain’t nobody got time to keep up a spotless house 24/7. And it’s okay. Really. I can convince myself of this. Soon. The year just started.
4. Pointless self-criticism. Oh lawd, this is a big one. I’ve been my own worst critic since, well, forever. I need to learn to better accept me for me. Be confident in who I am. Laugh at my flaws and let my quirks flourish. One way I’ve already started embracing myself fully is by allowing more pictures of myself to be taken. I used to shy away from the camera. Incredibly self-conscious, never wanting to see what I really looked like, and when I did, I’d pick apart every aspect of myself. Stuff no one else would see but me. It was exhausting. Now I’m posing for pictures. I’m taking selfies. And the best part? I’m really liking what I’m seeing. Shocking! I see myself through clear, realistic eyes; not my altered, super critical eyes. Progress. I’ll keep going in 2015.
5. Mia being her own person, with her own style and strong personality. This one, hopefully, won’t be too difficult. I adore our quirky girl’s style and outgoing personality. She does her own thing, her own way, and is often the leader of her friends. She is not self conscious at all (unlike her highly self-critical mom). She’ll pick out an outfit that I may gasp at (mismatch socks, always, and other questionably quasi-matching pieces). But I allow her to embrace her own style. I celebrate it, most of the time. There are moments I wonder if she’ll be made fun of. There are events we go to that I know other kids and adults are looking at her, possibly judging her, and most likely me, as her mom, for letting her out of the house like that. That’s what I need to shake off. Not Mia’s choice of self expression, but my concern about what others will think of her. If she stays as strong, independent, creative, and fierce as she is now, she’ll be able to shake off any comments without any hesitation. I have a lot to learn from her.
6. Complaining about petty shit, or First World Problems. Seriously. Given the life I have today, there is absolutely no reason for me to complain about anything. Yes, I’ve had plenty of struggles and my past is littered with dark clouds, yet I am coping with all of that stress. I am dealing. I am living. The life I have now is quite extraordinary. All of my basic needs are met, and exceedingly so. I provide for my family, in excess. We are healthy, stable, and prospering. On Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I am at the top of the pyramid. This is a small space that most people are not ever able to achieve. Many struggle with basic necessities on a daily basis. I can never lose sight of that. Never take what I have for granted. So when my Wi-Fi slows down for a few minutes, as I sit in my warm, heated home, with my belly full from fresh foods, I vow to not curse the internet for not loading Beyonce’s latest video quick enough (yeah, I like her too. And what?!).
7. Allowing idiots to ruin my day. I’ve prided myself on not letting the nonsense of others to effect me. Well, okay, sometimes it effects me, but for the most part, I can let snide comments or passive aggressive non-verbals bounce off of me. The opinions of others, more specifically, those others who are not important to me, are not what I value. So I shake them off. I will do an even better job of this in 2015. Not allow idiots to take me out of my zone. Laugh it off and keep it moving.
This is what I am striving for in the new year. Not quite ready to commit to the term “resolutions” as that creates too high of an expectation. Which, if I don’t fully live up to what I have listed, I get caught up in #4, and my relentless vortex of meaningless self-criticism will give me a migraine. So I will shake it all off instead. Channel some of Mia’s extraordinary self-confidence and independent thinking. Let it all go.
Happy New Year!