Happy Holidays, friends! I hope you are all doing well.
I haven’t updated here in a while but it is the end of the year and my MOST FAVORITE time for reflection. I’m also getting that familiar desire to set goals (finally! for the first time in 2 years) so I wanted to pop in and do some sharing. The first things I’m reflecting on: What Worked this year and What Didn’t. Plain and simple.
- Reframing my commute as “alone time” – October marked my first anniversary of living with a more sizeable commute to work. (4o mins to and from work on a good day, some days it was over an hour both ways.) I really didn’t want that to feel like a drag because it was something I was going to be doing twice a day, ya know? What I realized early on was that this was GREAT alone time. And as a parent of a toddler, I really grew to appreciate that. Granted, I am an extrovert and don’t need a ton of alone time. But this seemed to help me strike a balance. It was where I did a lot of quiet thinking, listening to audiobooks, chit chatting with my mom, or listening to new music. Looking back, I literally would not have time for many of those things had I not been commuting. So a total win!
- Leaving work at work on evenings and weekends – My entire career I have been a “work until it’s done” kind of person. If that meant taking work home, or squeezing things in on the weekends, I would do it. Having a child has changed that. My time with him in the evenings is precious (and also shorter due to my commute) so it became very easy to prioritize no working at nights. Weekends are the same. They never felt long enough when it was just Garrett and I. Now that feeling is compounded and I feel so protective of that precious family time. The challenge is that a lot of my identity is wrapped up in my career, and I am person who wants to excel. Not being willing to do anything at any time sometimes this meant being a B+ employee instead of an A+ employee. Fellow perfectionists will understand how uncomfortable this decision was. But it turns out that protecting that family time (since I never feel like I have “too much” of it) really, really worked this year and I have no regrets. Maybe I wasn’t overprepared for every single meeting. But I had to brutally prioritize, and over the course of the year I was happy with the decisions I made about when to show up and give 110% and when to just show up.
- Neutrogena lip products – So I’m almost embarrassed to tell you that I have upwards of 50 lip products because I just find lip gloss and lip stick and lip balm IRRESISTIBLE. But this year my work horses and first choices were just about always a Neutrogena lip product. (Specifically this one and this one.) I think there will be some makeup purging over the holiday break!
- Audiobooks/Podcasts/Anything I could put in my ears – Curling up with a good book (preferably a hardcover) is one of my favorite things to do! But this year, had I waited on time (or energy) to get through physical books I’m not sure what I would have finished. Instead I gave into audiobooks more then ever and at least got through almost an average of one book a month. Also I spent a lot of time gleaning information and enjoyment from podcasts. More on my favorites of the year in another post. Cleaning the house, running errands, washing dishes — I most always had something good in my ears!
- Hair Texturizer and Hair Thickening Gel – I’ve heard that post-partum hair loss does eventually stop. But I’m two years in and my head has just NOT recovered. Sadly I didn’t have a lot of hair to begin with so my hair situation is pretty sad these days. But I’ve found a couple of products that have really helped me out in this space and are no more fuss than what I used to use: This and This were/are winners!
- Ordering a Peloton – My workout life in general falls more into the “What didn’t work” category, with the major exception of time spent on my Peloton. I wish I would have rode MORE, of course, but literally this was the only major exercise I got this year and it was literally because there is a spin bike and very engaging programming and instructors 5 steps from my bed. Such a win. I want to commit to even more rides next year!
What Didn’t Work
- Our Meal Planning system – God it feels never ending. Every week what are we having for dinner and who is shopping at what store and when. 2019 may be the year I try meal planning monthly and it WILL be the year I figure out how to make grocery order pick up/deliver work for us, because there was so much food prep fatigue in my life.
- My Planner (or lack thereof)– I have ordered an Erin Condren planner every year for the last 7 years. But at the end of 2017, it just slipped through the cracks. I went almost 3 months without a planner at all, and about lost my dag gum mind. Of course in April there were no great options, so I just bit the bullet and bought a Happy Planner on clearance at Staples. It looked like Erin Condren-ish, so it had to work, right? Except it did not. Functionally it was…fine…but I did not enjoy using it. So I was inconsistent. And I do not live a spontaneous life right now, so planning keeps me sane. Needless to say I’ve already received my 2019 Erin Condren LifePlanner and it’s full to the brim with dates, life, reminders….aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh. This is one of those areas where I just need to buy what I like and not hem and haw about it.
- A consistent and repeatable fitness routine – My mental health suffers when I do not exercise regularly. Full stop. But I just couldn’t figure out where to fit things in consistently between commuting, working, keep our house going, and having quality family time. I tried yoga at home this year. Not for me. I tried a Les Mills subscription. Didn’t enjoy. I tried a new spin studio – FIRM NOPE. The Peloton was all that worked, but even with that I struggled. Consistency is something I need to work on, no doubt.
- Not enough date nights – Two years into parenthood I am really understanding how intentional Garrett + I will have to be (especially in these early years) about PLANNING to spend time together. If we don’t, it just won’t happen. We are lucky that it has fallen into place pretty well, but if I’m honest, I’d like to spend more quality time sharing intentional experiences with my husband rather than talking while we sit on the couch after work. I’ve already got the ball rolling on this for next year because to me it is a MAJOR priority.
- Somewhat relatedly: Not having a backup babysitter – We are so lucky to have moved 3 miles down the street from my mom, and it literally is just straight down the street. She can be at our house in under 10 minutes, and this year she has! She has put groceries in our fridge, picked up packages off our porch, run over to our house to let the handyman or housekeeper in, has come through in the clutch on days when Holden was too sick to go to daycare…The 2018 MVP of our household is MY MOM, no question. And on top of all of that, she is the reason we have had any date nights at all. She’ll come over and put Holden to bed some weeknights when we want to have an adults only meal. Or she has been willing to have her babysit on a Friday or Saturday night if we have plans. She has even offered to stay over night and wake up with Holden on nights when she knows we will be out late (ie: wine tasting Christmas Party — HELLO!) Her flexibility, frankly, has been angelic. But also, Holden is now 2+ years old and we need to GIVE MY MOM A BREAK!! I know she loves her grandson, but I would also like to cultivate relationships with some other babysitting options as well. This is hard for me, but it’s going to be a 2019 goal, for sure.
- My caffeine consumption – This year has been….not good on the caffeine front. Coupled with not a lot of exercise and my anxiety has been a little off the charts. Nobody wins when mama is anxious, let me tell you. Honestly, I know the answer to this challenge, and I really just need to let the caffeine go. But mama is also TIIIIIIRED. It’s a pickle. The only way out is through, I think. More to come on this one.
- My clothing organization – This was such a point of frustration for me at multiple points this year. I feel a hard core KonMari session coming on. I just need a purge. My closet is twice the size of my old closet and it’s overflowing and I feel like I never have anything to wear. This needs to be a project.
- No office in our house that I use – Our house has 4 bedrooms which includes our master, Holden’s bedroom, my husband’s office, and a guestroom. I don’t really have a place for any of my creative pursuits, and that is starting to wear on me. We have the space, we just need to make it work for us. I originally thought I didn’t need separate space for things like planning, blogging, memory keeping, etc. But it turns out, that isn’t a functional solution for me.
- Not blogging – There are a million things I miss about blogging and I’m tired of complaining that I’m not doing it. I’ve already started to make space for this pursuit and I’m hoping that 2019 will be a good come back year.
- My approach to physical self care — I’m a girly girl at heart, and honestly I am excited to put on makeup and do my hair 7 days a week. The reality of my life is that I’m lucky if I shower 3-4 times a week (Gross, I know) and many times those showers are exhausted showers at the end of a long day. Not particularly relaxing or rejuvenating. I only cut my hair once in the last year and it was a desperation chop where I walked into Ulta and had a random gal chop 7 inches of my head because I literally couldn’t TAKE IT ANYMORE! I haven’t gotten my nails done in 2018, and literally made zero time to physically prioritize myself. I don’t think bubble baths and manicures are the ONLY type of self care (clearly) but I am a person who enjoys beauty treatments and physically taking care of myself. And I *could* have made time for that. I just didn’t. I’d like to work on automating some of that for 2019.
Tell me about you! What worked for you and what didn’t this year? Are you making goals for next year? What’s on the horizon?