New Year's resolutions are so passé.
Especially in February, she said. But I digress.
If you have messed up your New Year's resolutions already, you could wait till Lent starts, of course. Lots of people try new things then. I do think Lent can be a good time to try new self-disciplines, so to speak, though unfortunately many of us attempt to turn it into a diet plan. That can be counter-productive, when you consider the reason for the season.
I am now thinking that a really great time for a resolution -- a shaking up of the old routines and a turning over of a new leaf -- is several weeks after the birth of a new baby.
Because you know what?
There's no going back to the way things were before.
I might as well formalize it.
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Even before we decided to invite a new little one into our lives, I knew I didn't really have room for one more along with everything else I do. I knew, I really did, that something was going to have to give.
That didn't stop me from trying to hang onto everything, even as I struggled to stay awake through the first trimester and to keep up with everyone during the second and the third. It didn't stop me from trying to keep up what I had been doing and hang on to all my commitments, and that is probably good because I really have to try and FAIL before I am okay with giving up.
Early on, I figured out that I wasn't going to be able to keep up with school by advance-planning everything on the weekends (including copying and printing, getting books to and from the library, writing new worksheets, composing emails with instructions to my "independent" students, and writing answer keys) and then sticking to my preplanned work on weekdays, keeping careful records of what everyone accomplished each day.
Up till this last year, that has worked pretty well. It isn't going to work anymore. I have now hit the point where if everything were going to be preplanned and prepared by me to my own exacting standards, I would have to spend my Entire Weekend on that work. And this is not good for my family, even if -- maybe BECAUSE -- I kind of enjoy holing up in a locked room with a computer and a curriculum catalog and no human interaction for 12 hours at a time.
Something has to give.
And that is just one area of my life where I was overindulging in productivity. We haven't even talked about things like housekeeping, or dinner, or the few volunteer commitments that one or the other of us has made.
It's the same way there. Something has to give.
I warned my partner in co-schooling, H., before I warned anyone else, not long after I found out I was pregnant, that my standards were about to slip, and I didn't think it would improve matters by trying to plan out exactly how they would slip, so I was just going to LET them slip and see what happened.
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H. didn't really have a chance to give me much feedback before she found out she was pregnant too, and then that she was going to have twins, so, you know, any plans we had for the year were going to go out the window anyway and be replaced by ... Something.
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So what are the new baby's resolutions? I think I am going to spread this post out over several days because I still have to process some of them, and I have been having a damnably hard time blogging for the last few months.
Which might have something to do with my foggy brain. Though the causality could really be going either way.
But the first resolution... No, wait. The zeroth resolution, really, since it has to underlie all the others... Is to recognize that I have priorities. Priorities with names. Values.
It's like this. We need these things in our lives (no particular order here):
- Connecting with God.
- Showing love to, and taking delight in, each other.
- Connecting with people outside our family.
- Resolving conflict and encouraging generosity, particularly among the children.
- Helping each other work, and learn to work, with diligence.
- Caring for our bodies (and that extension of our bodies, our clothing).
- Physical activity.
- Order in our environment.
- Creative work.
- Work that serves others.
Resolution zero is to recognize and honor these priorities so that I can somehow use my time (and help the rest of the family use their time) in a way that gives each of these their due.
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So much for new directions. I only know one way to start anything, and that is by making a list. I have written and rewritten and re-rewritten the list over and over for a week, moving the bits around, and yet nothing has changed yet.
Sooner or later I will have to put down the pen and get out of my chair.
But not yet.