Last year, I made precisely one New Year's resolution: to cut out sugar (which swiftly turned into "reduce sugar intake" once I realised two weeks of January had flown by and I was shoveling a chocolate bar a day into my mouth. I blamed pregnancy).
Unfortunately, now that I'm no longer pregnant or breastfeeding, and the over-indulgence of Christmas is over, I am out of excuses. The only success I've had with my resolution is in how resolutely I've managed to fail at it.
And every time I look at a piece of cake (so what if it's 9am?) or teach Diana how to mix eggs, sugar and flour together for an oatmeal raisin cookie mix, I feel a pang of guilt, remember my 2013 resolution, and curse myself for lack of willpower.I then wonder how, weak-willed as I am, I ever managed to give up alcohol for almost-year long periods of my life. Twice.
This year, I have a new plan. No resolutions, no goals and no pressure on myself, either on the personal front (Is 2015 the year I'm going to finally write that book? Probably not, but it's FINE) or on the parenting front.
But instead of going crazy about the things I'm not achieving, minor as they may be (my goal two days ago was to sweep the floor and I still haven't managed it), this year I will do the thing I resist most: chill out.
I won't drive myself crazy getting dejected about my work/life balance and my work/life future. Or stress about how I should be pitching for more work/writing that book/planning my career goals, ESPECIALLY now that Liv is almost one and I can't pull out the infant card anymore. When I'm ready to push myself, I will - or maybe I won't. And I need to be OK with either scenario.
Even though I am a disorganised mess in matters relating to household and work-related time-management, I won't let that be an excuse to procrastinate. Instead, I'll use the time I have, work productively and enjoy it. Choosing the moment when both girls are home, antsy and trying to destroy the kitchen - while a fun way to learn humility and test the limits of your sanity - is probably not the ideal moment to write that feature I'm on deadline for, yet always ends up being the moment my work gets done.
Instead of despairing that the slobbily dressed, totally dishevelled creature I'm usually confronted with in the mirror is me, I will smile and try to brush my hair. At least one day that week. If I do have occasion to look presentable, I will embrace the vomit and food stains on my outfit - those are my everyday battle wounds, not something I need to constantly feel inadequate about.
(On the same note, I will be the person who has no regrets about shoveling a wedge of brie in my mouth. Or wearing workout leggings to inspire my body to tone itself, rather than actually entering a gym).
As a parent, I will be more patient and not allow anger and frustration to stress me out for no reason. Some days are hard, but kids are malleable. The next day - or hour, even - doesn't have to be a disaster just because the last one was. This is especially important to remember if I find myself in the position where I am on my hands and knees, on the verge of tears, wasting a morning searching for a plastic Frozen-themed handbag.
I also won't be the parent who bribes my three-year-old with chocolate. I don't know what I can use instead (effusive praise? stickers?), but the chocolate is too tempting for me to have at home.
Yes, instead of being in a permanent state of freaking out about something - everything! - I'm just going to enjoy stuff. Because seeing Liv walking around the house and Diana talking a mile-a-minute, I'm realising that these girls are growing up too fast for me to waste my time getting stressed, feeling guilty and setting silly goals for myself that I have no intention of keeping.
All of this no-pressure on myself already sounds like quite a lot of pressure. Where's the chocolate when I need it?