Intentions for 2018
I mentioned that I had a few things in mind to set out as my 'New Year's Resolutions'. In thinking about that word though, resolution, I feel like it's not quite what I had in mind. Resolutions implies a certian hardness or strictness. I'd like to make this year a year where I show myself some mercy and grace, as I'm stepping into the role of Mother without a road map. I think mercy and grace are going to need to be essentional as I stumble and inevitably fall in this season of learning and growing. With that in mind, I settled in on the word 'intention' as a better way to convey a few things I want to keep in mind and strive for this coming year:
- Keep the Baby Alive: We'll start here. Look, I've never been the baby/kid person. In our family, that was Jer. Kids LOVE him. Me? I'm a little freaked out by them and they're skeptical of me. That said, I'm TERRIFICALLY excited to have this baby! It took quite some time to come around to the idea of having a child in general, but obviously, I'm ready for it! I've read a bunch of books and taken a class or two and expect NONE of that to prepare me for this baby. That said, my Mama heart is ready for this baby and I'm ready to take on the challenge. This one is a funny one, but also a reminder that this is going to be something totally new for Patrick and I and it's going to be difficult and we're ok with that.
- Have a Labor I Can Be Proud of: This might sounds like a weird one, but all throughout this pregnancy I've read about women who have had a labor that disappointed or traumatized them because it was a labor they hadn't planned for. Now, forgive me for my first time Mama ignorance, but I have NO landscape on what labor will be like. I don't know how it will start or feel or make me feel emotionally. What I DO know is that I'm ready to challenge myself with it. I want to prove to myself and the people I care about that I can do it, make it through and have a healthy and happy baby. Maybe it's a character flaw, but it's something that really means a lot to me, the proving part. That said, I don't really have a rigid preference for how it goes. I'd like to have a naturally incited vaginal labor, but if an inducement or c-section is needed, fine with me, as long as there is a valid medical reason for it. My 'Birth Strategy' is written up and has been shared with my OB and my questions have been answered. I feel satisfied that my delivery team will listen to my preferences and communicate with me to keep me aware of what's going on and that I'll be well cared for. I want my baby and I to come out on the other side healthy and whole, that's the beginning and end of it. So, this particular intention is to have a labor where I'm flexible and in communication with my delivery team to have a healthy, whole baby and a healthy whole Mama at the end of the whole thing.
- Breastfeed for an Entire Year: This one will depend a lot on the baby and my body, but I'd like to go ahead and set the expectation on myself that this kid will get a year of boobs, and then I'll get my boobs back. I don't want to put a hard stop on the year, because I don't know how I'll feel, but if baby and I are up for it, we'll go longer. If I have supply issues or baby loses interest after the initial 6 months of for-sure feeding, that's OK too. This is more of a goal that I'll work to make happen as long as my body cooperates. My understanding is that breastfeeding is very often quite difficult for a bit and that quite a few Moms give up for their own sanity. I'd like to set the intention to pull through that initial pain or difficulty and commit to it as long as I can.
- Take ALL the Photos and Videos: This one was never in question, but it's something to commit to all the same. I'm going to be tired and scared and overwhelmed, but I don't want to miss a THING with this baby. I want to overwhelm the memory in my phone and document every inch of this kid and every moment of our life! I plan on sharing an annoying amount of media, so, you know, get ready! ALSO, have photos printed! I want to see them in physical form on my walls and at my desk at work!
- Book a Regular Yoga Class: I hear babies are a WHOLE lot. Being able to have an hour a few times a week to reconnect with my body and mind might just be something that helps me feel sane in a season of intense change. I enjoyed prenatal yoga quite a bit for it's centering and stress-reducing and I hear postpartum yoga is intensely valuable in helping to re-center new Mamas while also getting them moving and working stretched out muscles from pregnancy. Plus, when I stress out, I tighten up. yoga has been a great relief to my body in times of profound change. We have an incredible studio a short walk from the apartment. A nice fresh air walk and a class a few days a week sounds absolutely perfect and JUST the thing to keep my sane.
- Get Back Into Barre: I was going to my Pure Barre class right up until my 2nd trimester, when my balance started to shift and I freaked myself out about falling and hurting the baby. The whole thing is ridiculously priced, but, the workouts left me breathless and sore, which helped me feel more human. I also started to see results fairly quickly. It's also the only exercise class I've taken that started and felt like it ended in15 minutes, though I had been there for and hour. I don't have any illusions that I'll be able to get back into this right away, but once baby is settled into daycare and Patrick and I can work out a pickup schedule after I go back to work, I'd like to give it a shot a few times a week.
- Healthy(er) Food Choices with Baby in Mind – After we get into the groove of things with a newborn and can start cooking and thinking about something other than sleeping, Patrick and I have committed to cleaning up our diets. I'll be breastfeeding (hopefully) and we both want to be sure I'm putting my best foot forward when it comes to nutrients for the baby. We've also committed to modeling healthy habits and getting ourselves into the groove of things will go a long way to help us make these habits more concreate when solids are introduced to our kid. I don't want this to be about absolute restriction, or about weight loss (even though that will be a bit of it, at least in the beginning), I want this to be about creating a better sustainable diet for ourselves that we can maintain with our child while also challenging ourselves to think more creatively with our cooking and keeping things sane financially as we head into this new season of life.
- Baby budgets & Better Financial Health – I hear babies are expensive? We've already had our daycare cost heart attacks and crying jags on how we're going to make this all work, so I want to start this new year off with a solid financial plan that's grounded in reality and solidly in place to follow. We've got the main points down and obviously we don't quite know what our expenses will really look like until we're knee deep in diapers, but I think we're on the right track. We've got some realistic savings goals and mind and a set intention to kill the rest of our debt this year so we can be more flexible once that is done. We'll see how this goes, but I'm actually excited to be a bit more constrained in this area.
- To House or Not to House – We've set a bit of a goal to take a realistic look at what we're thinking for home-ownership this year. We've had several conversations about it and once we're back in the groove of work and settle in with baby, we'd like to pick the conversation up with a financial planner and see what's what. As of now, we're a-ok in our apartment and fine with renting for a bit longer, but it is something we were wading into before the pregnancy and we put on pause so we could concentrate on all of this. Picking it back up while asking ourselves some tough, future-minded questions will be our next big family goal.
- READ, DAMMIT! – Pregnancy TOTALLY kicked my ass, when it comes to reading. I've been SO tired and preoccupied that I haven't finished more that two or three books and two of those had to do with pregnancy. I focused in a whole bunch on reading articles (MILLIONS of articles) and I've found that it's not super healthy of me. I've heard reading isn't usually in the cards for new moms, but I'd really love to give it a shot to jump back into the swing of things. I've set the modest goal of 40 books and I'd super like to get back into the swing of reading long form.
- Develop a 'Mom Style' and Stick to a Capsule Wardrobe – This is a more practical one that will take a bit of time and thought, but I'll need to reconsider a good bit of the clothing and such that I have once the baby is born. I want to be realistic with my expectation of how my body is going to look post-labor and I want to still feel lovely while I'm getting back in shape. My clothes will also have to have some functional considerations in terms of breastfeeding and also milk spills and spit-up and baby hands. Sturdy, boob-friendly clothing that can take a beating while still looking nice is my goal. Also, following the 'capsule wardrobe' idea is still a goal I want to strive for. A few pieces that I can keep in rotation while keeping a sensible budget in mind. I'll also want to find a quick go-to makeup and hair routine that I practice so well that I can do it half or mostly asleep as well. I'll share what I'm thinking once it's a little more well-formed as an idea.
- Travel a Bit More – With this pregnancy in full swing we limited our traveling this year to save a bit of money and, honestly, to preserve my sanity. I've been DOG tired for most of this pregnancy and haven't really felt up to any exhaustive trips. One thing we did pass up that we'd like to pick up this year is our 'Babymoon'. If you haven't heard, it's the idea of taking a trip before baby arrives and you're bogged down in poo and milk and, you know, baby. I was so sick early on and by the time I felt better, it just didn't make a lot of sense to spend the money when I was already having some troubles getting around. I'd like to plan something fun to do while the baby is still pint-sized and we can travel without too much stuff. Perhaps a UK and Ireland quick tour? Something. We'll think through it and plan something fun. We also have my brother's wedding in Rhode Island this fall! I can't wait to be with him during such an incredible time and also see a state I haven't been to before! We're also committed to visiting our fellow new parents Ryan and Katie in their new home, Nashville. It's been YEARS since I've been back and it'll be SO good for our hearts to spend some time we people we care about and compare notes on new babies as first-timers!
- Spend Some Dedicated Time with the Girls – I'm SUPER committed to making sure we keep our pups in mind when the baby arrives. We were asked several time if we were keeping our dogs when the baby was born and EVERY time I jumped RIGHT up on my soapbox about how we committed to them when we adopted them and how they're just as much our kids as our kid will be. I know we're going to be tired and preoccupied with a newborn, but I am absolutely committed to making sure I keep them both in mind and shower them with just as much love and attention as the baby. I recongnize we are already a little weird obsessed with them, but it's just we are and we really do see them as our own kids, so keeping them in mind is going to be a priority too.
- Love Patrick More – This last one is a gimmie, but I'm SO EXCITED to see Patrick as a dad! He's been a total pro/softie/cheerleader this WHOLE pregnancy and, to be honest, I'm not sure who's excited to meet this baby more, me or him! Pregnancy is incredibly challenging in general but it has allowed us to grow SO much closer in ways I didn't expect. It's such a joy to feel even more comfortable in my own skin around him (HELLO ultrasounds, body exams, cant-avoid-it tight clothing and labor and delivery!). I SO love watching him talk about the baby to me and ESPECIALLY to others. He's SO jazzed and SO committed to being a great dad, which I know he'll be, that I can't wait to fall in love with him even more than I am now! I have no illusions that this is going to be a challenging and difficult season of life, but I can't wait to jump into it with him. Honestly, we've gone through SO much over the nearly seven years we've been together. We've wanted this for SO long and we've tried to be SO patient in waiting for our turn that now that we're finally here, I'm feeling more ready than ever to spend the rest of my life with this sweet man!
Obviously, this isn't an exhaustive list and I have small things that I'd also like to accomplish, but these capture the overall gist of what I'd like the new year to follow. How about you? Any resolutions/intentions for the new year? I'd love to hear!