Dear Natalie: Week 22

Dear Natalie,

Welcome to 2014! We made it!

Some of the sleepless nights of the past few weeks seemed to stretch on endlessly, leaving me bleary-eyed and convinced that while we were approaching 2014, we’d never actually get there.

But here we are. And what a year it’s been.

As you will no doubt come to find out very quickly, I’m a very goal-oriented person. But this year I have decided not to set any resolutions, mostly due to the fact that my motto for the last five months has been “aim low!” and I see no reason to change that now.

Lowered expectations are not a bad thing. Far from it, being more forgiving of myself has made it easier to bear all of the ways you’ve blown a gigantic hole right through all of my plans this year.

I wanted to eat healthier. I wanted to work out more and be one of those pregnant women everyone hates, the one who says that keeping up her exercise routine kept the morning sickness at bay and gosh, what would she have done if she hadn’t been able to run right up until the day before delivery?

I did neither of those things. As soon as the plus sign on that pregnancy test showed up, I willingly gave myself over to mac and cheese, toast, cereal at all hours of the day and night, and lots and lots of Dunkin Donuts. I also ran a grand total of three times during my pregnancy – if you can call waddling down the street at a brisk pace with a baby bouncing onyouy bladder “running.”

I had so many grand plans during pregnancy, plans for things I would sew and cross stitch and cook and write. Some of it I accomplished; a lot of it I didn’t. Those same high standards for myself carried over after you were born, and for all of my talk about how I was taking it easy on myself, I wasn’t, not really. I was still beating myself up over all the things that I hadn’t managed to do.

But slowly I’ve come to realize the enormity of what I have done, of what your dad and I have done, together. We are raising a baby. We have not only kept you alive for the last five months, but you are well and truly thriving. That is more important to me than how many poptarts I’ve eaten, how few miles I’ve run, or how soft my midsection is from lack of crunches.

This coming year will not be about resolutions, or blindly setting random goals that I saw somebody else do on Pinterest, so I might as well do it, too. It’s about being present, being fully here as your mom, and being forgiving of myself when my day goes sideways and there are items that don’t get crossed off the to-do list (which is every day).

Above all else, this year will be about figuring out what I need to be the best mom, wife, friend, sister, and all those other hats I wear, that I can be. It’s about support and kindness and letting go – not to be confused with laziness or apathy, because releasing expectations can turn into a headlong slide towards I-give-up-and-I-don’t-care if I’m not careful.

And Dunkin Donuts. Definitely still all about the Dunkin.

Love always,
Your type-A-but-learning-to-loosen-up mama



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