Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My One Resolution

This is the kind of person I want to be in 2011.

Unlike many people I know who hate New Year's resolutions, I love them. Or rather, I love making them. Keeping them is an entirely different story.

But I love the chance to start over, to write a new chapter, to turn over a new leaf.

And I've been thinking a lot about how I want 2011 to be different, see as how 2008-2010 kind of kicked my ass.

And my list, the one I was composing in my head, grew longer and longer, more and more intricate, even including a weekly schedule of things I'd need to attend to in order to improve my weight, my financial state, my mental well-being, my professional success, and so on.

And then, tonight, it hit me. Dave and I were engaged in Stella's bedtime routine - a multi-step, deeply involved process that we developed during the sleepless and crazy period of time from her birth until she turned 16 months old. It goes something like this:
1. Warm bath.
2. 5, 3 and 1 minute warnings that the bath is ending, so she doesn't flip out.
3. Having her help us clean up the bathtub while singing the Clean Up song.
4. Full-body massage with lavender-scented lotion.
5. Not one but two different songs that we made up about being sleepy.
6. Pajamas, then tucking her into bed with soothing words about the good dreams she'll have.
7. White noise machine and pitch black bedroom.

We do this the same way. Every night. And whether or not our now wonderfully-sleeping daughter needs it, it just feels right. In fact, it's the sweetest time of day, at least for Dave and me, one we look forward to consistently.

However, I rarely take that same amount of time - roughly 30 minutes per day - to do anything for myself. I rush out the door each morning, either skipping breakfast or packing a banana. I take 5 minute showers and crawl into bed each night after minimal face-washing and tooth-brushing. I've neglected exercise in favor of working late or being with Stella or just sitting on my butt out of fatigue. And, although we make most of our own food and eat pretty well, I still feast on sweets late at night and make a lot of foolish food choices during my weak time - post school, pre-dinner.

Consequently I'm overweight, exhausted, lacking in self-confidence, a bit depressed, riddled with achy joints, wearing poorly-fitting clothes, and often feeling frazzled and/or pulled in 1,000 directions. Oh. And unappreciated. I'm definitely feeling unappreciated.

I realized that the 452 resolutions I was making all really stem from one big one:

Take care of myself as well as I take care of Stella.

If I can manage that, everything else will fall into place. I will:

1. Eat the correct number of healthy, whole-food meals per day with no night-eating.
2. Drink only water and sometimes milk - no more sodas. (Coffee, though, coffee gets to stay.)
3. Get sufficient exercise in varying, fun ways (I'm thinking more hot yoga, zumba, and wii fit over playgrounds and bouncy rooms, but still).
4. Take good care of my skin. (In fact, maybe I'll give myself nightly massages with scented lotion, too.)
5. Do something, each day, just because I want to, and not feel guilty. (This could include reading, calling a friend, going to see a movie by myself, or writing a blog entry.)
6. Just as Stella tidies up the bathtub while singing "clean up, clean up," I will find a way each day to help our home stay clean and welcoming.
7. Laugh freely and easily, sometimes for no reason at all.
8. And, finally, I will not be afraid to say "NO!" Loudly and jubilantly. To people, to responsibilities, to guilt, to uncertainty, to situations that make me unhappy.

It will all come full circle for me. I can be a good mom, a good teacher, a good wife, AND a happy, healthy woman who cares about herself. (I just have to wait until January 1st so I can sneak in a few more days of crappy eating and laziness.)

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