I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I think they are counter-intuitive to having a good time on New Year’s Eve. How can anyone have fun when they have vowed, after the worst hangover they will have all year, to now try and accomplish some tasks and goals that have proven to be at best disappointing, at worst impossible in the past? How can anyone look forward to the New Year at all, when they know that they are just going to make it busier for themselves? This year, I am making New Year’s resolutions because I’m using subtraction. And this time I’m not talking weight. I’m pretty sure that’s going to come off automatically. I also vow to remain an optimist.
I have never looked forward to a New Year as much as I have looked forward to this one. I’ve looked forward to the celebration (often a little too much:) but really wasn’t thinking big picture or anything. I certainly wasn’t just grateful just to be on the planet another year. As I am now. Because life is short, I’m going on sabbatical. I’m removing one huge to-do off my list, the one that tends to swallow up all the others. I’m leaving my day job. I’m going to stop working outside of the home and spend my days looking after my son, march to the beat of my own drum – mostly his probably.
What is fascinating are the various reactions from other moms. Mostly, there have been a lot of support and cheering. The majority, whether they work outside the home or not, are on board with the concept that time goes by fast – enjoy this pre-school phase while you can, if you have the opportunity. But sitting on the cusp of working outside the home, and staying at home allows me to be annoyed by what people say in two ways at once. Not entirely a unique situation for me actually.
The comments from mom’s at work range from wistful, “I wish I can do that” to quizzical, “What are you going to do?”…odd because I have a child, there will be stuff to do. I just want to answer, “anything whenever I want.” Barring 3 _ year old meltdowns, and various viruses popular amongst this age group. I’m looking forward to not cramming my household duties between the hours of 9pm and midnight on weekdays and every single weekend. I’m also looking forward to not having to deal with the panic of having a sick kid, and either having to go to work anyway or not going to work at all that day, and going in at night to catch up. And the guilt, oh the guilt. That stupid mommy guilt that I know is stupid.
My least favorite comments are those that seem to infer that I am “finally” doing the right thing for my kid. Seriously? I’m not going to even address this attitude. We are not living in a single income world. I can only hope that a community is indeed helping to raise the children of these people, and that someone else is covering tact in the life lesson plan for them. It’s sexist, and it treats a working mom’s job like a hobby – something she chose to do for her own well being. I think in this day and age, if one person (in a couple) can stay at home it is truly a gift.
I’m looking forward to scheduling things just for myself and my home, and not having to worry about this vortex during the week that I have to work around. I felt like I time traveled every day. I’d leave for work, come home at the end of the day (where it seemed time stood still for those hours) and continue with picking up, cooking, doing laundry and not getting additional to-do’s done. As an example, I have finally booked swimming lessons for my son, as I couldn’t really find a time on the weekends that worked for us. Or a swimsuit. Or the ability to block off enough time for hair removal. During the week, there will be five hours where he is in preschool. That’s five hours in the whole week that I can do anything I want. Five hours! This makes me dizzy. I can catch up on things, maybe get a manicure, exercise… well let’s not get crazy. Let’s stick with I can catch up on things.
I know I may be romanticizing this upcoming time, but I’m okay with that. I know it’s going to be fun even if deep down I know I will still have a laundry pile, stuff I still can’t find the time to get around to, and those days where I need to communicate with another adult being. I know there might be some monotony involved, some unforeseen feelings, and the occasional identity crisis. You don’t get to “my age” without dealing with all of those issues. I’ve gotten a pretty good handle on what to do when monotony and an identity crisis rolls around – hangout with my son being one of them. I know that even if I don’t accomplish all I think I’m going to accomplish, next year is going to be better, easier and ultimately mine to adjust.
Young kids don’t make resolutions because each year is such an entirely different stage. At the end of every year, there is a marked difference between what they could do at the beginning of the year and what they could do at the end. This year, I get to savor all of it. I wish I had incorporated subtraction into New Year’s before. Every year, I’m going to pick one thing not to do and fill it in with things that will make me a happier, better groomed, perfectly attentive mother. And of course vow to remain an optimist.