It’s a popular time of year to self reflect. Last year when I wrote my year end recap I was bawling for a bit because I felt like such a failure having dropped the ball on the majority of my goals. This year I’m feeling better. There’s still a ton of things I wish I’d done, but I was able to get back to work part-time in spurts so that’s helped my sense of accomplishment. No matter how well or poorly you feel your year was, it’s cathartic to reflect. Celebrate your wins and remember your losses too. It’s our life experiences, both good and bad, that strengthen our character and give life more meaning.
Log Your Struggles And Triumphs
If you’re not a blogger, I encourage you to keep a journal or at least some type of log that tracks the struggles and triumphs you went through over the course of the last 12 months. You’d be surprised how much you will forget if you don’t take the time to write it down. If writing isn’t your thing, other ways you can document your life are though a photo collage, video recap, or voice recording. There are apps for everything nowadays too so it’s pretty easy to put together the log of your choice using your smart phone.
I keep a video log and take a ton of pictures on my phone, so when I’m not jotting down notes, I’m often trying to make digital recordings. Once my current iPhone 7S Plus dies or I feel patient enough to deal with Apple and AT&T, I’m looking forward to getting a smaller phone so it’ll be easier for me to document with one hand while chasing after my toddler. My hands just aren’t big enough to comfortably use the Plus single-handed.
My Log Of Losses
Anyway, since my memory definitely isn’t what it used to be, here’s a list of fails I had in 2018. It’s not fun to think about defeats, but they keep me humble and help push me to try harder.
Communication skills – I read a great book, Communication Miracles for Couples, by Jonathan Robinson this year. It was easy to read and really helped me understand some things I’d been doing wrong in how I communicate while also giving me ideas of what to do better. Yet I still put my foot in my mouth on several occasions and failed to communicate clearly at other times. I’ll continue to work on this next year.
Punctuality – Although I don’t think I’m habitually late, my husband would definitely say otherwise! There were multiple instances we needed to leave the house by a certain time and I wasn’t ready on time, creating unnecessary stress.
Fitness – I’ve never been good at exercising and have used my good metabolism as a crutch for most of my life. I had plans to work on tightening my abs, but failed miserably. While I was in the kitchen in my loose yoga pants one evening, one of our babysitters said to me, “Oh I didn’t realize you were expecting!” Mmmmm, no. That’s just my dinner bloat and leftover baby bump lol. Awkward! I’m a petite person, so a little bit of bloat can show. But, I’m only 3 pounds heavier than pre-pregnancy so I’m not beating myself up too badly. Still, I never expected someone would ever think I was pregnant when I wasn’t.
Untemplater – I didn’t prioritize Untemplater this year, and the traffic sadly but understandably reflects that. Although I’m glad I got a lot of other things done, I should have given this site more love.
Wins Worth Celebrating
Working part-time again – Being a full-time mom is fun but HARD work. Thanks to having part-time nanny help (albeit irregular and prone to many cancellations) and my son sleeping better, I’ve been able to slowly crawl my way back to working part-time. Although I didn’t write much on Untemplater this year, I published roughly 18 articles elsewhere on the web that I’m proud about.
Project management – A big part of my earlier career was in project management and it’s been rewarding getting back into it. I successfully executed a big initiative in the Fall setting up out an online forum. All the work I’d spent got scrapped about half way in when my boss decided to change software platforms, but it was well worth it in the end and I learned a lot in the process. I also got phase one of an e-book editing project completed this month and am actively working through phase two.
Contingency planning – I spent probably close to 40 hours or maybe more researching, emailing, reading, reviewing, and asking questions on estate planning. I found a fantastic lawyer thanks to a friend of mine and successfully got a revokable living trust package in place for my family. I still need to work on contingency documentation for my business, but I did get some documents completed and the trust package was the priority this year.
Super powers – There’s a great scene in the show The Let Down when a SAHM (stay at home mom) accidentally stumbles into her twins’ preschool class. Parents were asked to come speak about their jobs to the kids but the SAHM wasn’t invited – the teacher didn’t think being a SAHM is worth sharing. The mom left briefly and then returned wearing a cape and stole the show by telling the kids all about her super powers of being a mom. This was really touching to me because being a SAHM is tough work and it really does take super powers some days! Although I may not be fast at a lot of things, I have super speed when it comes to changing diapers! I also got my toddler to wear his glasses through persistence and optimism when my DH thought it was impossible.
Sleep training – My DH has told some friends and me on several occasions that we didn’t sleep train and that everybody else did. Well that’s not really true because we didn’t do it, I did lol. 😉 Although I refused to do the cry it out method full stop, I did sleep train our son in a more gentle way. I used a combination of a few different methods, and yes there still was plenty of crying and tantrums, but in manageable amounts and I never left him alone. Anyway, I read several sleep training books and I’ll also add that sleep training is not one and done. Sleep regressions, teething, sickness, being overtired…makes it all a work in progress. Our son isn’t great with sleep but he’s great at many other things. I give myself a pat on the back for doing what felt natural to me as a mother and for watching over our son every single night.
Hiring help – Although we’ve had a bumpy ride with keeping part-time nannies, I found each of them and the help has been well worth it. Right now we have a rotation of three people; two of the three are pretty infrequent but are helpful to have as fill-ins when they are available. It’s tough finding reliable part-time help here, but it’s wonderful to be able to go on date nights pretty regularly now and also have time during daylight hours to get some work done.
Millions of mom things – I feel good about my progress as a mom this year. I gained a lot of confidence and have done a LOT – teaching, reading, singing, spelling, counting, feeding, washing, wiping, diapering, nursing, cleaning, peeling, chopping, ordering, calling, asking, administering, coaxing, repeating, listening, bathing, organizing, preparing, practicing, building, stacking, drawing, scribbling, folding, brushing, trimming, cooking, asking, scheduling, waiting, training, watching, researching, experinenting, applying, touring, swimming, laughing, smiling, crying, wincing, protecting, booboo proofing, playing, rubbing, tickling, walking, chasing, carrying, hugging, kissing, squeezing, praying, you name it I’ve done it. An employee at the science museum we frequent saw me talking to my son about some colorful parrots one day and said, “I really like how you speak to your son. He’s going to be the smartest boy in his class.” It was one of the nicest things anyone has said to me as a mother. One of our nannies and my mom also complimented me on how well I prepare and feed our son. These may sound trivial, but they meant a lot!
First and foremost I am so incredibly thankful to my husband for providing for our family and for giving us both the opportunity to be at home with our son every day. Parenthood is incredible and one of the best things I’ve experienced in life. I give my husband huge props for being super diligent about so many things with work, investing, fitness, optimism, hustle, house maintenance, and fatherhood. He exceeds my expectations on a daily basis and I am so lucky to be with him! I see how much our son loves him and thrives when they’re together too. It’s a blessing to witness.
2018 was an eventful year with a lot of wonderful memories. I’m sad to see the year go because our son is growing up so fast, but I’m excited and hopeful about all the fun and new memories we’ll make next year. Happy holidays everyone!
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Untemplaters, how was your year? Have you taken any time to celebrate your wins and remember your losses? Please share some of your highlights in the comment section below!