Sunday, January 17, 2021

A Reflection of 2020

 2020 reflection. I answered these questions back in 2013 and I love to look back and think about where a year takes us.

1. What was the single best thing that happened this year?
The relationship between my 4 kids grew stronger. My husband earned a well-deserved promotion. I realize that's not a single thing. Their relationship with each other will always be number one... but his promotion was an exciting number two.

2.  What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Feeling helpless - for my husband at times... and helpless for the world in a time of sadness and unrest. 

3.  What was an unexpected joy this year?
I grew closer to friends who have become a big support system for me and we found laughter and joy and acceptance in each other. 
And, with the pandemic, being forced to be at home more than usual brought us more joy than I anticipated. I became overwhelmed with gratitude for my kids and their joy found in the walls of our home. 

4.  What was an unexpected obstacle?
A pandemic. 

5.  Pick 3 words to describe 2020.
Turbulent. Growth. Home. 

6.  Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe your 2020 (don't ask them, guess based on how you think your spouse sees you)
Homebound. Mom. Crazy.

7.  Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe 2020 (again with out asking).
Dad. Work. Home. 

8.  What were the best books you read this year?
Children's Books are about the extent of my book reading. That needs to change. Someday. 

9.  With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My relationship with my husband is the most important one in my life and we continued to grow closer this year. The last few years have brought us profound growth and in times that could have pulled us apart, we worked to get stronger instead, which is something I am very proud of. What we have is sacred and private to us.
My mom and dad hold a very special place in my life and heart. They have become just as important to my children and I am so grateful to have them in our lives. The value of our relationship is in the dedication and love they have for me and my family. They are always there to support, encourage, teach, and inspire us. Their love is unconditional and I will make sure my kids always recognize the blessing in their bond with them. 
My sisters. Both of them mean something different to me and now that I have my own kids, I understand why my parents always wanted to nurture the bond between us. It's an unconditional friendship, an alliance, and having them to laugh with and talk to about the silly and the serious parts of life is a gift.
My friends. Those friends. You know, the ones that have you laughing in a group text, the ones that don't judge, and the ones that really get you. I am very lucky to have a group of gals who have loved me through my unlovable times this year as we all managed twists and turns in a pandemic. We developed a trust in each other that has helped carry us through the difficulties of raising young kids in an isolating time. 

10.  What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
My biggest personal change was a newfound confidence of being able to handle it. We can do hard things... I have said that over and over to my kids and myself this year. A lot of stuff happened that was out of our control and all we could do was focus on what we could control and make the best of that. 

11.  In what way(s) did you grow emotionally? 
I am becoming more aware of the fact that it's okay to be emotional. It's okay to feel. I am learning to allow myself to recognize and value the growth that comes from feelings and emotions.

12.  In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I am always open to spiritual growth, especially when it comes to growing that deeper connection to my kids and spouse.

13.  In what way(s) did you grow physically?  
I am physically stronger. I was able to selfishly reclaim my body that has been growing and feeding children non-stop for the past 8 years and rekindle my love of distance running. After several hundreds of miles (mostly on a treadmill) I feel more connected to my body. I also went through another surgery in early December that knocked me on my booty. I was forced to rest. There's growth in that, too. 

14.  In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I am learning to be more vocal and honest about what works and what doesn't - this may be an area of growth that is the largest of 2020 for me. Sometimes a relationship can cause more harm than good and you have to learn to set boundaries. 2020 taught me that boundaries aren't always a bad thing, and it is okay to have them. 

15.  What was the most enjoyable area of managing your home?
Being home with my kids. Feeling gratitude that I get to be here to kiss their owies, hug them if they're sad, watch their chubby cheeks bounce when they run, see the tender moments between them, watch them laugh and play together, watch them build forts and have sleepovers all over the house. I GET to bathe them, tuck them in at night, snuggle with them every morning in my bed, hear about the details of their day, brush their teeth, memorize their voice, take their photos, hold their hands, watch them try new things, hear their footsteps running up and down the hallway, and enjoy life with them and their daddy. It's not always as satisfying and immediately rewarding as a job outside of the home... but I am grateful for the stay at home life that I have been lucky to have for this window of precious time when my children are little. I miss working, but when the time is right, I will work hard to get back in to wherever my path takes me. 

16.  What was your most challenging area of home management?
The constant need to feel like things have to be cleaned up. I feel scattered and uneasy when the house is cluttered and messy and the pressure I put on myself to clean up most nights can be overwhelming. Organizing growing kid's clothes, keeping up with the laundry, keeping the closets and bedrooms picked up, the kitchen clean, the playroom shelves in order, and the normal everyday cleaning... having all of this stuff done helps to keep my balance but it also takes a lot of effort. 

17.  What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Social media. Hands down, no question. Clicking through posts to see people fighting with each other about politics and the pandemic - it all was draining and sad to me. I chose to delete it for the month of December and I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would. Stepping back and setting down my phone has made me feel better. Boundaries are good and less time on my phone is even better. It's okay to not always be in the know. It's also okay to not feel the need to share every photo. 

18.  What was the best way you used your time this year?
Any time spent with my babies, family, and friends is the best time. It was devastating to see the world pause and people lose everything - and we felt grateful that we were able to use the time to be together and stay home. My husband never stopped working, in fact, he was at work more with everything going on... so we learned to slow down and enjoy the extra time we were given with the kids being home. We saw the positives, but we are also excited for them to experience the gifts of childhood (full-time school, sports, large playdates, birthday parties, etc) again soon.

19.  What was the biggest thing you learned this year?
Life is fragile, inconsistent, and always changing, but I already knew that. Direct your efforts and love toward the people who see your value and prioritize you, too. Communication and boundaries are essential in our relationships.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2020 for you.
Accept what you cannot control and make the best of what you can control. 

Lastly... something I want to work on for 2021...
Stop feeling the need to explain myself to everyone. If things are too heavy, ask for help or let them go. 

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