When I became a parent, it became really clear to me that I was going to have to work even harder than I used to if I wanted to tick the box on some of my personal goals.
I would nudge some girlfriends, offering to support each other in some of our fitness goals – a group yoga class! A weekly walking date in a beautiful park! But when we’d be set to meet, all fired up in our group Facebook feed the day before, I would get overwhelmed while I tried to coordinate daycare, supper, texting my husband to be home from work on time, getting back in to the city to take the actual class… Even if I was on top of it, something would happen – like a poop explosion, a cold, someone working late.
It quickly grew so daunting with the demands that life with a one-year-old asked of me. I found myself floundering in guilt, stress and jealousy, wondering how other mothers made the dedication so seamlessly. Every time I’d see someone’s Instagram selfie in front of a gym mirror, I’d think, why can’t I figure it out? What am I doing wrong?
I’d feel bad that I wasn’t making the time for myself; bad that I couldn’t get organized enough to make it work; bad that I was upset about it; bad that I would forever be in a rut. Bad, bad, bad.
I think many of us transition into motherhood while still holding on to how our life looked before baby. Which is totally natural. I know I’m not expected to automatically adjust to the dramatic new role of being a parent, but when your needs suddenly don’t always come first – or even second or third – it can be easy to give up and truly fall into the rut of forgoing self-care all together.
a shifting perception of resolutions
When our families shift and grow, I think it’s important to shift and grow the way we make our resolutions. Instead of setting out goals as individuals, what if we set them as families?
The reason I’m always begging my girlfriends to take a yoga class with me is because I crave the community and accountability that comes with doing something with someone else. When I’m alone, it’s so much harder. But what better support system is there than the family I come home to everyday?
My son is only one and a half, but I can already see him copying me and learning from the things I do mindlessly. If that isn’t accountability, I don’t know what is. And my husband only wants what’s best for me, and me for him. Of course, my girlfriends do, too, but there can be a few days – sometimes weeks – that I don’t see or talk to them because I’m so caught up in the busy demands this new parent life asks of me. When it comes to resolutions, those few days or weeks can be enough to completely derail even the best intentions for healthy resolutions.
And that’s the other thing: I’m not sure my resolutions need to be about being thinner or making more money or anything else that I used to put a lot of energy into, or claim was “healthy” for me. As soon as I shift my focus to family resolutions instead of individual ones, I feel a truly authentic shift toward wellness.
Maybe as a family, we wake the house up together every morning; open blinds, greet the outdoors, have breakfast side by side. Maybe we create practical weekend rituals together, like a family walk through the snow or tobogganing or building a snowman. Maybe once a month we donate something we don’t need, or have in excess, and make sure my son is around for the donation.
It’s funny: as soon as I have a personal intention – like having a beautiful garden to grow food for my family – and I think about how I could make that a family intention, it seems even more important. I want my son to have his own little plant to tend and care for, nurture, and watch grow, within the garden. I feel like I would take even better care of the garden because my tiny son would be by my side, excited to check in with his own plant. I would cherish the chance to teach him where good food comes from, and how to have a respectful relationship with the land we live on.
Intentions and resolutions are deeply personal. I don’t know that anyone needs to tell me what type of resolution to make for myself or my family, and I don’t think I should list out all the things I think would be good for my family, and maybe good for yours. But sitting down with your special people and talking about what you want to learn together as a family for the year, is a family ritual I can definitely get behind every year.
The real challenge with resolutions is to stick to them. Why not rally the whole family so you can push each other and keep each other accountable? Trust me. A toddler is incessant with his habits, rituals and needs/wants. If I tell him we will check on his plant everyday, you can bet he will remind me – everyday – that we need to visit his plant.
But. Maybe that’s what we need.
Do you make resolutions as a family or do you stick to personal goals?
VANESSA KUNDERMAN is an openhearted writer and storyteller who inspires others to discover their own paths and personal stories. She has a diploma in Creative Communications, and teaches at the University of Winnipeg. Her website, Rogue Wood Supply, is a large resource of modern spiritual practices centered around crystals, botanicals, and the moon. As an intuitive and crystal guide, she hosts sacred women’s workshops, offers crystal readings, and shares weekly moon phase oracles online. Vanessa and her work has been featured in Refinery29, The New Moon project, Cottage Life Magazine, and more. She is a mother and cancer survivor living in the Canadian Prairies. Follow Vannessa on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and check out her website.