The new year is an opportunity to close the chapter of a previous year with gratitude and mindfully start a new chapter. Motherhood is tough, but sitting down, journaling and reflecting on your intentions as a mother can help you be the mother you want to be with your children. In this blog post we share what we want to focus on as mothers in 2022.
The first week of January I reflected on last year and created some intentions for myself for this new year. I created four categories that I want to focus on in 2022: work, home, children and self. These categories stem from the areas when I struggled to the most last year and want to put some effort in finding more balance and success.
I set the following parenting goals for myself for 2022:
Raising independent children
The biggest source of anxiety I had when it came to the children last year was their degree or autonomy. My eldest two will leave home in about 18 months. They are not emotionally ready – and that’s absolutely ok, neither am I. However, they are not ready on a life management level, either. Neither teen knows how to pay a bill online or plan meals for a week.
My little one who still has at least six glorious years with me could be further along as well when it comes to taking responsibility for themselves. I receive almost weekly panicked phone calls about lost ballet leotards and French notebooks that were lying on the floor last night but are no longer there.
My children know how to do many things and can be very independent. They know how to separate laundry, use a fire extinguisher, navigate an airport, change bed sheets and keep an eye on stock levels in the kitchen, especially when it comes to treats. At this stage, though, every week counts, especially with the older two.
When my kids leave home I want them to be able to cook at least three balanced dishes, create and stick to a monthly budget and wash windows. I want them to be able to manage their own time and plan their workload. I want them to be able to know when to walk away from a dangerous situation or a bad relationship. I want them to be able to book their own train tickets and make lifestyle choices that help them remain healthy into old age. I want them to be able to do hard and boring things if that’s what life presents them with.
Most importantly, I want them to feel that the problems of adult life are solvable and that they are capable of figuring out the solution. I also want them to know that they are always welcomed back home with open arms if life knocks them down.
Spending more rejuvenating time together
Goal 2 is intrinsically linked with goal 1. I realized that the majority of the time I spend with my children is by reminding them of stuff, helping them find lost stuff, asking them to take responsibility for their own stuff. It’s exhausting for all!
My time with the children is very limited because I work long hours and their days are full as well. I don’t want to be a household manager when I’m with them. I want to have rejuvenating and relaxing time with them.
My hope is that if I get them to be more independent, self-directed and responsible children, the time I get with them can be more rewarding.
This means that I need to focus on getting them to take more responsibility of their daily lives and teach them how to manage their time and lives without ad hoc micro management when I’m with them.
I have no intention of abandoning them and leaving them to their own devices (nor literally or figuratively) as I am much of an involved mother for that. However, if we can free up some time from the mundane conversations, we will have more time for emotionally connected conversations.
In the first week of January I took an hour and reviewed my 2021 calendar week by week. I took a piece of paper and made two columns: One for my most joyful, pleasant and rewarding moments, activities, experiences and one column for my most unpleasant, challenging and bad experiences.
From that list I decided to schedule more of column one and make sure to stay clear from column two. For both columns I had experiences related to self, parenting, relationship and work. I feel as a mother it is my responsibility to experience joy and pleasure and to set boundaries away from those things that are in my control that will stress me out. This exercise was inspired by a blog post by Tim Ferriss.
We don’t have space for all of my items on the list but here is a small snipped of my top intentions.
Slowing down my life
I will take it more slowly. I have a reputation at my office, for running around as if I’m under some apocalyptic time pressure. But the truth is I don’t really need to get everything done exactly as I planned. I will choose to live differently. I will live a bit more slowly. This means booking fewer activities on the weekend, reading just for me without strategizing for my next blog post and coming home early whenever possible to ease into my evenings with the family.
So, I hereby have make a contract with myself. I will ask myself more frequently: What’s the rush? If I don’t have a life and death situation on my hands, I can slow down. I see this as a motherhood goal, because I want to be more emotionally present with myself, with my work, with my partner and with my children.
Yes this means I will achieve less in my time, but at least I will remember what I have done by the end of each week. The most common phrase of the end of every week in 2021 for me was “the week flew by.” I no longer accept this for myself. If I slow down then my family and I will truly experience presence. That is how I want my children to remember me 10-20 years.
Slowing down is a way of self-care. I will be keeping Matleena’s blog post entitled Setting Boundaries with Yourself handy as another reminder on how to say ‘No’ when so I can better attend to my needs and wants.
Resisting the urge to protect my children from failure
I want to avoid doing everything for my children FOR THEM. I will allow them to struggle at times, to try over and over again, to fail. I will encourage them to do hard things (age appropriately) on their own. I have been inspired by Glennon Doyles daily mantra “we can do hard things.” I want to set that as an example for my children.
We are so privileged that our children in Dubai with all the support we get. Our children are literally spoon fed. Yes, I’m that mom and one of my kids is 5! I have come to the realization that if I keep doing this I will wake up one day when they are 10 and 12 and they will not know how to tie their own shoes. If I keep going the way I am, the worst thing that could happen is that my children will not have faith in their own abilities.
I will also start by reading the book: The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. I will commit to sitting with the discomfort of everything taking three times as long so that my children get a chance at putting on their own shoes and do other things on their own like eat their meals without someone shoving spoonfuls of dinner in their mouths during back to back episodes of Peppa Pig.
I shall let them get ready for school on their own (with some supervision). For example, I or their nanny, shall not bring their clothes to them. I will vow to make my children help around the house! I know! It sounds so basic but it is a big step for them and for our household to take a step back and allow the kids to fully and consciously participate in their daily routine.
We will be sure to report back how our progress is going with these new intentions and parenting goals. Now it’s your turn, our dearest mom readers! What will be your intentions for the year ahead? Go ahead! Take a piece of paper and write down your intentions, hopes, goals, commitments. Then review your list daily for one week. Keep yourself accountable and if you have trouble following through, talk to someone who can help you, be it a dear friend, a teacher, a coach, another mama, or a therapist.