Throughout December I wanted to focus on Being the Example to my children, husband, and all others around me. I have found that I get caught up in what I think should be, instead of focusing on what actually is. I had 5 goals: just be kind, be the cheerleader, cultivate traditions, connect first, and make memories happen. With the holidays, traditions and memories were easy to focus on. Yet, when crunch time came at the end of the month, I found it more difficult to be kind with my words and to connect first with my children as I felt more stressed. Overall, I’d rate this month as a decent attempt to Being the Example.

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The Good: I am the tradition and memory maker in my family. That role falls completely on me, and I think it does on most mothers. It can take a toll on your mind, body, and soul, as I reflected on in the post Can I be Enough? Therefore, this year, I tried hard to keep it simple and stuck with previous holiday traditions and let a few go. I definitely enjoy cultivating traditions, especially around the holidays. I think it does make the seasons more magical and it leaves something to look forward to each season. A few unique traditions we have are family gingerbread house competitions, Wendy’s on Christmas Eve, special Christmas Eve holiday package from our house elf, and a sparkle box that we fill with our acts of kindness and service to others. Most of the memories that happened this month were connected to these traditions as well as our pilgrimage to the Midwest—a 13 hour car drive, and a week long stay with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

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The Bad: At the beginning of the month I was on top of being kind and a cheerleader. I even carried around the mantra “Choose kindness over being right” in my pocket most days. I concentrated on praising my 1st grader as he struggles with self-esteem issues, and I cheered on my Kindergartner when her writing anxiety flared up. However, by the 20th, I was spent and felt behind on the Christmas to-do list and in turn did not always speak kindly first.

The Ugly: I admit, I have a difficult time viewing everyday tasks and emotions from other people’s perspectives. If I can do it, I feel others should as well—it’s not that hard to sit still through an hour long church service. Ha Ha. Or if I have a solution to a problem, then others should also see it as a solution and fix the situation—if you are frustrated, take a break or focus on something else. Apparently, it doesn’t really work this way, and I seem to forget this again and again. I struggled with connecting first with my children and really understanding their perspective. It’s not until after I respond to an issue, that I then step back and realize what that particular child may have been experiencing. I need to slow down, step outside of myself, and really see what is at hand.

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I learned quite a bit about myself this past month and hope to continue to practice these habits in the next months. I’m learning to be gentler with myself, and know that I am always a work in progress.

As with most new year’s, it’s a great opportunity to reset yourself and many do so by focusing on health and fitness. For me, January’s resolution is to Boost Energy. I want to capitalize on the newness of the year and focus on my energy and mental health. Additionally, here in New England, January can be a downer with the below 0 temps, and short days. I want to be prepared to combat any oncoming sour moods with more energy. My goals this month are:

  1. Consistent Bedtime—I function much better on 7-8 hours of sleep so 10 pm bedtime it is
  2. Run 3 times a week—I feel energized when I get out for decent runs
  3. Yoga once a week—practicing yoga makes me feel refreshed
  4. Get outside for 10 minutes a day—with New England weather this will be tough, but rewarding
  5. Meet a friend once each week—connecting with friends energizes my spirit and well being

Move over winter, I will conquer you!

Your fellow traveler,

Andrea

Photo Credit:

  1. Be the Example
  2. Grinch
  3. Perspective 

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