Monday, January 13, 2014

Kindness

Soooo… there’s a chance I picked the wrong year to make “choose” my theme word. I started out 2013 all gung ho, and having the theme word really helped me brush off things that bugged me, stay more positive, and focus on what’s important. (Check out this article on new year’s theme words.)

Then I got pregnant. And very, very cranky.

If I had to give myself a grade on how well I stayed focused on my theme word for the whole year, I would have to give myself a ‘C’. And that might be a bit generous. But I did say I would happy with a ‘C’ my first year, so maybe I didn’t do too bad, all things considered. 

Anyway, 2013 is over, and dwelling on how poorly I did doesn’t help anybody. Which brings us to 2014…

This year, I’ve chosen “kindness” as my theme word. I could make specific new year’s resolutions around being a better wife, a better parent, a better friend, a better everything. I could pick myself apart and list all the traits and behaviors I detest about myself and vow to change every single one of them over the next 365 days. But that would set me up for total failure, and I would beat myself up every time I failed. Instead, I want to focus on the word “kindness” in hopes of just being a kinder person all around. This way, I’m not limited to a few specific behaviors and I can apply this concept to all the areas of my life.

In 2014, I want to be kinder to my son. I need to remember that Quinn isn’t even three years old yet. When I start to get frustrated with his tantrums and unreasonable behavior, I will remember that he is just a kid being a kid, and I hope my reactions will come from a place of kindness. (I’ve started reading two parenting books, The Gentle Parent and The Emotional Life of a Toddler. I haven’t finished them yet, but I’ve already learned so much. As soon as I have time to finish them – and write about what I learned – I will definitely share with you.)

I also want to be kinder to the Hubs. He’s a wonderful husband and father. He’s my best friend. When a new baby joins your family – even if it’s not your first – it’s easy for you and your partner to get annoyed with each other. The lack of sleep makes you irritable. The score keeping of who does more makes you resentful. That’s why I’m not going to keep score anymore. We’re both imperfect people who are trying our best, imperfect people who love each other and our boys very much. Some days, I will do more than he will. Other days, he will pick up my slack. We will balance each other out, and we deserve each other’s kindness and understanding.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, I need to be kinder to myself. No one can kick my ass the way I can. I beat myself up over the tiniest failures. Sometimes they’re not even failures, but that’s what I turn them into in my head. Most of the time, they’re just normal human imperfections that no one else even notices. But I notice. And the more displeased I am with myself, the more displeased I am with others. So I’m hoping the opposite will also be true – if I’m kinder to myself and more accepting of my flaws and shortcomings, I will be able to be kinder to and more accepting of others.

For example, I started beating myself up for not getting this blog post done sooner. I mean, January is half over already and I’m just now getting around to writing about my theme word for the year? That’s some shitty blogging. Every other blogger who’s written about this did so weeks ago. I’m so far behind…

Yeah, all those thoughts went through my head. Over a blog post. About being kind to myself, ironically. I started getting all stressed out that this wasn’t done. Honestly, I need to give myself a f**king break! Do any of you care that I posted this two weeks late? Is it even late, considering I made up the deadline to start with? No, of course not. I was being ridiculous and unkind to myself. And now that I’m a role model for two sons, one of whom is extremely watchful and observant, I want to be a better example of self-acceptance and kindness.

And since right now is one of those rare moments when both boys are napping at the same time (which is why I had time write this at all), I’m going to be extra kind to myself and close the laptop and take a short nap too.


Happy New Year! 


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