2017 Goals / Resolutions : A Midyear Review

This is the first year I really sat down and made “New Year’s Resolutions” – really just goals – and wrote them down and am following up on them.

I’ve always had goals.  My style of making goals has always been a little daydream-esque – I have an idea of how I want my life to be, a mental image if you will, and I try to chase it.  For example, I picture myself having coffee on my patio every morning as the sun comes up.  I picture myself reading every day.  I can imagine the mountain of craft projects I could complete.  In my mind, I’m a pie-baking, barefoot, laundry-hanging stay-at-home-mom with a bunch of children running loose in the backyard.  And throughout the year I’ll think about those daydreams, that “ideal life” I have so firmly in my (very visual, introverted, ADD) mind.

But let’s be real: that’s never actually gotten real results.  I’m too scatterbrained for that to work, and I have too many dreams and ambitions.  Already at 30, I’m 100% sure that I have too many wonderful daydreams to ever accomplish them all.

So this year, inspired by some fellow momma bloggers and vloggers, I actually sat down for an afternoon and wrote down some goals and resolutions.  I pared down the 234098256 ideas running around in my brain and tried to be reasonable about what I could accomplish.  I know it’s really important for goals to be tangible, time sensitive, and specifice, so I made a particular point to try to mold my zany mental images that way.

I came up with goals in each area of my life – homemaking, family, self-growth, blogging, and YouTube.

In each category, I tried to make no more than 4 or 5 goals.  That totals out to a lot, but such is my life!

Overall, ******** spoiler alert ********* I think I’m doing okay.  About half successful.

More details in the latest video:

 

How are you doing on your goals this year, if you set some?

Have one in particular that’s exciting you?  Frustrating  you?  Let’s chat in the comments!

A Positive Spin: Being a Superhero

Please read the following  quotes with a snarky, irritated tone of voice.

mom tossing child - they're not lazy, you're just a superhero

“I can’t exactly do this by myself!”

This was my husband, trying to take a messy bib off a potty-training toddler who was running away down the hallway.

Are you kidding?  It’s one kid, and a bib.  Seriously.

This was my husband giving two little boys a bath.

Then why do you do extra-curriculars until long after dinner, and expect me to bathe both kids myself?

This was my husband trying to get both boys dressed for church on Sunday morning.

You realize I do this every single morning every week while you’re working, right?

This was my husband trying to make waffles with both boys in the kitchen.

How do you think you have dinner to eat every day, Mister?

“I’m tired, y’know?”

Same husband, explaining why he’s watching TV instead of helping me clean up to host a party of his coworkers.

TV makes you less tired?   How handy.

Falling asleep reading the boys their bedtime stories, which inevitably makes them screech and whine that he’s not “reading it nice.”

Not an excuse to poop out on your kids!

Sending me to do the grocery shopping by myself at 9 pm.

I am so tired I could fall down.  What gives you the right?!

 

These “cries of desperation” make me so ANGRY.  They reek of self-centeredness, weakness, lame excuses.  It feels like I carry the brunt of the parenting, and when my husband needs to do one minor task he can’t handle it.  I mother the boys solo for 10-12 hours per day, but still need to help him do it for 2 more hours in the evenings?!  As though a yogurt-covered bib is the most difficult possible scenario with two boys under 4.

Then, my perspective shifted dramatically.  (Do you ever feel like the Lord just smacks you upside the head with an attitude adjustment?  That’s what happened.)

I was in the middle of a mighty internal struggle, trying to hold back my biting words (the comments in italics.)  For a blunt, opinionated woman like myself, this struggle is a lot like plugging holes in a dam with my fingers.  I usually fail.  But this time, I had a revelation.

My husband floundering in these mundane tasks doesn’t mean he is being wimpy or trying to pass off his parenting onto me.  It actually means I’m a superhero.

That I possess an important set of skills, a talent at putting out proverbial fires, can juggle an inordinate amount of crises at once.  That my super-intelligent, creative, patient, 2nd-grade-teacher husband is flattened by fatigue and mess and multiple toddlers, and I am not.

The fact that I can do this full-time parenting gig all day every day and still stay awake through storytime, not get yogurt on the carpet, remember the groceries late at night,  throw parties, and have neatly dressed little boys is a testament to my strengths, not his weaknesses.

We stay-at-home moms and dads, we professional parents, are superheros.  We can accomplish what many others cannot.  We’ve been called to have an enormous mental fortitude, determination, and patience, and continuously pour from what we have been given into others.

I’m really glad my attitude has shifted about this BEFORE we add more little humans to this family

So the next time you hear your partner say, “I can’t do this by myself!” or “Could you just help me?!” or “I’m too tired!” I suggest choosing to hear “You’re a superhero!” instead.

 

 

Let Go of Mom Guilt: Learn About Your Personality Type with Personality Hacker

Personality type quizzes and profiles have always missed the mark, for me.

Until this one.                                  (Affiliate links, but content is free excluding final link.)

sitting woman silhouette - Text: Let Go of Mom Guilt Learn About Your Personality Type

In a nutshell, your “personality type” is an outline of your dominant personal qualities, the way you tend to best think, feel, work, and interact with others.  The most esteemed version of this is probably the Myers-Briggs system – the one that assigns you four letters like INSF or ENTP, etc.  For more information on that, check here.

I stumbled upon a company called Personality Hacker and took their free personality test.  The results of this, the thorough explanation of personality types and ways to work with your personality to enhance your daily life, were life-changing.

Not exaggerating.

I’ve found out, from these resources, that I’m an INTP.  This type is blunt and honest, sometimes considered rude, and very intellectual (sometimes to a fault – spending a lot of time inside their own head musing over what they’ve learned and are working on.)  You can read more about INTPs here.

How on earth does this help with mom guilt?

Let me transcribe some daily thoughts of a real mom.  (Myself.)

“Should I call ______ to get together for a playdate?  I know she wanted to, but I really don’t feel like socializing.”

“_______ gave me a strange look while we were talking at the library.  Was I rude?  I was trying to be helpful.  How can I get people to realize I’m just being helpful?!”

“I just sat down to do paperwork for an hour… how is there no paperwork done?  I feel so guilty and unproductive.”

These are forms of mom guilt.  Trying to fit in socially with other moms and failing, trying to nurture and reach out but feeling misunderstood, struggling with being “productive enough” or doing “real work” enough hours out of the day.

The wealth of information that Personality Hacker’s website provided me about my personality type showed me that most of these kinds of struggles are directly flowing from my personality type.  It has given me license to stop fighting my daydreams, my idealism, my introversion, and my bluntness.  To stop feeling guilty about how my time is spent, where my mind wanders, and policing every syllable that comes out of my mouth.

The old me was completely convinced that these situations were results of not trying hard enough. Failing to be self-disciplined.  Being a mean person.  Not being “mom-like” enough.  Being disorganized.

All of my life,  I have been told that if I just tried harder, I could be more organized, productive, tactful, focused, social, patient, etc.  That I could have more friends, more time, more contentment if only I did things “the way everybody else does.”  And I believed this.

But an actually accurate personality typing has shown me a different truth.  The way I am, the kind of mom and woman and friend I am, is a personality type.  Others like me exist.  I’m not “doing it wrong,” I’m just doing it my own way.  I don’t actually need to try harder, socialize more, change the way I truly am inside.  It’s fine to INTP all over the place.  There are lots of great positives to this personality type, and so many free resources at Personality Hacker to help me enhance what I’d like to enhance.

What’s the catch?

No catch!  While these are affiliate links, the resources I have linked until now are all free.  I really used all of these pages myself, to learn more about my personality type and how it relates to others.  I followed links throughout the website to additional (free) content.  I’ve even joined a Facebook Group associated with Personality Hacker to participate in educated discussions about navigating the world as our true personality types.

I found Personality Hacker all on my own, used it for my own purposes, and felt compelled to share in this blog post.  Only after I began writing it did I reach out to Personality Hacker to let them know I was doing a write-up, and they surprised me with an affiliate program.  (That’s how we do here on Mostly Caffeinated – we’re never ever ever going to clickbait you, sell you stuff, or write just for affiliate purposes!)

Check out the free resources.  Learn about yourself, and how your version of motherhood / adulthood is perfectly valid.  It’s very freeing!

If you find you want to learn more, dive deeper, etc. there are paid programs you can join (webinars, downloadable resources, etc.)  including some on family and marriage.

 

What’s your personality type?  How does it play out in your home life for good?  What would you like to work on?

Going Back to Work (for two days)

Recently, I “went back to work” by substitute teaching for two days.

It was wonderful, for so many reasons.

walking picture with coffee cup and bag. Text: Going Back to Work

I knew, with very strong intuition and conviction, that I needed to stop teaching full-time and stay home with my boys.  It was such clear wisdom from God, honestly, that I didn’t waver about my decision.

I also LOVED teaching.  Sure, my years of professional teaching were far from easy.  There were many challenges in regards to time, patience, personal and professional drama… the list goes on.  But the actual act of teaching – the helping, tutoring, guiding of young people, the crafting of lessons and experiences, the presenting of information – is part of me.  Like a limb.

Going back to work for two days did not change these two truths, but it was so important to my mental health.

  • It proved to me that I am not unhappy being a stay-at-home / professional parent.  Not once during my hours working or my evenings at home did I think to myself: “Why did I leave teaching?!”  “Ugh! I can’t believe I have to stay home again on Saturday.”  “I wish I could do this every day.”  “I made a horrible mistake.”
  • It proved that do want to go back to work when my children reach school age.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself!  The energy I got from being in a school, with a faculty, around children, running a classroom… it was like an I.V.  Refreshing, stimulating, filled me up, in a way.
  • It reassured me that I did not stop working out of a lack of skill, true burnout, or anything of that sort.  Working felt like I’d never stopped.  (I would say “like riding a bicycle,” but honestly I’m terrible at riding bicycles.)  This mini work experience was  substitute teaching, so I was working with someone else’s routines, content, and materials.  I was also down with a virus (interrupted sleep, completely lost my voice between Day 1 and Day 2).  But still, I didn’t find the teaching difficult.  Teaching is tiring, significant mental work, and requires a lot of skill, but I wasn’t experiencing stress or struggle.

In short, I’m really glad I took this little assignment.  Sometimes certain opportunities or experiences can reassure us by confirming that we’re on the right path.  Sort of gives a renewed energy by sparing you from any lingering uncertainty.


Have you dabbled in working outside the home since becoming a full-time parent?  Or had a different experience that has given you important feedback about your decision?  Feel free to tell your story in the comments!