If there's anyone on this planet who knows a thing or two about new beginnings, it's a mother. Giving birth to a baby is the ultimate fresh start, since life as woman knows it changes entirely in that moment. As we're flailing around, trying to decide what our own New Year's resolutions will be for 2017, we could learn a thing or two from the Super Moms out there who know that self-care and quality time with loved ones are necessary things to make time for in your busy life.
Whether they're a young parent or a mom of three teenagers, mothers are the people we look up to most. We tend to listen when they give advice, and they remind us to step back and take a look at the bigger picture, rather than worrying our heads off about something small, like the red wine stain on our brand new outfit. Even if we don't particularly like to make them, New Year's resolutions are a tradition that gives us the chance to start over and make little improvements to ourselves and our life. Who better to turn to for some inspiration than the moms who make the world go round?
Here are ten New Year's resolutions everyday moms are making.
Psst! Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017 starting Jan. 1. Right now, tweet @bustle about how you plan to make 2017 the best year yet. Use the hashtag #2017IRL, and your tweet could be featured on our app.
"To stress less and be more present. Most importantly with my son, who is transforming so quickly from baby to boy. To stop and look at ants on the sidewalk, play games, bake cupcakes, make a mess, and be silly."
"My New Year's Eve resolution is to find time to take care of me. Even though my kids are off to college, traveling the world and doing amazing internships, I find that I am still not taking time for me, always others first.
The stress and burdens, both emotionally and financially, of being a long time single Mom really caught up to me this year. I look like I have aged 10 years in a year. So starting in the New Year, I am making my doctor appointments, getting new glasses, saving money to get my teeth fixed, joining CrossFit — not just paying for it for my kids. I am going to buy the expensive face cream for me instead of another pair of jeans in a closet of jeans for my girls. They are 23 and 19, and I prepared them already for the "Mommy Year of Me 2017." Thankfully, I am blessed to have raised two amazing young women and they are very supportive of my year. This also gives me an opportunity to show them that taking time for yourself and taking care of yourself does not diminish your love for others. I want them to learn to always take care of themselves first without ever feeling guilty about it."
"All my resolutions have to do with trying to figure out the balance between caring for Amos and studying for my PhD. It sounds cheesy and typical, but balance is hard. Ideally I can get a couple of hours in the morning and two half-days to study for my comps. I just moved so that I could get help with childcare. Because I am a student and we are poor, I do more childcare."
"This year's word is EASE. To me this brings the opportunity to ask questions like, 'Am I overcomplicating or making life more difficult than it has to be? How can I simplify? Am I enjoying and relishing in the little beautiful details in life?' I hope to take each little breath to kick back, smile, and enjoy the present moment with ease. I will chuckle as I observe, learn, and love. I don't have to be so hard on myself, my family, or the challenges that arise."
"I'm choosing daily exercise as my New Year's resolution because I'm ready to commit to creating a new life for myself. It's time for me to toss out my old beliefs about exercise and replace them with new, healthier beliefs. I've held onto the belief that exercise is hard and going online is easier and more fun. I've also believed that if I'm busy, I'll be happier if I put off exercise. But the truth is, my health matters to me more than going online or doing other things. My resolution is to do aerobic exercise for 10 minutes a day for January, then 15 minutes for February, 20 for March and so on ... I'll be proud of myself if I get through January with 10 minutes a day! But at least announcing my plan can be the start of some accountability?"
"To be open to support and receiving. This may sound like a given, being a new Mum. Of course I want support, I'm willing to let others step in and pour their gifts of love, because I know I deserve this. But I have realized I do have some resistance to that which I truly desire and need in order to flourish in my new next-level role as Mum — the new updated version of myself.
This first year as a mother has been the most intense year of my life, in the most exquisite of ways, a new way of experiencing being truly present for someone else. I now understand how deeply significant it is to reach out when we need help, to share the experience with others, for I am not alone in this. And in reaching out I support myself, and fuel my own fires which need stoking regularly."
"In a nutshell, my main resolution would be to slow down and trust more ... in the universe and the way the cogs turn. That's not to say be devoid of drive or motivation or spontaneity (where's the fun in that!?), but be less frantic to get things done immediately. Pick your battles kind-of-thing. I think it's a good exercise for me and will hopefully rub off onto my girls so they don't feel the need to panic or feel they don't have control of things or events they want to happen if they aren't happening right THEN & NOW!"
"Rather than resolutions, I like to set 'intentions' — which I guess are pretty much the same thing but feels a little more fluid. I'm a first-time mom with a one-month-old daughter, so my intentions for 2017 revolve a lot around finding a balance between achieving personal and career-related goals, and being the best parent I can be.
To me that means working smarter (becoming a time management ninja), asking for help when I need it, allowing myself to take breaks without feeling guilty, and finding even more patience with myself and others. (I'd like to add "be more organized," but I've learned to let that one go!) Also, in these turbulent times, I intend to stay vigilant and discerning, to stay vocal about what I believe in and to donate time and/or money to causes I feel are important so all of our daughters can have a brighter future."
"This year, I'm constantly trying to find the positive and reaffirm what growth the girls are making. This 'strengths-based perspective' feels so needed in foster care, as there are so many deficits that the kids have in their behavior and development due to the trauma they've experienced. I need to be reminded — and remind them — of how far they've come and show them the ways that they are resilient and strong."
"My wife and I both breastfed our first child, which, in and of itself, was an incredible feat. For months thereafter, we shared the heavy duty of breastfeeding. It was a luxury to never have to stress about my milk not coming in or our baby being hungry. Once my wife stopped breastfeeding, I remained hyper-focused on the idea that my daughter never have anything but breast milk. I became obsessed. When my wife and I decided we wanted to re-inseminate to try for our second child, the fertility clinic said I would need to stop breastfeeding completely, as breastfeeding decreases the likelihood of egg fertilization. Just like that, I dropped my self-imposed ideal and began feeding our daughter formula. The grief of losing that one-on-one time was minimal, and the relief of no longer being handcuffed to an infant's feeding schedule was immense.
In retrospect, I feel bad for having devoted months of my life to some bizarre standard I thought I had to meet. My wife and I are 3 1/2 months pregnant with our second child, and this time I resolve (cross-my-heart and pinky swear) not to miss the forest for the trees. Easier said than done, I know. But if there be any issue that I have the power to resolve by just stepping back and saying, 'It's going to be OK ... it already is OK' in order to ease life for my home, I promise to do so."
Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App starting on January 1 for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017.
Images: Keani Bryant, Tammy Carmichael, Megan Youngmee, Vanessa Baker, Kelly Fletcher, Kendra Harrison Kerzee, Kami Ugel/Facebook