New Year, New You...?
This is a guest post from my friend and colleague, Cecilia Prokop. Read more about how awesome she is at the end of this post!
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2018 - wow. Hard to believe. Seems like just yesterday we were all biting our fingernails with nerves about Y2K...but I digress…
Are you a resolution setter? Personally I’ve been hashtagging all my Instagram posts #NewYearNewMe just to annoy people (kidding...sort of). I do enjoy the start of a new year and the chance to set goals and think about where I hope to be at the end of this year. But it also makes me cringe sometimes to see the flooding of social media and conversations about the new year and everybody setting what feel like ridiculous or unattainable goals. Just like Anna talked about before the holidays, managing expectations can be a huge game-changer when it comes to things like New Year’s resolutions. Comparison is truly a thief of joy, and as if parenthood alone isn’t hard enough with all its comparisons and competitions, the goals and resolutions we see flying around this time of year can really make us want to hibernate until Valentine’s Day. “Lose the baby weight!” “Play with my kids more!” “Wake up early to do yoga and put on makeup!” Sure, these are all great ideas. I’m not saying you shouldn’t want to take care of yourself and your physical health, or try to feel and look your best, whatever that means for you. But the problem arises when these goals come out of an artificial place. Do you actually need or want to lose weight, or do you just feel like that’s what everybody expects you to want? Do you enjoy playing with your kids and want to find more time in the day to make it happen, or do you just feel guilty seeing those Pinterest lists of “Fun Rainy Day Activities For You and Your Bundles of Joy!!” when your go-to rainy day activity is movies and an afternoon nap?
Don’t get me wrong, I think setting goals is important and healthy. But I also think it’s important and healthy to be realistic and gentle with ourselves, and our only benchmark for “success” should be ourselves - not somebody else’s Instagram feed. So if you want to lose weight, great. Be honest with yourself about how much extra time, energy, and money you have to reach that goal. Think about what you actually want - is it to reach a certain number on a scale, or is it to have more energy and sleep better? And if you don’t want to lose weight - that’s okay too! You can still set goals to move more, eat healthier, whatever you feel is authentic to you and your life at this point in time.
As for parenting goals, I’m personally pretty pleased with how well my five year old is playing by herself these days, and I’m avoiding any goals or advice that tells me I’m doing anything “wrong” with how often I do or don’t play with her. I’m hoping we read more books in 2018 - now that she’s getting older, we can start exploring more interesting stories together, like The Chronicles of Narnia, or my favourites from Roald Dahl. But I’m not getting in over my head by trying to reach a certain number, because I know myself and my family well enough to know that we get overwhelmed easily, and I don’t know yet what this year holds for us, so we’ll see what happens. The point is, we each have our strengths, weaknesses, and priorities.
And as the saying goes, don’t compare your insides with somebody’s else’s outsides. Instagram never tells the full story.
By way of introduction, Cecilia writes: “Hi friends! I’m a postpartum doula trained through BirthWays International and I’ve been an accredited La Leche League Leader (read: breastfeeding support person) since 2015. My passion is families, and particularly women, in all of their wondrous diversity, and their experiences as parents and mothers. With two children of my own, I’ve seen the ways we as a society fail to properly support parents and families through the postpartum period and beyond. My goal is to help change the conversation around parenthood and parents, the unrealistic expectations we place on them, and in the meantime, to make sure you know you are not alone and that you’re doing a great job."