My Favorite Yearly Parenthood Reflection Practice!
Updated: Jan 6, 2022
As a teacher, I used to relish the break. I would work like crazy up until the last day, hug the kids adieu and run off to lift my feet up and drink a celebratory margarita. It was so fun and exciting! Us teachers counted down the days more than the kids, I think.
But as a mom? Ever since leaving the classroom and shifting fully into parenthood as winter "break" neared the word that has most resounded for me is dread. Dread of all of the responsibility that would be heaped on ME. All of the time sucked up helping my children and being there for my husband. Gone is the time for self care and quiet. Gone is the time to get anything done. But there's supposed to be all the time in the world!
And then we return from the break with sequins in our frazzled hair, bags under our sleepy eyes. and with a pile of to do's so high they could crack our glass ceiling... all the while wondering where all the time for rest and relaxation went?
But this year was different.
As a consolation prize for this ongoing pandemic we had nowhere to go.
We had no obligations. No plans. No one to see.
So the end of 2021 in our home this year suddenly became something very different:
a place to rest for real!
Instead of the usual apprehension and stressers I usually came upon from traveling and holidays and all of the rush, I suddenly found myself carving my own schedule in my own way, seeing only the people I wanted to see, flowing with my definition of time and living life in the way I actually wanted.
And do you know what this NYer discovered? I like things slow. :)
I love the cozy, lazy mornings of cuddles and sleepy reading.
The waking up to the sunrise...or not.
The making of plans and then deciding to stay nestled instead.
The many hours walking through the woods.
Instead of rushing around and being exhausted from my vacation, this time I feel very nourished upon my return to the daily flow.
It also has to do greatly with one theme: release.
In order to be courageous and go with my true flow, I had to release perfection and fear of my family resenting me.
Release guilt for asking for what I wanted.
I released and shed so many things: expectations, work that didn't actually have to be done, to do's that were on the list because I thought I had to do them, not because they were actually necessary.
I also released responsibility and self sacrifice. I discerned my needs and what I needed. I said what I wanted and took my time.
And with that release I got brave and asked for what I really wanted.
I found myself entering a space of great reflection, cocooning, and... courage.
I went on a day long retreat where I ate a luxurious lunch alone with my journal, got a pedicure, wrote a song by a lake...
I also gave my husband a two day retreat for himself (and did EXACTLY what I wanted with my daughter without answering to anyone).
I released regret and not enoughness and took stock.
I slept a lot! I sang a lot too. I cried some. I laughed more.
I connected with friends or didn't.
I became inspired and created an elaborate winter solstice altar and celebration. We even woke up to greet the sun!
The time to create truly delicious and delectable experiences for myself and for my family - the meals we had were beautiful. The things we created were intricate and made with love. and great mindfulness.
I am sad for the break to be over and yearning for a way to keep the beat of our family s-l-o-o-o-w even with the return to work and school and all of it.
And so, I decided to lean on an old friend: the end of year reflection.
This year, I opened up my new journal and did two things: I rinsed out 2021 and greeted 2022 with intention. And I adapted it to my parenthood because I want to do it better - for her.
After doing this ritual, I don't know about you, but to me, 2022 feels energetically sparked!
While all around us so much seems to be unfurling, I take comfort in the knowing that this next generation - they are going to be something ELSE! - because we are learning to model a different truth for them every day.
2022 is going to be beautiful. I can feel it! It already is.
So may our next parenthood year begin with some exquisitly loving reflection.
I would like to invite you in...