Here we are. It’s 2022. I know… It’s been 2022 for a few weeks now, but I feel like after our chaotic, unexpected Christmas (spent sick and stuck at home) and then our delayed Christmas trip this past week, the New Year is still sinking in for me. At the beginning of January, I was honestly mentally exhausted and not feeling very positive about the year ahead. But the family time and change of scenery we got this past week gave me some designated time to reflect on the past year and think about my hopes and intentions for the year ahead. It’s strange to see where I was this time last year… and how much has changed, but also stayed the same. The effects of the pandemic continue to be frustrating and draining, and I don’t know about you but I still yearn for things to feel more normal and settled. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do about the circumstances of the world. So, I am choosing to focus on the things I can nurture this year — my health and wellbeing and my family’s. But, before I dive into my intention for 2022, I want to share a little insight into how the past year has been.
Reflecting on 2021
For me 2021, was full of special moments and new challenges to navigate. The year kicked off with me navigating the new world of being a working mom in a pandemic, and many mixed emotions connected to that. I felt guilty for sending my child to daycare when other working moms were keeping their children home because it was safer. I also felt satisfaction in having ownership of something outside of motherhood and seeing my son enjoy other children.
Some of my favorite moments of 2021 were taking Liam to the beach for the first time, going away with Will for our first weekend without Liam, seeing one of my good friends get married, going on family walks to the pool in our neighborhood, watching Liam learn to walk, going on a trip to the Berkshires with Will and celebrating Liam’s first birthday.
As a mom, I have loved watching Liam grow more than I imagined I would. His personality has really come out in the past few months and he continues to bring so much joy to our family and extended families. The decisions I make as a mom are not something I talk openly about a lot because I fear I will come across as having it all figured out as a mom, and that is certainly not the case. But, for me the last year involved a lot of mental energy trying to make sure I am doing the best for my child, which I think a lot of moms do. I just did not realize how much second guessing I would do or how much mom guilt I would feel on a regular basis. In the past year though, I realized that my best parenting decisions have been the ones that benefit my child without compromising my well-being. Those win-win decisions are what I strive for. It doesn’t always happen of course, and it isn’t always black & white, but that realization really helped me personally. It also helps me relate to other moms who make totally different decisions because that is what is good for their well-being and their child.
“We all need space and reflection. Like ocean waves, we must retreat first before we can build more strength in what we’re doing. This reveals itself in almost all areas of life: work, love, friendship, fitness, flexibility, connection, creativity. Trust these natural cycles.” — Victoria Erickson
Becoming a mom has already taught me a lot about myself and given me a new-found confidence in who I am.. not just as Liam’s mom, but in my life as a whole. It put a lot of things into perspective for me in 2021. I guess for me, having a child has a way of constantly reminding you what matters most in life; and I am very grateful I had that this past year.
But, one of the biggest challenges of motherhood for me so far has been balancing time. There’s much less time to myself and time for me to interact with people without part of my brain being occupied by Liam’s next need. The constant attention I need to give to Liam at this stage can be draining at times, and I have certainly felt times in the past year where I feel like other parts of my life are falling to the wayside. I have had to get used to being less productive than I used to be. For example, I used to be able to catch up on all my cleaning over the weekend, but now I don’t have enough time on the weekends and can’t accomplish the same amount of tasks I used to be able to. Being less productive in certain aspects of my life has left me frustrated at times, but reminding myself that there’s a very good reason for the extra messes definitely helps.
Dedicating much of my time to Liam also means it has become harder to maintain friendships and keep up with family. Carving out time for just me and Will was a challenge. And while we did successfully schedule more than a handful of dates and a couple weekends away, I wish we had done more in hindsight. (Note: I am so very grateful to our family who helped us get quality time together. It seriously is one of the best gifts we’ve received in the past year!) It is hard to plan time together as a first time parent, and I think that’s especially if you operated spontaneously (like we did) before having a child. This year, I know we are getting into more of a rhythm and we can get better at planning time together. Hopefully that will get easier too, once we are out of the pandemic and scheduling childcare is a more reliable and safe option.
On the home front, I had a lot of fun remodeling our powder room. It was nice to have a home project that I had full control of when a lot of things in the world around me felt unpredictable and truly were out of my control. As a creative person, it also felt like an exercise in self expression. The process of making our house into a home is a long term exercise in that, too. But there’s something to be said for getting one room totally done, even if it is the smallest room in the house! In addition to the powder room, I did some painting, decorating and organizing in multiple rooms, including our entryway, laundry room, family room and dining room. We also got our kitchen painted and new hardware installed (will share more on that soon), which was the first step in updating it.
My Intention for 2022
Looking at the year ahead, my intention for 2022 is to cultivate more moments of peace and true presence. In the past couple years, it feels like the world is bombarding me with information — things to worry about, things to improve, things you should know to be an “informed” person, things you should buy to be cool, things you should not do if you want to be a good mom, things to buy so you can finally be organized, things to do so you can be more productive. I could go on! Of course, I don’t expect the overflow of information in our world to stop, but I do want to combat it by cultivating more moments of peace this year. I want to create more boundaries and get better at purposely tuning out some things for the sake of my mental health.
While I am still discovering what brings me the most peace, I think for most of us moments of peace look different in the various seasons of our life. For me, I have limited free time right now, so I know I will have to get creative. I’ve got some ideas though! I plan to share more about ways I’m cultivating peace in a future post, once I have tried out a few different things and can share what is working best for me.
For those of you who’ve read this far, I hope that you can find and create reasons to be joyful this year. I would love to hear if you have any intentions or goals for the year ahead.
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