Fall is here! The school year has started! I think this is the first year that besides a tiny bit of reluctance on the first day, I am SO READY to get back into the swing of things. I know I should miss my kids. But I also know that I’m a whole lot better of a person when I have time to myself every day. I’m happier, more focused, and a much better mom. Summer just sucks the life out of me. Yes, there are tons of fun opportunities and ways to spend time with each other and I’ll never, ever regret being able to stay at home with them when they are little. But summer also brings SO MUCH NEEDINESS that pretty much destroys my soul. So I’m thrilled that September is here and I’m not going to apologize for it!
That being said, I’ve had a lot of goals and plans and intentions rolling around in my mind for the last few weeks that I really need to organize and write out so I’ll remember them and hopefully live by them! I thought about encompassing my goals for the entire school year, but I think it’ll be better to focus by season. My September looks a whole lot different from my April. December deserves a list all of its own! So here’s the plan. September, October, and November.
- Work only during the day.
I think this will be the hardest goal to accomplish. Four and a half years in, I’m still used to doing the majority of my sewing in the evenings and weekends when the boys are spending time with Greg. I want to shift my focus and start to truly see Heartstring Annie as my job and not my life. I know that realistically, I’m not going to be able to stick with this every single day. But I’m going to try my best. More mundane household tasks like laundry and cleaning can wait until evening. When that’s all done, or even if it’s not, I can spend the night WITH MY FAMILY. Or reading. Or seeing friends. Or going on a long walk. I think if I can follow this rule, I will suddenly feel a lot more free. The weight of guilt that constantly flows through me will be eliminated because work no longer exists in my evening schedule. As for weekends? That’s probably still fair game. Greg and the boys do a lot of gaming and things on weekends, so I think I’m free to sew. IF I want to. But weekday nights? No more sewing.
- Work at least three full days a week.
To actual working moms, this probably sounds like a ridiculous goal. But last year for a few weeks I started keeping track of my hours and most days I only worked 1-3 hours a day, usually at night. This year I’d like to work for almost the entire time my kids are at school. With time for exercise and eating lunch. Ideally, I’ll do this four days a week. The fifth day reserved for running errands. Also, I’m hoping to schedule this all out in advance every week so I know what my workdays are and keep them highly prioritized as such.
- Stick with what I know, and stay on task.
From my first two goals, it appears that I’ll either be severely limiting how much time I have to sew each week, or with the added focus I’ll actually get more done. Only time will tell! This goal is mostly seasonal, reminding me that fall and early winter are the biggest shopping months and not the time to mess around with new patterns, new ideas, or trying out new products. People want dolls. And they want dolls that match the season and upcoming holidays. So I need to stick with what I know and do it the best that I can. Spring and summer afford me more time to be extra creative and try new things. In fall I need to stay on task.
- BE PRESENT
This is something I am terrible at. My mind is constantly running over my neverending to do list. ALWAYS. I resent the fact that the rest of my family just goes to work and school and then they get to play and have fun every night and weekend. Without the guilt! It’s mind blowing that they have such carefree thought lives! Why can’t I have that?? Why can’t I enjoy my life and my time with them? I need an attitude shift, for sure. I need to ask for their help with more chores. They’re certainly old enough. I also need to just let go and laugh and have fun with them too. I need to be a much bigger participant in my own family. More than the meal maker and laundry doer and errand runner that I’ve reduced myself to in the last couple of years.
- Schedule regular time with Greg.
Greg and I see a lot of each other. He pretty much never goes anywhere but work. He works at home on Fridays. He’s flexible enough to leave early or stay home whenever necessary. But I feel like so little of our time together is actually quality time. We’re just existing in the same space. Parenting the same children. I want to change that. We do have weekly “date nights” when the boys go to Grandma’s house for a few hours. I usually make a dinner that I know the two of us would like to eat more than the kids would. But at least once a month, I really want to have a real date night. Out of the house. I’d also like to change up our nightly tv schedule to maybe include a once a week movie night. Something different and special to look forward to.
- Monthly kid date nights.
I talked about this a few weeks ago. I always have the best of intentions to take my kids on a monthly date, usually the date of their birthday so it’s easy to remember. But I never follow through. This is the year to change that! I’m hoping it becomes something that they look forward to and get excited about helping me plan every month. So far, at least with Caden, it’s something he’s very apprehensive about. He’d much rather be home with Daddy than out with me. But I’m hoping to turn that around!
Food Goals (Yes, food goals.)
- Care about meals.
This past summer, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with meal planning. After a full day of the boys begging for food, telling me they’re starving, never liking what I gave them, never being full – I just could. not. deal. with caring about dinner. But I want to get back on track. I want to CARE.
- Make lunch special.
One of my biggest school year stumbling blocks is that I can eat when I want, what I want, where I want, with nobody to answer to and nobody I need to share with. Which is a surefire way to gain more weight! This year I’d like to have a lot more intention about what I feed myself. The best way I can think to do that is to make lunch more special. Actively search for recipes that I know I will love and actually cook something! Have something amazing to look forward to, so I’m not just stuffing my face with crap because I’m starving and I waited to long to do anything healthy for myself. This won’t be possible every day because I do have to work! But I need to plan out my lunches in the same way I plan out dinners. It will be so worthwhile.
- Make use of cookbooks and record everything.
I have so many cookbooks. I love cookbooks! But I almost never look at them. I’m usually desperate for a recipe at the last minute and 99% of the time turn to pinterest. I don’t have time to flip through random cookbooks to find something that looks good. Or to try and find something I liked in the past, but have no clue where it might be! So in the next few months I’d like to look through more of my cookbooks on a regular basis, record what I want to make, and MAKE IT. I also want to start keeping a nightly dinner log of what I made and where I got the recipe and how everyone liked it. Then I’ll have a single resource I can always look back on for inspiration.
- 10,000+ steps a day. No matter what.
On days that we walk to school, there’s really no excuse not to get this many steps in a day. On weekends or rainy or snowy days I’ll have to try a little harder, but it’ll be worth it.
- At least three long walks a week with Annie.
Long meaning over 2.5 miles. It won’t always fit into the schedule, but it’ll be really good for both of us. Even if we have to break it up into two walks in a day. On alternate days we’ll go to the dog park for her socializing time.
- Take a class or actively do exercise videos at home.
Walking is awesome and definitely my favorite form of exercise. But I realize I should be doing more. I’m really hoping some sort of fun class will randomly start up in Columbus this fall, the way cardio drumming did last year. (MAJOR boo to them leaving Columbus.) And if not, I want to actively do exercise videos on days I’m not going on long walks. I need it. It’s good for me. It has to happen.
- Self care, self care, self care.
I read a facebook post someone wrote yesterday reminding everyone that self care it not something you need to earn. You can do it any time you need it, any time you want it, without guilt. I want to remember this too. No matter how many goals and plans I had for myself, if I’m not feeling it and I know that I desperately need a break, I’m going to take it. Hopefully I’m going to take it before I’m desperate!! Last year I tried to instill Self Care Wednesdays into my week. Usually that meant going to a fun vintage of thrift store, taking half a day to read, or spending time with a friend. I’m not sure I’ll relegate it to the same day each week this time around, but I need to make it happen. Shopping is always very fun to me, but maybe I can be more creative this year. $5 movie nights at the theater are always a great idea. Entire days to catch up on some of my books? I need to take care of myself. And I don’t have to earn it.
- Friendships matter!
I want my friendships to take higher priority in my life. I’m busy, everyone’s busy, but it’s SO worth the effort. I hate putting myself out there and risking rejection. I hate feeling like asking someone to do something with me is taking them away from something else, which is why I rarely do it. But I need to change. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of friendships in the last few years and haven’t gained any new ones. Making time, showing I care – it NEEDS to be a much higher priority in my life.
- Never stop reading.
Never! Okay, obviously this is the easiest goal for me. I will never go a day of my life without reading. I’m pretty sure I never have. But I want to read more. Spend less time sitting at my computer or staring at my phone when I know there are fifty awesome unread books sitting in the same room as me. Reading is the better choice! Make it happen!
September Specific Goals
- Regroup, repair, rejuvenate.
Summer has left me pretty haggard. I’m exhausted and stressed and just plain weary. Despite this very long list of goals I want to start working on, I also just plain need to get a grip on my life. Which is probably going to mean a whole lot of self care this month. One thing that I’m looking forward to SOOOO much, is a solo vacation next week! I’m going to Door County for three days all by myself. It’s going to amazing. It’s not going to be long enough. But it’ll be so worthwhile. I can’t wait to not have any person or pet need anything from me for three entire days. It will be the height of luxury! So awesome.
- Good birthday month for Caden.
September starts birthday season around here! Caden’s birthday, Cindy’s birthday, Alex’s birthday, a couple of Caden’s best friends’ birthdays. Busy busy. And sometimes the stress of it all really gets to me. It’s so many fun things, but it’s also a lot of work and a lot of things we need to do and places we need to be, on top of adjusting to the new school year. Which is a lot. But I want to remember to make Caden a top priority and help him to feel extra special and loved during all the festivities.
October Specific Goals
- My birthday month!
In the last few years, with my birthday being on the end of the string of birthdays, it feels like everyone is really birthdayed out. It doesn’t feel as special as it used to be. This year might be even harder because Caden isn’t having his parties until days before my birthday. But for myself, I want to keep a positive attitude. Even if everyone else is sick of birthdays, it’s still important to me and I’m going to make it special.
November Specific Goals
- Sew like crazy!
So far there hasn’t been a year where I actually feel like I can keep up with holiday demand. Or even come close to it. Most years I don’t even sew anything in December. Which is a good thing! But I also lose a whole lot of potential sales. This year I’m hoping to just work my butt off in November sewing up Christmas dolls. And then I can afford to take December off, without the guilt! Which will be amazing.
Well, this looks like quite the list now that I’ve written it all out. But it will give me focus to know where my priorities are at. I’m really hoping this school year goes so much better than last, now that I’ve had some practice. I know what I need to do, now I just need to do it!!