See ya later 2017! You were good to us, but probably one of the harder years of my life...
Between a move, extra therapies and appointments for Welles, boys who cognitively became twins-- destroying everything in sight, sending my oldest off to school every day, more schooling for Welles, losing our baby nephew (hardest of all by a long shot), helping my sister through that loss, figuring out my body (or actually not) after six years of either being pregnant or breast feeding came to an end (so many hormonal changes), doing some therapies of my own to figure out how to better parent our daughter, feeling like a failure at that, never being settled or organized at anything in my life and more feelings of being overwhelmed than ever before! Ahhhh... long enough of a run-on sentence for ya?
ANYWAYS... I was super and completely ready for 2018... and here it is. Alleluia!
Now I have to give 2017 some serious credit… 2017 was filled with very valuable lessons. I learned how to say "no", which has always been hard for me. I simplified last year in all categories of my life (things, activities, health, relationships). I learned with our entire family how to cope with loss and how to mourn with those deeply suffering. I began to see my bad habits/weaknesses and stop justifying them as "part of who I am". I also learned to see my strengths in new ways and how to better utilize them. But one of my biggest take-aways from 2017, that I am implementing to the fullest in this new year—planning ahead is the only way we will happily survive.
I've said it before and I'll admit it again... structure is HARD for me! That being said, what 2017 screamed into my face was… not having structure is even harder. Not just harder on me, but on the whole entire family. Lacking balance, a bad habit that I've always struggled with, has caused chaos in every single piece of my life's puzzle. While I still FIRMLY believe in being flexible and spontaneous in motherhood, I clearly see the benefit of structure in our day-to-day… always still leaving room for fun and spontaneity, of course.
And to be clear… I am NOT planning and outlining each and every day. Just coming up with new guidelines such as—regular family and weekly-plan-out night, morning routines to avoid screen time, Scarlett not coming down in the morning until she is completely dressed for school (possibly the biggest battle we were having each day was getting ready!), bed time for Scott and I (we are such night owls and suffer every morning because of it!), etc…
If you’ve read past posts, you know that I have talked about being more of a “planner” before. But as our family grows and evolves, different types of planning and structure are needed to find that right balance for each of us. We have made some super productive changes that only two weeks into the new year, are becoming life-changing and stress relieving for all of us!
The first Monday night of 2018, we sat down and had a “family home evening”, which by the way, is absolutely one of the most important additions to our new and structured 2018 calendar… and together that night we mapped out 2018 goals, family rules, came up with a motto and mantra for this year and ended with a family game.
Of course this conversation mainly involved Scott, myself, and Scarlett… but the boys were present and recited the motto and mantra with us in their gibberish language. ;) We may or may not have put them in their high chairs to be part of the family circle, making them unable to escape!
In this book that I found on Amazon (link here), it maps out lessons and family home evenings for the year that are super important to us and will help us come back, and connect once a week… also giving us the chance to reset and be reminded of our family goals. This book does have religious content and scriptures, FYI. It’s working well for us to have a basic planner of family lessons such as…. “Helpful Hearts, I Can Forgive, Using Kind Words, Families Are Forever” etc… So maybe something like this could work for you.
These Monday nights (family home evenings) are not formal or even incredibly productive… We go through our five-minute lesson/activity from the book, recite our family motto and mantra for the year, sing a song together, say a little prayer and go over our week-ahead schedule. Obviously much of this conversation is interrupted by Ames stripping and flinging his diaper, Welles climbing on everyone’s laps for kisses and Scarlett asking when we get a treat… BUT I think it’s great that our kids are learning that we dedicate this night to family, goals and weekly planning. We try to make it a quick thing, and always end with a little dance party or game that all the kids understand ('Simon Says' is a favorite) and then prep them all for bed.
So here you have it… our documented promise for a happy, wonderful, better-us and better-planned 2018! May all of your work and resolutions come to be! We love you all.
2018 Family Motto (aligning with our family goals):
We Are Kind
We Work Hard
We Respect Others
We Choose to be Happy
We Say “I’m Sorry”
And We ALWAYS Love One Another
We Are Petersons
2018 Family Mantra:
“If you can’t see the Sunshine
BE the sunshine”