Staying Present While Looking Forward

I am a planner.

I like to have a little something to look forward to.

When I don’t have anything to look forward to, I feel there’s a void, something missing. My plans don’t have to be big, but knowing I have a set date to meet up with a friend on a Saturday can get me through a rough week with the kids.

After I gave birth for the first time, our life was a big scary question mark, we were trapped in the unknown — afraid to make big plans. Those early days of parenthood are fuzzy, but the planner in me didn’t like that unknown feeling. Ok, ok, I hated it. I was a fantastic multi-tasker at the job I ended up losing weeks before giving birth — but I had no idea how to balance post-baby life with my old life. I was afraid to leave my baby with anyone. I felt very alone most of that first year and let’s be honest here — my relationship with the hubs was absolutely tested for the first time. My wants? My needs? None of them really mattered, even though they should’ve… because I mattered. My life mattered just as much as my baby’s & the hubs’ life. But what I really missed out on? Staying present during that first year. Just enjoying my baby and my new life. While I freaked out, sometimes daily, I slowly accepted that things change, but I need to stay present and enjoy the ride I was living at the moment… and realize that I can actually have some level of a life — because there’s always something to look forward to.

Over the last 7 years I have learned through my experiences that there is something to look forward to every day and within every moment, and I try to teach that to our children when I tuck them into bed at night. “What did you like best about today?” is a question they occasionally dread, but they mostly look forward to talking about the big & little things that occurred over the 12 or so hours they were awake. I try to come up with something I enjoyed about that day that’s different, even if my favorite echoes theirs — just to give them perspective that we may not always see things the same way — and that’s ok. It also helps when we may have a bad day to find the positive light within it. Because even when you’re having a bad day, there are positive moments we may have enjoyed, but the bad moment(s) cast a dark cloud over them. Those positive moments — no matter how big or small — deserve our attention, especially before we go to sleep!

The other way I can teach my children to value the positive in every day is by staying present & embracing those moments myself — with and without my children. Exhibiting that Momma actually does have a name other than “Momma” along with a life outside of the house — friends that may or may not have children… and Daddy does too. Sometimes the hubs & I do things together, without the kids — because our relationship as a couple is just as important as our relationship as a family. How will kids learn the importance of relationships if Momma & Daddy are always struggling to find that precious “alone” time — with or without each other? That balancing act will always be one of my biggest challenges of parenthood.

As this new year begins, I have much to look forward to — and I love the balance it already illustrates.

For me? I’m working on a few things related to this blog, still in the “planning” phase —

  • Starting up my own meme — hopefully next month. Anyone want to learn more? Email me!
  • Attending another blogging conference this year, like Type A or BlogHer
  • Possibly making a switch to WordPress. This scares me… so any advice from those of you who may have experienced “the switch” from blogger to WP is welcome! hold me! 

My family has a few definite things to look forward to as well, that don’t require much planning at all.

  • The hubs & I will be attending the now sold-out Michigan Winter Beer Fest again with some friends. 
  • The hubs & I have tickets to see The Wall Live in June, just the two of us. 
  • The hubs & I really look forward to watching both of our girls dance in my oldest’s 4th dance recital, but our youngest’s very first! 
  • But the big event of the year?! Drumroll… My family is going to Disney World this spring! We don’t do big family vacations very often — and after the hubs & I went to San Diego & Salt Lake City without the kids this past summer, we vowed that our next big trip would be Disney, especially with them being the perfect “Disney-age” of 4 & 7 when we go. 

I’m sure I’ll have a big before & after- Disney post right on here as we get closer to the actual vacation. The go-with-the-flow-embrace-every-moment chic is fighting with the planner within me to go spreadsheet-crazy, chalking out every second. You do have to do some level of planning when you go to Disney… within reason. Last time we went just with one child and it was very stressful for me at first.

But I was a different person 2 1/2 years ago. This is a good thing. Because I really believe I’ll do my best to stay present in order to fully soak in & enjoy every day this year, feeling a strong level of fulfillment by living every big and little moment to the best of my ability.

Hope you will too.

What are your big — or small — plans for 2012?

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