‘Tis the season of resolutions and promises to ourselves. Of one-word focused thoughts. Of gym memberships and diet plans. Of trying to be better versions of ourselves.
At the moment, though, guilt is probably the most powerful motivator in my life because I feel intense guilt for not being more, or better, or focusing, or dieting. I acutely feel the ever-present and all-encompasing Mom Guilt, sure, but also guilt over pretty much every other aspect of my life. I feel guilty over wearing clothes that weren’t necessarily made ethically. Over my toddler’s eating habits (or lack thereof). Over my own eating habits. Over going to yoga. Over not going to yoga. Over creating waste in my kitchen, my house, my classroom. Over taking a shower that’s longer than I absolutely needed. Over turning the heat up a few degrees to stop shivering. Over what I teach my students. Over what I don’t teach my students. Over the work I do from home. Over the work I leave at work. Over not really blogging or writing for the past few years. Over deciding to spend my time crafting rather than reading books. Over the election.
You get the idea.
The list goes on and on. It’s pervasive. It’s enough to make me not want to do anything at all… so maybe I should say that guilt is probably the most powerful un-motivator in my life sometimes.
I have grown and changed quite a bit over the past few years. Some of this is for the good, and some not. There are some things I really like about my new self – I’m a mom! That is exciting and challenging and new every day. I’m really trying to do more with less, which feels good and productive. I’m trying to bring more mindfulness into my everyday life, which is a really popular buzzword right now, but I think it’s important anyway.
But there are some things about my old, pre-kid self that I miss – Attending book club (and reading books in general). Dinner and drinks with friends without also having to entertain the kids. Writing. Being more politically active. Being more active in general.
So this year, instead of making some kind of resolution based on the guilt I already feel, I’m going to try to recapture some of the things about myself that I liked before, while also retaining some of the things about myself that I like now.
To start: Crafting Pussyhats and marching on Washington the day after the inauguration. Teaching Beloved by Toni Morrison to my AP students so we can have real conversations about race in America within the context of my class. Blogging more.
But for now, I’m going to sign off and spend this last day of winter break with my kid. Because that’s important, too.
Image credit: marc falardeau