2016 gave birth to many things for me (& from me). The top of that list, most literally, being the birth of my third child; the sweetest little angel of a baby, Grant (whose cute cheeks have graced these virtual pages on more than one occasion). Trailing closely behind, more figuratively, was the birth of this blog, The Spilled Milk Club (You Are Here).
The concept for the later happened innocently enough. A midday text conversation, that stretched way beyond the nursing session it started at, filled with game plans, pep talks of lifestyle changes, and good plans of being more present (while actively ignoring my kids); your standard mom stuff. But somehow, unlike the usual conversations that often came and went with little action, this time an idea spun.
Fast forward a couple (dozen) brainstorm sessions, (thousand) group chats, and skype dates later we were all in, excited, and set to launch. Except I wasn’t. A few months in, we were up and running, my co-bloggers were killing it (if I do say so myself) and it hit me, I don’t know what I’m talking about or
better worse yet, who the heck I am.
Cue the awkward parade of blogs as I try to make it through the weeks. I was all but Mariah Carey performing on NYE, fumbling around while I tried to figure out the sound situation, aka my identity crisis. Can I get a holiday?
How did the person who needed all the advice but hit “save for later” because she didn’t have time to read more than 140 characters suddenly become the person writing and doling it out?
Insert expletive. But really, why couldn’t I? Where had my thoughts gone?
I knew sleep deprivation was real but I had long ago written off expecting it anytime soon. Personal hygiene and appearance had taken a definite backseat, as it often does in the
newborn toddler having children days. Case in point to its rarity, I finally treated myself and got my hair done the year prior, and got pregnant promptly thereafter (Hello, Grant!). All this stuff was expected, stereotypical even, but was also fairly easy to correct should I find the effort (enough coffee).
But standing there on my metaphorical internet stage, forced to perform as the weeks came and went I couldn’t hide from it anymore. Where was my mind? What did I like? What did I believe in? I didn’t care. I didn’t have time to care about these things; and did I even want to spend time having opinions on things? Wouldn’t that just land me stressed and ranting on Facebook? Then it hit me, nothing was coming out because I wasn’t putting anything in. I was filled to the brim with the nothingness that surrounds all of us daily. Facebook statuses, Instagram pictures (ok but I do love you), and garbage click bait articles.
But was social media really a problem? It was relaxing; it made up my quick breaks throughout the day. It was my dopamine rush I had become so addicted to but it was becoming more than that. When I sat and thought, I could dig in my brain and pull out practical strangers completely insignificant, undramatic, Facebook statuses. My brain was literally transferring this garbage to my long term memory. Not to knock your online diary, but this stuff does not need to be taking up neurological space in my brain, forever. But it was and I was done.
I could justify putting off exercise, skipping my favorite makeup purchases, and not doing my hair, (for a bit) but I couldn’t put aside trashing my brain because I was distracted. Pair that with my less than stimulating stay at home mom routine, toddler shows, and wiping bodily fluids a couple dozen times a day, I was spent. Opinions on things? Forget about it.
I was pouring from an empty glass; and if it wasn’t bad enough that my kids, my husband, and myself were getting scraps, but now the online community I had created was as well. I couldn’t hide from it anymore, I needed a change.
I looked around both mentally and physically and all I saw was excess. Excess technology, excess weight, excess clothes, excess things, etc. The culprit was obvious. I was full of excess but pouring from an empty glass. The excess was junk. My kids can’t play in a playroom bursting at the seams with toys; I’d seen the benefits of less being more time and time before. The same was now applying to my adult life and all that surrounded me. I needed less quantity and more quality in my life and needed it yesterday.
I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. Mostly because I’ve never been one to wait for a Monday, a round number, or a fresh page to start over. I’ve been known to restart a day at noon if it takes a bad start. I didn’t need a New Year to have a clean slate, but as Christmas had passed, and New Year’s was approaching, there was no better time to make this change.
I declared 2017 as the year of me. I was putting on my oxygen mask first.
I sat and reflected on what made me feel truly well. Not just ok for a second. Not the momentary Facebook scroll or fast food high that rushed me with satisfaction but then left me bloated and tired later. What truly filled me with transferable goodness? What was my oxygen? What filled my cup so I could pour out?
Tiny Buddah says “don’t use a lot where a little will do.” I would trade quantity for quality. Put in more effort now for a higher return later.
Less for more this year.
Less statuses, more books.
Less small talk, more conversation.
Less profile pictures, more people.
Less clothes, more outfits.
Less toys, more imagination.
Less preservative, more produce.
Less house, more home.
Less me, more him.
Minimalizing is in. Minimalize the junk in your life and surround yourself with quality. Quality words, quality food, quality people, quality clothes, quality life.
This is my hope for my New Year. Each year brings essential growth of different kinds for different people. I’ve spent many amazing New Year’s growing other people (literally). 2017 is the year to regrow myself. To be the mom my kids need, the wife my husband deserves, the friend I would want to have, and the woman I want to be.
“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings you joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.”- Jean Shinoda Bolen
What’s worth it will always need to simmer. Here’s to a year with more patience for the good and more time well spent. Here’s to a quality me & you.
Happy New Year!