Aiming Low and Being Present

I really like a good list. And ticking things off lists. And sometimes adding things I’ve already done so that I can tick them off. The satisfying swoosh. Tick, tick, tick.

And I like new year’s resolutions. But only ones that I a) really genuinely want to achieve and b) have a good chance of achieving. And occasionally, ones that I’ve already started – some easy wins. So not so much of the “join a gym” or “give up wine” kind of resolutions – more so things like “celebrate everything” and “start Pilates” and “do a Digital Marketing course” (especially if I’ve already signed up for the course). Aiming low is a good place to start – it’s hard to fail.

I’m taking part in Helen of The Busy Mama’s linky of new year’s resolutions, so here are a few of mine for 2015:

1. Be Here Now

So many Sunday evenings when I’m getting the toddler ready for bed, I wonder where the weekend has gone again, and if I really spent time with him. Proper time; getting down on the floor to play with his train-set or do a jigsaw or just chat. Day-trips and playground trips and one-to-one coffee dates make up a good chunk of weekend time with the kids – 100% devoted to them to make up for being at work all week. But I wonder if I’m really WITH them – listening to them and sometimes doing nothing with them.

Doing nothing – dropping all the rushed activities – seems like a great idea until we try it, and I end up cleaning the house instead or pleading with them to tidy of their toys. So I’d like to be able to sometimes do nothing with them and really do nothing. Not cooking, not tidying, not sweeping, not looking at Facebook. Just playing whatever game they want to play, or sitting chatting. About nothing as the case may be.

That’s what I really want for 2015 – I want to be present when I’m at home with the kids. And not just at weekends, but after work too. So not looking at emails or checking my phone; not tuning in and out.

I want to compartmentalise better – focus on work at work (easy) and focus on home at home (much harder). I started hiding my phone in another room after work a while back – leaving it upstairs on silent while I’m downstairs with the kids, and it was good, but the habit slipped away. I’m determined to try again in 2015; to switch off and tune in when I’m at home with the kids. It makes no sense to complain about working mother guilt and then not give them my full attention when I’m there. So that’s the goal – to be here now; to live in the present.

Office Mum - resolutions

2. Run with running

I started running recently, just a little bit. I’d love to keep it up. This resolution can be filed under “already started so easy win” if I do any running at all in 2015.

3. Read actual books

My bedside locker is home to a stack of partially and wholly unread books. My goal is to stick a book in my bag when I’m out or at work, and instead of gazing into my phone every time I’m queuing/ waiting/ travelling, I’ll read the book. I hope…

Books - Office Mum

4. Get outside

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This is on my list every year; to get outdoors more with the kids. It doesn’t have to be good weather – yesterday we went to Dun Laoghaire in the wind and rain, and it was lovely. I just need to get better at teetering in the right direction when the “will we, won’t we” decision is being made, especially when the sun’s not shining.

Dun Laoghaire - Office Mum

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5. A so-called book

Last year I decided to try writing a book, so this year I’m  hoping to keep going with editing the first draft and at least getting it to a point where I’m happy with it, even if it never goes any further. I won’t include a resolution to get published because that’s  highly unachievable, it’s tempting fate, and it’s likely to lead to disappointment. And I only like resolutions that I’m likely to tick.

I also like the idea mentioned by Kate Takes 5 recently; choosing one word as a focus for your year ahead, and referring back to it. Mine is “present” – being present in the moment when I’m with the kids – and that goes for everything else too – work, family, friends; trying to do one thing at a time and focusing on that exclusively. Sometimes anyway.

I asked the kids if they were making resolutions. The three-year-old asked for more toast. The five-year-old said she wants to play more football with her dad. The seven-year-old is going to stop reading in the dark. She suggested that I make one for myself: “Mum, instead of just making the rules for us, you should follow the rules yourself.” Fair point. I will stop eating from knives and biting Sellotape in 2015 too.

Did you make any resolutions?

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This is part of a linky by Helen from the gorgeous The Busy Mama’s blog – click the badge below to see other resolutions and aspirations, or add your own!
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18 thoughts on “Aiming Low and Being Present”

  1. I am here writing out a very loose tinetable / schedule for the week ahead that I would like to follow for the year ahead Not only am I making New Years Resolutions but also trying to organise myself for a return to work after my most likely almost definitely last maternity leave. I suffered so much with working mum’s guilt last year and when I was with them I was stressing about work or the masters I was trying to do . This year when Im home I want to be there for them to listen, play and enjoy. Now I have fitness and weightloss there too but priority is that wonderful time I can spend with my three children now.

    1. That’s such a lovely plan to have – and great that you’re able to think back on how you were stressed before and know to make the most of the time you have off with them. Hope you really enjoy it, and that when the time comes to go back to work, you’ll find good ways to help make it easier and more manageable (and then tell the rest of us 😉 )
      Happy new year!

  2. Thanks for this. Perfectly practical. Love the idea of a one word theme and when there are children in the equation, ‘present’ is a good one. I might choose ‘Listen’ as mine – the old 2 ears, one mouth idea. It is quoted at the children often enough. Do we practice it ourselves? Onwards and upwards for 2015!

    1. Listen is a great word! Love it. I’m definitely going to try to do more of that too. And less pretend listening, where I look like I’m paying attention but I’m really planning what to cook for dinner/ wording an email in my head/ mentally folding clothes (which is clearly useless!)
      Happy 2015 Ailish and good look with the resolutions!

  3. Looking forward to seeing how we do when you review in 12 months time – very similar aspirations here too 🙂 Ditto on the running and being present-ness…

    1. Good luck to both of us on the running and being present. Having read lots of resolutions now, I think most of us are on the same track aspiration-wise – living in the moment and slowing down where possible and enjoying time we have with our kids. Which makes sense. Happy new year!

    1. Thanks a mill Aedín, and yes, there’s not much that can’t be solved by a kitchen disco!
      Happy new year and I’m off to read your post now too xx

    1. I love the idea too – borrow from Kate who got it from another blogger – I have it written on an envelope along with my resolutions, sitting on my bedside locker. For the 365 days I (hopefully briefly) forget all about the plans 🙂
      Happy 2015!

    1. Well I guess you did write part of it yourself 🙂 I love that too, when you’re just reading a post and find yourself mentioned there! The word idea is so good, and I really like the one you picked too. Best of luck with the fresh year ahead, and all the resolutions you made and especially the photography – looking forward to more gorgeous photos!

  4. Great list. I love the idea of doing “nothing” with the kids… because my nothing usually comes with an “I’ll just…” after it and that defeats the purpose.

    Kate’s suggestion of just one word is very clever, I like yours… must give mine some thought!

    Have a great new year, sounds like you have made the right plans for it!

    1. Yes! That’s it exactly, the “I’ll just”. It’s so hard to stop. I was playing charades with the kids yesterday morning and couldn’t help tidying jigsaws while we played. Maybe that’s not terrible… Good luck with choosing your word – I agree, it’s a good idea isn’t it.

    1. I think there aren’t many parents out there who aren’t striving in some way to be more present for their kids and slow down and live in the moment – even the ones who are good at it probably question themselves. Thanks for hosting a great linky, and happy new year!

  5. Hi Andrea, thanks for your super blog all year…a friend of mine told me about it in 2014. Your words often ring true with me at that very same time & keep me sane with 3 small boys, a commute & a full time job so THANK YOU!! Best wishes for 2015 & looking forward to many more posts. Joanne

    1. Joanne, thank you so much for the lovely comment! What a lovely thing to say. And hats off to you – working fulltime with three small children is hard. I’m glad if I can help you in some small way to stay sane 🙂
      Happy new year!
      Andrea

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