2007: A New Year,
by Amy Brase
I am baffled by the people who write their New Year’s resolutions on real paper. They must be the same people who sweep their driveways and alphabetize their canned goods. Really, I’m just envious. I have dreams of how I’d like the next year to evolve. But golly, it takes at least 30 consecutive days to establish a new habit, and that’s an especially long time if it involves sweating. It seems like whenever I make a solid, well-intended resolution, my children join forces against it. For example:
Resolution Number One: I will exercise regularly, preferably first thing in the morning. My kids’ response: At least one of us will wake up two minutes earlier than Mommy’s alarm, hungry for pancakes, and defeating any of her attempts to become physically fit.
Resolution Number Two: I will maintain a clean and clutter-free home. My kids’ response: We will play with each toy for two and a half minutes before moving onto the next and take special interest in glue and paint. We will pack a lot of bags with various items from every room while we pretend to play “airport.”
I’ve tried approaching resolution number one from different angles. Joining a gym allowed me to explore various kinds of exercise without my children underfoot. It is difficult, however, to achieve a cardio workout on a yoga mat, my exercise of choice. Also, I stretched one pose a bit too far and found myself in an unintended cuddle with the man to my left. In my one-time experience in a Body Sculpt class, a bungie snapped out of my hands and nearly hit the girl behind me. I finally settled on dance-based aerobics, the only form of exercise that is almost fun enough to disguise the work involved.
When I first joined the gym, I met with a personal trainer who asked about my goals. She was looking for specifics: To lose two inches from here, three inches from there, and do this many repetitions in that many minutes. I was caught up on goals much more lofty: To look like I belong among the determined and sculpted, to avoid falling off the equipment, and to find the most discreetly private nook of the locker room.
Resolution number two is an ongoing battle of unfolded laundry and junk drawers that don’t open. I rest easier knowing that I am not alone. Motherhood is a daily smorgasboard of choices mixed with guilt. One of my friends has a plaque in her kitchen that reads, “Good moms have dirty floors and cluttered counters.” Now I’m sure that there are good moms out there who manage to vacuum under beds and polish silverware, all while teaching their kids to read and catch butterflies. I’m just not one of them. I do my best at both, but when forced to decide, I choose to play Dora Bingo with my kids. Quite honestly, I’m learning that life is too short to be so hard on myself.
Though these two resolutions are often at the forefront of my mind and have recognizable benefits, I try not to dwell on them daily. Ultimately, I long to be a voice of kindness and a hand of compassion. To weave together words that inspire. To provide for our children a loving and resilient buffer from the world and then to trustingly let them go. To laugh and love fiercely. To live with gusto! These are the resolutions that resonate most firmly. These are the goals for which I am most motivated. In fact, I might just write them down on real paper this year.
Amy Brase is a local freelance writer who has never polished her silverware or alphabetized her canned goods. She doesn’t look natural on a Stepper, but she can play a mean game of Dora Bingo. She and her husband Adam enjoy making Saturday morning pancakes with Kalianna (5) and Logan (2).