Sept Goals

So…August goals were like a complete, 100% fail. Just absolute. We got two separate fever/rash diseases, I had a raging UTI almost all month. Absolutely no fun in our household.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this sort of whirlwind life pace. The weird thing is we’re like not busy. We don’t really do much scheduled stuff at night or on the weekends, but I think there is a sameness to the days that makes them really blurry.

Winter is coming up, or at least Fall. September is always when I start to get really down in the dumps SAD-wise. So I’ve been thinking about what I need to make winter WFH work for me, again, as we go through what will be almost two full years of WFH in our two-bedroom apartment. Like, what is a god mental health routine for me?

30-day challenges sound appealing, with some breaks built in. For Sept. I was thinking about decluttering to really set up our home nicely as we are entering the era of spending more time in it. In the winter, likely some things were I make sure to take an hour-long walk daily. Or starting to go to yoga twice a week. I am just feeling really down about delta, another WFH winter, and a lack of indoor spaces with an unvaccinated kiddo. Like, do I have to make another pod this winter??? And my podmate moved away, as did my last other friend in NYC with kids. But it is really, really, really hard to make new friends right now. So probably instead of moping, trying to also focus on the friends that I do have.

So I guess Sept goals will be doing my 30 days of decluttering and finding some sort of WFH routine that works for my mental health. And then, I’ll try to take things one month at a time instead of forecasting out to forever.

Jan Reflection/Feb Goals

Oof. What a month. A stomach bug, a stressful client presentation, freezing cold weather. The one shining light was officially creating our indoor pod and having indoor hangouts with them. That was a real relief because it was organized before the weather has dropped to feeling like 20 degrees every day. I did give up alcohol and coffee. Alcohol was easy and has never been a problem for me. Coffee was really rough! I never stopped wanting it and it was brutal to have some early morning baby wake-ups without it. And, I started sleeping from like 9pm to 5am which made me realize I haven’t actually lost my old body clock, but I’ve just normalized it a bit with coffee. Anyway, I am back on the coffee training and grateful for it. Especially on days like today when the feels like is 10 degrees!

There are three things I want to focus on this month:

  1. Having more fun. This has been happening organically through our pod group, but I want to keep shifting weekends and evenings towards more fun, rather than just passive recreation. I ordered a puzzle table so we can do a puzzle in the evenings but store it out of the way, and then I’m also interested in seeing if we can do cooking or crafting or some sort of fun activities. I read this hilarious article on why nothing is fun during COVID (basically nothing is new or spontaneous or social) but I’d still like to find a bit more…pleasure or nourishment or something.
  2. Stop using phone internet. I used to be SO GOOD at this and now I am SO BAD. It started with the election and then ticked waaaay up during the armed insurrection at the capitol. I just don’t need to be doing it. I also haven’t been taking full tech sabbaths. Both practices I want to bring back and I want my phone internet to go back down to 0%.
  3. Decluttering. The Marie Kondo bug has been striking me again…we haven’t done it since before we had a baby (I think actually two apartments ago), and obviously we are spending a lot of time at home. I don’t think I can do an all out effort, but I am thinking about making my own list of mini-categories that can be done post-bedtime and slowly working through some things. Her practice of choosing what to keep versus choosing what to discard always worked well for me.

That is all. Onto February!

January 2021

I just cannot think about a full year of resolutions, but I do want to get back to making monthly goals.

For January, I gave up coffee and alcohol. Alcohol has been absolutely fine but I am REALLY missing coffee. I’m fine drinking tea, but apparently I only want to drink tea with cookies. There is something about the total satisfaction of coffee that I WANT. But it honestly doesn’t feel like caffeine addiction, as much as the pleasure of it.

My other goal is to have some more fun. I want to get to the point of thinking about what would be the most fun activity to do at night, rather than falling into bed or watching TV on auto pilot. I am honestly struggling so much with this. Maybe I should put some sort of fun audit on my list.

Other stuff has been mostly good — working out, meditating, sleep, eating, etc. so just want to focus on the stuff above.

What a Year

I have been struck, as is pretty usual for me, to do a recounting of this year and a planning ahead for 2021. But every time I start to think about this year I just stop. I don’t really want to go back. I keep thinking about the holidays for 2019 – MG’s first. She was sick from daycare and basically up all night for November. Then she was a bit better and she – and then all of us – caught HFMD for Christmas. I spent my birthday feverish in bed. By February she was better and we felt like we had survived a really difficult window and things were turning a corner. Her birthday party was probably the last time we had people in our house.

From there, it has been a total shitshow. WFH with her, the total fear and panic of living in NYC in March and April, the house fire, five months of living with parents and in-laws. When daycare reopened and we moved back home it was like reaching the promised land. There were a few rough weeks of transition but since then, our life has been stable and happy once again, even in light of occasional COVID quarantines, masks, no indoor playdates, etc.

But it was hard again for other reasons – I had a miscarriage at 7 weeks, the fear and panic of the election. I just feel so wrung out and tired, like I need three years to recover from this one. And we still had it easier than so many people. We have stable jobs that paid us the same amount even when we were doing childcare half the time, we didn’t lose any loved ones to COVID, we didn’t get sick ourselves. But it was so hard in so many ways.

I have been looking forward to 2021 but softly. Thinking about doing a weekly tech sabbath which I have been finding really restorative and a way to bring the pleasure of boredom back into my life. And I long, I honestly long for, a cold rainy weekend day when indoor play dates are allowed once again and the kids can play with trucks and the adults can have some pizza and wine and we are all warm and dry and safe. I feel thankful and I am filled with so much longing.

March

It’s March! And super Tuesday. I am still rooting for my #1 (Liz!) and have a dream where there is a contested convention and she gets the nomination, and then Stacey Abrams is the VP. A girl can wish.

Life is holding pretty steady. There is a big coronavirus scare happening (the first NYC school closed) and we have done nothing to prepare. I’m not that concerned about it, mostly because it doesn’t affect babies much.

Here are things I’ve been thinking about:

  • daily habits and routines (this is like a constant focus area for my mind, I’m not sure why)
  • how nice our group of friends is, and how grateful I am to have so many close friends in walking distance of our apt and a sister who takes the train over every weekend to hang out with us
  • having another baby…
  • this summer and how to organize the weekend so we can go to the beach
  • working 80% time for 100% pay for meeting 100% of job expectations (I read a very, very interesting quote about this and have been thinking a lot about it)
  • the racism that was well alive and kicking during the civil rights movement and how it was often in direct coordination with the police and state, so you could murder someone, brag about it, and even today it may be un-prosecuted
  • how to not touch my face. I have been working on this (see coronavirus scare) and it is SO HARD. It takes a lot of self-control.
  • how to better organize our crazy bed situation (one futon being used a bed, one full-size mattress and box spring on the floor being used as a bed), one full-size mattress on a bed frame not being used, and a crib. And how to “solve” this problem in a way that is sustainability for the various iterations of beds and bedrooms we’ll need in the next decade or so.

I haven’t been in the habit of doing monthly check-ins or making formal goals. I have been building a great MommaStrong daily habit which makes me feel awesome.  Other than that, I’m not really in the mood to commit to anything.

Monthly Review – October

I haven’t done a formal monthly review since January 2019, but I was in the mood to restart. Something about fall back-to-school nostalgia maybe, or starting a new month where both R and I are working full-time.

1. What went well this month?

  • Phone foyer! I heard this funny phrase to describe exactly what R and I have been doing. MG is creepily obsessed with our phones, so we’ve been leaving them in our mudroom. If you want to use your phone between 4-8 pm, you have to use it in there where she can’t see you. It’s been really nice actually in terms of making the rest of our house a phone-free space.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Meditation. I wasn’t able to go to our meditation group at all and really miss having a formal practice. I’d like to make more space for it in future months.

3. What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Just rolling with the moment. Overall, I think it went great. It was a month where I didn’t really make plans in advance, and spent most nights after MG’s bedtime on the sofa lounging. But it did make me feel a little antsy. R and I used to spend a lot of nice time doing puzzles while listening to podcasts, or playing games and I feel like recently we’ve been a bit lazy about having nourishing downtime versus lazy downtime.

4. What am I working toward?

  • A weekday morning routine. In November, I’ll be doing daycare drop-offs but will likely also keep working from home most days. I’m likely going to make a full post on this, but I’d like to make a new morning routine that sets me up well for the day.
  • Productivity. So far at work, I’ve been able to leave work at 4 and avoid having a post-bedtime shift. I’d like to keep it up so when I get home from work, I’m totally available to play and connect with MG and R.
  • Simplifying. I’ve just been really over stuff recently. I did a big clean of our mudroom and want to tackle our coat closet next. (Yes, I am blessed with storage space in my NYC apartment!). Clearing out junk has been very satisfying to me. But also simplifying in terms of how we are spending our time – embracing lazy days at home with soup on the stove.

Monthly Review: January

Here is my monthly review for January. If you want to read December’s, check it out here.

Meta-note: I am actually thinking about stopping weekly updates and monthly reviews. I’ve done them for over a year and they fit a certain sort of linear structure that I’m not sure will fit nicely into my life in the next few months. My January review is here, but definitely considering leaving some flexibility in the next few months for what forms of blogging are working for me.

1) What went well this month?

  • Enforcing boundaries. So, I often think our cultural narrative around enforcing boundaries is a bit played out, but in January I basically did not GAF re anything someone else wanted me to do. Unlike my usual self, I bailed on all sorts of plans and I…didn’t feel bad about it at all. I took the time and space and energy that I needed for myself.
  • Coffee shops. I’ve been working from home a lot but have developed a nice routine related to the coffee shop. I go to one about a twenty-minute walk from my apartment, and do some work there for a few hours, and walk home. It’s become very relaxing.
  • Working through a book I’ve been loving on how to work less. Related to the topic on my mind at the moment, I’ve been really enjoying the exercises in this book and what I’ve been learning.

2) What didn’t go well this month?

  • I sort of want to say pregnancy, but it doesn’t feel fair. Pregnancy has been hard this month for sure but it’s not not “going well.” It’s going as it should.

3) What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Feeling at ease around baby prep. This was eh. I don’t know that it’s really an achievable goal to feel “ready.” But I do think we are done with buying stuff, which is nice.
  • More single-tasking. This has been okay…it often goes hand-in-hand with coffee shop activity. I have been taking to turning my phone onto airplane mode when I want to do focused work which helps a lot, but definitely not something I’m excelling at.
  • Nourishment. This continues to be my guiding star, and likely will continue to be for the future.

4) What am I working towards?

  • Day-to-day and moment-to-moment presence. The next month will probably be beyond anything I can imagine. I want to give myself the space to experience it as it comes, rather than needing to understand or digest or judge what’s happening.

Monthly Review: December

Here is my monthly review for December. If you want to read November’s, check it out here.

1) What went well this month?

  • Learning a new way to relate. I set an intention this month to not argue with my family at all. They have been in a space of providing an overwhelming amount of advice that I often resisted. This month, I set an intention of relating to that in a new way — just listening to the feedback, but not really reacting or responding to it. It’s been pretty transformative.
  • A nice morning routine. I’ve developed a very nice morning routine — meditation, stretching, using my light box. It’s long but gentle and leaves me in a good state of mind for things to come.

2) What didn’t go well this month?

  • Work productivity. I’ve been so unmotivated and disinterested. Some of that is just physical, but a lot is lack of buy-in and a sense that I’m sort of just waiting to go on leave.

3) What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Nourishment. This went really well. I’ve structured my weekends in a very relaxing way and have worked from home every other day or so which really helps my energy level.

4) What am I working towards?

  • Feeling mentally good around baby prep. I’m in the final stretches of pregnancy and we’ve started to buy some things and put them in place — a bassinet, a carseat, some clothes, etc. I want to feel mostly finished and at ease in the next week or so instead of feeling stressed around everything I need to get done.
  • More single-tasking and less internet browsing. I set a soft intention for January 1st to be a bit more focused in the moment. I’ve been having very consistent daily meditations, but there’s a lot of noise in my head. I want to live in the present moment a bit more.
  • Nourishment. I want to keep this as an intention because it’s so helpful for me to decide which activities to partake in and how to treat my time.

Monthly Review: November

Here is my monthly review for November. If you want to read October’s, check it out here.

 

1. What went well this month?

  • Cementing a morning routine. I’ve been on a very solid 5:30 AM wake up with a very regimented but joyful morning routine. It includes meditation, stretching, using my lightbox, etc — and still getting to the train early before all the delays usually start. Then I leave work right around 5.
  • Moving forward on baby stuff. For months and months, we have put off buying or thinking about anything practical related to the baby. But this month, we took a birth class and bought all the big picture items without turning into insane consumerists and buying a lot of stuff we don’t think we’ll need.
  • Creating intimate time. Because we don’t spend anytime at all together in the morning, R and I have settled into a really nice and relaxing evening routine. The highlight always involves an in-bed cuddle and trying to feel the baby kick. It makes me pre-nostaligic for when the baby will be out.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Obligations. Despite our best intentions, it seemed like a month full of one obligation after another. I don’t know how to make this not happen, and December is shaping up to be much of the same. I’m seriously considering just refusing to make any plans at all for 2019.

3. What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Whatever I want.  I feel like obligations have overruled this intention. Something to definitely keep focusing on.
  • An iron-focused diet. This hasn’t been going that well…I have been taking iron supplements but don’t feel like it’s really working. I do feel like I am increasingly sluggish, so it’s probably something I should keep emphasizing.

4. What am I working toward?

  • Nourishment. With only two months of pregnancy left (!!!), I just want to spend time being true to myself and thinking only about what’s good for me, R, and the baby to come.

Monthly Review: October

Here is my monthly review for October. If you want to read September’s, check it out here.

 

1. What went well this month?

  • Engaging in my winter routines. I always have some level of seasonal affective disorder, so it’s been helpful to start using my lightbox, emphasizing salmon and sardines, and making sure I take a long walk every day. Doing this early, and without resistance, is always good for my mental health.
  • Daily meditation practice. This has been simple, but very grounding.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Work travel. I had a long work trip this month and just didn’t structure my time or my diet very well. I really struggled to maintain any sort of routine or balance, partially because it was very rainy and I dreaded leaving the hotel.
  • Weight gain. I have gained a ton of weight over the last month…it’s interesting because asides from my belly, I don’t really look bigger but it’s sort of troubling. At the same time, my diet is generally healthy and I’m still consistently working out so I’m not sure how troubled I should be about it.

3. What did I work on last month and how did it go?

  • Enjoyment and nourishment. I suppose I have been emphasising this more so but because the pace of my overall life has been slower, the pace of my nourishment has been a bit slower too. And that’s fine. Most weekends are a mix of socializing, pure leisure, and errands which has been a good balance.  
  • The sabbath. This has been going okay. I have been doing better with keeping my phone off, or at least keeping off the internet of my phone, for full weekend days, though work travel always seems to reset this practice.

4. What am I working toward?

  • Whatever I want. With only three months of pregnancy left, and thus three months without a baby, I pretty much just want to focus on doing whatever I want, whatever that is.
  • A iron-focused diet. I want to emphasize the iron in my diet and hopefully get my iron levels back to normal.