A new year always brings about a heightened sense of responsibility. The planner you meticulously researched online before spending $50+ on quickly starts to fill with tasks needing to be completed. Freelance work to finish. Invoices to send. Social media posts to schedule. Blog posts to write. The pages are neatly organized with different colored pens for each client, carefully jotted down so as not to forget a single thing.
This is the year you stay organized and on top of things. Fist bumps and dancing lady emojis all around!
Approximately a week later, reality sets in. The boxes on said to-do lists go unchecked for days at a time. Appointments and chores get pushed back. Your two children need to be bathed, fed, clothed, entertained, read to, snuggled, tucked into bed. These are the things that you don’t include in your plan book. There is no “2PM, start another episode of Curious George” or “5PM, give Huck another graham cracker before his screeches puncture your eardrums!”
Your schedule starts filling up, and filling up fast. You find yourself wishing you would have ordered those extra pages.
You juggle work and play and parenting and cleaning and cooking and, on a good day, being a mediocre wife to your poor husband who always feels like he comes in last place – because he usually does, simply because he’s able to wipe his own butt and usually doesn’t argue when you tell him it’s pasta for dinner (again).
You quickly realize that your meticulously kept planner is a joke. You ditch the color coding and start adding things to your lists after you’ve already done them for the satisfaction of checking the boxes in your brightest red pen, if only to make yourself feel like you’re getting ahead. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.)
Day by day, the juggling act gets more difficult. The kitchen is a mess with dirty dishes from dinner two nights ago and clean dishes to be put away. Your email inbox is slowly filling up with client requests and last minute “hot” jobs that turn you into a hot mess, fighting back tears at your desk while your kids watch yet another show on Netflix. The mom guilt increases with your task list and suddenly you find yourself in way over your head.
If the balls you’ve been juggling were real, you would have chucked them across the room by now.
All those goals you had set for the new year are long gone, and it’s not even February yet. You forget to write in your planner that you just “had to have” all week, and you stay awake for hours after your head hits the pillow at night with the anxiety that you’ve forgotten something for someone.
After nearly a month of near-crippling stress and responsibility, you decide to put an end to the juggling act. You come down with the flu and are forced to let the balls drop for a couple days, re-evaluating your resolutions while you nurse yourself back to health on the couch.
You set your priorities to maintain your sanity: brush your teeth before 10 AM, drink one hot cup of coffee before you get your day started, get jobs done for your clients as they come in so as not to be up against tight deadlines.
You add a few things to your to-do list each week for yourself: paint your nails, pluck your eyebrows, buy a bottle of wine to enjoy in silence at the end of a busy day.
Last but most definitely not least, you pencil in the things that satisfy your heart: play with your kids, experience new things alongside them, play outside more often, enjoy a movie night on the couch with your husband, cook a meal from scratch once in a while, clean the house from top to bottom with the music up loud and your favorite candles lit.
“Happy New Year!”
Keyword, happy. After a few weeks and more than a few deep breaths, you pick up where you left off and allow yourself to get those colored pens back out to start fresh… making it a point not to worry if the boxes go unchecked once in a while.
Playing in ball pits was always more fun than trying to juggle, anyway.