Yesterday we went for a morning run. It was one of the first truly fall-ish runs we’ve been on together this year, with a clear sky, crisp air, and bright colors all over — invigorating all around. And today was a perfect fall evening run. We went off our beaten path a bit because Manchild 1 wanted to see ducks and swans. Which we did. Check and check. As we ran we talked about our running goals for the coming year . . . I think the weather may have gone to our heads because we were setting some pretty lofty goals — lots of mileage, high speeds, several big races. Still, I think we can do it. It’s not worth it if it’s not challenging, right?
All this talk of goals reminded me of something I did last year. I was feeling kind of discouraged with the monotony of being a stay-at-home mom (it must have been one of the rare lulls or something), and decided I needed something to work towards. But raising children hardly lends itself to short term goals or even any sort of measurable result. And who knows how much credit I can even claim for how my kids turn out? It’s technically their life. And sure, I could make goals like “Get the Menchildren into Harvard” or “Raise 2 football team captains,” but I hardly want to make enemies of my own children. In fact, quite the opposite. In 20 years, I want my relationship with my kids to be strong, open, comfortable, full of trust and mutual respect. Starting with that in mind, I made a list of things I can do starting now that I hope will get me — us — to where I want to be then. It’s kind of my own personal mission statement. I didn’t limit it to raising children, because even though I sometimes forget it, I am actually a wife, daughter, sister, friend, and human being as well as a mom.
I put the list in my journal and I read it frequently. Every now and then as I’m going through my day one of the things on the list will pop into my head and I’ll try to act on it. I see it as my “becoming” list. I am becoming the person the list describes. At least I hope I am. I feel like it gives me some sort of accountability in the immeasurable parts of life. And it helps me remember that I don’t have to be perfect, and I especially don’t have to be perfect right now. I’ve got time. I can change. I can do hard things. (Which is why I’m not totally intimidated by our 2011 running goals . . . at least not yet. It all sounds so easy and then we actually have to start training.)
Anyway, here are a few select items from my list.
I am a person who:
- looks for the good in others and is not afraid to tell them
- tries to keep in contact with old friends and develop old friendships
- spends one-on-one time with my children on a regular basis
- celebrates small victories, accomplishments, and progresses
- is aware of the needs of my children and tries to see things from their perspective