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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Single Mom New Year's Resolutions - I'm Going To Keep This List Realistic

Oh, I hate New Year's resolutions. Not just because they're hard to keep, but because everybody (including me) makes the same generic resolutions over and over again.

We're all going to eat healthier and work out more.

We're all going to get more sleep, slow down, enjoy life.

We're all going to spend more time with our families and call and see our friends more often.

I want to do all that, and more. But I also have some very specific goals I plan to accomplish in this next year, and I'm setting them down for all posterity here because I think I really need to. For me.

1. I'm going to call a friend every single kid-free weekend. My children are with their father every other weekend, and I spend a lot of that time cleaning and writing and watching movies. It goes without saying that I need to get out more (that's further down on the list), but how about reconnecting with a phone call? There's nothing like hearing someone's voice, especially an old friend. So I put a message out of Facebook, and told all my old college and high school friends to message me their phone numbers if they want to be on the "Get a call from Ellie" list. I think I'm going to be very glad I did this.

2. I'm going to notice people more. Specifically, men. Bear with me here. I'm coming off the end of a decades-long marriage, a marriage that I was completely and utterly faithful in all the way through. I had serious married woman blinders on when it came to the opposite sex. I remember once having a conversation with my ex where he talked about other women flirting with him and I replied that men never flirted with me. He was genuinely surprised and was even nice enough to say that he couldn't believe that. Now that I'm taking a moment to notice men, really notice them and their actions and their facial expressions, it's become clear that I may have actually been flirted with sometimes, but I just plain didn't register it. I tuned it out. I was a married woman, after all. And if it was blatant, well, I didn't take it seriously. Last night I was in the grocery store, saw a cute guy who looked about my age, and I smiled at him. He smiled back, and a few minutes later he turned his cart and followed me down another aisle, passed me and smiled at me again. It didn't go any further than that, but who knows? Maybe he's local (and single) and we'll run into each other again. Even if we never do, it sure felt good to be smiled at.

3. In relation to the above point: next New Year's Eve, I'm going to be kissing somebody besides a cat at midnight. Dammit.

4. I'm getting out more. I have kid-free weekends and evenings. Even if I'm not on a date (and I will be dating in 2014, oh yes, I will) I will be out. I will be visiting museums and seeing movies and hiking and biking and laying on a blanket in the park with a good book. I will driving to the beach for the day or taking that road trip to see a friend I haven't seen for awhile.

5. I'm going to stop feeling guilty about all the crap I didn't get done today. I'm a single mom, with primary custody of two pre-teen kids, one of whom is a child with autism. I work full time, and have a second part-time job on top of it. I have not one relative within a thousand miles to fall back on, and my ex lives in another state. I cannot do it all. I really, really can't, and it's unrealistic to think that I can. I can prioritize and do some, but the rest of it I just have to let go, whether that's laundry or baking cupcakes instead of buying them for a school party or writing an extra blog post or getting a thousand extra words on my novel. It is what it is today, and what I've done is enough. Beating myself up over all I didn't have the time or energy or creativity to do is just useless self-flagellation and it serves no purpose.

So that's the list for this year. I'm going to check back on December 31st of 2014, and you all might find me snuggling my cat while valiantly trying to fold laundry and update my blog. I sincerely hope not, and I'm going to work, actively work toward getting this list done.

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