When you have kids you start to think differently about all the things.
You don't go out late as much at night because you know the next morning is coming fast and early. You start to move your breakables to higher locations in your home (or you get rid of them). All of a sudden your spare room is overflowing with toys that you don't even remember receiving as gifts because you know you didn't buy that many things for your offspring.
You also start to use your time differently. For me, that meant my 6am cup of coffee all by myself while I prepped my mind for the day had to readjust to a 5 am alarm clock (and now 4:30am) to get my head on straight before the kiddos come walking down the stairs looking for oatmeal, legos and milk.
Your dinners which were once calm and accompanied by a glass of wine and a vase of flowers turns into "What can I heat up the fastest or which vegetables and fruit suffice for a meal so I can get them fed and in the bath and then to bed so mommy can have a glass of vino (or cup of chamomile tea) and unwind?"
The days go fast. The nights go faster. And all of a sudden your cautious firstborn is 4 years old and your feisty girl is two years old.
And you start thinking about the things that come out of your mouth every day. The not-so-patient replies to the fifth request to watch something on the TV and mommy saying "We only watch TV on Saturdays!" or the times that Mommy wants to cry with you when you pee your pants for the third time because we're all so exhausted.
Or maybe that's just me. Maybe it's just me who finds myself in this conundrum of balancing work, passion, ambition, travel, school events, parties, homework, love, patience and raising children on a day-to-day basis.
A couple months ago I was talking to a friend and woman I admire so much. She's hilarious, extremely smart, passionate, caring and one of the hardest workers I know. I was complaining about trying to balance it all and finding purpose and passion in my day-to-day when she wisely said,
"Dom, what will you tell Zoe one day when she comes to you asking for advice? You'll tell her to follow her heart, to take risks and that you will always love her no matter what.
You know you can tell yourself that too."
And sometimes it takes that simple perspective shift in our lives. Our kids, even as little as toddlers, are watching us. I may pride myself in taking care of myself physically, but as my therapist said taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally is just as important.
And I want my kids to know that I do love them, that I am patient and that I am taking care of myself too. So here's one of many letters I've written to my kids over the last four years as I journal and it's my manifesto this year...
I'm being brave. I'm taking risks. I'm learning. I'm trying. I love you.
It's good to remind ourselves to take care of ourselves while we're taking care of others and that it's valid to find purpose in your day and take risks.
2020 has me full of grace, gumption (or ganas as we say in Spanish) and gratitude.