That is the word that comes to mind when I look back on 2014.
Last night I scrolled through Facebook and Instagram, reading all the hopeful and celebratory New Year’s Eve statuses.
“It’s been a great year!” “Can’t wait to see what 2015 holds!”
I’m not gonna lie — I felt a little resentful as I wrangled a screaming toddler, nursed a migraine, and folded laundry because my son had run out of clean pants. Honestly, last night was indicative of my entire year — feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and using evenings as a time to catch up on all the work I couldn’t manage to fit into my days.
Don’t get me wrong — there were a lot of great things that happened this year. Jon David was elected to student council, he’s made straight A’s every quarter, and we took an amazing 10th birthday trip to New York. It’s hard to believe that I’ve passed the halfway mark to him officially being an adult — it’s what really motivates me to try not to rush through Lucy’s toddler phase. It’s difficult, but so so fleeting. Looking at Jon David helps me keep that in perspective, for sure.
We also got a dog! We welcomed Ruby, a 7 week old (now 15 1/2 week old) Boston Terrier to our home on November 1st, a week I will forever remember as THE WEEK OF ALL THE THINGS. It just so happened to be the week that my husband was out of town on a hunting trip and Lucy got her first stomach bug, throwing up every hour for an entire night and staying sick for about 5 more days. Anyone who knows how difficult puppies are (especially with the whole potty situation) will recognize that this was less than ideal. I sat helplessly, watching Ruby poop on the floor as my toddler spewed vomit all over me. Life, people. What do you do.
Ruby is now (mostly!) potty trained — most days we go without a single accident but occasionally, if I get busy and forget to let her out, she will pee on the floor. We are working on teaching her how to let us know when she needs to go — she’s not really picked up on that yet. We’ve had a low hanging bell on the door to the back door for quite some time, so hopefully she will eventually make use of that. I read that Bostons are some of the hardest dogs to potty train, so it might just be something that takes awhile to catch on.
She’s a sweet dog, with fits of hyperactivity and then hours of snuggling under blankets. Lucy is completely obsessed with her — not always a good thing. Poor Ruby takes her fair share of toddler torture and although she never retaliates against Lucy, she does take it out on the rest of us ;) She’s wonderful in her crate at night — never a peep until we get up and get her, and she LOVES fetch and is SO good at it!
I can hardly believe all that Lucy is up to these days. We started out the year with her barely crawling — she did this weird dragging across the floor thing for forever. She didn’t even say mama until late June, and now she’s saying multiple words together and running all over the place! I am so excited to see the progress she will make this coming year. She’s a fun and darling girl, with an incredibly stubborn spirit that often gets the best of me. She’s currently obsessed with Frozen — she got Ana and Elsa dolls for Christmas. The Elsa doll sings “Let It Go” which is her favorite song next to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off”. We love turning on the “Shake it Off” video and watching Lucy shout “Pay Pay Pay!!” “Cake off!! Woo Hoo!!”. This girl is absolutely overflowing with character.
Having a toddler around has definitely forced my husband and I to change up our dynamic. I can no longer work, run the house, and do all the toddler things all the time, so we’ve had to get new routines down. My husband often cleans up after dinner and does Lucy’s bath and bedtime routine so I can button up a few work related things on the computer. It can be hard for a personality like mine to say that I can’t do it all, but I have learned that it makes our house and our marriage work so much better. What I do and what I contribute to our family is valuable, and I had to let go of the “I don’t want my husband to work all day and then come home and do more work” mentality. It’s a nice mentality, but it means that I work round the clock and feel resentful. It’s much better for us both to pitch in so I can be done in half the time and we can enjoy some time together.
We did some remodeling on our house this year (oh the mess…yes, HARD), most recently, our hall bathroom. It came out really well and I plan on sharing it in the next week or so! I love peeking into other blogger’s homes, so I am excited to show you mine. We live in a relatively small, very ordinary house, but slowly but surely we are filling the rooms with tons of character — on a budget! I hate the process of remodeling but I am so happy with how things are turning out.
I also started seeing a counselor this year (hard). I had to ask myself some tough questions and didn’t always like the answers. One of my main issues has always been anxiety, which mostly stems from low self-esteem, trust issues, and a need to control things to feel safe. I am VERY happy to say that I have come a long ways! I learned to stop the negative thought process before I led myself down a spiral of negative “what ifs…”. I’ve also gotten WAY better at leaving my kids with a sitter and not spending the entire time worrying about them and panicking. I try instead to focus on the good things that are more likely to happen, than the negative things that most likely won’t.
So back to this past year being hard. It was. In many ways, motherhood kicked my butt. I’ll admit that there have been days when I’ve done the mental math (I’ll be 43 when Lucy is 10) and wondered — how will I do it?? I literally started all over!! I’m exhausted!!
That’s one thing I think we don’t admit enough as mothers — that there are those moments of sheer exhaustion and just being overwhelmed where, for a moment you panic and think, “WHAT DID I DO?!?!” Also, sometimes I play the “if I didn’t have kids, what would I do today” game…where I plan out a day of napping, lunches with friends (and wine), shopping…maybe a leisurely afternoon at the bookstore.
I’m not scared to admit this because I know I love my kids more than life. That’s one of the amazing things I learned through my counseling process — being a mom is the only area of my life where I am completely confident, proud, and willing to talk about it openly. When my counselor noticed this and pointed it out, I explained that I know that i love my kids with my whole heart. I don’t think I’m a perfect parent — I know I have and will continue to make mistakes. But those mistakes will be made out of love and with the best of intentions. And that is the best I can do.
So as I look back on 2014, I think Hard. But I also think about how far we’ve come. I’m more mentally healthy, my kids have grown by leaps and bounds, my marriage underwent some difficult but necessary changes, we welcomed a new puppy, and we transformed parts of our home. My blog has steadily grown, and some really great opportunities came my way, which has made our household income a lot more stable. A lot of prayer, a lot of late night laundry folding, a lot of tears, and a lot of wine went into 2014. And I’m positive that 2015 is going to be even better because of it.
Happy, happy new year, my beautiful friends! I hope that 2015 holds wonderful things in store for you.