“Wow, that is so not like you” is a phrase I’ve heard more than a few times this past week. It usually follows me saying, “I didn’t get around to sending holiday cards this year.”
Since becoming a mom, I have literally lost sleep over the planning and executing of the annual holiday card, as if there weren’t plenty of other things already contributing to my sleep deprivation during the busiest time of year. Every December it’s a race to the finish (and post office) to squeeze in shopping, shipping, personalizing, attending and hosting extra parties and events, and making it an all-around special time for my kids. It’s another full time job!
But not sending out a card was never an option. Until this year.
As 2013 came careening and crashing to an end (at least inside my head), I felt more and more unlike myself. Like a passing witness to a disaster on the side of the road, I began to slow down and crane my neck, assessing the damage. Why is she so hard on herself? Why is she worrying so much about that? Why is she letting that get to her? Why doesn’t she just move on already?
Some time during this month I reflected on what my inspiring word or motto should be for the year 2014 and all I could come up with was, “Oh well,” accompanied by a shoulder shrug. And I started testing it out.
So I didn’t get around to sending holiday cards this year. Oh well. I also didn’t get around to a Christmas Countdown for the kids, making gingerbread houses or getting them each a special ornament that reflects their year. Oh well. Truth be told, I am still working on thank you cards with my daughter- her birthday was in August! None of this was “like me.” And while I sometimes ventured into guilty territory, I mostly embraced, accepted, or let’s face it…gave up and went to bed!
I’ll tell you what I did do in lieu of a family photo. One morning, after breakfast, I asked each of my four children to draw a picture of our family:
Sometimes being unlike myself is a really good thing…I’ll cherish their drawings forever. I see the details only a mother can see. They weren’t captured by the lens of a really nice camera, but by my children’s beautiful eyes. It wasn’t tricks up my sleeve that captured perfect smiles, but the wonderful childhood we’ve strived to give them. We are not color-coordinated, perfectly coiffed with a beach sunset in the background…it’s just the 6 of us in stick figure form- the family I’ve always dreamed of.
Now when I hear the words “that is so not like you” again, I’ll know what they mean. To be more unlike myself means I will forgive myself and move on quicker. I will give myself a ton more credit. I will be happy about what I did accomplish and never mind the rest of the list. I won’t dwell on things out of my control and I will accept when it’s not worth losing sleep over. I will embrace that done is better than perfect. And I will say no thanks and set limits more often, unapologetically. If all else fails, I will shrug my shoulders and think, “Oh well.”
So here’s to being more unlike myself in 2014. Not reinventing myself, just being a little more not like me.