I want to take this upcoming year by the horns and be braver than I have been in a long time. Motherhood can be such a bubble: insulating and isolating. With little time to read or, sometimes, to think beyond the moment, it can limit dreams, desires, and activities beyond those in front of you—not to mention the exhaustion factor can really knock you to your knees. But the real world is a constant whirlwind of change and opportunities. I have often not participated in something because either I didn’t want to leave my children or I didn’t want to take them along. (Yes, that’s some kind of reasoning!) So this year I vow to be more engaged and active in the world around me. I want my children to join me in some of these activities as well. My anthem: Be brave or go home!
When I was younger, I never thought of myself as brave or afraid. When I graduated from high school, I went to a university that was about four times bigger than my hometown. I walked across campus at all times of the day and night alone and never thought twice about it. But I was deadly afraid of not fitting in…and swimming pools. When I graduated, I went off to live in a city where I knew no one and lived by myself in an apartment. It was quite fun to meet new people, experience new things, and go to new places. When I met my future husband, he and I traveled to places I had never been to. I loved it and later traveled alone. What a rush it was to have those adventures and be confident enough to enjoy it all. I want to regain some of that confidence and pass it on to my children that they, too, can venture out of their comfort zones.
Here are some of my goals…
Be social. Very recently I went out with a friend and left the kiddos with my husband. My daughter was genuinely surprised when I told her I was going out just to have a good time. She said, “But, Mom! You never do that. You don’t have a life.” Ouch. It’s true that it doesn’t happen often, but I never thought how that appeared to her. I want my children to know that I have friends and, yes, adult fun. But the reality is that I don’t have tons of friends. I used to be afraid of going places alone if I had no one to go with. However, I have found that Meetup.com provides a great way to meet like-minded people who are interested in attending the same types of events that you are. Being social also includes my closest friend: I want to go out with my husband more. Even a few coffee dates would be an improvement to our current dating situation.
Be creative. I believe we all need some sort of creative outlet. I have often wanted to take a class (e.g., pottery, jewelry-making, cooking), but didn’t feel I could justify time away from my kids, even though I know it would make me happy to do it. So, in 2017, I plan to find a class through Community Education in one of the local school districts or a local library. There are 365 days in a year. I know I can steal away at least a couple of nights. There are also opportunities to take a class with one of my kids that might be fun.
Try something new. I want my children to join me in experiencing things outside of our normal path. I want them to hear new sounds, new tongues, new music with me. I want them to go with me to new places even if they are right here in San Antonio. I have lived here for years, and I have still never been to Medina River Natural Area. Shame on me! I want my children to be exposed to new cultures, new foods, and new ideas. Together we can learn so much and have fun along the way.
Be politically engaged. I feel it is important to be a good citizen by being politically engaged. That means reading/listening to news and taking action on behalf of my ideals. I want to instill this in my children by my actions even if they don’t know or understand specific issues.
I challenge you to join me in being more engaged in the world around you. You will be happier, and your children will notice. Be brave or go home in 2017!