Hi Relishments readers! I’m on maternity leave, but some awesome blogger friends have volunteered to step in and keep new content coming your way. I may be popping in occasionally, but I really appreciate the opportunity to take some time off with our new addition. Please show my guest authors some love and check out their sites and social media! Today’s post is from Lisa of lisavalinsky.com
Maternity leave has been an interesting experience for me – for the first time in forever, I had a singular focus and I didn’t care about anything else. I didn’t look at my to do list or worry about my students or really care about accomplishing anything but hanging out with Baby E. It’s not that I was overwhelmed and unable (though there were certainly moments where that was the case); I just didn’t care about those other things. I just wanted to absorb the first weeks of my baby’s life. I worked to do my best to soak it all in and enjoy every moment of it, even at 2 am (again, this wasn’t always the case, but I tried).
And in 2017, even though I’m going back to work soon and resuming most of my responsibilities, I want to keep up that attitude. I want to soak up 2017 and enjoy everything it has to offer. Baby E will only be this little for this year and I don’t want to rush it. I want to savor 2017.
I don’t just want to savor life with a infant in the next 365 days, I want to apply this to all areas. It’s so easy for me to let life slip by as I stare at my Facebook newsfeed, but I really want to take things in this year and be present. I want to enjoy what I’m doing and experience it fully.
“Savor” is typically associated with food and I’m planning to apply the word to this corner of the internet this year as well. 2016 was the year I all but stopped cooking. I ate a lot of processed food and easy meals; I ate a lot of totally forgettable and boring food. There’s nothing wrong with easy or forgettable meals, but I really miss cooking and being excited about what’s for dinner. Today was be the first CSA pick up I attended since October and I’ve actually created a meal plan for the week. I know my time in the kitchen will be limited, but I’m looking forward to getting back to cooking as my schedule allows. Plus, I got two new baking cookbooks for Christmas and I can’t wait to put them to work.
Also on the docket for 2017: savoring time with Brian (even if we’re just watching a TV show on the couch), losing myself in some good books, enjoying the beauty of the Berkshires and stopping to breathe and appreciate everything I’ve got.
12 months ago, I designated connect as my focus word for 2016. Every year when I sit down to write my end of year reflections, it always seems like January was a million years ago; as though I barely know the person who choose the word to begin with.
This feeling is especially true this year. In the past two months since my daughter was born, it seems like everything has changed. Life is wonderful, but already my focus and priorities are so different. Not a bad thing by any means, but reflecting on such a life changing year is definitely a challenge. A year ago, I certainly didn’t expect to have a baby within the upcoming 12 months. But here we are!
There’s a lot of talk about how 2016 was the worst year ever. And while I agree that on a macro level that’s true in many ways, on a personal level I think 2016 was a really good year and that’s not just limited to my new addition. I choose connect with the goal of having a year that was “less about me and more about other people”. Though I feel like this became less true as I got closer to delivery and then had my baby, in other ways the year was all about connecting with her. If becoming a parent didn’t force me to become less selfish, I don’t know what will.
reflections on the areas I listed in January
I wanted to connect…
- more often with my husband – I think this was a really great year for Brian and I. We came to rely on each other more, shared more about ourselves than ever before and made the most of the months before the baby arrived. We’ve been able to spend time with family over the past couple of months and our parents have been awesome about making sure we have time to ourselves.
- with friends, near and far – I feel like I spent most of 2016 in insolation, either because I was too tired and pregnant or spending time with a newborn. Still, joining the ranks of motherhood has created a new connection between myself and many of my friends and I’ve been really impressed with the ways people stepped up to support us in the early days.
- once again with members of healthy living blogger community – I am still not as connected with the blogging community as I would like to be, but this can largely be attributed to a lack of effort of my part. Blogging and community building were just not a focus of the year.
- even more with the Berkshire food community – For most of the year, I didn’t feel like this was successful, largely due to the reasons above. However, about a month ago I became an ambassador for Berkshire Family Focus, so I’m hoping more local networking and projects are in the future for 2017.
- back to the process of cooking – 2016 was probably my worst year in cooking since starting this blog in 2008. After 2 solid months of barely being in the kitchen at all, I’m definitely feeling the itch to get back to cooking. I even planned my first menu since October this week!
- with my family – Nothing quite connects you to family like the announcement of a pregnancy. We were able to visit with my parents and sister in April and June, as well as see them when I was in the hospital for delivery, another visit in early December and spending Christmas with them. Brian’s parents visited in July and came to help over Thanksgiving weekend. Extended family took a back burner in 2016 (though we did briefly connect with some of the aunts, uncles and cousins on both sides), but it looks like that will change in 2017.
- to my faith – One of my favorite God moments of 2016 was a change in my church’s women’s ministry, which I help to organize. We changed the name of the group to “Connect”. This “coincidence” made it clear to me that my focus word really was what I was supposed to be working on, especially in my faith. This year the ministry worked hard to better connect the women in our church and it was such a blessing to be part of it.
- to nature – I did a lot of walking outdoors in 2016, (including walking – instead of running – my first 5k), but being pregnant definitely reduced my desire for hiking and the like
- to the way my body works – Originally, this point was supposed to be about fitness, which almost completely fell by the wayside this year. But I did learn a lot in the process of getting and being pregnant, delivering and recovering. I am still in awe of the fact that I did any of it. The human body is an amazing, amazing thing.
- with myself – I would say that I did an okay job of checking in with myself and being quiet, but there’s always room for improvement. It was, however, the year I started journaling again. It’s been hard to keep up with it since Baby E was born, but I intend to get back to it soon.
I’m really pleased with my efforts to connect in 2016 and the way that the year went. Stay tuned for 2017’s word!