I was with my sis in law on New Year's Eve, and we started talking (as people will do at that time of year) about Goals For The New Year. I used to make goals every year--it was fun. One year, my goal was to make pasta; the next year I vowed to make homemade ravioli. One year, my goal was to make paper; another, to learn one-stroke painting. One year, my goal was to make a pie crust and get it into the pan without breaking it. I finally managed to do it in late October of that year, and promptly vowed never to make a pie crust again. Years later, pie crust no longer intimidates me. As you can tell, my goals were never very elaborate or difficult, but they were something to work toward, and always something I'd never done before.
Sometime between the births of son two and son three, I stopped making annual goals. I stopped because...I was too tired to even think of a goal to accomplish, let alone actually take steps to achieve it. I stopped because...I was too busy. I stopped because...I knew that when push came to shove I would put the kids' needs before my goal, and it's just plain disheartening to set a goal and then not be able to accomplish it. Why bother, I thought. From time to time I would reflect on that time of setting fun goals for myself in my life and mourn its passing, but I never took much time dwelling on it because, well, because life happens, and then I'd be off dealing with the next kid-induced crisis.
The consensus from my conversation with Chip seemed to be: we're too tired, too busy to set goals for ourselves, but even if we did set goals, they would be kid related, because at this point, for better or worse, our children are our lives. I think both of us didn't necessarily like it, but were forced to admit this truth's hold on us.
For some time, I've been trying to streamline my supper planning and preparation process, since I don't have as much time or energy to devote to that anymore, and a few months ago it dawned on me that it would be a lot easier to plan meals if I just used a rotating schedule. My kids' school uses a 5 week rotation for their lunch menus--it works for them, why not for me? I mentioned this to Chip, and she, the supportive and loving sister that she is, jumped on it. She immediately broke through the biggest obstacle that was preventing me from going forward and told me that she would make it her goal to make sure that I accomplished mine (isn't she great?). Unfortunately, back on my own, and out of Chip's enthusiastic circle of influence, I've constructed at least 10 more barriers (or, perhaps more accurately, excuses) as to why a rotating meal plan is not going to work for our family.
Don't worry, though! I have a new goal, but don't tell my husband or my kids :-) My goal is to make at least one vegetarian supper a month this year (not including January, because I didn't think of it in time). This is more than a goal, though. This is a declaration that I am a woman, beyond the demands of motherhood or matrimony. This is an acknowledgement that my wants and needs are at least as important as those of my children and husband. This is me, not defined by my job or status, but by my thoughts and feelings and dreams, breaking free.