I’ve been off the radar for the past 10 days or so. My husband was off work so I stepped back from the blog and social media so I could enjoy our family time together. It was just what my soul needed because not only did I rest (two naps in one day!), but it allowed me to ponder 2017 and think about my where I wanted to make some changes in the new year. Maybe some of these things align with your goals for 2017!
1. Model the Beauty of Frugality
I always marveled at the frugality of my grandmother. She certainly didn’t need to cut coupons and repurpose salad dressing jars, but she did. I used to chuckle when she’d use a 40-something cent stamp to mail me a $1.50 off Pampers coupon, but in doing that she taught me that frugality was an important virtue, even in those blessed financially like we are in the United States.
While her frugality was born out of necessity (the Depression), frugality for me has more been a hard-learned habit. I am embarrassed to admit that we we first got married, I barely knew how to balance a checkbook, let alone be thrifty. But over the years, and through tough financial times, I slowly learned that being frugal is not only a way to show respect to the breadwinner(s) in the family, but it is being good stewards of the gifts God has given us.
My husband and I have made some bigger budget changes (goodbye cable, hello Sling TV!), but I want to model for my girls being prudent in everyday ways: not throwing eggs out that still have days left before they expire just because I need to make room in my fridge, reusing perfectly clean Ziploc bags, and planning more budget-friendly meals. I went through a major coupon craze 4-5 years ago (yes, I was the lady at Walgreens with 50 coupons getting 24 rolls of paper towels for free!). While that was quite satisfying, I don’t have time for that in this current stage of my life, but I can still set aside coupons and maintain my once-a-month Target rule which is really great if you are tempted to buy, buy, buy at Target like I am:).
2. Cultivate Friendships
Busyness has killed the modern day friendship, in my opinion. We aren’t home to get to know our neighbors or aren’t confident enough to invite them in to our homes; we are too busy doing activities and classes to spend leisurely lunches getting to know one another. I spent most of 2016 focused on my blog and my family, but I realize I need my friendships.
Friendship is a two-way street and, admittedly, I haven’t done my part in maintaining my sweet “old” friendships and cultivating new ones. One is silver and the other gold, right? This year I hope to spend time doing that and realizing that I don’t need a perfectly clean house to invite friends over and sometimes – as I have learned over and over – last minute get togethers work best!
3. Read More to My Children
If you have followed DoSayGive for awhile, you know reading aloud beautiful literature to our children is really important to me. And it’s not because of the developmental benefits (of which there are many). It’s really because it’s a sweet bonding time when everyone is quiet, still, and attuned to what we are saying (priceless!). The routine of nightly reading is a comfort to our children and the conversations it brings about are so rich. There’s no more natural way to discuss topics like injustice, greed, foolishness, and jealousy than with good literature.
Now that two of our children have a good amount of homework, and after school activities, it has been difficult to make time for reading aloud to them. (I like my children to go to bed pretty early!). But I don’t want to give up on reading to my older girls. (See the article for some good reasons you should read aloud to older children). I also want to share more tips with y’all about how to go about choosing books and getting your children to listen;).
(You can see my favorite classic children’s books anytime here – bookmark it and take it to the library with you!)
4. Make Time for Leisure Time
It’s been a priority for me to be a stay at home mom while my children were young. So when I committed to make my blog a business, I realized sacrifices were in play: my work would ideally occur in the early mornings, nap time, during my youngest’s limited school hours, and after the girls go to bed. But that means that my leisure time is pretty much nonexistent. I don’t watch t.v. at night; I work. I don’t workout in the morning; I work. When I have a sitter, I work or do errands. I can’t take my children on a bike ride after school because we are trekking to a physical therapy appointment or ballet.
I know this is no way to live!
So this year I plan to make time for leisure – reading, watching a Netflix series, going to dinner with friends, taking a walk by myself. It’s not going to be easy, but will happen when I make more strategic choices about the blog (see number 5!). Yesterday afternoon I actually watched a movie during nap time and it was delightful!
5. Be A Smarter Business Owner
Last year I learned I that I can still be authentic blogger, and write about things I love, while still monetizing the DoSayGive platform so that it helps my family financially. This year I plan to be more selective about the projects to which I commit, asking before I take on any new project: Is the time and effort I spend on this project beneficial to my business, and thus my family, so that it warrants spending hours of my very limited time on? If not, then I will politely say no. (If you need help saying no, read this post!).
My daughter is going to be in middle school in the fall (what??!!) and I have had the realization that while she is going to get busier with more school work and activities, she still needs me to present and available in the afternoons and evenings. (I know all my children do, but I just have been convicted lately about her for some reason…). If I am more selective about collaborations and outsource the things that don’t interest me (namely accounting), then hopefully I can get my work finished in my “work” hours and be fully present when my children are home. We shall see…
6. Pray More
This is something that will on every new year’s resolution list for the rest of my life! Pray more. Pray Scripture more. Learn more Scripture. But I will share something that has been a precious part of my prayer life and my life as a mom that I don’t think I have ever shared before:
When I was on bed rest with my middle daughter with a high-risk pregnancy (read about that here), I remember reading a book in which the author wrote about how he would pray over his children after they fell asleep at night. It stuck with me. It was like an outward sign of what our hearts are doing: being still, praying for our child’s health, safety, friends, spouse (yes, I pray for my girls’ future husbands!), and thanking the Lord with the precious gift that sleeps quietly before you.
I don’t stick to many routines in life, but I have done this nearly every night since my second daughter was born. Sometimes I stand outside their door, sometimes I sit on their beds and put my hands on them (and hope they don’t wake up!). Usually it’s pretty quick, sometimes it’s longer. But pouring out all my worries and hopes about my children to their Creator every night is one of the sweetest gifts I’ve had as a mother and lets me lie down and sleep in peace. And in this crazy world, I need that peace. And you might, too.
Thanks so much for letting me share my thoughts for 2017. I highly recommend writing/typing yours out, too – it helps!
Happy New Year!
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