Tales From The Trenches - New Year…New Realizations

By brenda maas

New Year—a new resolution; or, maybe this year, a new realization that New Year resolutions could be simply setting yourself up for failure. Take, for example, the “I won’t ever lose my temper with my children” or the common “I will not nag at my husband about household chores” resolutions. I have yet to succeed at such self-promises.

Or, consider the popular “I will exercise every day-I will eat healthy-I will slim down/lose weight” resolution (if you aren’t there yet, you really shouldn’t be reading this column). I don’t buy it and here’s why: I’m not a yo-yo dieter—I’m a yo-yo exerciser. As a mom of three young children, it happens at least three to five times each year. I’ll be chugging along, feeling great, getting into shape (I refuse to pause here to define exactly what “in shape” means) and then whamo! A kid gets terribly sick, my husband is out of town, the dog runs away and I’m three days late on an assignment. What goes first? Personal exercise, of course; next, sleep and healthy eating fall off the shelf. I slither into survival mode and pray, while sleep-parenting, that I make it to the other side.

The next thing I know, we all miraculously survive, and I submit my articles and then find myself jogging to the produce section in the grocery store. It all seems like a bad dream. Until the day after that first run. No pain, no gain. And I curse myself for not being able to keep all my personal balls in the air. Sound familiar?

I recently interviewed local Life Coach, Terri Steinbrink about intuition. She says that intuition is opening up to your own inner wisdom and guidance, noting that we are all born with intuition but, we may actually be scared of it—second guessing ourselves in a way.

Maybe New Year resolutions are really our own intuition, trying to make its innate voice heard? We know that we should exercise more—it feels great. There’s no doubt that carrying extra pounds makes us sluggish. And, while a Snickers now-and-then can give me the most basic sensual pleasure, if I ate one every day they would certainly lose their salivary appeal.

I think that parenting is like those New Year resolutions. Our children are not born with instruction manuals—we have to make our own way, based on our own knowledge and intuition.

Sometimes, we gain that knowledge along the way—from our own parents, peers, or parenting books. Or, the ever popular, trial-by-fire method. When our first son was born, we went home from the hospital alone—our families did not live near—and that entire first night my husband and I slept fitfully, listening to his breathing, jerking awake if he so much as hiccupped. We were on ultra-parental-alert. By the time the sun came up, we were exhausted and the baby, who had soiled all three of his receiving blankets, was wrapped in a bath towel.

With that bath towel came the realization—hard and fast—that we were now completely responsible for the health, happiness and well-being of our new son. I likely should have felt icy panic. Instead I felt a resolve, and a confidence, to do this new job and do it well. Beneath that was an inkling that I would someday laugh about swaddling my newborn in a blue bath towel.

In both instances my intuition was correct. So, if I do make a resolution this year, it will be to slow down and listen to my own inner voice, my own self-guidance—for myself, my spouse and my children. And, I will continue to giggle about things like newborns wrapped in bath towels. SFM

Brenda Maas, a transplant from Wisconsin, has been writing since she covered her high school basketball team for the local Paper. She and her husband, Brett, now live in Billings with their three boys.