I experienced the happiest and most transformational life event in 2018: the birth of my son, affectionately nicknamed (on this blog) Piopio. I became a mother. It’s been, all at once, the most fulfilling, challenging, amazing, exhausting, and indescribable experience — and I’m not even a year in!
2018 was also our last full year in Jordan (although we spent a large part of it in the U.S. for Piopio’s birth and R&R in the summer). Kail and I received our onward assignment: Frankfurt, Germany!
So how did I do on my 2018 letter? About 84 percent of the statements I made came true. I made 38 total statements in my letter. Of these, 32 were true or mostly true, five were false, and one was neutral (“Happy New Year!”). My “success rate” is the highest since starting this tradition in 2013. Admittedly, I’m quite pleased, but as I’ve written before:
[T]he point isn’t to get a “perfect score” or beat myself up about the things I didn’t get done. It’s to set some achievable goals to help me be my best self — as an individual, a wife, [a mother,] a friend, a daughter/in-law, a writer, etc. — and yes, to hold myself somewhat accountable to those goals.
And yes, I’m being honest. Per usual, Kail and I read through my 2018 letter together and discussed it — so he could call B.S. on anything for which I claimed unearned credit.
Here are a couple of my untrue statements:
I maintained a sense of self and balance outside of motherhood and marriage.
I carved out time to write every day, whether for my blog, creatively, or otherwise.
I reached my goal weight (pre-pregnancy weight) … and returned to my pre-pregnancy clothing size by the end of 2018.
The first statement has probably been my biggest struggle with motherhood. I often feel very one-dimensional. I went from working full time and pursuing a graduate degree — while making time for other interests, such as fitness, writing, etc. — to being a stay-at-home-mom.
I still exercise regularly and managed to pursue a couple professional/creative writing and editing opportunities in 2018, but the vast majority of my time and energy — both physical and mental — is spent on Piopio. I choose to do so. And yet. I feel at once disappointed in myself for not being more interesting/resourceful and guilty for feeling disappointed.
On the second point, HAHAHAHAHAHA. Clearly written by an idealistic would-be parent with delusions of typing away while her baby napped peacefully in his crib for two to three hours at a time. Again: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
On the last point, I am close (ish) to my pre-pregnancy weight and size, but the holidays (and my lack of willpower during said holidays) really knocked me off the wagon. I didn’t really start exercising self-discipline until we returned to Jordan from R&R in September (when Piopio was 6+ months old) so I didn’t do myself any favors for most of the year.
Now for the good news. My focus for 2018 was on motherhood/parenting, marriage, and family. Almost all of these statements came true. I had a few other statements about career, health and fitness, travel, and creative projects/other personal interests (though not nearly as many as in years past), and most of these came true as well. Here are some sample true/mostly true statements:
I was the best mother I could be to Piopio.
I was patient with both myself and Kail as we grew into new roles as mother and father.*
I established a support network of other parents and friends.
We regularly emailed, texted, FaceTimed, and shared photos with our family to ensure they are a consistent presence in Piopio’s life.
We received our onward assignment and have focused on the positive aspects on both professional and personal levels.
I journaled more, writing an honest account of my thoughts and feelings at the moment.
While 2018 was not a big year for international travel, Kail and I made an effort to take Piopio around to different places in Amman in Jordan so he could get to know his first home.
*Verified by Kail.
I’m happy to end my annual letter tradition on a high note. What were the results of your 2018 annual letter/New Year’s resolutions?