I’ve noticed recently, as my daughter gets older and more reflective, not only do I feel like I’m more and more under a microscope as a mother, a person, and a parent, but I feel like I am learning more about myself because of the comments she makes or questions she asks. My children are constantly learning new things, working hard to accomplish tasks or understand concepts. I’m no Tiger Mom, but I have high expectations for everyone I know and love. I’m just wired to always look for where there’s room for improvement. I’m not much of a cheerleader, but I try to be encouraging and positive, but I’ve noticed that unfortunately as hard as I can be on myself my children can be on themselves regardless of what I’ve said or how casual I’ve tried to be. There is nothing more true that I’ve learned than: It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. Children do as you do not as you say, so if I want to be a better parent (and of course I always strive for that) then I have to change what I do and I’m going to do so, in baby steps, and not be too hard on myself when I fail.
I like trying new things, but there’s one caveat. I also like to be successful, but then again success is a relative thing. Just after Henry was born (now 5 years ago) I signed up to do the Danskin Triathlon as a relay with two friends. I knew I wouldn’t come in first, second, tenth, hundredth, but for that, success was just doing some training with a newborn and a two year old, finishing the race and having fun with friends. Since then new things have come my way because of choices I’ve made or things I started doing like writing and blogging.
This year, Isabelle, who had become a pretty good knitter, asked me to learn to knit. I resisted, but then decided, “Why not?”. I signed up for a class at Gather Here and started my knitting journey. Of course, me being me, I had to start by learning myself (watching knitting help videos) and then signed up for the Recognizing and Fixing Mistakes Class.
On the food/food writing front, I also had the opportunity to try two new things this year. I was invited to judge the Boston Lamb Jam Competition. This was my first judging experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it! And most recently, I convinced my friend to join me in competing at the Boston Bacon Takedown. It was the first time we had ever done a cooking project together, and neither of us had ever made anything for 100 let alone 250 servings before.
The more new things I try, the more I want to try. I want to take on fun challenges, and others (like improving my health and making time for taking care of myself) that are more of a struggle. Something I read recently (I have no idea where) really resonated with me though. It was a study of some sort that said that those who let things go and just pick up where they left off and aren’t so hard on themselves, tend to be more successful. I think there really is some truth to that, so I’m trying to incorporate that a bit more. I’ve even been using Daily Feats which is a great app that has helped me focus on my successes and not my failures. It’s a daily (or whenever I get to it) reminder of what feats I have accomplished large and small from a little workout or remembering to drink enough water, try reading a new book or starting a creative project.