I'm a lover of words, coffee and tequila. Lucky to be living my happily ever after as a wife and mom to two sweet kiddos and one crazy dog.

Just ONE.

I'm not big on resolutions. Of course I make them. Swear to myself I will keep them. And in two weeks (or two days) I'm already making excuses, exceptions to my resolutions. Before long, they are entirely forgotten, almost laughable. 

So this year, I'm only making ONE resolution. This year, I vow to be kinder to myself. 

You see, I have this inner voice. I'm pretty sure my inner voice belongs to a impossibly skinny, ethereally glamourous yet concretely successful Martha Stewart-esque career woman housewife hybrid. I'm also pretty sure my inner voice is a giant b-i-t-c-h. 

This voice is the one the berates me when I reach for a chocolate chip cookie or an extra slice of cheese. It's the voice that sighs dejectedly when I notice a film of soap scum on my shower or when I face the 8 loads of laundry waiting to be put away. It's the voice that insists that oh but she is growing up so fast and you simply can't waste a single second of glorious motherhood maybe you just aren't fit for this and maybe you just aren't the mother everyone thinks you are if you can't appreciate every single second with your beautiful baby when I attempt to put Grace down a half an hour early for her nap, because I just need some time without whining, time where I can get one single task done without interruption. It's the voice that reminds me that I should be trying harder, when I sit down last minute to finish a school assignment, because it's your career after all and doesn't the future of you family rest on you finishing this degree? This voice reminds me, every day, that I could be a better mother, a better daughter, a better fiancee, friend, student, cook...the list goes on. and on. and on. 

The voice doesn't remind me, however, to take better care of myself. To sleep. To not worry so much every day about what I haven't managed to get accomplished that I give myself a headache. To stop pointing out my own flaws. To realize that when your child's latest communication style is high pitched whines- you might not love every second of motherhood. And that needing a time-out, a moment to yourself to BREATHE- that isn't the same as failure, or bad parenting. 

So in 2011, I will be kinder to myself. I will remind myself that I am in the home stretch. That soon, my existence will no longer be the constant upheaval and uncertainty of school and exams and pressure. That yes, Grace is growing up faster than I would like, and that it is ok to feel sad and enchanted by that all at the same time. That dreaming isn't the same as being unsatisfied. I will read more & will not feel guilty about sleeping an extra 30 minutes on a Saturday morning. I will write, because words are cathartic and powerful. I will continue to adore my new camera, foster this new passion, edit pictures until my vision blurs, because someday these images will be cherished memories. I will take each day as it comes, one day at a time. 

I need to calm down. I need to take deep, even breaths. I need to stop placing value on things that don't matter. This time next year, I will have forgotten the days that my house went unclean, the hours (upon hours) that dishes remained in the sink. But the moments of infectious, belly-aching giggles with Grace? The sense of achievement & relief that I will feel come August? The rejuvenating power of time spent with friends, over glasses of wine? These are the things I will remember. The things that I need to place priority on. 

And that inner voice? I will tell her to SHUT UP. That I don't want to be perfect, because imperfections are interesting. And laughing at myself makes this whole messy life a lot more enjoyable. 

I will also tell her, in the politest way possible, that she is a raging she-witch. 

 Bring it on, 2011...we're ready for you. 

In which I don't even attempt to reign in my wordiness or edit my thoughts and just get honest...

Free Ninety-Nine