Five Family Goals to Set for 2020

It is hard to believe that the newest decade will begin in just a few short days.  We've ended this last decade with a bang - I paid off both my student loans and my car, we got married, we got pregnant, we had the baby, we paid cash for a car, we moved to a suburb of Detroit, and I became an accidental stay at home mom (hopefully its just temporary!).  Typing that out, it seems like we jammed a lot into the last two years but honestly our family really formed over the last decade:
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I bought a 1997 Buick Regal in 2010 and started my last year of college.  I graduated college in 2011.  I moved in with  my BFF and started my first job.  I got another job.  My BFF got married. Zach and I met in 2011 (this post is about when we met but half of the pictures are missing!).  After being together for a short 4 months Zach left the military, moved back to Michigan, found a job and house.....and then I moved up there in August of 2012. I talk about my life over that last year in this post.  We stayed in the apartment above the garage at his parent's house for about a month-ish until we moved into the house.  We remodeled the houseI got a job. We remodeled the house again. I bought a new car.  Zach got a new job & went to Korea. We said we'd try that job for a year since it involved a lot of travel.....Zach kept that job for about 6 years. We lost our dog. We got a new dog. I went to Korea. We drank too much in Japan.  We traveled the world.  We decided to settle down.  We went to Korea one last time with my BFF.  We planned a wedding.  I paid off my student loans.  We got married.  We got pregnant.  I paid off my car. We had the baby.  We paid cash for a bigger vehicle. We packed up the house we built this life in.  We moved to a suburb of Detroit.  And now we're patiently waiting to start the next decade.

That was the last decade in a nutshell and it was a ridiculous ride.  I'm a vastly different person than I was a decade ago and I'm doing (and planning) vastly different things.  While long term goals involve things like finding a new job, there are a few goals I want to set for 2020.  I hope they inspire you, too.

Give More  

Before I knew I'd have such a hard time breastfeeding I'd hoped to be able to donate breast milk.  Since having a hard time breastfeeding I've decided to focus on donating to organizations that support maternal mental health.  I hope to donate clothes, toys, etc to a second hand shop here supported by an organization that serves survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.  I hope to start an annual birthday tradition to give to organizations we care about.  I hope to pass this to Marcus as well - in honor of his first birthday we'll donate toys, money, or time to an organization we care about.  Then eventually I hope he'll choose an organization to support.  One of my biggest personal mantras (I'd guess you'd call it) is when you have, give.  It is the reason why I tip well.  It is the reason why I'm patient.  It is the way I try to live my life.

Start a College Fund

We actually just got the info in the mail from our financial adviser on starting a college fund.  Getting and paying on my student loans has really inspired me to start a fund to alleviate some of the burden of higher education.  Zach decided to join the military to pay for his schooling and that has been a blessing financially for us while he pursues his master's courses.  Seeing where the price of higher education is heading - like it's really scary - make me what to prepare him as best he can.  The best part of this fund is that it can go towards trade training as well!

Eat Dinner at the Table

Marcus is going to be moving into solid foods here shortly so I want to make it a priority to eat at the table.  (We just put together this high chair and I can't wait to use it - he's getting so big!) Previously, Zach and I would eat where ever.  It was just us and it didn't really matter so we ate dinner in the living room off of the coffee table, ate breakfast in the bed, ate lunch at our desks if we were crafting and gaming.  I can say we probably ate around our table maybe a dozen times the 7 years we were in our first house.  We both grew up eating around the table and its important to us to build up a family relationship.  I also want to start some dinner time conversations so we all can be creative and share what we care about.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.  This is one of my newest mantras for 2020.  We aren't in the financial situation we'd like to be...but we prepared for where we are.  Zach had been looking for a new job since our wedding because we knew we'd be 'settling down'.  It just so happened that right after I pushed out Marcus he got a call for the job that had us move.  The possibility of our lives being uprooted in more ways than one was very real to us so we started to prepare.  I realize that saving, budgeting, etc is a privilege that a lot of people don't have and in our situation we are still able to give...which circles back to the first goal to give and trickles down to the next two.  With gratitude comes abundance.  I posted this quote on my Instagram in August 2018 and I hope to continue to live by this as we move into 2020.

Use Technology with Intention

I've been zoning out to the TV and Instagram for a while now.  Staying at home all day is lonely especially with a child that can't talk yet!  I know when he starts talking he's not gonna be quiet!  But things like Instagram have been a distraction rather than a productivity tool.  There's time I'm spending zoning out to Catfish during nap time that I could dedicate to my online endeavors - the blog or YouTube or Facebook - and to finding a job. Job hunting is discouraging!  I never thought I'd want to stay home with my kid but these past few months have been eye opening.  Using technology intentionally should be a way to refocus on finding the job I really love.

Over the course of this blog I've struggled a lot with goals.  I'd set them and then forget them.  I'd set too grand an expectation.  Eventually I started with something I called Four Simple Goals where I set out to get a few things done each month.  Then I set up a Vision Planner and started doing a word for each year and I think I've developed quite a good way of making my own progress.

I hope to be able to blend these goals with my word of the year for 2020: Harmony.  There's a lot that is new so I've got to find Harmony with it all!

If you'd like to learn more about my goal journey, click through some of the links above.  And if you'd like to discover how 2019 treated you and how you'd like to enter 2020 check out the past two years of January Journaling Jump Start.  Even though one was for 2017 into 2018 and the other for 2018 into 2019 you can totally do them for 2020!  Who knows...maybe I'll have a set of prompts for 2020, I just haven't had the time!

What are your personal and family goals for 2020?  How do you plan to take action on them?

xoxo, Moe


Top Five Survival Tips for New Moms

About four months ago I became a brand new mom.  I was immediately thrown into a whirlwind of a crying baby, sleepless nights, raging hormones, and the struggle to communicate with my partner.  I honestly have never been the person I was in those first few weeks.  It was scary for me.  Being thrust into motherhood is something I thought I was prepared for but I totally wasn't.
For some mothers, motherhood comes easy.  And that is great for them!  For others its a couple week long train wreck of survival.  Neither of these is wrong.  If you fall somewhere in the middle, that's not wrong either.  There was once a time that I confessed to my mother that I regretted doing this, I didn't want to be a mom any more, and I wanted it to stop.  Postpartum was hard.  Postpartum IS HARD.  As someone on the other side of a time I thought would never end (and now dealing with a sleep regression) I wanted to share with you the things I've learned that have kept me sane.

Use your Support System

Whether this is a sleep class, a mom friend, a counselor, your midwife, your doctor, your partner, a book.....there are resources out there.  Please do not be afraid to voice what you need.  I know this is easier said than done but the first few weeks after birth you & your baby are just in survival mode.  Do not be afraid to reach for help, surround yourself with support.  This is something I didn't know I'd need postpartum.  I took a sleep class (Taking Cara Babies is the best, I totally recommend it), I read the literature the hospital gave us at various classes, I am a responsible person...I thought it was going to be a breeze.  But I needed more help postpartum.  Don't let anyone tell you that you are fine.  If there were any time in your life to be honest and truthful, now is that time.  Tell anyone and everyone you trust how you feel so that they can advocate for you if you feel that you can't advocate for yourself.  I didn't know what to do so I just said how I felt hoping someone would guide me.

Create a plan of attack  

Following the above paragraph, creating a plan of attack can give you some guidance to go forward as you move day to day.  Things probably won't go smoothing when you're sleep deprived which is why creating a plan can help you keep a level head and know what to do and expect at certain times.  Go over this with your partner too so you both have a plan to support each other.  Hell, go over this with your flipping mom, sister, grandma, best friend so they can support you too.  

The example I have for this and one I keep going back to is the sleep class I took.  I don't have an affiliate link for this class, I'm totally recommending it because its amazing - Taking Cara Babies.  I'd make schedules on my phone for sleep and eating and even though they totally weren't followed it gave me and idea of what to anticipate.  I just did this the night before writing this post.  I created a plan of attack based on Cara's suggestions for the four month sleep regression.  Create a plan of attack around what triggers you.  Create a plan of attack around what will help you survive.

Time moves fast but also incredibly slow

As a brand new mom I absolutely despised hearing 'it's just a phase' or 'this is going to pass' or 'things will get better'.  I wanted to feel validated.  So, I want to tell you - I see you.  When you're in the thick of it you can't see the path to relief.  Time moves unbearably slow.  Sleep deprivation is real.  You think you're losing it.  Right now, in the middle of all of this, focus on surviving.  Use your attack plan but you also need to survive.  You need to make it through each minute.  Your feelings are valid.

I mentioned above that I confessed to my mom that I didn't want to do this.  Things became so overwhelming to me I stopped eating.  In 4 weeks I'd lost 20 pounds.  I weighed less than what I did at my first prenatal appointment.  I wasn't surviving. Use resources, create a plan of attack, survive.  If you take care of yourself first then you can provide for your child the best.  

Mark the little wins

For the first few days/weeks postpartum any little win I felt I had or Marcus had I marked in my phone.  It was a good diary to see progress.  This was a part of my plan of attack too - if I could see where we came from then I knew where we could go.  I marked my first poop (not his, mind you, but mine) after delivery.  I marked that we were at the doctor's appointment on time.  I marked that I brushed my hair, I took a shower, I ate, I slept.  This helped me to feel like I was becoming more me.  This helped me to see that I was getting through it.

Cuddle them when you feel you can

If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed it's ok to go through the motions. Survive. Provide for your child but preserve yourself. Motherhood is hard. That being said if you feel good if you feel like you want to hold him just a little longer please please PLEASE do it. You’ll never regret holding him a minute more.  This is something I struggled with.  I was so overwhelmed that I just wanted him to sleep.  I also wanted to lay a good sleep foundation for him from birth.  But I've never regretted holding him a little longer.  Because time moves painfully slow but also incredibly fast.  Babies don't keep.

I can't stress enough how important it is to remember to survive the first few weeks postpartum.  Self preservation is at an all time high along with your concern for your child.  Motherhood is honestly a team effort.  You need the people & resources in your arsenal that aren't sleep deprived, healing, and feeling like a hormonal train wreck.  

Like I said, for some the transition to motherhood come easily.  Do not compare yourself to anyone if you feel you're not 'getting it as easy'.  The biggest thing to remember is that your feelings are valid and you're not alone.  If you're surviving, you're doing great.

Thank you for sticking through this post and reading parts where I've felt most vulnerable.  I made a promise to myself to never tell a new mom 'it get's better' because that is not solid advice.  Solid advice is listening and affirming.  I see you momma.  I know it's hard.

What helped you navigate motherhood in those first few days?

xoxo, Moe