Happy New Year! Typically, the past week or so has been spent reviewing the last 12 months, making resolutions, and posting about the former and latter on social media. Even for people like me who are pretty anti-new years resolutions, there’s something about the new year and all the “2017 in review” type posts that make this a natural time for some personal reflection. I put this off for a bit, because honestly, I was struggling to be happy with what I was looking back on. So here I am today, staring 2018 in the face, and I’m deciding to break it down: What did I accomplish in 2017?
In my current semi-sleep deprived state, only worsened by the New Year’s Eve festivities, this question is a bit harder to answer than it has been some other years. My one-year-old (or is it 14 months old, when can I stop counting months??) is running around the living room, pointing at our kitty cat and yelling in her own language. I’m waiting for the caffeine to kick in and stretching out the kinks in my back from snuggling her in bed all night.
This was a challenging year. The electoral college put an unimaginable man in the White House. Hatred and divisiveness came out from their formerly hidden corners and were translated into death threats, violence, and a terrifying new reality. I cried over shootings, I cried over families being torn apart, I cried over injustices I was seeing all over the world. All of these incredibly large and tragic problems made my own issues seem insignificant, but somehow I still managed to cry over those too. I was insulted, judged, hurt, and taken for granted, partially because I’m a mom, partially because I’m a woman, and partially because I’m a human, and we clearly have this terrible tendency to treat each other very poorly at times.
But negativity is draining, and there’s enough of it on my social feeds as everyone looks back at 2017, so I forced myself to make a list of what I actually accomplished in 2017. I’m sharing it in hopes that this can perhaps bring some encouragement to others, especially working moms with young children (or single child in my case), who may have had some similar feelings as they looked back on 2017.
So here we are, in no particular order,
2017 Accomplishments of Working Mom:
Pediatric Bodyguard - Ensured a minimum of boo boos and stranger danger
Speech Therapist - Encouraged development of child’s language skills, working from nonsense gurgles to eventual communication that people other than you could understand
Mobility Coach - Assisted physical development, from head lifting to walking, running, pointing, and grabbing
Sleep Specialist - Figured out how to get child to sleep through the night, or at least in cycles of sleep patched together with interruptions to make some semblance of sleep, plus the appropriate amount of nap time sleeping, while also ensuring that you got enough shut-eye to function at home, at work, and socially
Scheduler/Strategist/Logistics Coordinator - Fit in a 40+ hour work week, exercise, play time, meal time, bath time, adult time, grocery time, doctor time, story time, volunteer time, professional development time, nap time, babysitter time, family time, bedtime (child’s), bedtime (yours), plus other appointments as needed
Chef/Baker/Milk Producer - Prepped and/or coordinated and consumed healthy meals for yourself and other family members. Sometimes this included producing milk in your own freaking body and then functioning as a cow for child
Negotiator/Mind Manipulator - Perfected techniques for high-stakes situations such as leaving playground without a complete meltdown, or securing ownership and use of your own cell phone, or keeping child distracted and happy during a long car ride, or quiet during an important phone call
Maid - Self explanatory. Included exponentially more laundry than you ever thought possible and dried banana smooshes in very strange places
Work - Whatever your job is, you got it done, plus some, because you were determined to set a great example for your child and had to fight the working mom stereotypes every day. Plus, you know, bring that bacon home to pay for things like tiny shoes which were outgrown before you could instagram them properly even though they are the cutest thing you’d ever seen. And health insurance. ($$$$$$ but that’s another, more frustrated and angry blog topic)
Entertainment Curator - Netflix shows don’t play themselves. This is a real job
Grocery Store Wine Specialist - Self explanatory
Accountant - Figured out how to pay for all of the above
Researcher - Determined the best approach for all of the above. Googled and message boarded at your own risk.
And of course, all other tasks as assigned/needed - On call for anything and everything. So yea, if you did all that in 2017, give yourself a round of applause while I’m over here attempting to pat myself on the back. Working moms are some of the hardest workers on the planet (research supports this, I promise), even if it can sometimes be hard to pick out what exactly you accomplished in the last 12 months in this sometimes blurry adventure we call life. Here’s to stepping into 2018 with confidence and positivity! We got this!