2018. The year of less.

Every year I make the same resolutions as everyone else. More time with the family.  More dedication at work. More healthy eating. More exercise. More. More. More.

2017 was an incredible year for me because it gave me what my soul had been yearning for for four years. We welcomed our precious Ila Rose. I became the mother I wanted to be for my eldest daughter, Lily. I grew closer to Will, I forged, deeper (more) meaningful friendships with new and existing friends. I got a job that allows me to simultaneously help others. I buried ghosts that had haunted me for years. I made a point of helping other moms and accepting help from other moms. My friends who wanted babies received their hearts' desires.

But 2017 wasn’t without its challenges. Ila’s birth was incredibly traumatic; I was home when my placenta detached in one go, causing severe bleeding. We came within 20 minutes of losing our gorgeous child, another precious bundle. We came within minutes of reliving our worst nightmare. And while I was laying on that cold table, dazed and zombie-like listening to my doctor repeat, “20 to 30 minutes and we would’ve lost her”, watching her doctors struggle to get her to breathe, watching to my surgeon rummaging around my belly and anxiously saying, “I can’t find the source of this bleed,” all I (stupidly) kept feeling was the anvil-heavy, gargantuan guilt for failing my baby and my body failing me – and guilty for not attempting a natural birth, which is absolutely ludicrous because it was out of the question and life-threatening for both baba and me. We haven’t been ones to beat the odds. So, while I was laying in the recovery room, shaking uncontrollably from blood loss, I asked myself why. Why did I put this immense pressure on myself or let the world’s incessant demands get to me? Why was I continuing to let the world break me to the point of being a terrified, trembling, anxious wreck? Why did I stay in friendships that made me question my integrity, my sincerity, my value as a person? Why did I continue to project my fears onto Will for him to fix? Why was I skipping my daughter’s first dance recital for a meeting that won’t matter a week from now? Why did I give so little of myself to my family and friends who actually mattered? Why? Why? Why? So I started to push a little less, give a little less and care a little less.

And it was easier. Freelancing helped. One month I was rolling in dough, the next I had to make R150 work magically transform into groceries and petrol for the week. It challenged me mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually. But I learned an awful lot. My daughters didn’t need Italian fashion. They didn’t need excursions to aquariums and beachfront vacations with holiday feasts. They didn’t need private schools and fancy Pinterest parties. They didn’t need sushi every week. They didn’t need a Scandi-inspired emerald dinner server with designer ceramics that would date in 14 minutes. “Outings” became picnics in the backyard with bubbles and boerewors. Art classes became tiny hands, two paints and a less anxious mum. Date night became movies on the couch, cuddles and homemade popcorn. Family time became a tent made of duvet covers and a star-projecting nightlight. Dinner parties became a kick-ass risotto and inspiring company. And these are the memories I will treasure more than anything else. I am eternally grateful that I could have these enjoyable experiences if I think of the alternative. It’s clich√© AF but less became more.

So in 2018, I’d like to do, try, be, have less.

Fewer worries.
Less anxiety.
Less time agonising over being the “perfect parent”. Let’s give it up, moms and dads.
There is no such thing. And why should there?
Fewer internal pressures and demands.
Fewer external pressures and demands.
Fewer unrealistic expectations.
Fewer concerns, especially with what others think of me.
Less time online, trying to find a R400 dustbin.
Less time punishing myself with self-doubt and self-depreciating quips.
Less time hurting others in any form.
Less time exchanging pleasantries with people who hurt me.
Less fretting over things that don’t matter.
Fewer criticisms. Of myself and of others.
Less haste. We’re forever rushing from one thing to the next. Hoekom?
Less time putting on high heels and make up for events I don’t want to attend.
Fewer excuses.
Less doubt.
Less mom guilt (oh god, so much guilt!)
Fewer expectations. Of my family. Of others. Of myself.
Less anger.
Less negativity and other toxic behaviour.
Less clutter. In every sense of the word.

A year of less.
And if I fail, so be it. I’ll file that under ‘Fewer unrealistic expectations’.


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