Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Year's Resolutions



February has begun, and I can proudly say that I have stuck to all of the resolutions I made for 2014. I decided I needed to make a few changes in this new year to help keep my routine focused and to also maximize my time with my family better. I know I am among many other women out there who have demanding full-time careers and also are trying to raise a family. Things seem like they are about 100 times more hectic than I can remember in a long time. The combination of Greg and I having busy work schedules with later hours, plus a lot more traffic and commutes to deal with, AND kids who are now old enough to be busy with homework and extra-curricular activities gives us all very little chill time during the week.

This year, I resolved to make small, achievable improvements in our routine with the hope that it would help us. So far, these little things have added up to make a big difference:

1. Every morning, no matter how hectic, I do one extra thing before I leave the house that will save time for me in the evening when we get home. I don't know about anyone else, but the mad rush to get out of the house on time is so super stressful, that I end up leaving the house a mess, and leave things for when we get home. Well, that's not cool either when you are all getting in the door at 6:15 and need to get dinner cooked and ready, do the dishes, make lunches for the next day, help with homework, and get the kids to bed. Mind you, I am not a one-man show here. Greg is a full-time partner in crime in these routines, and we still seem to have hectic, hectic evenings with no time for winding down. So, each morning I do something that helps make the evenings better. Lately, it's been cleaning out the coffee pot, and setting it up for the next morning. This has been a huge timesaver. One less thing to worry about. Other times, I gather up the "grab and go" lunchbox items and group them together in the fridge so all I have to do is put it in their lunchboxes. I have found that these small extra things have really helped my mental state of mind when we get home, as I don't feel like all I'm doing is getting ready for the next day. I can spend more quality time with everyone!

2. We have the kids pitch in a lot more now. They are now responsible for not only bringing their own dishes over to the sink after dinner, but they help clear the table in general. Additionally, they need to pick out their clothes in the evenings. We never used to have them do this until this year. This has saved a lot of time in the mornings! We also have them help carry in grocery bags that are light enough for them. Now that they have begun doing a bit more every day, we're going to start giving them official chores in the spring. They can help bring the garbage to the curb, and help with minor yard work!

3. I have resolved to spend more quality time with the boys in general, but especially Joey because he really wants more of my time than Chris ever did. Chris is a very independent little boy. He has strong interests and can keep himself occupied all day. Joey, on the other hand, is only 5 and he likes when Mom spends time playing games or coloring with him. I have found it hard to slow down and just sit with him, but this year I told myself that I need to do it because I will never, ever get this time back. I am glad that I've made this a priority and have stuck with it. I have also told myself to have a lot more patience with the kids in general. I feel better about myself when I feel like I am giving them what they need from me.

4. I've been drinking about 2-3x more iced water every day. I am a huge iced-water fan as it is, and I have increased my consumption to reap its health benefits. 

5. I've kicked my "going to Starbucks-2x a day-at-work habit" ! After looking at my monthly expenses, I found I was spending almost $115 per month (sometimes more if I bought a snack too) on coffee at work. I love love love my coffee. But, this was getting out of hand. I decided to bring in K-Cups and use a Kuerig that an office mate has in her cube. What a difference! Instead of $115 a month, I'm spending about $15 per month which includes K-cups, and the half n half that I am bringing in. Big difference!

6. We finally found a really good financial advisor in our town to help us with our prior 401K and other stuff. This is something we have been putting off since forever, and yet it's so important. Not only did we find a great person to work with, I have opened up my own 401K at work (now that I've met my one year of employment commitment)...finally putting our family's future in our list of top priorities feels great.

All of these small changes have helped me feel like I'm gaining back control of my life again. It was so uprooted and unsettled for the last year and a half, I feel like we are back on track again!

3 comments:

  1. Man, you're doing great! It's making me want to be more ambitious as far as following through on resolutions and commitments. I totally agree with doing one extra thing in the morning to help alleviate after-work rushing. It's got to help a lot! I'm also guilty of the SBUX kick ... I go once a day (thankfully no more) but I did calculate last week and it's $84 a month. wah. Am trying to stick to a budget this month though overall, so let's hope I do well!

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    1. Thanks, Kate! Yeah, I am hoping I can stick with that whole SBUX thing....Once in a while is fine, but I was going too often. It's like I could buy a new pair of shoes every month with the money I was spending on coffee! And, when it comes to coffee, I really do have simple taste. I love many different brands and brews, so given I am not really a die-hard Starbucks person, I found it easy to quit and I still enjoy my coffee time just as much. Thanks so much for stopping over! I'm enjoying your blog too!

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  2. That is really awesome Mary Irene!

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