To the Mamas Who Don’t Have a Summer Vacation

To the Mamas Who Don't Have
a Summer Vacation

Summer summer summertime, time to sit back and unwind.

On weekends.

Swimming pools, water parks, play dates, movies at the theater.  Strawberry festivals, sleepovers, bonfires, trips to the zoo, lemonade stands, swim lessons, ice cream, lightning bugs, and endless hours spent basking in the summer sun we so desperately wait for all year long.  I could go on.  Insert the most magnificent summer bucket list here.  It’s the stuff childhood memories are made of.

On weekends.  

Actually, just Saturdays.  Sundays are mostly for laundry and cleaning and grocery shopping and prepping for the week ahead.

With most jobs, when you work outside of the home you don’t have summer vacations with your kids.  You just have summers…regular ol’ summers.  Now don’t get me wrong, working inside the home is no cake walk either, not by a long shot, but moms who work outside of the home carry a special kind of guilt when it’s summertime.  They carry the guilt of not being there.  

It creeps in when you see pictures on social media of pool days and popsicles…while you’re at work.  It creeps in when you can’t stay up late to catch lightning bugs because you all still have to be up early in the morning.  It creeps in when you drop off at daycare and notice the emptiness of the classrooms.  It creeps in when you see pictures of your little one having fun during sprinkler day…without you.

It creeps in when you wonder if your child is somehow missing out on a fundamental right of childhood by missing out on those endless, carefree summer days spent swimming until exhaustion sets in and romping around outside until the sun goes down.

A few days ago I sat outside on our deck over-thinking this very thing as I listened to the kids in the neighborhood behind ours laugh, play, and jump into the swimming pool.  It was about 8:00pm and my daughter was already in bed, like most other week nights for us.  I was kind of bummed she was already in bed while the other kids played.  I wanted her to have wonderful memories of childhood summers just like I did.  

I thought back to all of the messy, melty ice cream cones in the car.  I remembered the warmth of my mama, the comfort of her gentle hugs, and how she supported any idea I had or any project I wanted to work on (which I know took the patience of a saint because my concoctions ended up in every corner of the house…but darn it…she let me do it every time).  I remembered the trips to the local pool with my siblings and dad when he was off work.  I remembered how light and silly he was and how we’d always drive with the windows down, music blaring.

Those memories shaped who I am today.  And as I sat back and listened to those other kids play while mine slept, I realized that the memories my heart holds on to the most aren’t from the perfect summer bucket list.  The things I cherish and remember the most aren’t actually what we did – it’s how we did them.  We were relaxed.  We were laid back.  We were uninhibited, carefree, and silly.  We talked and dreamed and joked with each other.  We laughed and listened to the storms and let the ice cream drip without caring and played wherever the wind took us.

Now THAT’S the stuff childhood memories are made of.  And that’s when it hit me.  Summer is a spirit, not an event, and that spirit is what my daughter will truly remember the most, no matter what that looks like for us.

She’ll remember driving home from school with the windows down and the music up.

She’ll remember way too many ice cream cones in the car and those glorious sticky fingers on upholstery I didn’t care about.

She’ll remember eating dinner together in the clubhouse of her swing set.

She’ll remember all of the fun summer field trips and experiments at school.

She’ll remember the times we bent the rules and stayed up way too late and paid for it dearly in the morning, but wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world.

She’ll remember stopping at the library every Friday afternoon before dinner to cash in our books for the Summer Reading Program.

She’ll remember our weekends, filled with pool days, trips to the zoo, bonfires, and lemonade stands.  She’ll remember listening to the storms and the freedom to bring her ideas to life.

She’ll remember the relaxed, laid back moments where we were uninhibited and carefree.  She’ll remember playing wherever the wild summer breeze took us.

She’ll remember that she had the best summers EVER.

Sometimes it’s so hard to see past the guilt of our precious mama hearts.  We want the best for our babies and are ruthlessly unforgiving with ourselves when we feel like we’re providing anything less than that.  We always question whether we’re doing the right thing and for some, summer is no exception.

So to the mama who doesn’t have a summer vacation: there is no right way to do summer.  You can create moments of bliss and inhibition wherever you want and you can carry the spirit of summer with you and your family no matter what you do.

Play together.

Laugh together.

Dream together.

Love together.  

Whenever you can, wherever you can.

That time together is as golden as the summer sunshine itself, and that’s what our kids will remember and cherish the most.  

How to Spring Spring

How to Spring Spring

Spring has sprung, my friends!

I love this time of year.  The flowers, the thunderstorms, the cool breeze, the weather.

I am NOT a summer person.  At all.  I crank up the AC as soon as the temperature hits 70 outside.  Heat makes me cranky, sleepless, sweaty, and resentful towards the time and energy I have to put into shaving my legs.  For four months out of the year I don’t belong in Indiana, where the humidity of the agonizing Midwestern summers are enough to drive anyone to the North Pole.

The beauty of spring and autumn are enough to keep me here, though, and they make June through September a little more somewhat-kind-of tolerable for me.  

Needless to say, I revel in the beautiful gift of spring, and here are some ways you can do that too.

Wipe everything down with Clorox wipes.  Or Thieves or Lysol or whatever else you want to use.  Even if you did it yesterday, you know it’s dirty again and if it’s not dirty again, wipe it down anyways.  The clean smell alone will remind you that sick season is over (for the most part) and that the kids can finally venture outside without spending twenty minutes to layer up first.  Hallelujah!

Kondo your heart out.  The KonMari method, created by organizing consultant Marie Kondo, is a system of simplifying and organizing your home (and life) by getting rid of physical items that don’t bring you joy.  Instead of focusing on what doesn’t fit, what you can’t stand, or what you think you might use or wear someday, invite more positivity into your life by focusing on what brings you joy instead.  Pick it up, touch it, and if it brings you joy, keep it.  It’s that simple, and I love it. I felt so renewed and energized after removing the weight of the physical stuff from my home, especially the stuff that wasn’t making me happy.  Kondo takes spring cleaning to a whole new level!

Relax in the lounge.  And I don’t mean the 21-and-over kind.  I’m talking about the one in your yard, your very own private oasis of comfort and luxury: a baby pool.  That’s right.  Pick up a $10 inflatable baby pool and instead of filling it with water, fill it with old blankets and pillows.  Make yourself comfortable with the littles, read books, look at the clouds, and wonder where all of the airplanes waaaay up there are going.  Your options are endless, and are endless without the summer bug season terrorizing y’alls chill time in the lounge.

Do any yardwork or landscaping NOW.  Before it’s 500 degrees outside.  Before the mosquitoes are out for blood.  Before it’s so hot and humid outside that paint won’t even dry.  Have someone take the children.  Or take a day off work.  I learned this the hard way.  It doesn’t matter if there’s more daylight in the summer and the nights last longer.  It’s a trick.  DO IT NOW.

Get family pictures taken NOW.  I also learned this the hard way.  If there’s anything more stressful than getting yourself and everyone else ready for family pictures, it’s sweating your arse off in front of the camera and hoping the pit stains and moisture on your upper lip can be photo-shopped out.  And if there’s anything more stressful than all of THAT…it’s wrangling a toddler who’s melting down right underneath the blazing sun.  And in your beautiful family pictures.

Pay attention to your toes.  They’ve likely been hibernating all winter.  Flip-flop weather is upon us and we need to be prepared.  Give those piggies a little extra TLC and if they’re beyond repair, splurge on the $25 to have a professional tackle the job.  You deserve it.

Stay away from geese.  I’m not even joking.  Here in Indy it was just in the news that two people were attacked AND injured (though mildly) in a Walmart parking lot.  Geese lay their eggs March-May and can be exceptionally aggressive when protecting the nest.  If you see geese loitering around in one spot, standing their ground, or staring you down like they’re ready to start something, it’s best to stay away.  In all seriousness, for as much as I dislike geese, they’re still living creatures and are mama bears just like we are.  I don’t blame them for protecting their babies.  Just be respectful and careful out there in the wild, and talk to your kids about being the same, too.  Head on swivel in the parking lot!

Take some time to BREATHE.  Before your mind starts running amok with the spring cleaning to-do list or upcoming summer plans, take some time to slow down and breathe in the renewal and refreshment that this season can provide.  Literally stop and smell the flowers.  Turn off the music or the TV and listen to the rain while you fold laundry.  Buy yourself a new candle.  Enjoy the nice, cool breeze.  Spring only rolls around once a year.  Be sure to take some of it in!

An Easter Basket That’s Not Full of Junk

Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail…

Hippity, hoppity, junk is on the way.

Easter baskets have come a long way since their creation thousands of years ago.  In ancient times, farmers celebrated the first seedlings of their new crops in the spring by bringing these seedlings to the temple in a basket.  They’d pray that the gods would continue to bless their crops for the rest of the year.

Easter baskets today as we know them developed from more modern Christian history.  During Lent, which lasts for 40 days before Easter, many Christians abstain from certain foods or treats until Easter comes.  Then, there’s a huge feast to symbolize the end of Lenten fasting.  Starting back in the 12th century (year 1050ish), this Easter feast was brought in large baskets to church to be blessed by priests, kind of like the ancient practice with the seedlings.      

And then…here we are today.  

Where Easter baskets are as stressful (and expensive) as Christmas stockings (which also started out with humble roots, by the way) and usually result in an ashamedly expensive raid of the Dollar Spot at Target, all to end up in the trash or toy purgatory days later.  The ancient gods would be ashamed.  I guess we’re the saints who bless the baskets now?

I learned over the past couple of years that Easter doesn’t need to be so complicated and filled with stuff.  Here’s how:

Ditch the traditional basket.  You can stuff almost anything else instead.  Rain boots.  Makeup bag.  Beach bag.  Popcorn bucket.  Tackle box.  Dump truck. Toy wagon.  A new hat or umbrella turned upside down.  Get creative and find something that will actually be used.  Baskets end up either smashed in a closet or trampled on in the garage until next year.  Save yourself the money and get a dollar bucket for the hunt and anything other than a basket for the finale. 

Think summer.  The time of year we all so desperately wait for is just around the corner, so use this to your advantage and stock up on supplies for summer fun.  Bug jar.  Sidewalk chalk. Bubbles.  Flip flops.  Water bottle.  Beach towel. Swimsuit.  Hat.  Sunglasses.  Sunscreen.  Your littles don’t need to know you’d spend the money on these summer necessities anyways.  They’ll be none the wiser.

Stock up on art supplies.  Crayons.  Finger paint.  Watercolors.  Play dough.  Stamps.  Paper.  Coloring books.  Scissors.  GLUE STICKS.  Take this chance to stock up on the things that are easily lost/destroyed/quickly used throughout the year.  You know there’s no such thing as too many stickers.      

Upgrade the necessities.  Take the bedtime routine up a notch by adding in a light up toothbrush or one that plays music.  If your child is older, try a new phone case or journal.  Treat your littler ones to character band-aids or underwear instead of the value brand (no judgment there).  It’s amazing how much thrill comes from Disney characters that you can bleed on…or worse…

Splurge for fancy snacks.  Juice boxes.  Snack packs. Goldfish crackers or veggie straws that come individually packaged.  Give your littles the experience of eating or drinking out of something other than a cup or ziploc baggie.  Yes, I call this fancy.

Don’t you dare by Easter grass.  It’s worthless, absolutely worthless.  I don’t care if it’s a dollar, it’s stressful and annoying and ends up in right in the trash because it’s not even worth the space to store it until next year.  Use napkins.  Use felt.  Use construction paper.  Heck, even use real grass.  Just don’t bring the plastic stuff into your house.  Plastic kills animals too.  Don’t be an animal killer!

Focus on the experience.  Don’t feel like you have to go all out for Easter, or any other holiday for that matter.  Keep it inexpensive and low key. If you really want to do something special, set up a scavenger hunt in the yard or inside the house and focus on having fun instead of things.  Holidays can be special even when you’re not doing anything special at all.  

10 Simple Ways to Shower Your Kids with Love

10 Simple Ways to Shower
Your Kids with Love

Ah, Valentine’s Day.      

The season of romance, the season of passion, the season of love.  Also the season of expectations, the season of indifference, the season of sugar and fidgety toys and scrambling around to find the class Valentines with the goldfish crackers attached.  But nonetheless…the season of love.

I started thinking about this so-called season and what it actually means to show people you love them, especially when those people happen to be your kids.  Books and movies fill their little heads with the idea that love means huge romantic gestures, fancy gifts, or fairytale endings.  Heck, Hallmark movies fill our grown-up heads with the exact same things, and I would know.  I’m a repeat Hallmark offender.

The difference is that as adults, we know that real, deep love doesn’t always look the way it does in the movies and that oftentimes it’s the thoughtful, seemingly small gestures that make us feel loved the most.  I think the same principal applies to our kids too.  I try my best to remember that in the check out line with yet another stuffed animal I know will end up in teddy bear purgatory or the Goodwill bag by next month, but I just can’t help myself.  I love seeing the look of joy on her face when she gets a new stuffed animal, or a toy, or a chocolate bar, or really any new thing.       

Joy from things is usually a temporary emotion before moving on to the next thing though, and while the instant gratification may bring our kids happiness (and us happiness to witness it), I’m not sure it actually makes them feel loved.

So what does?

Every child is different.  We know better than anyone how kids are complex little creatures with their own personalities and preferences that may or may not fit a universal mold.  That being said, I think there’s some common ground with what really makes our kids feel valued and loved, and just like adults, it’s oftentimes the thoughtful, seemingly small gestures that make them feel loved the most.
 

10 Simple Ways to Shower Your Kids with Love


1) Learn their love language.  
Most of us have heard of the 5 Love Languages for adults, and if you haven’t, it’s definitely worth the time to research.  Dr. Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages book outlines the premise that everybody gives and receives love in different ways.  What makes you feel loved may not be what makes your partner feel loved, and vice versa.  The book also explains how you’re much more likely to express love to your partner in whatever way makes YOU feel loved, which may or may not fill up your partner’s love cup.  Dr. Chapman breaks down 5 major love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.  You and/or your partner can take an online quiz to find out your primary love languages and use the results to better connect and make each other feel loved and appreciated.

The original 5 Love Languages was so successful that Dr. Chapman developed the 5 Love Languages of Children, using the same concepts as the adult book but just adapted to children.  If your child is older (the book recommends 9+) they can also take an online quiz to find out their primary love languages and hopefully share with you to help gain a better understanding of what truly makes them feel loved.

The quiz may only be for older children but the principal can be applied to children of any age.  

It’s important to get to know your child’s likes and dislikes and respect that they may be different from yours.  You may be a big snuggler, but maybe your little would rather hear praise and encouragement.  You may have searched far and wide for the perfect birthday gift, but maybe your little would rather spend time with you on a project or go shopping together.  You may have a special day planned, but maybe your little would rather stay in and help you cook dinner.

While nothing from any of the five love languages will hurt, it definitely helps to know what really fills up your child’s love cup so you can keep it runneth over.  

2)  Play games together.  Simon Says.  Hide and Seek.  Duck, Duck, Goose.  Red Light, Green Light.  Kids need time and space to develop independently but taking the time to play and have fun together makes them feel special and worthy of your time.  Have a dance party.  Play dress up.  Play monsters.  Be goofy!  Classic board games like CandyLand and Chutes and Ladders are only $6 at Walmart and aren’t much more on Amazon.  Even some interactive video games can stir up the family fun (Mario Kart all the way).  Not only can playing games together make your little feel loved, but studies have shown that laughter and play stimulate oxytocin, the “love hormone” that’s released in your body when you share positive emotions with others.  Oxytocin helps to decrease depression and anxiety, increase milk production for breastfeeding mamas, and just all around puts you in a better mood.  It even increases your sex drive.  Bonus!

3)  Leave them a special note.  In their lunchbox, in their backpack, on the mirror, wherever you can sneak it in.  This small, thoughtful gesture is almost guaranteed to bring a smile to your child’s face and a little extra love to their heart.  It shows you took the time to think about them and go out of your way to so something sweet.  For a fun Valentine’s Day twist, give them a “heart attack.” Enjoy a blast from your elementary school past by cutting out a bunch of construction paper hearts, writing all the things you love about your child on them, then taping the hearts on their bedroom door or somewhere else in the house.  So cheesy but so good!

4)  Display their artwork.  On the fridge, in the hallway, in the car, wherever they can see it.  Showing pride in your child’s work is the best way to teach them to have pride in their own work.  All you need is free surface space and some magnets or tape (although I’ve been known to use bandaids in a pinch).  If you want to spice things up, mount some Dollar Store clipboards on the wall to switch out artwork easily or go with the good ol’ clothesline and clothespins, also found at the Dollar Store.  

5)  Say more nice things than not nice things.  We all know that not everything you say to your child is gonna be nice.  It comes with the parenting territory and is just part of guiding their behavior and helping them grow into half decent human beings.  Then sometimes it has nothing to do with guiding, your kids are just driving you nuts and they better knock it off OR ELSE.  A good rule of thumb is for every not nice thing you say, say two or three nice things to balance it out.  It doesn’t have to be instantaneous, but in general the good should always outweigh the bad.  

6)  Listen to them.  Really LISTEN to them.  Engage in the stories they tell and the questions they ask.  Validate their thoughts and feelings and give specific, meaningful praise when they do something worth praising.  I’m the farthest thing from the technology police, but take some time away from electronics to immerse yourself in their little world with your eager, undivided presence and attention.  Listen and learn what makes them feel loved…or not loved.  Figure out what gets on their nerves, what scares them, what brings them joy, and what brings them comfort.  You have a little treasure trove right in front of you.  Don’t forget to explore it.

7)  Take them out on a date.  As much as this one gets overplayed sometimes, it really can make your little feel like a million bucks.  It doesn’t have to be fancy (unless you want it to be).  It can be something as simple as a walk in the park, sharing an ice cream cone, or hot cocoa from Starbucks.  It’s the thought that counts here.  Letting your child know they’re important enough for your energy, planning, and time is almost sure to fill up their little love cups.

8)  Let them help you around the house.  This one is a win-win.  It helps you get stuff done and shows your child you have faith and confidence in their abilities to help with grown-up jobs.  It also helps teach kids responsibility and the importance of working as a member of a larger team.  Letting them help take care of a sibling, helping to unload the dishwasher, or finding a home for all of their stuffed animals will help them feel like valued, capable members of your family.  Don’t expect perfection.  Praise their efforts, go with the flow, and within reason let them do it their way.  Do the tupperware containers really have to match up perfectly?

9)  TELL THEM and tell them often.  Always, always tell your loved ones how much you love them, especially your kids.  Tell them every chance you get.  Tell them you love them when they’re happy, when they’re sad, when they’re grumpy and when they’re mad.  From here to the moon and back, more than all the stars in the sky, more than life itself…you love them.  Always.

10)  Show up.  The most important way to show your kids you love them is one you’re already doing.  Showing up.  Not just at sporting events and class parties and dance recitals, but showing up in the weeds too.  Puke in the middle of the night, show up.  Friend hurts their feelings at school, show up.  Meltdown in the grocery store over God knows what, show up.  Grades are slipping and it’s getting too hard, show up.  Shit hits the fan, or the floor, or the wall, show up.  Mistake after mistake after mistake, show up.  Showing your child, big or little, that no matter what they do or where they go there’s nothing they could possibly do to make you love them any less, and that your magical mama bear love is unconditional.  Showing up, every time.  Now that’s true love.  

It’s so easy to get sucked in to the holiday hype and the feeling that we have to do more to show others our love, especially when it comes to our kids.  You don’t have to do anything at all this Valentine’s Day.  No one will be forever damaged or traumatized by your boycott.  We carry the love for our families in our hearts all year long and we don’t need the expectation of a holiday to prove it.

If you love the holiday hype and it makes you happy, there’s no shame or judgment in that either.  You do you.  But if you do it, do it thoughtfully, meaningfully, and do it from the heart.

That’s the best kind of love there is.

New Year, New You

New Year, New You

How to Avoid the 80%

Christmas is over.  OVER.  Just like that, the music is gone, decorations have vanished, ABC’s 25 Days of Christmas has wrapped and Lifetime completely cuts you off like it never even happened.  It’s enough to send anyone into a downward spiral of depressive withdrawal.

As we barrel towards the sludge I call January we start to search for something else to look forward to and another outlet for our holiday merriment: New Year’s Day.  The countdown, the kiss at midnight, the promise of a fresh start and a new beginning.  It all sounds so exciting and invigorating.  The first day of a whole new year – what better time to kick it into gear?  We set resolutions, commit to lifestyle changes, freshen up the bucket list and swear that this time for sure is going to be different.  The ball drops to ceremoniously usher in “the new me.”  

Sound familiar?  ME.

80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February.  ALSO ME.

EIGHTY percent.  Seriously?  That rate sounds about as encouraging as feeding a toddler brussel sprouts topped with sauerkraut.  I stewed over that statistic for a while and tried to disprove it altogether with excellent research and…googling…but quit vetting the validity of the study after realizing from personal experience how it makes total sense and is probably pretty accurate.

But why?  What makes New Year’s resolutions so doggone hard to keep?  Making any life change, even a small one, requires more than good intentions.  If you’re setting resolutions for the new year, these six tips will help you avoid the 80%:  

  1.  Focus on goals, not resolutions.
    Both have important purposes but there is a difference between the two.  Think of a resolution as the final, long-term outcome and the goals as the smaller steps it takes to get there.  It’s important to keep the end game in mind but without goals in between you’ll slide right towards the 80%.  Resolutions are oftentimes approached with an all or nothing attitude and while cold turkey may be the best way to commit for some, for most it doesn’t jive long-term.  Resolutions help reinforce lifelong changes while the goals provide attainable milestones to keep you motivated in the meantime.  Re-working your resolutions into a more goal-oriented process can make a big difference in your outcomes.

  2.  What do YOU want to do?
    Want to jump right into the 80%?  Try giving your all to accomplish a goal someone else has set for you.  If you don’t really care about your goal, you’re setting yourself up for a frustrating, discouraging, and probably pretty quick journey.  Take some time to reflect and decide what’s really important to you, with the emphasis on YOU.  Motivation is born from a value or belief you truly value and something meaningful enough to justify the time, energy, and effort it’ll take to get the job done.  Get out a piece of paper and write down everything you’d like to accomplish, both big and small.  Sky’s the limit.  Try your best to filter out what you think you should do, what you think should be important, or what others are saying you need to do.  There is no one alive who is youer than you.  You do you, mama!

  3. What are you READY to do?
    You may have decided what you want to do, but the success of your goal comes down to one question: are you ready to change?  Wanting to change and being ready to change are very different mentalities and while we may truly want to do different, good intentions alone won’t get the job done.  Be honest with yourself and decide whether or not you’re really ready to make the life changes necessary to commit to something new…and hard…because change is HARD.  It can take time, energy, patience, sleep, planning, sanity, support, money, resilience, and strength.  If you don’t have any of that to spare right now and life is crazy enough already, it’s okay.  Let me repeat: IT’S OKAY.  Rome wasn’t built in a day and life changes aren’t built in a year.  If it’s truly something you value, it’ll still be there when life calms down.  Developing the self-awareness to know your limits takes a lot of strength, too.

  4. Start small and go with the flow.
    Have a goal you can’t shake but know you’re not ready to commit?  You may be more ready than you think.  If you feel like your goal is too big to tackle, break it waaaaaaay down into something smaller and measurable.  Smaller steps can make change feel a little less daunting and overwhelming while still keeping you motivated.  A lot of goals take time to see results, especially those around health and money, so setting smaller goals will give you the chance to celebrate the smaller (but equally important) successes and boost your confidence along the way.  Want to save more money?  Start out with $20 a month and increase throughout the year.  Want to lose 50 pounds but haven’t had success losing more than 20?  Set a more attainable goal of 15 and reevaluate when you hit that number.  Or drop the number altogether and focus on exercising three times a week instead.  Be flexible and adjust as you go.  It’s your goal and you can do whatever the heck you want.

  5. Start in the spring.
    Hear me out on this one.  Raise your hand if you feel rested, reinvigorated, and energized right after Christmas.  If your hand is up and you’re not lying, I commend you because I feel the exact opposite: full of joy and happiness, yes, but also exhausted, lethargic, and still nearly comatose from stuffing my face all day/week/month.  It takes me until Valentine’s Day just to fully recover the house, purge abandoned toys, and find homes for all the new schtuff.  The very last thing I want to do is anything else.  I know, I know, there’s a certain symbolism of a January 1st D-day; new year, new start, new you.  But a goal for the new year doesn’t mean you have to literally start on day one.  New Year’s Day is a single day on the calendar.  There are 364 others to choose from, and it may be a good idea to choose a day after fully recovering from the holiday fatigue.  Take the first couple months of the new year to mentally prepare and get your head in the game for the changes to come.  I know March doesn’t quite have the luster of New Year’s Day, but March has SPRING, and if that’s not a season for new beginnings I don’t know what else is.
  1.  Shrug it off and carry on.  
    So you fell into the 80%.  Meh.  So did 80% of everyone else.  Falling off the bandwagon doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon your goal.  Figure out what didn’t work, adjust accordingly, and try try again.  You have the rest of the year to tweak and figure out what’s going to work and not work.  Most people who have achieved any goal can attest to falling off the bandwagon multiple times in the process.  Change is a journey of trial and error.  Be patient with yourself and try to accept a little of the same grace you offer everyone else.  You may feel bruised and discouraged but what really matters is how you keep trying.  In the end, the juice will be worth the squeeze and you’ll come out stronger and more resilient than before.

Listen mamas, even Mother Nature gets tired and shuts down for a few months.  Literally nothing in nature blooms all year long, so don’t expect yourself to either.  Whatever you choose to take on this year, whether it be big or small or nothing at all, may the odds be ever in your favor.