New Year, Clean Slate

I love the clean slate feel of the new year. And so, I am a resolution-maker. Every year, I tell myself – this will be the year I get it all together. I will exercise more. I will run a 10K. I will make more friends, get my apartment completely organized, closely follow a budget. This year I will make more money and buy a house. I will be a nicer person and never say mean things about anyone behind their back. This will be the year I finally achieve my lifelong goal of writing a book. I will also connect more deeply with my faith and read through the entire Bible.

This has been my self-talk every new year for awhile now. And I finally have to laugh at myself and realize that it’s not realistic to accomplish all of this in any given year, especially while raising two small children. Maybe I need to lower my expectations a little bit.

2015 was a good year for me. I wrapped up a travel editing project in February with a big client. I finally learned how to do my taxes and was self-sufficient enough to prepare a freezer full of meals during my pregnancy. My son was born in March and when my daughter turned 3 in April we celebrated with a party at the trampoline gym. I wrote a couple of travel articles about Lexington, Kentucky, and I got a new part-time job as publicity coordinator for my daughter’s children’s choir. Spencer took a month off from work in the summer and helped me at home with the kids. We visited the beach several times; Marie went to ballet camp and swimming lessons. In September, Spencer transitioned to a new job that he really enjoys.


Fun at the beach with my daughter. Photo credit: Spencer Crawford

2015 was a hard year for me. When my son was one-week old, I developed a postpartum uterine infection and was readmitted to the hospital through the ER for 24 hours. It took me about a month to physically recover from childbirth and my complications, and I struggled with postpartum mood disorder for the second time (though not as severely). After my son was born, I had to sign up for WIC to help make ends meet. My husband struggled at work and ended up quitting his job without having another job lined up, and without me having a job.

So my year was amazing and it was also difficult. I did not run a 10K, write a book, or buy a house. Maybe in 2016 I’ll accomplish at least one of those things; time will tell. I know there are many joys ahead as well as many challenges, and I’m looking forward to the journey. As for my resolution this year?

It seems to work best if I have one, achievable resolution. Recently I heard about a dad who had resolved to take his 4-year-old son camping once a month throughout the year. While cold-weather camping isn’t my thing, I like the idea of creating a special tradition with my child. So, I’m resolving to do a community service project once a month with my daughter. I discovered a local nonprofit called Little Hands Can that does service projects with parents and kids, and I’ve already signed up for a project in January. I’m excited to start a tradition of service with Marie.

What’s your resolution for 2016?


  1. Dawn said:

    I love the service project idea! It will give you special time with Marie and reinforce the importance of serving others.

    Year-long resolutions don’t work for me, but I do reflect on what worked and didn’t work during the previous year. In 2015 I did not balance the different facets of my life well, so I have a few ideas to restore healthy balance between work, family, and other responsibilities. I will try different ways until I find something that works.

    Amazing and difficult. Both/and rather than either/or. I realize more & more that embracing both/and while choosing to focus on whatever positives we can find allows us to be not only joyful, but also authentic. Thank you for sharing.

    • ursulamarie said:

      Thank you Dawn for your thoughtful comments. I don’t think I’ve ever kept a resolution through the whole year, but maybe I’ll be able to this year. We’ll see!

  2. I love this approach to resolutions. I don’t have one; I’m feeling like I’m just now able to keep my head above water with two kids, so I don’t want to add even one more thing to my plate. Maybe I’ll start a Spring resolution. 😉

  3. ursulamarie said:

    Hi Catherine – yes, making the transition to 2 kids is quite the challenge. I think I’ve been pushing myself way too hard. But now that Paul is 9-months-old things are getting a little easier. A spring resolution sounds like a great idea; we should all feel free to make positive changes at any time of year!

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