My Biggest 2013 Lessons

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Usually, as a year-end approaches, I look back on how successful I've been in keeping up with the resolutions I've set at the beginning to try & see how I can work that into setting new goals for the upcoming year. Personally, not only has 2013 been filled with so many things to be grateful for, but it has also brought so many changes. Because of this, I'd also like to recount the ways in which these changes brought with them life lessons that have helped me grow as a wife, a mother, and a woman.

             next year's goal?
Let me state this mini-disclaimer though: I am NOT, by far, an expert now nor do I claim to be one. These are personal learnings that I just happen to find valuable. I am writing about it simply for the spirit of sharing, in the hopes that some of you may find nuggets of ooh's and ah's that you can relate to. I recognize that these are minuscule compared to what life still has in store for me & my family, but I surely appreciate the opportunity to realize these early on.

On marriage...

Proper communication solves the issues half the time. There will always be things we will disagree
on as a couple, simply because we are still individuals who will want to handle some issues differently. I've learned that some of these issues might be awkward to open up about, but we've agreed that no matter how squirmish we might get, discussing it will save us from misinterpretations & fights. When I say "proper communication", I mean that we don't just blurt out everything in our brain just for the sake of getting it out there - while we view some things differently, there's always respect & compromise so we don't end up screaming & biting each other's heads off when we sit down & talk. This is one of our relationship principles that we strive to adhere to & I hope we'll continue to stick to it.

On motherhood...

giving the Energizer Bunny
a run for its money
Pick your battles. On top of our toddler going on full exploration mode during his waking hours, he's also constantly trying to check his limits &  we've begun teaching him about boundaries. While we haven't started on any serious disciplining yet because we feel he's simply too young to comprehend the concept behind right & wrong/bad & good at 14 months, we have begun showing him which of his actions are ok/not ok (ex: hitting other people or himself) & he's been very obedient so far. There are instances though when he insists on doing certain activities that initially irk me, but I've learned not to jump into mama-nazi mode in a heartbeat.

caught red-handed! sifting through the
snacks box in the kitchen
(excuse the nudity, he made a mess out of breakfast)
For instance, he'd rather run around the garage barefoot & that used to bother me because he'd get so untidy, but I just remind myself that there's nothing really wrong with that & it's part of being a kid to have careless fun. In similar situations that come up now, I just ask myself:

- is it safe? Are there dangers in the environment or the actual activity he wants to do?
- will it hurt anyone?
- will it teach him a bad habit?

I find that choosing which activities to let him enjoy or battle him for to restrict him brings less stress to both of us, & even helps him maintain a healthy curiosity about the things around him.

Ditch comparing. I'll admit, being a first time mom, I've had moments when I instinctively compare Joaquin with other kids his age. I think it's a result of wanting to keep in check how his development pace is going, but having no other baseline to do it with. Of course I've always completely understood that each & every child will have different rates of development, but that used to only come into mind after the comparison has started. I guess, as I've encountered a wider variety of kids, talked more with other moms & his pedia, that genuine reassurance that my kid is growing fine has kicked in. Now, I worry significantly less about...well, everything that has to do with Joaquin's physical, mental, & emotional growth. For as long as he is healthy, sharp & constantly learning new skills, and maintains his generally (LOL) malambing disposition, we're all thankful, happy & content.

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