Lessons Learned by Pressing Pause

This is a story about what I learned when I pressed pause. Back around Thanksgiving week, my kids ALL got colds. You know how it is, one after the other, they all got it and then, of course after they are all healthy….mom gets it. While it never got totally out of hand, the germs, among other things, seemed to suck the life out of me for almost all of December.

I had to make a choice: push through or step back. And I chose to step back. I kept all required commitments, but everything else I let go. I only got in three workouts the entire month. My kids ate very simple food. I didn’t get many house projects done. There was a lot more screen time. And since I chose it, I didn’t feel guilty about it. I kept the holidays simple. Simple activities, simple gifts, simple food.

As I write this, an entire month has gone by and here is what I feel: Refreshed. Motivated. Encouraged. I did a thing on Instagram where tapping on the screen would reveal a “word” for 2020 that you could choose to be your focus. Mine was “Restore” and honestly I think that’s a perfect word for me this year. I have been thinking about it a lot, especially after my month “break.”

I learned a lot in 2019. I learned more about how I want to parent, how I want to take care of my body, how our family works best together. The year felt like it went by at lightning speed and that between all those things, by December I was drained and also a little burned out. I would call 2019 a great year, but it was also a full year. My month break in December was exactly what I needed.

It also taught me some important lessons. It taught me that sometimes we just need a break. We need to rest, step back, and “restore” ourselves. During that month I had constant Instagram posts by others that would say, “push through,” and “don’t give up.” But the truth was I needed to not push through, I wasn’t giving up, I was taking a pause. And by the end of the month I was rested, felt refreshed, and had the clarity I needed to know how I wanted to “restore” myself in 2020.

It also made me reflect back on a blog post I wrote on my old, dusty, and retired blog about how every day can be a January 1, Monday, first day of the month, whatever you choose. Give yourself the gift of knowing when you need to take a rest, when you need to recharge, and take a step back. It is not giving up and it is not quitting. It is giving you the space you need to be the best you.

So in this season of resolutions, goals and “big dreams,” if your greatest need is to take a step back, to only do what is necessary and to rest, do it. I used to feel so anxious at the start of a new year, that I needed to make grand changes, or that if I messed up I was a little bit doomed until the next year. Do what you need to do. When you are ready, your “January 1” will be there.

Hugs and love and Happy New Year to all of you mamas!

Amanda Stewart
Amanda moved to the Dallas area as a child, moved away for college, but then returned “home” with her husband and new daughter. Now five years later, she and her family are putting down roots in Collin County. Her educational background is an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and a graduate degree in Early Childhood Studies. Most days you can find her doing her best to put her knowledge to work with 3 of the sweetest students around- born in 2010, 2014 and 2015. Once bedtime hits, you can find her doing some instructional design work, blogging, or finding the next great series on Netflix, usually with a cookie in hand. You can read more about her collection of thoughts on everything from motherhood and parenting to DIY and fitness, and whatever else is on her mind at her new blog <a href "http://www.thiscollectivelife.com/" This Collective Life .