Living Intentionally

Let me start by saying that marriage is cool.
On the way home from church yesterday, I asked Chris if he had any resolutions or goals for 2017. That little question turned into a deep, thoughtful conversation about what we both hoped for our future financially, spiritually, professionally, and within our family as parents and in our marriage. We talked about our vulnerabilities and weaknesses that may prevent us from reaching these goals, and how we could support each other and serve as accountability partners. 
There's no better word for it. It was just cool to have someone understand my heart that well and open his to mine.
Anyways, mushy-stuff aside, I keep thinking about what we said and what I want this year to hold for us. This all doesn't have a whole lot to do with teaching. I hope that's ok. I'm hoping that writing it down and putting it out there gives me that extra boost of motivation and accountability. It will give me something to refer back to as the enthusiasm of January leaves and the routine of the rest of the year sets in. 
Overall, I'd like to live with more intentionality this year, but that could cover a lot of things. I narrowed it down to three specific things that I am going to (try) to focus on this year.
1. Giving myself permission to put away the phone.
I started this at the beginning of our Winter Break. But it's been slow, and I honestly have to be very intentional about leaving my phone in another room or at least putting it on the other side of the room when I'm with my family. I waste so. much. time. scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I never gain anything from it, except maybe a little FOMO because I'm a mom at home not out doing "fun stuff". I've been slower to respond to texts and calls, and I hope this doesn't get translated as being a bad friend. I just have such limited time where my husband and baby and I are all together at once. After this break, I will lose that family time to the world of high school baseball (my husband coaches). I love to support him, but the trade-off will be fewer family dinners, fewer lazy mornings together, fewer Saturday afternoons running errands together. This year, I'd like to give myself permission to leave the phone in another room so I am not distracted when that family time is happening. I can whine and complain about my husband's coaching, but that's not going to change anything but our attitudes towards each other. Instead, one actionable step I can take right now is to be completely present when he's here and give my baby the example of parents who put down their phones and look each other in the eyes when they are speaking to each other. 
2. To stop waiting for nap time/bed time
I come home exhausted from my job teaching little ones, and waiting for me is my own little one needing my attention. On the weekends there is so much to do to catch up on life, but my baby is still there needing full-time care. As he has gotten older, he's obviously become more of a handful. A sweet, hilarious little boy, but a boys tend to be. I catch myself counting down the minutes to the next nap time so I can finally sit down and do whatever is next on my to-do list. Or I limp through dinner/bath time to get to bedtime so I can sit down and have a minute to myself.
It's tough, and I'm no supermom. I'm not hoping that I will gain some magical bursts of energy this year, but I do want to make this a year that I remember that he will only be little once. One day I may get some of that "me-time" back, but I will also lose my baby. He will be off with his own friends, and his own agenda, and I'll miss the post-nap cuddles, or the bath time that only his mommy could do the right way. I would just like to keep that in the back of my mind this year. 
3. To focus less on external beauty
This one is tough, but I'm also pretty proud that I'm finally grown up enough to realize that I have the power to work on this part of myself. In church this week, the sermon touched a little on sin that you know you shouldn't do, but you catch yourself doing it over and over again. 
I've always known what mine was: vanity and insecurity. It seems ridiculous now, but I was a child/teen model for a stretch of time (I weird). Those experiences served a good purpose in many aspects of my personality. I used to be painfully shy, and I do believe that the courses I had to take on poise and professionalism molded me into a more confident young woman than I had been before. But modeling is what it is. You have to dress in front of people who scrutinize your appearance, and when your self-esteem is still developing, it will warp your perception of yourself for sure. I began to crave affirmation that I was pretty, and if I wasn't told, I didn't believe it. My sweet husband still fights those battles with me. 
Becoming a parent helped, because most days I don't have time to do any makeup or even shower. And I really have become ok with that. It also made me realize that this attitude that I hold that beauty is everything will be passed onto my children. I want my son to be able to see past physical exteriors to the hearts of the girls he becomes interested in. If I have a daughter, I don't want her to see her mom placing so much stock in appearance, or spending so much on clothing. So, my third attempt at living with intentionality is to focus more on taking care of my body and my mind, and less on which clothes or shoes I own.
So that's what I'll be working on this year. I hope everyone has a happy 2017 full of goal-meeting and love. 
Stephanie Sutherland