Monday, March 2, 2015

Positive Progress: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

I've honestly been dreading writing this post. Last year I made a set of resolutions and I shared an update each month. I made good progress on most things, backslid on some others. Generally, though, the updates were great for keeping me accountable. Last month, however, my calendar filled up before I realized I hadn't left a space for the recap. I thought about doing it late, and then it just never got done.

Today is the first day that I've gone back and looked at my resolutions to try and assess my progress (I had a general idea in my head what they were, though). I won't go over each of the ten because they might get boring. Instead I'll share...

The Good

I've been trying to build up our savings, so I set a goal of saving an extra $100 per month. I almost hate to say this because it seems like every time I talk money some huge expense hits us, but this resolution has been a real success so far and I am proud of my hard work. Two things, specifically, have helped. I took on a new job doing some data entry for the brother of a friend. He has a website where he sells small engine parts, and I've been cataloging his inventory him to make the site more searchable. It's work I can do in my own free time at my own pace, so I can decide how much to work and how often.  

Also, when I left teaching, I cashed out my retirement because we needed to money. When I started working here, I was told that since it was a state position that I could buy back previous service. I jumped at that! For the past three years, I have doubled up my retirement payments and as of January 31st, I have 6 years worth of retirement saved up instead of three. Now that I've bought back all I can, I have that money back in my paycheck again. But since we've been living without it, I transferred that amount directly from my paycheck to my "secret" savings account and I still don't see it.

I am now 1/4 of the way to my $1200 savings goal for the year! I like being ahead so that if an emergency does come up, we'll be more ready for it.

The Bad

Date night has not happened. I would blame the babysitter for not being available when I ask the last minute, but I know it's really my issue. I need to make plans farther out so we can find a sitter and get everything squared away. That's hard with Ken's schedule changing every week, but I am making a vow that it will happen! I'd try to plan three date nights in March just to make up for lost time, but that might scare Ken and make him think something's up! LOL!

The Ugly

Looking at my resolutions there is one that really stands out for not making progress. It makes me sad as well as angry at myself. I really want to stop yelling. It's not an effective strategy and it doesn't make anyone in my house feel valued; me included.

I honestly tried putting rubber bands on my wrist like I mentioned in my post, but I couldn't find any that weren't too tight. That and they got lost when I put them in my hair or Frances would borrow them. I really dropped the ball on this one.

What I do know is this. The kid that gives me the most trouble is the kid who is asking for love the most often. That's not a platitude, though I've seen it written many times before. It is a reality in my house. I am trying really hard to remember that an extra hug will go much further than a raised voice.

Just last week, this child was being a real jerk: arguing a point that didn't need to be argued and digging in heels that didn't need to be dug. A light bulb went on in my head and I told myself, this is not about being right or wrong, this is about being heard.

I pulled this kiddo aside and I said, "God gave you some real specific gifts. Being stubborn, persistent, and headstrong are not bad things*. They make it hard to be your mom sometimes, though. I want you to know that these qualities will serve you well as a grown up. You will get the best job, you will find the best spouse, and you will get the raise that you ask for. Mainly because you will refuse to take 'no' for an answer and you will stick with it until you get what you want. For now I want you to remember three things:
1. I love you
2. Tickles
3. Hugs and Kisses"

This kiddos love language is touch, so those last two really did it. The arguing stopped, the heels lifted, and we both felt better. It's a lot more work than yelling, but I'm okay with that.

*By the way, I read this parenting article a long time ago and it's really stuck with me. I think it was one of the first things I ever pinned!

How are your resolutions going??


  1. I need to work on all of the above, especially the yelling. I admit, I try my best where that is concerned, but still have my moments and both my kids can totally be stubborn at times (not saying I am not, but still). The rubber band idea sounds interesting though and may have to try.

  2. I need to find better rubber bands, but I think the idea is a good one. If you find some good ones, let me know!

  3. Wow what a great approach! I have one who is just like that and it is hard to parent them when heels get dug in. I am going to try this next time instead of the yelling I always wants to do.

  4. I really hope you get your date night!

    I try not to yell too. But sometimes Natalie really pushes my buttons.

  5. I used to be a huge yeller - it was out of control. I would cry at night because I felt so bad but the next day I would yell again. As my boys have gotten older I rarely yell - I think it is because now I can reason with them (most of the time) and we have conversations before things spiral out.
    Years ago I started rounding the change up every time I used my debit card - amazing how much extra you can save that way (I call it my slush fund:).

  6. I still, STILL have not sat down to budget with my husband... Bad!

    Also, I hear my mom loves kids and doesn't do much in the evening - get her to babysit! She's always in grandchild withdrawal!

  7. This one pushes my buttons too! I think that'll be another good quality in adult hood, once it's used properly!

  8. I hate yelling! It makes me feel awful and it makes them feel awful. I'm trying really hard to stop, but it still happens. Just mentioning it here makes me more aware of it in general, though; so that's a big help!

  9. That kid is STUBBORN!! It actually fits with the name we used. I often wondered if I jinxed myself!

  10. I would love to ask your mom to babysit, but the last time we had a "new" sitter they tore her to shreds!! I was MORTIFIED!! That's my second biggest issue with trying to go out!

  11. I'm hoping once we aren't stuck inside and there are better ways to use our energy we'll all do a lot less yelling around here! The data entry I'm doing is all chainsaw stuff! WOOHOO! LOL

  12. Congrats on staying focused on your goals. Even the ones that you haven't achieved, you are mindful that they are important and will continue. And Date Night - is very important. Now I'm one to talk because we are way overdue...but I love when we do it regularly. I tell myself that even if the babysitter can't come, we should not go in bed and watch TV for hours, rather put on some music, pour some wine and sit on the couches together.

  13. Re-reading my goals every month really helps me stay accountable. Date night is one I really want to work on this month!


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