This time of the year is a great time to pause and reflect on our lives. 2021 had been a big year for me. Looking back, I am incredibly grateful for everything that I have had the privilege to do and experience this year. I have learned to be very intentional about celebrating the good that is happening in my life. It is very easy to focus on what is not going well and forget the awesome experiences.
In this blog post, I will share the ten things that I am grateful for. I am excited to share a snapshot of my "gratitude list" for this year.
#1: Living in good health
Especially with everything going on in our world today and the global pandemic, I have come to appreciate being alive and healthy even more. I am grateful that I wake up every morning and get to live my life without any major health issues.
#2: Having our son
Going through the first year of his life and watching our son grow is something I feel very blessed to experience. He has brought a lot of love and joy to our lives. The gift of having a child has changed my life for the best over the past months.
#3: Having amazing family and friends
My social circle is pretty small, but it has the best people for me. The most important person that I am grateful for is my husband. He has been my biggest supporter throughout this big year. I would not have been able to work and take care of a baby without him.
#4: Being able to work from home
The last time I physically went into an office was in March 2020. I am very grateful for the fact that I have been able to work from home and care for our son. Although it has not been easy, I appreciate that I can do both at the same time from our home.
#5: Being financially stable
Every day, I appreciate that we do not have to worry about meeting our basic needs. It has taken a lot of discipline and intentionality to grow my finances. The work that I put in is paying off. I am thankful that I have enough for myself and to support others are well.
#6: Growing my career
The growth that I have experienced in my career over this past year has been phenomenal. I have gotten to work on many impactful projects with amazing people. Having success in my career has brought me a lot of joy and helped me see that I can do this.
#7: Enjoying the small things
Recently, I noticed that I was feeling more like myself. I was able to enjoy the small things in my life again. Things like food, music, movies, walks, and more bring me joy. I am very grateful that those small things make me smile.
#8: Progression on my journey
As I have reflected on my journey, I have become more grateful for all the experiences that I have been through. Celebrating the good, bad, and ugly has made me appreciate how far I have come. The lessons I learned have helped me build a great life.
#9: Working on my passion projects
One of the fears I had when I became a mother last year, was that I would not be able to continue working on projects that I care about. Being able to write my blog, share my story and build connections has been something that has made me feel fulfilled.
#10: Being happy and hopeful for the future
I can confidently say that I am happy with where I am in my life today. I was not always able to say that. When I think about what the next year holds for me, I am very hopeful. There are many great things that I am excited to do and experience. I am grateful to be in a place in my life where I can be myself and live the life I desire.
We have a lot to be grateful for, even though it may be hard to see sometimes. Whenever you feel down or discouraged, remind yourself of the good that is happening in your life.
Time for Reflection
When I found out we were expecting a baby in March 2020, I had no idea what life journey we were about to embark on. It was the same week when the world started shutting down due to the global pandemic. My experience being pregnant was very different given the times we were in. Everything went better than I expected, and our baby boy was born in October 2020. My motherhood journey kicked off and has been on for a year now. One thing I am grateful for, is that I had been caring for children from when I was younger until I graduated from college. My experience taught me a lot about caring for the basic needs of children. However, having a child of your own for 24 hours every day takes a little bit more.
In this blog post, I will share the ten lessons I learned from my first year being a mother to our amazing son. Check out my reflection on my first mother's day.
#1: Acknowledge the huge life change
Becoming a mother or parent changes your life in a very significant way. I had no idea what to expect and was surprised by how much my priorities would shift. Having time during my pregnancy to mentally prepare for the shift in our lives helped me. However, the past twelve months have changed me even more. I am still getting to know myself as a mum.
#2: Don't live in fear
One of the first things I committed to doing when I found out that I was pregnant was not allowing fear to take over my life. Eight years earlier, I had a major surgery that made me worry about having a healthy pregnancy. I am so thankful that everything went well. Fast-forward to now that I have my son, I have to fight more fears on a daily basis. I constantly need to remind myself that every fall or scary moment is part of the journey.
#3: Embrace and enjoy the journey
People were right when they said time would go by very quickly. I have to constantly remind myself to be in the moment and enjoy the time with my son to the fullest. The pandemic gave me a gift where I get to work from home, be with him and experience his milestones. Seeing him grow and learn new things every day has been one of the most exciting things I have ever experienced.
#4: Lean on your partner or support system
Before I had a baby, I always thought I would have a stronger network and the "village" that would help me. Due to the pandemic, my support system was my husband alone. I have come to really love and appreciate my husband in a very different way. We have taken care of our son on our own from the day he was born till today. Learning to let go and accept his help made my life better.
#5: Do the things you said you would never do
There were some things around taking care of a child that I said I would never do before I had our son. Now I have come to accept that it is ok to do things that I would not have done because they are necessary at the moment. The truth that I have come to accept is that I can't control everything and striving for perfection is exhausting.
#6: Make time for things you are passionate about
One thing that I knew I really wanted to continue doing after becoming a mother was writing my blog. It has become something that allows me to express myself and grow in many ways. I made a deal with myself that I would not post for the duration of my maternity leave. Once it was over, I went back to writing my weekly posts because I really enjoyed them.
#7: Chase your professional goals …. responsibly
While being a mum is fulfilling and exciting, I know that I still want to continue having a successful career. I returned to work when my baby was 3,5 months old. Going back to work at that time was a conscious choice that I made because of the professional goals I had. In the last nine months since I went back to work, I have worked extremely hard. There have been times when I had to remind myself to rest a little because I was going too fast.
#8: Find your "flavor" of motherhood
As with everything, comparing yourself to others around you never has a great outcome. I have found that I am a mother that prioritizes being prepared, reading up on parenting topics, cooking my baby's food from scratch, and much more. I also acknowledge that there are things that other mothers enjoy doing that I do not, and that is perfectly fine.
#9: Be gracious and kind to yourself
We set high standards and have expectations of who we want to be as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, working professional and all the other identities we hold. Having high expectations of ourselves is good until it puts you under pressure and causes unnecessary stress. It is essential for you not to be too hard on yourself.
#10: Celebrate yourself
Reflecting on the last twelve months, I am very proud of all that I have accomplished. Taking care of a baby and working full time has not been the easiest thing I have done in my life. However, I have been doing both and rocking it.
Celebrating milestones has become a tradition for me. I want to make sure I am reflecting, learning and being grateful for all my experiences. To all the mothers out there, thank you for being awesome!!!
Over the past months, I have been thinking about the power of sharing our life stories. Have you ever told someone something about yourself and they say, “oh wow, that is a very interesting background “? Has your response been “no, it’s not that remarkable, many people have experienced similar things”? That is exactly how I have responded to people's comments when I share my story with them. It has been my way of normalizing and minimizing my unique life experiences. However, this year as I celebrate the huge milestone of living abroad for 20 years, I am determined to celebrate my journey and no longer take my experiences for granted.
In this blog post, I will share how I am approaching telling my story to commit publicly to ensure that I follow through. This officially kicks off my "Her Story" series, where I will share different experiences and lessons learned.
In 2019, I had the strong desire to start writing down my story. I set a goal to write my story by the time I turned 35 in 2020. Well, many unexpected things happened differently last year like a global pandemic and having a baby. Having my son rekindled my desire to tell my story. I have decided to take steps this year and start sharing my experiences with the world. This is one of my bold 2021 goals.
Why am I telling my story?
I like to start by asking myself what my motivation is and the outcome that I hope to accomplish by doing it with everything I do. As I began to think about why I wanted to tell my story, I realized that the reasons why I wanted to embark on this journey varied vastly. Some of them include:
What is holding me back?
As I embark on this new and scary journey, a few thoughts are holding me back from doing this amazing thing.
How am I going to approach telling my story?
Although I have some fears and concerns about sharing my story, I have decided that it is something that I need to do for my growth. For things that seem too big or scary, I create a plan and start working on them one task at a time. I will be taking the following steps over the next months on my quest to tell my story.
If you have ever wondered how remarkable your story is, remember that you are the only one who has lived the life you have and walked in your shoes - Your story is special and unique.
And if you have been thinking about writing or sharing your story, I encourage you to join me on this bold journey.
Time to Reflect
What part of your story do you want to tell people but have not permitted yourself to?
How do you think sharing your story will help others?
What is holding you back from sharing your story?
How will you overcome your fears and take the bold step to share your story?