Word of the Year: Present – February Update

Today I’m linking up with Honoré at Morning Glory Studio to write about my word of the year. I love having a theme each year to fall back on when things become overwhelming. I started in 2018 and was startled to see what a difference it made, even with a half-hearted attempt to incorporate it into my day-to-day actions. Here are links to previous themes that I’ve embraced:

2018: Abundance
2019: Pause

In 2020, I’m focusing on being present. To ensure it’s a priority in my life, I’m joining these monthly linkups. Here’s what I’ve written so far:

Introduction post
January Update

In January, I shared a bit of why it’s so hard for me to stay present. In a nutshell, I get frustrated by messes that I find difficult to ignore. I jump up on a whim and start cleaning despite wanting to be present and playing with my kids. I’m sure many of you can relate!

I caught him looking at the camera and smiling, which never happens! All of my pictures of him are blurry. You can see him holding his fuzz ball – it makes him happy!

A miracle has happened since my last post: we’ve found a replacement for my middle child’s paper ripping obsession. He’s been ripping up pompoms and has little interest in tearing up paper. He still tries to rip up books 2-3 times a week, but that is nothing compared to where we were. The pompoms are fuzzy and he can easily reconstitute them into a giant fuzz ball and reuse it throughout the day. So basically, he’s cleaning up after himself (which is shocking). There’s even been days when I haven’t felt the need to vacuum at all (which is even more shocking). We’ve spent two solid years battling this jibletting habit and it feels like we’re finally moving towards progress. I am so happy — and he is too!

Of course, I’m still struggling with being present. I find myself completely overwhelmed with the clutter that tends to contribute to my chaotic feelings. My feelings about clutter are why I chose Abundance for my Word of the Year in 2018 – because I wanted to be happy with what I have and not feel the need to keep buying more. At least twice a month I have a mini-meltdown about it all. My poor husband. Getting rid of the clutter helps. There are fewer messes when you have less stuff, which becomes more important as my family grows.

Photo by Cristian Dina on Pexels.com

Even if I conquer clutter (ha!), there will be other things that pull my attention away. Instagram is one of my biggest weaknesses. Despite having a screen time limit, it’s always calling me. I want to see other people’s “perfect” lives and beautiful aesthetics. I want updates on homeschooling mamas throughout their days and dream of doing the same. It’s so easy to pick up my phone, scroll, and wish.

But hello!? I am surrounded by my own sanctuary and am lucky enough to be able to do almost anything I want. I can live whatever life I want.

And I want to be that mama who is down on the floor with her kids, creating an atmosphere that is full of inspiration and embraces their individuality, and sparking joy for them wherever we are. I find inspiration for that on Instagram. My initial reaction is to get rid of it because of the distraction, but I don’t want to do that. I just want to find a way to incorporate it into my day in a mindful way, instead of using it as a way to tune out when things get hard. That’s been my mission for at least a year! I’m still struggling to find a way that feels right.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Here’s my action plan for March:

  • Continue clearing out clutter. Spend one hour each week clearing out problem areas (closets, the kitchen, and toy areas).
  • Embrace the messiness of each day! Do this by only cleaning at set intervals: clean for a half an hour after the boys get on their buses, clean up after lunch, clean up after dinner, and a quick tidy up before bed. Is this a workable plan? I’ll use March as an experiment!
  • For the month of March only: Remove Instagram from my phone and only check IG at my desktop computer.

That last bullet point feels like the most drastic. I’m pretty sure that by removing it from my phone and only checking my feed at the computer, I’ll kick the habit completely. I’m only really at the contemplative stage and am not totally ready to be IG-free and this feels like the all or nothing approach that I’ve been trying to avoid. But — it’s not really all or nothing, because I’m still allowing myself to check in, just in a way that is more purposeful. Can you sense my ambivalence?!

I’ll plan to meet with you all again on the last Tuesday of March to share my progress! But until then – do you experience any of these challenges? Does clutter turn your world upside down? Is there a social media platform that seems to suck your day away? Or have you identified an activity that allows you to escape the realities of your life in ways that bother you? I’d love to hear from you!


15 thoughts on “Word of the Year: Present – February Update

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  1. When my daughter was little, I was very much in the weeds, so to speak, the way you are. There was always something to clean, to tidy, to wash, so it was hard to focus on the moment. As she’s gotten older, though, it’s gotten easier. So hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Perhaps if you change out “embracing messiness” with reveling in daily living, it might help with the angst. And, thank you for sharing that photo of your son (and I LOVE pompoms too!!)

    IG is it’s own problem. I went through some weeks ago and unfollowed a large number of accounts and hashtags. I now am left with those who I really want to see and it is easier to see them, which means less time scrolling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, I like “reveling in daily living.” Thanks!

      Less scrolling is always good! I’ve gone through and done another cull as well, but somehow it always creeps back up :p


  3. So pleased you have found a solution to the paper-tearing: brilliant! I admire your honesty and determination to find a way through the difficulties … Did you get a copy of Ali’s email about embracing ‘wholeness’ rather than perfection? I wonder if that might help? I don’t get sucked into Instagram but I do get sucked into the news, and am having a hard time disconnecting :(. I might need to give myself time limits too … Thank-you for such a thought-provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Alexa! And no, I don’t think I got a copy of the email you mentioned, but that’s okay. Thank you for sharing the thought of embracing wholeness rather than perfection – it’s perfect!

      I hear you about getting sucked into the news, especially right now. It’s like a train wreck that’s so hard to look away from – everything is so unbelievable! I’m finding that it’s been helpful to have GREAT books to turn to instead of the news!


  4. I am SO GLAD that your paper issue has been resolved – your little boy looks so happy in the picture! What a sweetheart.

    Instagram… I LOVE it. I am not on Facebook and have to minimize the cesspool that is Twitter but Instagram I love. Mostly because of the body positive/anti-diet accounts I follow – they’ve given me a whole new appreciation for my body and food and movement and how many beautiful different types of people there are in the world. For me it is important to give myself that feed of positivity to counteract the harmful messages that the dominant diet culture has given us all since we were born. And I also follow a few favorite celebrities and it’s fun to see what they’re up to! 🙂 I heavily cultivate my feed so only people who make me feel good get my screen time. It IS a total time-suck for me, I won’t lie. But I’m doing okay, I think. Good luck with your limits!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I love Instagram too!! I’m glad that you’ve found a comfortable balance for yourself. Finding balance in things is hard for me… so I’m looking forward to a bit of a cleanse, so to say.

      Thanks for the kind words about my bug. While still really difficult a lot of the time, things have gotten a bit more easier in some ways and I am thankful for that!

      Liked by 1 person

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