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  • Why Becoming a Better Mom Will Not Be My New Year's Resolution

    Change takes more than a big countdown at midnight and waking up to a new calendar the next day.
    by Ding Dela Cruz .
Why Becoming a Better Mom Will Not Be My New Year's Resolution
  • “Happy New Year! Wishing you peace and happiness!” read a text from a friend on my phone.

    Before I became a mom, a text like this would not have evoked a reaction or warm feelings from me. It was one of those canned phrases — greeting card-approved, pre-written things to say to a friend or to post on social media on New Year’s or birthdays. 

    Now, a mom in my late 20s, it dawned on me why they put happiness in there. No one really told us (or maybe they did, and we just didn’t listen) that as we grow up, happiness becomes more of a daily goal than a default state of being. Past childhood and into adulthood, a subtle indifference or numbness becomes the new, everyday wear coupled with a wave of sudden sadness, panic or anger on bad days.

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    Yesterday, January 1 of 2019, I was scrolling through all the New Year’s posts on my feed. A new year has always been celebrated with fireworks, tons of food, lots of noise. On my social feed, it was a constant waterfall of party photos and a list of goals. But, amid all the merrymaking, a pencil sketch of two trees caught my eye. And seeing was like a breath of fresh air. 

    I stopped scrolling and looked at the trees, lingered on the posts. They were drawn to look a little farther away and at the center of a white background.

    We always strive for better things. It’s one of the reasons why we celebrate the New Year. It symbolizes a new beginning and is arguably the most hopeful time of the year. But with the trees, on this day of festivity, had come the realization I didn’t know I needed: it’s okay if we take things slow.

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    Change — eating healthier and exercising, reaching career milestones, becoming a more patient mom and wife — takes more than those New Year resolution lists will have us believe. It takes more than a big countdown at midnight and waking up to a new calendar the next day and expecting a new you. 

    Happiness and fulfillment don’t come in a day. This year we’ll make goals and cry every so often because it will get tough, but we’ll keep doing our best and trying again. We’ll keep track of all our successes, even the smallest ones. (“Today, I really listened whenever my son wanted to tell me something.”)  

    The trees, with its calmness and striking delicate simplicity, came with a short message that wished everyone joy and peace. I could already relate to joy; now I understand why they included peace.

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    The hectic pace of our lives, of living every single day, of going through the motions over and over again, is enough to drown us in chaos. It consumes us when our minds are left idle and hounds us when we’re in bed at night trying to fall asleep. Our worries and troubles stay with us no matter how old we grow, how much knowledge we gain, or how much we have in our bank accounts.

    So, we wish for peace, and we remind each another — family, friend, or stranger — on every occasion we can, that it’s there. The same is true for happiness, fulfillment, love, and meaning. They don’t come in a day, but they’re the goals we continue to shout for when the fireworks light up the sky at midnight.

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