Historically, my goals have been about me. What do I want to learn? How do I want to change? What do I want to accomplish?
Just like everything else in my life, however, my goals have to change now that I have a baby. She is insistent upon getting the attention she needs, and I have re-oriented my life around creating the right environment for her. My goals aren’t exactly directed towards her but certainly have to keep her in mind.
Do one thing at a time.
I am always multitasking. When I’m cooking, I’m listening to or watching something. Even when I’m doing one thing, I’m often planning out and optimizing my schedule about the next thing.
My constantly split attention is most noticeable with a baby. Other parents always say how quickly children grow up: They go through clothes so quickly. You never know when it will be the last time you rock them to sleep or read a certain book or whatnot. It all comes back to enjoying the moment and every aspect of parenting.
However, it’s really easy to pull back. When I’m rocking her to sleep, I want to pull out my phone to reddit to pass the time. When she’s screaming her head off, I want to put on a podcast to drown her out while trying to calm her down.
Right now, I know I don’t exactly enjoy diaper changes, but it’s all part of being parents. Instead of distracting myself, I should be there both physically and mentally. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to just spend time and all of my attention to being a parent.
Over the past few years, I have shifted away from goals and towards routines and habits. It’s easier to accomplish things that I don’t have to think about: it’s just automatic as part of my daily life.
And then we had a baby.
The first weeks with a newborn have been complete chaos because she dictates our schedule. Whether it’s eating a meal to getting out the door, everything takes much longer because there’s more to coordinate and surprises at every turn. I have thus abandoned every part of my carefully planned day.
But it can’t be like this forever. She will grow up and develop more of a regular sleeping, eating, and napping schedule. I will figure out how to use the brief downtime when she’s sleeping. And at some point, I need to assert the parts of my life that I want to continue without allowing her to completely dominate us on her whims.
I’m not sure what that daily routine will look like, but I suspect it will include far less than before.
Bake 52 batches of cookies
I got out of my last two cooking goals to eat vegan lunches (2020) and cook without a recipe (2019). However, I really liked how concrete my 2018 goal of cooking through Plenty was. It was really a prescriptive, deep dive to keep working through.
In a similar vein, I want to bake a lot of cookies. I was reluctantly because desserts (specifically, refined sugar) are pretty bad for us.
And then 2020 happened, and I realized that desserts are probably worth it.
Among desserts, cookies are both delicious easy to share. Julie and I made a few desserts for ourselves last year, but we actually didn’t bake too much because we couldn’t eat it quickly enough. And you can’t really give a friend a quarter of a pie and insist, “I made it just for you.”
However, I feel very comfortable delivering a plate of cookies: they’re hard to turn down, and no one will complain about not getting the entire batch. And so far, delivering cookies has been a great excuse to get out of the house, do a socially distanced sidewalk hello, and just reconnect while we’re still in lockdown.
So I’m baking a batch of cookies a week and hope to consistently blog about them. I’m currently working through Dorie’s Cookies, but I may branch out if I have to return it to the library. I have some ideas for other cookie projects worthy of blog posts as well.
2021 is here, and frankly, the beginning of the year has been pretty rough. We all knew the world wouldn’t turn around when the ball dropped, but we just needed some dividing line to put the election, pandemic, racial violence, wildfires, and everything else behind us.
But it was probably too much to hope that things would “go back to normal.” The world has changed, and we have to adapt with it. I feel extremely lucky to have had our baby as something to look forward to and focus on. I hope these goals are just another step in piecing that all together.