Yesterday morning, Ryan an I had the opportunity to go out to breakfast together and have a "family meeting." You probably know that he and I are planners- to a fault sometimes- but it makes us both feel better to have discussions and put ideas to good old fashioned paper. A friend send me the idea of making a planning "web," so we tried that out. (On a side note, one of my favorite places to get coffee and breakfast in a unique space is shutting their doors, and we just happened to go in on their last day open. I was so sad to hear that but so happy we got to have one more breakfast date there!)
We had categories that included "travel," "home improvement," "self care," "education," and several more. From there we placed our ideas, upcoming events, to-do projects, and needs.
This year I've decided I'm really going to focus on figuring some things out about myself. Child birth always makes me reflective, and this time has been no exception. Also I turn 35 this year and I feel like with Beth just turning 10, I'm approaching a new time in my life. Parenting has definitely evolved as the kids have gotten older, but I'm also learning and understanding more now about my needs and how to survive the next 18+ years of having children at home!
Ryan and some friends are really into the personality testing, specifically the four temperaments and the Myers Briggs personality testing. I'm never the kind of person that likes to be fit into a box or category. Heck, even as a Catholic who believes and practices everything the church professes, I feel like I'm not what people expect me to be. But I'll admit there's been something relieving about reading about my "type" or "temperament" and just feeling at home with the general blanket statements, and it's helped me to understand more about how I interact with the world (and therefore how I can do a better job at it!). Not only that but it's helped me to understand Ryan better, and therefore to respect certain dispositions about him.
For example, I'm pretty melancholic. I'm introverted, and I am slow to react to external stimuli, because it takes me awhile to process information. This means I'm not so great in the heat of a moment, don't always take a gift or compliment well, and maybe seem like I'm "too good" to talk to someone when really I'm a little shy and fumble over my words as I'm trying to understand that person. I'm no good at small talk, I prefer to dive into deep conversations with those who I trust. These have been important realizations to me because I've considered myself sort of awkward when I meet new people sometimes, or why I can never think of the right words to say when given a gift. It was important for Ryan to understand this about me to because when he gave me a beautiful necklace for Mother's Day, I just sort of smiled and said thanks. I was absolutely stunned, but it took awhile to sink in! Knowing this is who I am- who God made me to be- is so freeing, because it took away the thought that I was somehow ungrateful.
I am also an ISFJ- "The Nurturer." I have a strong sense of responsibility, am the first to jump in to help, see the best in people and situations, and value aesthetic function of my home! Well, there's so much more than that, but reading about this personality type has helped me to understand my reaction to conflict, and why I have a deep need for peace and non-conflict. My whole world can get thrown off because of conflict, so when my beliefs or deep-seated feelings are not compatible with the beliefs of others, I tend to shy away. I think this is part of the reason I had to leave social media for awhile. But I'm not sure that's the "right" way to handle certain situations, so I'm trying to learn how to engage in meaningful discussion (not argument!) instead. As in all things, it's a learning process though, and it doesn't always go well.
Throughout the year, I hope to help identify some of these characteristics in my children, so that I can be a more effective teacher to them and help them pursue the talents that God has gifted to them. It's definitely been beneficial to talk to Ryan about these things, and I can only see how it would be a good thing to work on with the children, too.
I've spoken with several people recently about the current buzzword "authenticity." I've always liked that word, but I think now people are talking about it more because on social media, you can make yourself out to be whomever you want. And for some people, that's backfiring. Long ago I stopped reading blogs and following Instagram accounts that seemed too perfect. I know in my head that no one is perfect, but I am the kind of person that needs to see some of the mess, to know I'm not alone in my messy life. The perfectionism I was seeing online made me a little jealous, because it was something I desired but couldn't have! It wasn't a good thing for my heart or my soul! I've always tried to keep this blog real, but positive- a true reflection of who I strive to be.