Leaning into Acceptance in 2022

by wherelearnu

A new year brings new challenges, celebrations, and opportunities for growth. Below, HOMER Co-Founder and President Stephanie Dua shares how she’s leaning into acceptance and finding more joy in 2022 — along with resources and printables to help your family do the same.

A fresh start requires nothing more than acceptance.

Oh, it’s been a year. A year of trying

  • trying to be the best parent, 
  • trying to control, 
  • trying to be the rock, 
  • trying to plan everything, 
  • trying not to worry, 
  • trying to fix everything. 

Trying is how I would describe this year. Thank goodness it’s over. 

Time for a blank slate to write the next page in my story. Every new year brings an expectation of reflection on what we’re going to change and achieve this year. The infamous New Year’s resolutions. So what do I resolve to change in 2022? 


You heard me right, nothing. I’m not resolving to change a single thing. I will stop trying to ‘improve’ who I am and find contentment in simply being myself. I’m starting the new year with acceptance – accepting my flaws, accepting that I can’t please everyone, accepting that there are things beyond my control and that, whatever I do, it’s enough

I believe this acceptance allows me to experience simple joys without stress: the sun on my face, the air in my breath, the smell of my child’s embrace, the aroma of coffee, the cool touch of my kitchen floor on my bare feet. I’m done wasting my moments thinking of things to plan, fix, control, worry, or feel guilty about. It’s enough. And I am embracing that I’m enough. This is my life, and I’m going to spend it living, not stressing or people-pleasing.

Do you find the idea of letting go of resolutions challenging? 

I do. It’s hard. We’re wired to strive to do more, make more, be more. I want to be ‘good’ and, believe it or not, as a full grown woman, I still feel the need to prove I’m good. I’m a ‘good’ mom, a ‘good’ leader, a ‘good’ friend – but how will I know if I’m not measuring how good? Objective measurements of our success (or failures) are hardwired into our education from the start and reinforced in every job where we are taught to be accountable. Without measurement, how do we have the motivation to change? Won’t I become complacent?

You can see this line of thinking is going nowhere ‘good.’ 

So let’s resolve not to resolve.

To accept ourselves just as we are. To avoid artificial notions of self-improvement in favor of actually improving our lives. After all, life is our experience of being human, not our capacity to be productive and accountable. Being a parent is not a job. I’m not measured by my performance but rather my capacity to love. This includes my capacity to love myself. 

How did I get here?

Looking back at the last 18 years of parenting, I realized that there is a big difference between what we’re told we should worry about and what we actually worry about.

When I look back, I don’t worry about whether I fed my daughter enough vegetables as a toddler; I worry that I spent too much time trying to get her to eat vegetables instead of filling that precious time cuddling and kissing her baby cheeks.

Motherhood is your personal experience. It’s a series of unique moments that leave marks on your heart, and I will whole-heartedly tell you that none of those marks have anything to do with whether your family ate a homemade meal each night or if your house was clean. When you look back, you will wonder if you spent too much time and energy trying to get things done instead of just letting your child get to know you, flaws and all.

As a mom, ‘more’ is always being thrown at us whether we are ready for it or not. We don’t need to add more to the list. By eliminating resolutions around how we look, what we eat, how often we exercise, or the way we parent, we’re protecting our energy to ensure there is enough for others. 

‘Enjoy the little things, one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things’

As moms, we’re told that the key to happiness is enjoying the little things and being present in the moment. This is true, but hard to achieve when we make the happiness of others our constant companion.  The truth is, though, our happiness as mothers is critical for everyone, especially our children. 

Studies have shown that a mom’s level of happiness has a direct effect on her children’s mental health and this happiness has a lasting impact throughout the parenting journey. It doesn’t mean being a mom should be all bubbles and giggles. Motherhood is difficult, and it gives us challenges that are unique to our situation. However, every step we can make towards finding joy in our journey has a positive impact. Because as moms, we’re a powerful force in our children’s journeys. 

So how do we leave this new page for 2022 blank? By remembering that parenting is about connection, not perfection. Here’s how to embrace that mantra:

  • Eliminate expectations. No more creating expectations of what the year will bring – it will be what it will be. Stop trying to figure it out. There are no prizes for getting it right and no changing it if you get it wrong. 
  • Say goodbye to guilt. Leave it in 2021 – it has no place in 2022. We can overthink every little detail and then beat ourselves up. Let’s stop treating ourselves like we’re stupid. We are smart, loving and powerful parents – full stop. 
  • More joy, less obligation. While we don’t have a lot of choice regarding the necessities of parenting, we do have plenty of choice when it comes to the things we feel obligated to do. If it brings you joy, great. If it doesn’t, drop it.
  • Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke: Good parenting habits don’t need to change. Keep what’s working. Ditch what doesn’t.

I’d like to leave you with a final thought. We grow through the experiences that shape our life and the journey they take us on- not our self-proclaimed improvement plans. Accepting and embracing who we are today does not equate to complacency. It means knowing that we will get things wrong, apologize when needed, and ultimately become better parents for it. Parenting will challenge you in ways you never expected; it will also delight you in ways you’ve never dreamed. That challenge and joy will give you more personal growth than you ever imagined. So relax, take a deep breath and look forward to the journey that awaits in 2022. 

And to help kick off that journey, here are some simple activities that just might create joyful shared moments at the start of this new year.  

  • Share the love with this Bite-size affirmations printable 
  • Build memories (and memory skills) with this Outdoor winter scavenger hunt
  • Carve out moments of shared stillness with Meditation for Kids
  • Create calm through coloring with these HOMER character cut-outs 

“Being one with life is being one with now. You then realize that you don’t live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer and you are the dance.” – Eckhart Tolle


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