During this holiday season, I wish the very best to you and yours. May you be happy, warm, guilt-free, and surrounded by those you love and can tolerate.

As the New Year quickly approaches and we face the challenge of attempting resolutions. Old standards like getting in shape, being more positive, being nicer, and not eating so much sugar are great steps toward self-improvement, but what about you? The inner you. The woman inside that Mom Shell that is dynamic and nuanced and deep and funny and unique? The one desperate to break through and be herself again? Here are some resolutions that will help you find her.

She is nice, right? Screw nice. You don’t have to always be nicer to others. Some people are dicks. And you don’t have to take that. Resolve to be assertive as needed, and courteous when you should.

She feels overwhelmed by the weight of motherhood, yes? She wants to relax, feel carefree but is burdened by responsibility. How can you let go of that weight of “being everything to everyone”?  Resolve to laugh. Even if it feels awkward in the moment. It releases tension and relieves stress. Laugh with your kids, laugh at traffic, laugh at your mistakes. Just laugh. I promise it will lighten your load.

The Mom Shell captive feels misunderstood, doesn’t she? Does she feel alone, even in her marriage? No doubt your spouse is feeling captive, too. If you’re married, resolve to date your spouse. I know, we hear that all the time. And, I realize dates are expensive. If your marriage matters to you, prioritize it- even if that means bribing the neighbor to spend a couple evening hours at your house while the kids sleep so you and spousey-poo can get a quick bite to eat together. Or play cards in the park. Or attend an art show. Or have sex in the back of the minivan behind the grocery store. You were people before you were parents. Find each other again and hold on.

Does that trapped woman feel mentally and physically neglected? Has the mother role consumed her, making her lose sight of who she once was? What did she enjoy doing? Maybe she was a dancer. A quilter. A woodworker. A soccer player. A sketch artist. Did she restore old vehicles or furniture? Did she rock climb? Was she a drummer or cellist or singer? Did she bake or ride horses? Did she write screenplays or novels? Women fight the lifelong battle of maintaining our identities, ourselves, amidst the all-consuming role of motherhood. If we give up every part of what makes us who we are—our wants, our dreams, our talents—then who are we? Motherhood does require sacrifice, but it doesn’t require a loss of self.

These skills and talents are a part of you; they round you out as a human person and should not be neglected. Prioritize Talent Time. Or Self-Improvement Time. Or I Am Still Me Time. Whatever you want to call it, enable your greatness by doing what you love.

In summary, 2017 is coming to a close, and we all want 2018 to be better. Self-improvement requires breaking through that Mom Shell. “Mom” is not your name. Motherhood does not define you. You are a fantastic person who is more than dirty diapers, carpools, and chicken nuggets for dinner.

So, say your name. Say it again. SAY IT AGAIN. Break free and make 2018 the year of you.