Many of us share some of the same New Year’s resolutions, like trying to cut down on sugar, going to the gym more frequently, trying to maintain a better work/life balance, and so on. As parents, I think there are a few important New Year’s Resolutions that can benefit not only us, but directly impact our children in a positive way as well! Here are my personal top 10 resolutions:
Taking a REAL break from electronics: My goal is to not pick up my phone, check work emails or go on the computer for any reason for a solid hour when I get home from work and pick up the kids. This is going to be OUR time. Of course there will be the occasional emergency that will need immediate tending to, but for the most part this should be doable. And, furthermore, limiting this until the children are in bed. Most things should be able to wait until the next morning, and I need to constantly remind myself of this. My children need my full attention (and I need theirs)!
Monthly date night with the husband: This is something that we talk about often but don’t act upon. Sure, it can be expensive to hire a babysitter….and many nights I just want to be in my pajamas by 8pm, but the negatives to not spending QT time with your partner is far greater than any of these burdens. I need to work on maintaining our connection, and remember we were best friends for many years before becoming parents. And i don’t only mean dinner. I want to go to more concerts too, something we rarely do now. To be proactive, I’m going to set up a date night for first 2 months this week!
More 1-on-1 time with each child: I often find my time with multiple children being pulled from one to another, or breaking up squabbles. Or, more than anything I let them play together and watch from the sidelines. As a working mother who is in the office during weekdays, I miss that 1-on-1 connection. Recently, I took my 5 year old for a hot chocolate, and we sat outside at a fire pit - really connecting with each other. Making chocolate mustaches, talking about school and her friends...without her crazy 2 year old brother throwing a ball at us. It was such a beautiful day and I plan on doing this a lot more in the New Year!
Working on my patience: I’ve never been one to have a lot of the “p” word, it’s something I’ve always had to work on. Now as a mother, I see that more and more. I need to take a deep breath and keep a better perspective. I am not a perfect parent, and my kids are not perfect kids. And this is OK. I want to refrain from raising my voice as quickly as I sometimes do, and take a step back and realize that whatever it is probably isn’t such a big deal!
Take better care of myself: Often with work, children and the house it’s very easy to sideline any of your self-care needs. This is not OK. This means I’m going to make sure I have my weekend jogging sessions and make that hair appointment more frequently than once every 5-6 months. I’m going to treat myself to a manicure for no reason every once and awhile.
Do a massive purge at the beginning of each season, starting right at the end of the year here. Go through every toy and our basement which is packed with who knows what. Go through old children’s clothing - label them and donate them to a veterans group or refugee families. Plan on a tag sale for the Spring and include a little lemonade stand for our little girl. Donate money earned to a meaningful cause. Get her involved with the donations so she understands how important it is to help families in need.
Read a book!!!! Or several!!! I have zero time to read. The free time I have is maybe an hour after kids are down and I’ve straightened up/prepared for the next day to do anything to relax. This hour is usually spent in front of the TV, relaxing to a Walking Dead or Game of Thrones episode. I completely tune out. The only time I have read is when we’re on our annual summer vacation - and one book a year is NOT cutting it. What about changing a couple of these nights to getting to bed earlier and cozying up with my new Stephen King trilogy - which I’ve been staring at for months with anticipation?
Laugh more and stress less - be PRESENT. Being present was already mentioned but I think it deserves its own section. Stop being distracted. When 2 year old is dancing like a chicken and running around the house, I should do the same with him. When my daughter is drawing, sit down and draw WITH her. When one of them is upset, really listen to what is upsetting them instead of trying to make them stop crying and get over it so quickly. Really be there in that moment.
Stop making the same meals every week and get more creative. I need to put a little effort into finding new dinners that our entire family can enjoy together. I’m a big proponent of only one meal every night, no separate dinners for the kids. Which of course can be limiting! But, there are other options out there and I need to find them. Roasted chicken, pasta and quesadillas cannot be a weekly occurrence for the next 10 years!
Stop trying to do everything: I recently hired a house cleaner. I thought I could do it all, and I finally came to the conclusion that I cannot. Waking up at 4am to clean the bathrooms before children wake up is no longer making any sense to me. I want to take that lesson and take it further next year. I’m going to write a list of things that I need help with, share with my husband, and ask that he be in charge of those things. Perhaps it’s some of the laundry, or helping make snacks or lunch for our daughter in kindergarten. So many mothers take on everything. It always made me feel so accomplished to take on so much, now I realize how silly that is. If i want to be more present, more happy in general...I need to let go.