Parenting New Year’s resolutions to make… and keep
A new year means a list of resolutions for many people. Why not make a few parenting New Year’s resolutions?
Whether you call them resolutions, goals or simply plans, consider the following parenting New Year’s resolutions.
I'm not a perfect parent. In fact, I am anything but a perfect parent. However, like most moms, I do my best… most of the time. Occasionally, we all have our moments. However, the new year is a great time to think about a few New Year's parenting resolutions. I am working on a list for myself. Following are a few suggestions for all parents.
Find peace. Find calm. Find patience. Whatever you want to call a composed state of mind, next time your preschooler asks you for water for the tenth time — as you're in the middle of pouring it into a cup — and you think your head might explode, take a deep breath.
It can be difficult to maintain your patience all of the time and inevitably, we lose our patience occasionally. But remember that your preschooler is asking for water 10 times because he hasn't learned patience yet. And we know that "Do as I say, not as I do" does not apply to 3-year-olds.
Sometimes it takes every ounce of control I have not to say, "Oh my gosh, how many times can you ask the same question?!" (I'll admit to having asked that exact question once or twice.) With a 5-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter who acts twice her age, occasionally I have to dig deep. Well, this year, I'm going to dig a little deeper. Serenity now!
Use your indoor voice
Trust me when I say I have a list of improvements I'd like to make as a mom. For some reason, I'm not a yeller. It's nothing to my credit, but I don't raise my voice beyond the occasional "stern" level I have to use when things are serious. I can think of two times I really, truly yelled and both were awful for my kids and for me. However, I have encountered many moms who yell on a regular basis and most are not happy about it.
Yelling is not an effective parenting technique. There are several books that offer ways to break the habit and alternatives to yelling. I've even seen in-depth classes for parents who tend to raise their voices a little too much and a little too often. Whatever tools work for you, make this the year that you use volume control.
Something's gotta give
Much to our chagrin, there just isn't enough time in the day to accomplish every last task on our to-do list — at least not every single day. Show me the super mom who can do it all, all of the time, and I will either congratulate her or run away. I'm not sure how I would react because I have yet to meet this mystical woman.
Because it isn't possible to do it all, something's always gotta give. This year, make the "thing" that has to give exactly that — a thing. While some tasks simply cannot be ignored — bills have to be paid and at some point, laundry has to be done — others can. Our kids, however, shouldn't be ignored — at least not regularly.
I don't want to look back one day and think, "I really wish I would have played Candy Land with my kids instead of washing the floor or doing the dishes… every single time they asked." However, I can pretty much guarantee that I won't ever regret playing with them and ignoring the dishes. This year, when something has to give, let's try our best to make sure it isn't related to our children. Even if it's as simple as trading a chore for 10 minutes with your toddler, give it a try.
A new year means a metaphorical fresh start. Make a few parenting New Year's resolutions of your own!