’Tis the season for resolutions.
I know, fellow mommy. I have mixed feelings about them, too. And while there are a number of experts out there who are ready to list the reasons New Year’s resolutions don’t work, I’d like to chat today about how to make them work—and how to make some different ones this year.
How many of us had a little too much wine or a lot too much chocolate over the holidays and are resolving to get back to the gym and eat better in 2013? And how many of us will still be as passionate about that in April? While I hope to be among the few, I’ve ridden this merry-go-round a time or two, and I know a little pragmatism doesn’t hurt.
I also know that for me, giving myself permission to slip as long as I keep going is the key to achieving a long-term goal. So my first bit of advice is to find the trigger that makes you give up, and then find a way around it.
Once you’ve done that, consider this: how many of us really feel like we spend enough time listening to our little ones? Me, either.
So, fellow mommy: come in. Have a seat. Let me grab you a glass of wine (it’s still 2012, after all), and let’s talk about how to use the new year to make your relationships healthier along with your body.
Thought provoking? On Facebook?
This hit home for me last night when, scrolling through Facebook, I hit on an image shared by a friend. It was a saying, and the words gave me pause as I thought about my monkeys. The gist was this: pay attention to the little things your babies talk to you about so earnestly, because if you brush them off now, they won’t come to you with the big stuff you really want to hear about when they’re older. Why? Because to them, it’s all always been big stuff.
I’m not at all saying that I ignore my children 24/7, fellow mommy, and I know you don’t, either. Far from it, I imagine. But it made me realize that at least some (or maybe more than some) of the time, even though I hear and process what they say, they probably don’t realize it because I don’t engage them as I would another adult. And I should knock that off. How often do we lament the fact that they grow so fast?
So, in 2013, I resolve to engage my children fully when they’re talking to me more than I do now. Which is the most practical sort of resolution for a Type A personality like mine, because I’m not pledging to be perfect, so I won’t give up the first time I don’t do it properly. I’m hoping this one is a win all-around: I’ll be happier with myself as a mommy, they’ll feel like they’re even more important, and we’ll have a better bond.
This thought led me to others, though. What are some ways in which I can engage them? I pondered that for a day and here’s what I’ve come up with:
My 2013 mommy resolutions
1. Game night: my monkeys love to play games, and we got a ton of new ones for Christmas. So what better way to engage my children than to turn off the electronics and sit down to play games? Here’s the “it’s OK to be imperfect” part: it doesn’t have to be all of us playing together, and it doesn’t have to be for a whole evening. But I’m going to play more with them than I did this year. I’m already on my way to that, having had my rear kicked at Spiderman Memory by my little boy more than a dozen times in the past two days.
2. Alone time: this is something we already make an effort to do in our house, but with three monkeys and two busy parents, it can be difficult to fit in. So I’m going to step it up this coming year. Whether it’s a full-on date night with my little man, or just a trip to the grocery store with one of the three, we’ll spend more one-on-one time talking and laughing with each of them in 2013.
3. Self-forgiveness: We’ve talked about this one before, fellow mommy, but this year I’m making it a priority to not be so hard on myself about every little mistake I make as a mommy. I think going through the editing process for my first novel this year helped me see that nothing is ever perfect, no matter how much time, effort, or love you put into it.
There will always, every single day, be some way I can lie in bed and think of in the wee hours that I could have been a better mom that day. I’d wager that’s true for most everyone. But are my monkeys happy, smart, well-adjusted, kind, and caring littles? I think so. Do they know I love them with every molecule of my being and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them? I sure hope so. Do they love me? Indeed they do. So is it OK for me to be imperfect, especially if I can use it to teach them that it’s OK to be imperfect? Yes. And I need to learn to forgive myself for it.
4. A memory jar: I saw this one on Facebook, too, and I thought it was a fabulous idea: get a mason jar, a notepad, and a pen. Write down a good thing that happened every day (or almost every day) and add the note to the jar. Next December, take them all out and look back on your fond memories of 2013. I have my jar and paper ready to go. Who’s with me?
Four things that seem small in the day-to-day, fellow mommy, but will make a big difference to my three little monkeys. Feel free to borrow this list, make your own, or listen to the experts and bypass resolving things altogether. Whatever your choice, I wish you and your monkeys a happy, healthy 2013.
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