It’s officially that time of year again… You know, the few days when yoga pants might actually be used for yoga and your family is subjected to trying new – gasp, green! – things at dinner time. But instead of vowing once again to start working out or going on some crazy cleanse, here are five resolutions every mother really should be making. And sticking to.
1. Look for the moments. There are days that are going to suck: The kids overslept, the dog got sick, the homework from the night before never got done, they left their lunches lined up on the kitchen counter… But even on those most annoying days, there are highlights: The few extra minutes you got to spend with the kids over breakfast, the way they looked walking down the hall together or the look on your son’s face when he spotted you back at school dropping off that forgotten lunch. As long as we get a few of those moments in a day? Consider it a win. Because there are very few perfect days as a parent.
2. Master the art of saying no. This was my resolution last year and I’m happy to report that I succeeded in keeping one for the first time in my life. The first few weeks were the hardest, but I’m now a total pro. Sometimes, I can even say no without apologizing for it! Repeat after me: No, I can’t volunteer then. No, I can’t drive so and so across town. No, I won’t be able to bake those last minute brownies. No, no, no. (I’m sorry.) But, no. You can do it!
3. Nix the fat talk. In front of our children and to ourselves. Don’t diet, eat healthy for life. Don’t make a fuss about going to the gym, move more with the kids. Remember that their future relationships with their bodies stem from us. (Note to self: Practice what you preach.)
4. Spend one on one time with each child. With three kids, it’s not always easy, but every time I spend alone time with just one of them, I’m grateful for the time spent. It’s amazing how much less annoying a child can be without competing with his or her siblings for attention. Take the time where you can get it — sick days, a trip to the grocery store, etc. The outing doesn’t have to be significant to make it special.
5. Stop competing with other mothers. Their made from scratch baked goods don’t make your store bought brownies any less delicious, and they certainly don’t make you a worse mother. Use those perfect to your advantage – they make trustworthy carpoolers, great dinner hosts and ideal chaperones. Plus, once you get to know them, they really aren’t perfect, anyway.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Is a little dirt on the rug really worth losing your shit over? No. Does it really matter if your son wears the same three t-shirts day after day after day? No. Are you ever going to see the bottom of the laundry basket? No. Save the worry for things that really matter.
7. Stay in the picture. We got in the picture last year, thanks to Allison Slater Tate. This year, let’s stay in it.
8. Do something with those pictures. I was at a blogging conference once and someone asked what the best camera was for taking shots of kids. The photographer (whose name I can’t remember, dammit,) responded with: “Whatever camera you have on you.” Perfect answer! Digital photography allows us to capture so many more quality shots than ever before, the only problem is many of them never end up getting printed. What’s the point of that?
9. Laugh more. At the kids, at our spouses, and at ourselves. Laughing is far better than crying, after all, and the lines are worth it.
10. Step up the skin care routine. See above.