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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

mom's new year's resolutions

It's that time of year again... time to make resolutions, promises, vows of things you intend to do this new year of 2014. Things you intend to stop doing, perhaps. Things that aren't working will get fixed. 

I LOVE the start of the new year. I just do. I've always set goals and done whatever I could to compete within myself to complete these goals. January 1st is no exception.

But I hate the pressure people seem to feel at New Year's. I hate seeing the zillions of people all of a sudden arrive at the gym and announce their "no sugar, no nothing" diets January 1st. It's unrealistic and unattainable. It's silly in my mind. Yes, by all means, take advantage of this feeling everyone has at New Year's, the new beginnings one, the starting over one, that is AWESOME. I LOVE that feeling.

And of course there is a but...

Don't focus just on that. Don't make your goals too large. Don't make them something you cannot possibly keep up with. "No sugar ever, this entire year, not once." Um, OK... good luck with that, especially with kids around. Or "I'll run 3 miles daily, 7 days a week." REALLY?! Well, when you figure out the time to do that, please, please tell me your secret. I'm not trying to mock your goals... just helping you make them something that will last longer into the year than January 5th.

Pick something you know you can achieve with a little effort. Tell people your goal. It will mean you get more support and help, and a positive peer pressure to accomplish it. And accept your limitations. You CAN get there this year! Just have patience, determination and a plan that will set you up for success.

Here are a few of my mommy-related goals I hope to work on this year.

*Be more relaxed. Settle down. Sit around. Lounge. Stay in pajamas longer. Ignore the to do list. Just be. My husband hates when I'm on my lap top sitting next to him on the couch watching one of our shows together. For me, that's relaxing. To him, it's annoying. So, I hope to have a happy medium this year, try to do some of that before getting on the couch with him, have a balance. More relaxation. More bubble baths perhaps?!

*Putting my kids first above all else... which leads to saying no. My husband and I made a conscious decision to do just this, say no, do what works for our family of four instead of pleasing others and going with the flow of what works for others. We've been going strong at least six months doing this and it's working. It's probably annoying some and raising questions for others, but it works for us. We know that if our kids don't nap they don't behave well and we end up miserable, so we're either skipping parties during nap time or arriving late or leaving early. We aren't feeling obligated to stay if it doesn't work for us. We are assessing situations before we just say yes. For example, Friday nights are a no-go for us typically. Our son doesn't nap at preschool those days because they go on field trips, and we are exhausted from the work week... so we typically say no way to anyone asking us to make plans on Friday nights. It never ends well if we say yes. So now we're acknowledging that and just saying no, heading home, eating breakfast for dinner and snuggling on the couch before bed at 6! This is a hard one, but I swear, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

*Slowing down before disciplining. I found my son had washed the kitchen and living room floors... mop water, too much of it, was everywhere! A mess... that he made into a mess. Instead of screeching, "Yikes, Owen! What happened here?! You know not to mop without mom's help! Look at this mess!" which would have totally killed my sensitive, loving little helper man... I took a breath and checked his face before speaking. He was all smiles, so proud of what he'd done. I calmly asked him, "What are you up to, bud?" and he smiled saying, "Oh, Mom, I am working for you. You said the floor was messy and we needed to clean it up, so I picked up all my toys and put them on the couch so I could mop for you. Just stay there, I'm going to dry it now, can you help me get a towel?" All smiles. Pride. Joy. I would have squashed that in two seconds had I reacted instantly. Instead, I said, "Thanks, buddy, you're such a good helper to me. Let's get those towels to dry this up. Then you remember you don't mop without mom's help again, ok?" He said he was surprising me. Again, sweetness. Not maliciousness, not trying to misbehave or make me mad. It's super hard to slow down like this and have patience enough to understand why our kids do what they do... but it's SO important to take the time to do that. I intend to do more asking and wondering instead of jumping to conclusions.

*Being OK with our chaos. Recently with a busy toddler asserting the word NO all the time and a "mind of my own, do it myself" busy preschooler, I've struggled with what others might think of our chaotic family. I've cared for a brief second when around some people. And that's NOT like me. So this year, I intend to be OK with however my family of four is, good, bad, ugly, or otherwise. I intend to just smile and let it roll off my shoulders when they aren't acting the way I wish they would in church or at preschool or some function.

*Being grateful for what we have instead of what we don't. We never have enough money. It's a source of constant arguments in my home, because there is always more we need to spend money on it seems. It's very frustrating. So this year, I hope to limit the frustration, and just say no, no we can't go to dinner, no we can't do that, and we're OK with that. We want to stay in and enjoy our family and our home, because in this home we have everything we need.

*More church. I love belonging to a community and feeling like I'm teaching my kids that golden rule of "teach others the way you want to be treated." I find those things from church. I was raised going to church and I've stuck with it all through college on my own and now, sporadically, but at least attempting every month or so to attend. Before the holidays, we'd not been in a while because our daughter was still taking morning naps. Now, we're able to attend more, and I'm excited about that. My goal for this is to keep it realistic, every other week for example instead of mandatory Sunday mornings. We have to keep in mind the two young children who CANNOT sit still quietly in public these days and the random sicknesses and husband working on weekends. We'll try though! Trying is good.

*Keep organized. It's my solution for life. It makes me a better mom if things have a place, are neatly put away, and we only have things in the house that we actually want to keep instead of stuff piling up that we never use. I'm always good at this one, not sure why it's made my resolutions list, because honestly I keep up with organization like it's my medicine or something! But, I want to focus on various places in the house this year that we have neglected... our attic that we just throw things into since we moved here 4 years ago and haven't opened since, for example. Or the cupboard with the bakeware... what the heck is in there?! Like I bake, so I have no idea! Let's get on that.

*Do something with the videos! Oh my word... I feel awful for not having done anything with the zillions of videos I've taken of my kids in the last almost 4 years. Yikes. That's a lot of videos. So this year I hope to do something with them. No idea what something is or where the hell I'll find time to do it... but I need to figure it out. It's ridiculous that I take these moments and capture them, yet do nothing with them, nobody sees them except a few on Facebook, they aren't compiled or put away nicely on a disk for my kids to see later down the road. I need to change that. I have no idea how to start... but I'll figure it out.

*Keep up with the reading. I love to read, LOVE to read. I get so jealous when my sister tells me about a book she's just read. I used to read tons. Then I had kids. And now all I read is Facebook, mom blogs, parenting books, stuff for work, and Parents magazine. I want to read for me. I read a book at Thanksgiving and now I'm halfway through one over this Christmas week - nothing to do with babies or otherwise. It's been nice to read for me again. So my goal is going to be on every school vacation when I'm off from work, I'll order a book from the library to read just for me. Even if I don't finish it, I'll at least enjoy starting one. I also intend to keep up with magazines this year. I have a stack of Oprah magazines next to my bed from probably last January... yikes.

*Take adventures. I want to go kayaking and visit a new beach next summer. I want to take the kids to Sesame Street Place or perhaps just Storyland! I want to plan a camping night out some place near our house in the fall with our family. I want to do things, now that our littlest one is not super little anymore and we can get out more. This is where the memories are made.

*Focus on long-term health. I've always been good at exercising, keeping up some type of routine. Now I want to focus on keeping up with ME time, carving out that half hour I want to exercise on the treadmill. It's hard to do with this busy family, but it's mandatory. Cutting out salt (my dad had a heart attack last year so this has been a family goal of ours, decreasing salt in our food). More wheat pasta despite the family hating it. More homemade meals. More research on what foods will prevent cancer. Things like that for long-term. It's important. We're getting older!

Happy almost 2014!

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