When my oldest son was born, I had no idea just how hard being an at-home mother would be. I had grand illusions of baking cookies, a super clean house, wearing a cute June Cleaver-esque apron, and teaching him trigonometry by the time he was eighteen months old. I was going to be Super Mom, and there was just no stopping me!
By the time my second son arrived in July 2010 — a mere 355 days later than his older brother — those delusions of grandeur had greatly dissipated. Heck, nowadays I would be thrilled if I could manage a shower without having to wait for their afternoon naps!
Having two kids is tough — especially when they are less than a year apart. For 2011, however, I have a few resolutions I am hoping will ease my job as housekeeper/zookeeper/cook/chauffer/keeper of the keys/mom.
Give Up The Guilt. Isn’t it funny how we moms always carry so much guilt? Guilt if we let the kids have cookies before dinner. Guilt if we do not. Guilt that we are not putting them into the right activities or classes. Guilt that we have put them into too many activities or classes. My number one resolution for the next year is to give up guilt! (And chocolate, but I’m thinking I really can only tackle one of the two, so I’m selecting guilt. Call me a realist.) To keep myself in check, I’ve created a large jar marked “Guilt Trip” to set on my desk. Each time I get the urge to feel guilt about something that is completely out of my control or has no real bearing on how my child will feel by the end of the year, I will stick in a dollar. At the end of the year, I should be actually able to fund a “guilt trip” somewhere nice… even if it is just down the road to Starbucks.
Don’t Miss Out On Fun. Another important parenting resolution I have for 2011 is to try to remember that even thought I am a parent, I’m still a woman. You see, there is this annoying little voice in my head that frequently shouts: “You can’t do that! You’re somebody’s mother!” This form of motherhood mental turrets usually comes into play about the time I am starting to take a risk — buying skinny jeans, enjoying an evening with my husband, jumping in my car and running away. (Just kidding on that last one, really!) By banishing that little voice and allowing myself to find the fun side of life, I am able to be a happier and more fulfilled parent to my kids.
Know When Enough Is Enough. Once I start something, I am notorious for going a wee bit too far. (Do not even get me started on the hair bow making kick I was on last year or the boxes of supplies that are now stored in my closet. Funny thing is, I have no girls.) This also includes playgroups and other activities for my children. My oldest has no idea that I am cramming “social interaction” down his throat. Instead, he just knows he goes to new places, sees other kids, and gets to play with their toys. This is the same no matter how many days a week I schedule play dates for him. By cutting back the activities a bit in 2011, I will be able to spend more at home time with my children while they are still little instead of missing out on that phase of their lives.
Read More Stories. Most mothers have been there: eight pm and all you want to do is get the kids bathed and in bed so you can relax. While we almost always include reading a story time to our boys before they go to sleep, sometimes I rush through them. My oldest son usually gives me a little pout when I tell him we’re done and turn off the light. In all actuality, what would one more story do other than take five minutes of time? So, in 2011, I resolve to read more stories.
Enjoy Each Moment, Even The Dirty Ones. I can seriously state that there are hours of my day spent changing diapers. With my oldest son, I feel like I neglected to enjoy even the small milestones and moments together because I was so anxious for the never ending work of being a parent to an infant to be over. With my youngest, I am learning in 2011 to savor the cuddles, enjoy the work, and be thankful to have two adorable babies.