I don’t much like the idea of making New Year’s Resolutions. Mostly because they require me to think about all the ways I’ve failed over the past year, and that gets depressing. But if I want to be a good mother, I must acknowledge that I am not currently perfect, and that there’s always room to learn and make changes.
And so, I have a list of resolutions.
Resolution #5: To get more sleep. None of them wake at night anymore. So why am I staying up way too late and then dragging through the day feeling tired and run down? It makes me cranky, it makes me impatient, and it’s my own darn fault. I resolve to make healthier choices so that I can be a better person.
Resolution #4: To turn the TV off, more often. I got into a bad habit of using the TV as a way to keep the children contained and relatively quiet. I saw the unpleasant results of that, and started to cut back. But we need to cut way, way back on the screen time. This is going to be hard now that we’re headed into winter, but we can do it. Just this afternoon my two younger sons rediscovered their wooden train set. Who needs TV when you can build a railroad from the living room to the dining room? I resolve to find a better solution to boredom than turning on the TV.
Resolution #3: To seek out and emphasize my children’s individual strengths and talents. As a group, they’re great fun, but each of my three children is unique and sometimes that gets lost in the shuffle. This is going to become more and more important as they progress every year along their path in life. I resolve to look at each of my children as individuals more often, and find out what makes them tick, and what tickles them.
Resolution #2: To quit being such a hypocrite. I am one. I sometimes irrationally expect more from my children than I expect from myself. Or I expect maturity out of them that I have not modeled and that they have not developed yet. I resolve to be more careful about my reactions to behaviors I don’t like, and to consider whether I may have taught this behavior by my own actions.
Resolution #1: To enjoy my children more. I really have no excuse. My boys are funny, personable, and delightful. It’s not hard to enjoy them. I just have to force myself to unplug myself from the computer and close my books and set down my housework so that I don’t miss those beautiful and hilarious moments. I resolve to set aside the temporary and relatively unimportant things more often, so that I can feel free to relax and revel in the wonderfulness of my children.
Reading what I’ve just written, that’s quite a list. Like most resolution lists I have made in my life, I will probably fail at 85% of it. But if I can make a few changes, or take small steps towards changes, I think we will all benefit a great deal.