As the New Year is drawing near, I find myself looking back on 2016 and thinking “Where did the time go??” Some big life changes such as taking care of a new baby, getting multiple denials to be foster/adoptive parents (for now), starting a new job, adding a wayward friend and his kiddo to our home along with the monotony of cooking meals, paying bills, and wiping butts made this year a (mostly) wonderful year. Now comes the task of not only reflecting on 2016, but looking forward to 2017 and those pesky New Year’s resolutions that are supposed to set us up for success, but let’s be honest, most often result in epic failure.
My resolutions, past and present, haven’t changed much:
- Lose Weight
- Reduce TV time
- Spend more time in the Bible
- Stop eating bread
- Drink more wine 😜
- Read over 50 books
- Stop cussing (but f’real tho)
- Take a shower daily
- Drink more water
- Drink my coffee WHILE it’s still hot (a girl can dream, can’t she?)
Most, if not all, of these resolutions are absolutely obtainable, BUT should they be my number one priority on how I work towards becoming a better mom? We moms have constant pressure on us from society and ourselves to be the perfect parent. Am I choosing the right preschool? Bottle feeding vs. Breastfeeding? To circ or not to circ? Sleep training? Discipline? Screen time? All of these questions have us comparing and questioning ourselves if we’re the ideal, I-can-do-it-all, never-a-hot-mess, supermom. I don’t know about you, but that sounds exhausting to me! So where is the balance? How can I maintain my sanity while also growing and stretching in my role as mom?
Here are my top 5 Balanced & Reasonable New Year’s Resolutions for Moms:
- Be Present. A.K.A. Put the ding-dang phone DOWN. Look, I get it, I know “multitasking” is synonymous with “mom” and sometimes that text needs to be answered immediately or that email needs to be sent, like, yesterday… but, if you’re like me, then you find yourself with your phone permanently glued to your hand constantly scrolling through your Facebook feed or perusing new crock-pot recipes on Pintrest. What kind of a message are we sending our kids when we can’t look up from the constant trill & invasiveness of life coming at us from our tiny screens? Mom’s: let’s put down the phones and let our tiny humans command our time and attention. Let us be fully present for our kids instead of making them compete against our electronics for attention.
- Play Play Play. Our kids crave time with us. It makes them feel special. Playing with our kids communicates to them that they’re loved and valued. It also opens the door for sharing problems and concerns when the need arises. It helps us get to know what our kids think about and how they process hard situations. Playing can teach real-life problem solving & social skills. Playing can be a stress reducer & disarm you and/or your kiddo. This year, let’s play with our kids more. Let’s get down on the floor and show an interest in what they are interested in. Let’s try to see life from their perspective. Let’s be silly, ask questions, and have fun. Let’s get lost in their world.
- Slow down. Life isn’t an emergency. Is it really the end of the world if they’re late to ballet? Is it worth all of the yelling and frustration when your kiddo tells you that they missed an assignment? James 1:19 tells us to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” I’m not saying don’t discipline or don’t teach your kids time management, I’m just saying: listen first. Try to hear the underlying need in your kid’s words or actions. Slow down and give yourself time to digest a tense situation and stop instantly reacting with annoyance or frustration to the things that are truly insignificant. Think to yourself, Am I going to care about this in 10 minutes? 10 days? 10 years? Inhale. Exhale. Pause. Then respond.
- Choose joy. I’ve found that my attitude is usually dictated by my perspective. I’m stressed during the holiday season because I’m trying to figure out what gifts to buy the insane number of people on my list instead of choosing to have joy because of how blessed I am to have soooo many people I love and get to do life with. I’m annoyed because my son’s brand new jeans are caked in mud instead of choosing to be joyful at the fun he had crawling around in the back yard. I’m frustrated at the incessant stream of questions being peppered at me from my toddler instead of choosing to have joy because I have such a thoughtful, inquisitive kid. We can choose to be grumpy and live our lives as if someone spit in our soup or we can choose to have joy and live our lives with an outlook of gratitude and thankfulness.
- Give yourself grace. All of these resolutions are great things to shoot for in the upcoming year but the fact is we are human and will not meet all of these expectations 100% of the time. We’re going to play on our phones too long. We’re going to get frustrated as we rush everyone out the door. We’re going to bark at our kids to go play in their room as we finish up something that may not require our full focus at the time. We’re going to yell too much. We’re going to argue over stupid stuff. We’re going to lose our cool more than once. We’re going to totally screw up at times and we need to still be okay & not devastated. Whether we achieved all of our Supermom goals for the day or acted straight up like Cruella de Ville, we need to have grace with ourselves. Every experience, every conversation, every response or reaction should not affect our confidence or identity as a parent. One of the greatest things we can show our kids is that we’re fallible- just like they are -and that every mistake you make doesn’t have to be your identity. The grace that God extends us is the same all-encompassing grace that should color our view of ourselves and this joyous role we have as parents.