I’ve always loved the beginning of a new year. It’s a time when everything is still decorated with all the colorful lights and poinsettias left over from the holidays, yet the stress of gifting and traveling and feasting is basically over. On New Year’s Eve, you are expected to get a little tipsy and stay up late to watch celebrities on TV. It’s a time to reflect on all the wonderful, and unfortunately sometimes tragic, events of the past year. And there are fireworks!
Most importantly though, the New Year represents optimism and hope. This is when we create our New Year’s Resolutions. When we decide how we are going to make our lives, our world, BETTER. Starting now. As parents, we are responsible for not only planning how to make our own lives better each year, but how to improve the lives of our children as well. With that in mind, in 2018, I resolve to:
Spend less time in front of screens, and more time together. A friend of mine said she wants her child to have memories of HER, not of a phone in her hand. I’ll be the first to admit that I use my phone to bribe my kid during potty-training. And, the cure for a rainy day often becomes binge-watching Disney movies or old Sesame Street episodes. It’s probably a sort of irony that I’m typing this on my laptop, with my phone on the arm of the couch next to me, while watching TV. But this year, I resolve to be more present. I resolve to play more games and complete craft projects and go for walks with my family before we turn on a DVD or pull out the iPad.
Improve my Spanish/continue helping my daughter improve her Spanish. T has grandparents whose primary language is Spanish. Her dad and his family are all bilingual, but I most certainly am not! I resolve to keep working on my own bilingualism in an effort to ensure hers. We will keep reading books and watch movies in both languages. I will also practice speaking Spanish more around the house and in the community.
What’s a good word for the opposite of lazy? Anyway, being that. How many times have you looked at the Duplo block peaking out from under the TV stand and thought, “I’ll get it eventually?” I read once if a task takes less than 2 minutes to complete, just do it! Putting things off is easy, especially with a toddler running around, but it also means that the list of things to be completed after her bedtime just gets longer. I resolve to follow this small piece of advice myself, and maybe T will pick up the habit as well.
Prioritize my relationships. Years before becoming T’s parents, A and I were a couple. I think sometimes it’s easy to forget that. This year, I resolve to remind us both why we started this family in the first place. Rather than just say we need to get a sitter so we can go on a date, I resolve to follow through with it. It’s so important to me that T see her parents as a loving couple rather than just as people who live together and take care of her.
And above all, be happy. Lately, I’ve found my negativity increasing. I could make excuses, but in truth, I believe that I can either choose to let the situations define my moods or I can accept life for what it is. Let go of the things I can’t control. I resolve to take deep breaths or cry when I need to. Then return to recognizing how wonderful my life truly is. Despite the hardships my family has faced this year (a layoff, two long-distance moves in less than 6 months, the passing of our family dog), I have a lot to be grateful for. My daughter is healthy, we have been able to save a little money, and our most recent move has brought us back to a wonderful community of supportive friends.
I’m not unrealistic. I know that there will be days that we sit in front of the TV. I know the messes will build sometimes. And I know that there are going to be days that I feel like blaming the world for everything that goes wrong. But I resolve to make the most of this year and to do my best to stick to the resolutions I have set forth for myself and my family.
What are your New Year’s Resolutions?