One of the holidays that mean the most to me is New Year’s Day. I love the idea of somehow having a chance to start again. Technically, we can start over any time, but for some reason, it feels more “official” when it is done at the start of the year and you have 12 whole months to put your new plans and dreams into actions.
And so it is at this time of the year that I take some time to be still and reflect on the years that have passed. I think about past resolutions, and whether I was able to carry them out or not. I look back on my words and actions, and whether they were something to be proud of or something I should work on.
This year, I want to make a list of family resolutions with my husband and kids. I have this idea of all of us discussing what kind of family we believe we are and what we would like to accomplish in the coming year. From there, hopefully we can come up with a simple list of resolutions and concrete steps to make sure we are able to make them happen.
But aside from that, I have also decided to make a list of resolutions for myself as a mother. Many times, I pray and wish that I can become a better parent, but these things don’t happen by themselves. But maybe by laying out realistic steps, I can do just that.
My fair share
Exercise for health reasons.
Like many health-conscious parents, I can’t stress the importance of exercise enough with my children. I am constantly enrolling them in one sports class after another and encouraging them to go outside so they can run and play in the park.
However, one day, I am sure that my kids will notice that for all the physical activities I make them do, I don’t actually do my fair share! Before that day comes, I am going to get moving and sign up for the gym.
And while vanity is certainly still a part of my motivation to hit the gym, now I have another reason to stay fit: making sure that I will be healthy and strong enough to keep up with my three young children in the years to come.
Say “Yes!” more often.
As the resident “bad cop” in our home, I sometimes feel as though the only thing I ever say is “No, no, no!”.
Most kids wouldn’t know this but it is hard to keep saying “No”! I don’t enjoy seeing the disappointment on their faces. How I wish I could be the hero once in a while and say yes to ice cream before a meal or a new toy!
This new year, I’ve decided I will find a way to do just that. I still won’t say “Yes!” to unacceptable requests but this time, I will find a way to say “No” positively. Instead of saying “No” straight out, I will try saying “Yes, we can do that next time” Or instead of “Don’t do/say,” I will try approaching my kids with phrases that start with “Please try…”
Who knows? Maybe the reign of the bad cop will finally come to an end while still maintaining order and discipline!
Finish my children’s photo albums backlog.
I love capturing moments through photos of my children with my camera or phone. Unfortunately, that’s where they usually end up staying for years! Gone are the days when rolls of film were immediately developed by parents excited to see how their photos turned out.
But I’m old fashioned and just a little nervous about losing my phone, or my computer crashing! So, to back up my photos, I like having the actual hard copies and making physical albums of all the special pictures of the year. And therein lies the problem, as I attempt to channel whatever creative juices I have to producing artistic and creative DIY scrapbook-like albums—before failing miserably!
This year, I’ve decided that the solution to this problem is to simply do it. The albums don’t have to be works of art; they just have to be done.
Share their blessings
Committing to more socially relevant activities for the kids all year round.
Every year, during the holidays, we make it a point to bring the kids to places where they can share their blessings and go beyond their comfort zone. Recently, I’ve been thinking that the kids are old enough to have a more regular schedule of instead of just during the holidays. This is so that they can really imbibe the spirit of generosity and compassion and carry it with them into adulthood.
Isn’t it funny how when our kids were babies, we couldn’t wait to hear their first words? I used to hang on to every word I could get from them, trying to make sense of what they were saying and fawning over every cute mispronunciation.
Now that two of my kids have mastered the art of communicating (a little too well!), I realize that I am not listening enough! I always complain that they don’t listen to me and ask them to listen to what I am saying, but I don’t listen enough. And if I don’t lay down a good foundation for the lines of communication now, I might regret it when they clam up later on in their teenage years!
This year, I resolve to stop talking so much and spend more time listening to my kids because I know I will enjoy it as much as I did when they were babbling babies.
Find joy in everything.
On days when I feel I am not doing a particularly good job parenting, I notice it is when I am upset and it seems nothing is going right. However, there are also days when everything goes wrong and yet, I find myself laughing things off and happily making the best out of the situation.
I’d like to be that easy, light and happy parent more often. And while it won’t be always be easy, I will do my best to always find the joy in what I am doing. After all, what job could possibly be more joyful than taking care and raising my three favorite children in the world?
Get my kids in bed earlier.
I’ll be honest with you: I have no idea how I am going to tackle this one. It seems like every time I come up with one idea to make my kids sleep early, they come up two strategies to stay up later, or something always comes up.
But I will keep trying to find ways to get my kids, especially my eldest, into bed at more reasonable hours, and when I finally find a system that truly works, I’ll be sure to share it with all of you!
Remember my roles outside of mother.
Wife, daughter, friend, Catholic, me. There are people in my life whom I also have a responsibility to be there for. To be a complete mother, I think I have to be a complete person and fulfill the different roles expected of me. In this way, my children will see other sides to their mother and see me as a full person, and not a one-dimensional character.
There are many more things I would love to change or improve on but, for now, I will stick to this and see where the next year takes us.