A new year brings a fresh start, a clean slate, and the inevitable New Year’s resolution to be better or do better…at something. Maybe you want to be more active, to floss more often, to eat healthier, or quit smoking; whatever it is, you’re making a promise to yourself to achieve the goal, the ideal, the perfect version of yourself.
When it comes to parenting though, the idea of resolving to achieve “parenting perfection” is the most unrealistic concept I can imagine. No one has this gig figured out, and so for me to resolve to be more consistent, more patient, to allow less screen time, less treats, and less back talk when it comes to our kids just seems stupid to me.
I get up every single morning and promise myself I’ll do better, so why do I need a holiday? What’s more, rather than trying to achieve the ideal, why not make parenting resolutions that are realistic, that don’t demand more, and that don’t set you up for failure?
Woah, I know…mind blown.
Here’s what I mean. I look back at the mistakes I made in 2016 and there are a lot. Ugh, I think about all the times I just got so fed up with being a mom, all the times I yelled at my kids, the times I let my daughter watch TV all day, the times I let her crawl into our bed at night, the promises I went back on, and the times I wasn’t consistent with eating at the table, or no cartoons before breakfast, I could go on and on…
Do I wish I had done better? Hell yes, but the reality is that raising a child is the hardest thing a human being can do. Wouldn’t it be nice to take some of the New Year’s pressure off?
Can we not cut out the lofty, unattainable resolutions and trade them in for something a bit more practical?
Resolution #1: I will lose my patience with my kids occasionally. I will try not to beat myself up too much for it, have a hot bath and feel better.
Resolution #2: I will yell at my kids when I reach my breaking point…that’s why it’s called a breaking point. I will try not to click on blog posts that tell me all the reasons why I shouldn’t yell at them. Then, I’ll have a glass a couple of glasses of wine and feel better.
Resolution #3: I will go back on the occasional promise I make to my kids. I will endure the inevitable temper tantrum, pout fest and “I hate you, Mommy”‘s because I shouldn’t have promised anything in the first place. I will cut myself some slack, and Netflix and chill for the rest of the evening.
Resolution #4: I will not be consistent because no parent is. To delude myself any further on the subject is just ridiculous. I will give myself a pat on the back for the wins and a shrug of the shoulders (and an occasional ugly cry) for the losses.
I will be secure in the fact that human beings aren’t perfect, whether parent or child, and well, sometimes, we both screw up.
There, I feel better now, don’t you? The pressure to resolve to do better as a parent in 2017 is off. I’m a free, wonderful, fantastically mediocre mother who does her best, but occasionally screws it all up and loses her shit.
Now, if only I could do all that and knock off this baby weight once and for all…
…Nah, parenting’s hard enough.
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