I am not a huge fan of New Year resolutions. I’m not sure I’ve ever kept one for more than a month. In fact, I pretty much stopped making them years ago, choosing instead to select a word to guide me throughout the year. Of course, my New Year’s resolutions usually involved losing weight (usually by joining Weight Watchers on January 1) and exercise (usually by joining a gym I rarely visited after about January 15).
However, I have been pondering the idea that perhaps there are some resolutions that as a mom I need to make (and keep) in order to be a better mom.
I don’t know why it is so difficult for many moms to say yes more. It might be a measure of control, or a lack of willingness to allow messes, or fear of what will happen if we are too permissive. But I believe that all too often, moms say no for the sake of saying no. When I became a mom, I purposed to say “yes” unless I had a really good reason to say “no.” Today, fifteen years later, I can’t say I have always been a “yes mom,” (after all, I do get tired, busy, distracted, and selfish, just like every other mom in the world), but for the most part I’m still pretty good at nodding yes whenever possible. Whatever your reason for saying no too often, try putting it aside in the coming year, and watch your relationships with your kids flourish.
Connect with each child every day.
I know it’s easier said than done. Even with one child, it can be a challenge to make sure I dedicate a portion of my day to him. Something I started a few years ago was giving him permission to approach me at any time during the day to request 30 minutes of my time. He has the assurance that if at all possible, I will stop whatever I am doing and give him that time. When he was younger, we often just played a game or read a book. But as Ben grows older, I find that our time has evolved into chats about life’s little questions, although sometimes he’ll just have something he’s been working on that he wants to share with me. He doesn’t always need this time every day any more, but he knows I’m here and available to him at a moment’s notice. He knows I value spending time with him.
Eat dinner together every day, as often as possible.
This is probably the area where our family needs the most work. Families don’t seem to be sharing meals together as much, and ours is no exception. I remember as a child, it was expected that no matter what went on during the day, we were to be home for dinner. I have such great memories of those family dinners where the events of the day were discussed. I think we have to fight harder for this time today; there is so much competition for our time and attention. However, it is worth the effort to make dinner time sacred for your family, even if that means making different choices for outside activities. If you absolutely cannot make dinner work, then eat breakfast together. At the very least make sure you are eating meals together on weekends.
Date your husband.
Okay, so maybe family dinners aren’t the only area where we are neglectful. If there’s anyone that gets neglected in our house, it is Dad. Being a working, homeschooling mom is demanding, time-consuming, and exhausting. Especially, when Ben was younger, most nights I just wanted Dad to come home and take over. The thought of doing anything special for him was the last thing on my mind. But moms, we have to nurture and protect our time with our husbands. Consider once a week date nights. Even if tucking the kids in early and watching a movie together is all you can muster or afford, find a way to make it happen. I have some friends who do “couch time.” It’s not a night out, but it is purposeful time together, focusing attention on each other. Whatever method works for you, find one simple way you can connect with your husband regularly and give him that special time he deserves. It really does make us better moms to be better wives.
Take time for yourself.
It doesn’t have to be a weekend away, or even a whole day to yourself, but, moms, do take time to recharge. Get up earlier than the kids for some quiet time, keep a grateful journal, meet a friend for lunch on Saturday afternoon, lock yourself in your room to read for a couple of hours (or take a nap!), take a long bubble bath, or exchange babysitting one afternoon a week (or even a month!) with a friend. Do something that lets your family see that you are important, too. This isn’t about getting “away from the kids” or being selfish, this is simply your time of refreshment. We all need it. It is okay to indulge. Let me repeat — it is not selfish to take care of yourself.
There you go — I managed to give you five new year resolutions without even mentioning diet or exercise! Have you been thinking about changes you want to make in the new year? I’d love to hear more!
If you liked this post, you might enjoy 10 Days of Heart Parenting.