Hindsight Parenting: New Year’s Resolutions for Parents
Leaving Stressors Outside the Front Door for the New Year!
January; the month of promises to change, to improve, to start anew. We usually are gung-ho, walkin’ that treadmill, drinking those smoothies, foregoing those nasty cigarettes for…well…awhile. But let’s be honest, Hindsight tells us that we rarely CHANGE…I mean REALLY CHANGE. Pretty soon that treadmill is collecting laundry that hasn’t quite dried, those smoothies are impossible to drink because the blender is broken and what starts as just one cigarette while out with friends goes right back to a pack a day habit (Yes, my dear friend whom I love to pieces…I am talking about YOU and those blasted cigarettes. I want you to live a long life…so sue me!)…
Since I have been in such a retrospective-what-can-I-learn-from-my-past attitude, I’ve been thinking. I know…that doesn’t surprise anyone. Can’t that girl EVER turn her brain off?? The answer to that question is of course, “NO!” And although sometimes that is a burden that I wish I didn’t carry, in this case I am glad that I was pondering the New Year.
All that ruminating and reminiscing made me realize that all my resolutions over my middle-aged life have been about ME—all about me. I know, I know—it is kind of what resolutions are for…to change, improve, and make YOURSELF anew. But this year, I was thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, if I made a resolution about the way I parent…a resolution that would be good for my children…that I may be more apt to stick to it, to do the work to really CHANGE what needs to be CHANGED in me when it comes to parenting. Having my children as motivation makes WANTING to change, to improve, to make anew seem a bit easier. After all, parents are wired to do right by their children.
But of course, being wired to do right doesn’t always translate into best practices. So this year, I challenge you dear readers; think about the relationship between you and your children? What needs to be tweaked, adjusted, or done away with all together? What do you need to add to those everyday interactions with your kids to become a better parent? I am certainly not suggesting that any of you are inadequate at this grueling job we inherit after procreating. But if we were honest with ourselves, TRULY honest, we’d all be able to think of something that we should be or shouldn’t be doing to improve upon our parenting.
So this year dear reader instead of vowing to lose weight (why bother, I am on a perpetual diet anyways), instead of vowing to head to the YMCA three days per week, (which would make my cardiologist SOOOO happy), instead of pledging to finish that novel that is patiently waiting for me in the recesses of my mind, I decided to concretely CHANGE something that if not ameliorated would adversely affect my sons and daughter.
My resolution? It has become quite clear to me that when outside stresses weigh me down. Hurt feelings at work, financial woes, the car not starting, unexpected bad news, having too many “have-to’s” and not enough “want-to’s” I tend to allow that stress to make me grumpy and snappy at home, even to the smallest and most innocent in the house. And so, it is my resolution to find ways to leave my stressors outside my front door. Whether that be to actually personify those things that take a toll on me and tell them that they are not welcome when I step over the threshold, then so be it. People and things that place stress upon me will NOT make it so that my own children would rather be anywhere than near to unpredictable me. Stress, whether it comes in the form of people, mail, phone calls, finances, or anything that is out of my control should not and will not get in the way of my relationships with my children—to this I am resolute. And because the resolution is made with my children in mind it is one that feels tangible.
So what about YOU dear readers? What could you change, improve, or make anew this year in honor or for the benefit of your children?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed. Logan’s previous column for Hilltown Families, Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales ran bi-monthly from June 2010-Feb. 2011, sharing stories of her first time around as a parent of two teenage boys. — Check out Hindsight Parenting: Raising Kids the Second Time Around every first and third Tuesday of the month.
[Photo credit: (ccl) SashaW]