This year, I challenge you to try something different. Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions, make some New Year’s NON-resolutions! Here are five ideas that release you from the stress and struggle of trying to become the perfect parent.
- I will NOT feel badly about missing a workout. Many of us make resolutions about getting into shape and of course exercise is important, but life with young children is hard enough to manage without the added guilt of not finding time or energy to hit the gym. Discover the great outdoors (or an indoor ice rink) on the weekends and turn a family outing into an opportunity to get the heart pumping.
- I will NOT worry about “family meal time” or stress about serving a frozen meal or ordering in once in a while. Children birth through age 8 do not always cooperate with family meal time. They may struggle to sit still for more than 10 or 15 minutes at the table. Instead of providing a golden opportunity for reflection, connection, and conversation, family meal times with young children can become rushed, draining, cranky experiences. Ditch the dream of a perfect, homemade dinner, adjust your expectations to your child’s developmental capabilities, and trade in the stress for an early bedtime.
- I will NOT worry about my child’s future and instead focus more on today. Just because your child pushed, bit, or hit another child today doesn’t mean they will become a bully later on. Life with young children can be exasperating, exhausting, and absolutely infuriating. But they are also cute. Find something to enjoy about today and parenting will become a much more pleasant experience.
- I will NOT wake up in February and realize I haven’t had a date night yet this year. Find a sitter willing to do an evening once a week, or a few hours every weekend so you can go out for a bike ride or a cup of coffee. Think of it as being a good role model for your children. After all, if you don’t make time for yourself and the couple relationship, who will?
- I will NOT remain isolated in my busy parenting life, but instead reach out and connect with other parents who are also finding it difficult to get to the gym or make a meal from scratch. Find your peeps. Parenting should not be done in isolation. Go to Parents Place for a workshop or a consultation. We understand that kids don’t come with instructions.
Happy New Year, from my family to yours!
Heidi Emberling, MA
Parent Educator, Child Development Specialist