Call me silly, but I’m a sucker for New Year’s resolutions. I know most people think they’re doomed to fail, but I like looking back on a year, re-evaluating life and thinking about how I could do things differently. Towards the end of 2014, I had a parenting epiphany. Henry had started parroting me, word for word pearls of wisdom he’d overhead, mostly used so he could feel intellectually superior to his little sister. Hearing myself repeated by a three-year-old startled me into the massive realisation that I was SHAPING HUMANS. Two of them. Two little people who looked to me for guidance, thought I actually knew stuff and would repeat it. What a scary situation. Time to take some deep breaths, pour a stiff G&T and rethink a few things. I’m not going to radically alter my parenting philosophy. I don’t even think I need to make sweeping changes. I just think that the way I parent is far from perfect and I could do with making a few promises to my little darlings this year. Mainly I am going to keep repeating my new mantra: Be the parent you want them to remember. So here are the three big changes I want to make:
- Be more present. I have seen parents all over social media promising this one and I totally get how hard it is in this “day and age”. There are more distractions than ever before. We have phones which do EVERYTHING. We have Facebook to keep us in constant contact with the world. We take on more roles and try to achieve more and we multi-task like maniacs and then get to the end of the day and wish we’d sat down at some stage. This year I want to slow down to the kids’ pace, enjoy having them around so much. I want to get off Facebook, embrace living in a messy house, read them 100 books if they keep bringing them to me. I’ve spent three years trying to make the kids fit into my ideal version of a stay-at-home mum’s life, without really thinking that they are the sole reason I’m at home – they are my job!
- Overcome the frustration. Being a parent is frustrating. Little people spend at least half their lives not doing what we want them to do. They don’t react to a situation in a socially-acceptable way. They don’t want to be tidy. They like being really loud. They fight with each other. This year I want to embrace all the crazy and stop getting so frustrated. I don’t want to yell. I don’t want to march them off to time-out whenever they misbehave. I want to remember that these years will fly by and one day I’ll miss tripping over toys in the kitchen, stepping on insanely-sharp Duplo pieces and having to clean sticky fingermarks off the dining table. I have a plan to stop and think whenever I feel the frustration boil up. I will tell myself that they are young, they think differently to me, they need everything explained very clearly to them. They require patience, that’s all.
- Feed them better. Sometime in 2014 I turned into a lazy sod when it comes to feeding my kids. I got so sick of hearing them constantly asking for food, that I started buying more and more packaged snacks so I could throw a little bag of something at them to keep them quiet for five minutes. Giving the kids good nutritious food was always such a big deal to me, yet I let the tired take over and gave in to quick fixes. So this year I’m going to make a plan each week to prepare low-sugar, healthy snacks from scratch. I’m going to make sure to fill them up on whole foods at breakfast, lunch and dinner and be damn sure they’re getting their 5+ a day!
Those are the three changes most important to me as we look forward to a fresh year. Have you made parenting resolutions for 2015? Do share!