I’m not going to lie: My parenting style lately has been pure survival. With work deadlines piling up, my husband going back to school and the sheer insanity of a 2-year-old boy who Must. Destroy. Everything, I have kind of checked out and shifted into bare-minimum mode.
Just get through the day. Keep everyone alive. Do only what has to be done.
So when I thought about making New Year’s resolutions this year, I knew better than to roll out some pie-in-the-sky commitments. In the past, I’ve resolved to up my parenting game by taking weekly educational outings or trying a new meal once a week or organizing one room of my house every day. (Oh man, yesterday Erin was so hilarious. Bless her heart.)
Not this year, my friends. Not this year.
For 2019, my goals will be simple because really, that’s what I need right now — simplicity. I need to get back to the basics of parenting to make sure my relationship with my children isn’t falling through the cracks during this hectic time in our lives.
When I first started this list, I titled it, “10 Resolutions to Better Parenting Next Year.” But I realized quickly that 10 was way too many. Like I always do, I was getting in over my head and setting my eyes on being the best parent.
But no one’s giving out any parenting awards at my house. What I really need is just a few, simple actions I can take every day to help me touch base with my children in a substantive way.
So, I recalibrated my vision and came up with my “Three Simple Resolutions to Re-connect With My Kids.”
1. Spend five minutes at bedtime talking to each child. This may not seem like a huge deal. What’s five minutes, anyway? Well, when it’s bedtime and I’m this close to kid-free bliss, it’s FOREVER. So I usually rush through the prayer, give a quick kiss and some sort of “don’t-get-out-of-bed” threat and then I’m done. When my children were little, I used to sit and talk about each child’s “highs and lows” from the day. I used to sing a song, rub their back and make sure the end of their day is filled with security and love. So I’m demanding five minutes from myself. That’s it. No more (because I’ll get burned out) and no less (because I’ll just slide back into the kiss/threat routine).
2. Have a snack after school. There’s something about having a plate of apples or cookies on the table when the kids walk in from school that entices everyone to just take a beat and exhale, together. We can sit, chew, and chat about what happened at school today before it all gets lost or forgotten in the after-school rush of activities.
3. Be consistent about chores/homework/to-do lists. I find that I get the most frazzled when I’ve let things go. Whether that’s letting the kids play when I know they have homework to do or not enforcing chore charts. The mess builds up, and so does the frustration. When the family does stick to a regular, scheduled system of chores and homework, everyone is happier when we sit down to dinner and we can actually relax and enjoy our time together.
As you can see, these resolutions are not mind-blowing or life-changing. I’m not committing to read 10 books on parenting each month or plan bonding family outings every weekend. That’s just not where we are in our life at this moment.
Right now, these are the resolutions I need. Three realistic, doable commitments that can help me cut through the chaos and connect with my children on a daily basis. So even though these resolutions are simple, if they can help me do that, I’ll consider 2019 off to a killer parenting start.
What small, daily acts make a big difference in your parenting?
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