By: Shannon Ralph
I am not big on New Year’s resolutions. Lose weight. Save money. Travel more. Work less. These types of resolutions are typically made, broken, re-made, re-broken, and ultimately forgotten well before January 31st. Though made in good faith, experience has shown me that resolutions are doomed to fail.
That said, however, January does feel like an appropriate time to create change. To set goals. To maybe become a little bit better people than we were in the previous year. And there is no realm in which my desire for improvement could possibly be better directed than in my parenting.
I’m not a bad mom, per se. I’m probably not the best mom on the planet, but my children have yet to assume the fetal position on my living room floor in a mass display of loss of will to live. Sure, they’ve been dropped off at school when school was closed. And on more than one occasion, I may have feigned illness to get out of sitting through another agonizing violin lesson. And maybe I might have almost drowned my daughter when she was a mere toddler by pretending to be asleep in the pool. Oh, yeah, and there was that time I slammed the sliding minivan door on my son’s head. All of that aside, however, I don’t think I’m a horrible parent. But there is definitely a little wiggle room for improvement.
Therefore, I present for your perusal my fifteen parenting goals for 2016. These are not resolutions. I am not resolving to make these changes as much as I am possibly kind of thinking about making these changes. Perhaps. Maybe considering it.
- I will dust the house at least once in 2016 so I feel like the $3.98 I spent on a bottle of Pledge in 1998 did not go to waste.
- I will refrain from completely losing my shit over those little plastic sleeves that juice pouch straws come in that I pick up off the floor of my house no fewer than 387 times a day.
- I will print or organize or compile or…do something…with the 500+ photos on my phone.
- I will spend less time on my handheld electronics so as to spend more time watching my kids as they spend time on their handheld electronics.
- I will learn to listen to my inner voice—because no one listens to my outer voice.
- I will pull out my old textbooks and brush up on my college calculus so as to better assist my 4th grader with his math homework.
- I will begin a new work-out regimen. A healthy mom is a happy mom (or so I am told). I think I might begin by marching from room to room turning out all the lights my children leave on every day.
- I will come up with more convincing terminology than “that’s nice” to show my fake enthusiasm for the 1,532 separate video game-related references my children make in an average day.
- I will introduce my kids to new foods—like Thai delivery and Indian take-out.
- I will no longer yell at my children through a closed bathroom door. Rather, I will storm out with my jeans around my ankles and yell at them face to face—as it should be.
- I will laugh more with (or at—either way works) my children.
- I will cultivate my stealthy ninja-like skills so I can remove dry markers and broken toys from the house without loud, outraged cries of treachery.
- I will no longer wonder why everything I touch in my house is sticky. I will simply chalk it up to one of the many joys people speak of when they say parenthood is the greatest job on earth.
- I will show more enthusiasm for my children’s innate talents—like beating video game bosses and mood-shifting in the blink of an eye and ingesting obscene amounts of sugar in a single day.
- I will put my kids to bed at the optimal time to provide the opportunity for them to achieve the level of REM sleep required for their growing bodies (and so this momma can watch television with curse words and eat all the hidden snacks).