The new year is just around the corner and, for moms, it's an opportunity to reflect on not only ourselves, burt the way we parent. I don't know about you, but I usually make well-intentioned promises to take better care of my body, read more, and travel on a more consistent basis. However, I think there are New Year's resolutions every mom should make, too; resolutions that I intend to take pretty seriously as the New Year approaches.
Becoming a mother doesn't mean my self care or my independence or my own personal needs go out the window. I still want (and do) make resolutions that truly only benefit me. However, I always find myself thinking about the numerous ways I can better equip my children for the world around them, especially as the year comes to a close. I'll reflect back on the year we spent together — the mistakes I have made and the successes I have accomplished — and ponder how I can continue to teach them and encourage them.
Last year, I was much too exhausted feeding, changing, and playing with my 10-month-old son to really think up of any resolutions. I think my only one was perhaps to (hopefully) get some more sleep. However, now that I have a toddler on my hands, I'm feeling a bit more reflective on all the ways I can be a better mom, as well as a better person in general. So, with that in mind, here are a few promises for the New Year I think every mother should consider:
Play Creatively More Often
At a time when so many toys require batteries or screens, it’s nice to take yourself and your kids aside and disconnect from the overwhelm of technology. I recently read a piece about how all the toys we’re buying for our kids are all wrong, and how we need to only buy simpler toys which require more creative thought. The piece was a little hard on technological toys, which I do feel are beneficial in moderation, but regardless; our kids could always benefit from us moms getting down on the mat to build towers and forts and play tea time and such, rather than letting them zone out on the iPad.
Don’t Compare Your Child To Others
This is such an easy thing to do accidentally, and also ends up being a high cause of stress. When we look at our kids and start comparing their eating and sleeping habits, the way they play, what skills they’ve acquired, what milestones they've surpassed; it’s not hard to start wondering why your own child isn’t at a certain level yet. However, us moms need to remember that every kid is different, and we all learn and grow at different speeds.
Continue To Teach Your Child Patience
This is one I am slowly beginning to learn. In fact, I plan (at least attempting) to teach my son some yoga poses and breathing techniques. He’s just a toddler so I know he won’t be staying in child’s pose for long, but it’s well-documented that yoga has many benefits for children. Of course, you can come up with your own techniques to help your child cope when they just can't get what they want, exactly when they want to get it.
Go Outside More
This one is important for all of us. I used to take daily walks with my son and they were the thing I looked most forward to all day. It was "just us" time and we’d feel the breeze and chat about what we saw (and occasionally listen to podcasts).
Read To (Or With) Your Child Daily
Reading to your child has so, so many benefits when they’re young, and those benefits don't stop once they reach a certain age. Try and set up a daily (or nightly) reading routine. I usually read a couple books to my son before bed, and a few more throughout the day. If your child is of reading age, you could also have an hour of silent reading in the afternoons, and maybe even discuss what you read afterwards.
Make Time To Go Out On Dates
Whether you’re a single mom or married or dating, you need to make some time to get your kicks, too. I’m aiming for at least one date night a month with my husband, for the sake of our sanity. Challenge yourself to something similar.
Have More Impromptu Dance Parties
I used to have these all the time with my son when he was still an infant, but for some reason they’ve become less and less frequent. Life is better with impromptu dance parties, no matter how old (or young) you are. It’s time to get our dancing shoes on!
Ask For More Help When It’s Needed
Too many moms fall into the trap of taking on entirely way too much because they refuse to ask for help (or say "no"). As a result, said mom feels stressed and a boatload of resentment when no one jumps in to help her out. However, if us moms don’t speak up, we can’t expect others to read our minds. Get the help and support you need from your partner, your friends, your family, and the community. Motherhood is tough as hell and you don’t have to do it all on your own.
Kids shouldn’t have to compete for our attention, but sadly many of our realities make it so that we have to be hyperconnected to work. Try to set aside some time away from work and other responsibilities— time during which you aren’t in front of the computer or cell phone or iPad or TV screen — and put all your attention and focus on your kid. They’ll totally thank you for it and you’ll feel better to disconnect for a while, too.
Take Better Care Of Yourself, Because Mom Should Always Come First
This is probably the hardest resolution to make and then stick to (at least, it is for me). Some of us just get so swamped by all our daily tasks (buy groceries, take kids to school, pick up dry cleaning or do laundry, drive so-and-so to a doctor’s appointment, work a late shift, etc.) that we just end up putting off self care until we forget about ourselves entirely. However, he best way we can fulfill those roles, while also being true to ourselves, is to put ourselves first. When mom is happy, everyone else is happy, too.
Good luck on your resolutions and have a wonderful New Year!