New Year's Eve is one of my favorite nights of the year. It's my reward for making it through the holiday season; It's a celebration that starts with alcoholic beverages and glamorous dresses, and ends with fireworks and kisses; It's a night of unapologetic hope. I've spent my fair share of New Years' Eves standing in a crowded party with five-inch heels on, kissing a dear friend or a former lover and silently telling myself that this new year will be better than the last. Sometimes that was true, sometimes it wasn't, but regardless of how any year turned out, it didn't stop me from making promises I did, or did not, keep.
Now that I'm a mother, I spend my New Year's Eve a little differently.
There are no more glamorous dresses, although the alcoholic beverages are still around. My son is 1.5 years old so there are no fireworks, but instead of kissing one boy, I now kiss two (albeit one of those kisses is on the head of a snoozing toddler). I don't stand in the middle of crowded parties with heels on and count down the final seconds of the year; I'm usually in sweats on my couch, watching the ball drop in Times Square and counting down with my partner. But one thing hasn't changed, and that is my unapologetic hope. I still hope that the next year will be better than the previous and I still make promises and resolutions that I think will assist that wish into becoming a reality — even if those promises are completely unrealistic.
Two or three weeks into every new year, the majority of resolutions are ditched, out of convenience or exhaustion or just habit. Of course, that doesn't keep me from making them, as this year or any future year comes to an end. That's, arguably, one of the best parts about New Year's Eve: For a few seconds of an iconic countdown, I get to pretend that these promises are perfectly attainable. Here are the ones that I — and I have to believe, most moms — make every year, and believe for a beautiful moment, no matter how totally unrealistic they actually are.
Get More Sleep
I keep telling myself that I'll get more sleep. 2016 will be the Year of Rest, where I don't deviate from a set schedule and don't stay up binge-watching another How I Met Your Mother episode, hours after my son has fallen asleep. This will be the year that I don't fit a million things into 24 hours, telling myself that 5 hours of sleep (OK, now 4 hours of sleep) is completely reasonable.
Yeah, that'll happen.
Make More Time For Myself
This is a lofty goal, no doubt, but it is also one of the first promises to go. I want to be able to take myself to a movie or enjoy an hour or two of quiet reading time or just be alone, but my kid is needy (you know, like kids are). I can't just get in my car and go, so if things are hectic and I'm running behind on life, everything else ends up being more of a priority.
Work Out More
Hey, you know what will help me sleep better and will be an awesomely healthy use of my free time? Going to the gym! So many birds with one overpriced stone! So like clockwork, every year I buy a gym membership that's being promoted, and every year I go (at the most) three times before never stepping foot in that sweat house again. After work and taking care of a child and completing necessary house work, hopping on a treadmill and struggling for breath in front of strangers sounds like the seventh circle of Dante's hell.
Limit TV Time
I keep telling myself that I will turn the television on less and take my kid outside more. But the weather is awful this time of year and I have work during the day and while that work is at home, it still requires my attention. The TV isn't on all the time but I do know a shocking amount about every single Sesame Street character and sometimes, that makes me feel guilty. January always seems a good time to lie to myself about any part of this equation actually changing.
Go On More Family Vacations
My partner and I are constantly planning family vacations and trips so we can spend uninterrupted time as a family, and our extended family members can see our son. Of course, the planning part doesn't require money. When we calculate how much a particular trip will cost and how many days of work we'll miss and how long the flights (with a toddler) will be, spending uninterrupted time as a family from the comfort of our living room just doesn't sound so bad.
Be More Patient
Nothings tests a person's patience like motherhood. Well, that and maybe the DMV. I try my hardest to be stoic during a toddler tantrum or understanding when my partner just doesn't understand, but there have been plenty of instances in which I fail. I could always be more patient with my son, my partner, my friends and the walking cartons of spoiled eggnog who can't seem to figure out how to merge onto the freeway...but I know that this won't always happen either.
Be On Time
Yeah, this might as well be a joke. Trying to get anywhere on time when you have a toddler in tow is an exercise in futility. (Or when you're me. I could blame my kid, but frankly, it's just impossible to get anywhere on time when you're me.)
Have More Sex
This is a big one, and one that will help me keep the other promises I make myself at the beginning of a new year (i.e., exercise, patience, maybe not so much the sleep but it's worth it.). My partner and I were like rabbits before we had a baby, and while we may never have sex as often (or as loudly) as we used to, it would be nice if the number of times a week was bumped up, just a tad.
But then days will be long and exhausting and work will be taxing and dinner will be filling and by the time our son is asleep, we'll both be in sweatpants watching another episode of How I Met Your Mother. So good luck to us all.
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