I like to tell people that I never make New Year's resolutions. My reasoning, which I think is totally legit, is this: If whatever you're planning to do were actually important to you, if you were truly resolved to make a change, you wouldn't wait until an arbitrary date to start. You'd hop on it right away. That said, every year for, like, the past three or so years, I've begun keeping a food diary to make sure I'm eating healthfully and in moderation and, yes, I want to lose some weight. "BUT NOT BECAUSE IT'S A NEW YEAR!" I insist to myself. And my brain is just rolling her eyes, shaking her head and chuckling saying, "OK, sweetie. Whatever you say." (Ugh, my brain is so condescending sometimes.)
There's something about the idea of a collective fresh start that appeals to us, I suppose. Some part of our communal psyche that says, "We can't break our old habits yet, because we're all still in this same year together and we've established a certain set of expectations for ourselves and each other. We can change on January 1." And then, of course, we don't follow through with our resolutions, which brings me back to the reason I refuse to (officially) make one in the first place (which, reminder, I pretty much unofficially do anyway, while simultaneously preaching about how ridiculous they are; my brain is also so hypocritical sometimes).
Resolutions are often derailed when life gets in the way of routine. And is there a finer example of life getting in the way of routine than of being a new parent? The first new year after you have a new baby can easily leave you overwhelmed with the idea of resolutions, because there's so much that needs to get back on track, perfected, finished, or even started after you welcome your little black hole of time and energy into the world.
To wit, here are some New Year's resolutions for new moms, all of which could've easily been applied to me right after having either of my kids:
"I Will Finish (Or Start) Filling Out My Child's Baby Book."
You know, the really gorgeous one you carefully choose after poring over dozens at the Union Square Barnes & Noble immediately after finding out I was pregnant. The one that provides lots of room to write down every tiny, little detail. I definitely will not sit down, turn to the section about Baby's First Month and panic upon realizing that I forget literally everything that happened before a week ago. As I journey backward in the annals of my mind, it won't be an exhausted, emotional, hazy blur. I'll simply make myself a pot of tea and plow through it during the little one's nap one afternoon. That thing will be filled out in beautiful calligraphy (and with the same, perfectly selected pen throughout) by January 2nd. For real, this time.
"I Will Actually Print Out Some Of The 7,000 Pictures I Have Taken Of My Child On My Phone."
Obviously, I take a lot of pictures of child. You know, every time they reach a milestone.... or smile... or giggle... or cry for a silly reason... or eat something... or sleep... or breathe. These are precious memories that need to be preserved and shared. They should also live somewhere other than my phone. In a photo album. OK, albums. Several beautiful photo albums! Ooh! And some of them should be blown up and put in frames. Here's the plan. I am going to buy all of these items — frames, albums, maybe some scrapbooking materials — and then I'll totally go through the photos and get the good ones printed. I totally won't let that slip through the cracks.
"I Will Stop Wearing Maternity Pants!"
Because it's been a while since I gave birth, and I technically fit into my old pants. I mean... I can't wear these forever, right? That would be weird. So, so, so comfortable, but weird. But... would anyone know they were maternity pants? Probably not, right? So then why would it be weird? Why do we not wear maternity pants all the time? What's the point of non-elastic waist pants that make us feel bad and aren't comfortable?
NO! No! The time is now. January 1, I will resist the siren's call of my cozy, wonderful, and also fashionable maternity pants... for some reason.
"I Will Not Only Lose All The Baby Weight, But I Will Get Down To My Middle School Pants Size."
Because obviously once a woman has a baby, the true measure of her womanhood is how quickly she manages to appear as though she never did. *Eye roll for the ages* Unfortunately, with my first baby, I wasn't able to get my bikini clad bod on the cover of a gossip magazine 2 weeks after delivery; There were no cover stories featuring me touting how I "got my body back" (wherein I would clearly lie and say it was all breastfeeding and gentle post-natal yoga), but this year I'm going to crush it. I'd say by January 14th I should have a perfectly toned six-pack. I will somehow manage to acquire a thigh gap and a deliciously fat booty. You know what, while I'm out buying all the scrapbook stuff and picture frames, I should treat myself to a little shopping spree at Lululemon and pick up a FitBit. That'll really motivate me to hit the gym every single day and eat right. I'll totally keep that up past February 1. Sure. (I have a sarcasm headache.)
"I Will Actually Read All Those Parenting Books."
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth was great. And the parts of Happiest Baby On The Block and What to Expect When You're Expecting I read were pretty good. Of course, after the baby was born, I didn't have time to plow through the 27 other parenting books I purchased (on that same Barnes & Noble trip when I got the gorgeous baby book). But I'm going to do it. One book a week. This'll be a piece of cake. I'll totally have the time and energy to do this.
"I Will Finish (Start) Baby-Proofing."
I zealously registered for every single baby proofing product on the market and received them all in a lovely gift basket from my friend Lisa, the one who has a different post about car seat safety every day on Facebook. Shortly thereafter, I took my toolbox and began installing wall anchors for every piece of furniture in the house. When this proved slightly more annoying than the very simply directions would have indicated, I may have crumpled into a hormonal ball of tears and drowned my sorrows in another pint of Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream after installing one. But that was when I was pregnant and weepy. It'll totally be easy now... with an infant to distract me. Whatever, I'll do this during nap time. In between reading, scrapbooking, working out, and filling the baby book.
"I Will Sort Through All The Clothes My Child Has Outgrown And Donate Them."
I will do this and I won't sob over every newborn onesie, choking back a whimpering, "They were so little!" This will not prompt me to look through my cell phone at pictures of them from their first week of life. This will not prompt me to cry some more. I will not tearfully fold the items and refuse to donate any of them, sticking them instead in a box that I will hide in the back of a closet. I will definitely not get baby fever.
"Personal Grooming Will Once Again Become A Priority."
I will shower every day and shave minimum once a week. I'll be as smooth and sleek as an Olumpic swimmer. My hair will be blown out every day. My eyebrows will be on fleek. Make-up will be a must. Actually, you know, I'm already going to get all that other stuff anyway: I'll run into Sephora and get everything I'll need for a new make-up routine. Why not, right?
"This Will Be The Year I Figure Out Exactly WTF I'm Doing."
Because this is my year. The next time you see me, I will be the perfect mother. Not only is this totally possible (because we all know there's only one way to be a perfect mother), but it's going to happen. See you on the other side.
Images: Christopher Campbell/Unsplash; Giphy(9)