It’s hard to believe but another year has come to an end. Time flies by when you’re a busy parent.
With the start of a new year comes New Year’s resolutions. This year, I’m setting my resolutions as a mom. I hope I can keep them or at least try my best to do so!
1. Exercise for an Hour Every Day
I have given up on making New Year’s resolutions about losing weight. It is what it is and I can only hope the number on the scale doesn’t skyrocket any more. I cannot live on 1500 calories a day, as I have a huge appetite and I get really cranky when I am hungry.
So my best option is to accept myself in all my glory and flaunt my curves with confidence. However, I do resolve to exercise an hour every day, as it gives me energy, releases endorphins, and clears my head. It makes me feel upbeat and energized. I exercise while listening to music, and both are good for me.
2. I Will Not Yell at My Kids
It’s not that I yell at them every day, but whenever I lose control and raise my voice, I feel terribly sad and guilty afterward. I decided to inform my family of my resolution in all earnestness. This is how that conversation went:
Me: (with complete sincerity) “Mansi, Arjun, and Armaan, I need to tell you all something. My New Year’s resolution is that I will never yell at you three again!”
Mansi: Looks up for a second from the book she is reading and says, “Yeah right, mom!” Then she goes back to reading.
Armaan: “Good luck With that Mom. I really hope you succeed!”
Arjun: Shakes his head and laughs.
Husband: “Why the discrimination? Why am I not included in the list of people you won’t yell at?”
I burst out laughing at my husband’s typical attempt at humor.
All joking aside, I really do feel that I am getting better at not yelling. I have realized that when parents yell, children are not really listening and they tune you out. Over the years, I have learned to count to a ten (or a hundred!) or go drink a glass of wine when I feel stressed and ready to explode. I hope 2020 is the year when I am finally going to master the art of being Zen!
3. Organize Family Game Night Once a Week
My children are teenagers now and everyone is busy with their own friends and social lives. We really need some family time together. Playing charades or cards or scrabble together is a lot of fun. I love the leg-pulling, the cheating, and the sheer camaraderie that is a part of playing together.
The idea for this resolution came from my time tutoring a little girl in a local elementary school. We start our sessions playing a game and then move on to reading. She loves to play the Frozen version of Don’t Break the Ice. We each have to knock off plastic ice cubes without breaking the whole floor.
One day as I watched her focus on hammering off one cube, a wave of regret washed through me as I imagined my daughter as a little girl and realized that I never played enough with her when she was little. I was so busy with her toddler brothers that I never had enough time to play with my firstborn. When I told my daughter about how I felt, she was sweet enough to tell me that it’s okay. She always played with her brothers and I did the best I could as a mom, so I should not feel sad about it.
My family has agreed to game night so I am excited about this prospect in 2020.
4. Spend One-On-One Time With Each Child Doing Something He or She Loves
My daughter loves going to the bookstore and playing video games. My youngest loves to shop and do artsy stuff like painting pottery. And my middle child is into cooking and music. I am planning on letting them choose what they wish to do when it’s their turn, but we will spend that one on one time together!
I am an introvert who lives in my head. I have so many tabs open in my mind at one time that it is hard for me to pay complete attention to the conversation in real-time. When you are a parent you have to be present and mindful. Children are smart enough to understand when your attention is diverted and you are not listening to them. I aspire to be that person who is a present and a patient listener.
6. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
I read so many posts from moms about teenagers thinking they are smarter than their parents, not cleaning their rooms, withdrawing from parents and not wanting to be seen with them, and so on and so forth. Let’s blame the teen hormones and know that it is a phase that will eventually pass.
It’s not wise to get really upset if kids fail to bring dirty dishes to the sink or forget to tell you they have to stay back after school for a club meeting. We have to pick our battles wisely if we wish to survive the teen years successfully. Too much nagging can make them shut us out even more.
I am going to focus on their positives and appreciate their conversations and wisdom while gently reminding them to be clean and hygienic.
7. Stop Being Hard on Myself
As a mostly stay-at-home mom who works part-time, I sometimes question my self-worth and what I bring to the table. I feel overwhelmed when the dishes and the laundry pile up. If I fail to attend an event at school or forget its early release day, I am really hard on myself. I know in my heart that I have raised three beautiful kids and am doing the best I can. And so moving forward, I resolve to relax, give myself some credit and be kind to myself.
8. Cut Down on Screen Time
When my smartphone notifies me of my average daily screen time, I almost get a heart attack when I see how high the number is. Screen time is reaching epidemic levels in most households. We all need to get a grip and cut down on social media and we need to stop being glued to our phones.
I plan on starting on this resolution by cutting it down at least an hour every day for all of us and then hopefully bring down our screen time even more.