By Melissa Stefanec
It’s become a tradition to kick off the new year with a column dedicated to parenting-themed resolutions. I used to take a peek back at the list from the previous year, but that got sad, pathetic and demotivating real quick.
Every year I say I am going to set the bar a little lower in order to set myself up for success. However, I still find myself falling short of expectations.
So, this year, instead of pretending I can resolve myself to control much of anything about parenting, I am going to provide a list of resolutions and immediately debunk the likelihood of them occurring.
If you can’t laugh, you might just cry about your 8:30 bedtime on a Friday night (because you made it to the finish line and need to fall down) or all of the floating crumbs in your favorite beverage (courtesy of a stealthy toddler’s loose regulations on drink sharing).
Happiness and contentment are intrinsically linked to expectations. So, in 2018, I am deciding to have very few of those pesky things.
Resolution No. 1
I will stop eating the food my kids don’t finish.
No, I won’t. Instead, I will look at my 3-year-old’s nearly untouched food and think to myself how awesome dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets and cold broccoli will be for lunch tomorrow. It’s a work lunch that I don’t have to prep, so I will count this second-hand food as a win.
Unattainable Resolution No. 2
I will go the bathroom behind a locked door.
Or, I can go the bathroom with the door wide open, like I’ve been doing my entire adult life. A mid-pee hug from one of my kids is way better than hearing them loudly and physically rebel against a locked and closed door. Keeping the door open also lets me listen to all the things my kids think I can’t hear while I am otherwise detained.
Unattainable Resolution No. 3
I will lay off the pastries.
And take away the one sure-fire thing to take me out of a funk? Sweet, sweet pastries are a steadfast friend. When the day has been hard, there is always ganache. I am not kicking this habit to the curb. I’ll take the calories in 2018.
Unattainable Resolution No. 4
I will make more parent friends at school activities
This one gets a probability rating of unlikely. I may think I am going to charm the pants off some mom at the winter soccer, but more than likely I will spend much of time at such events alternating between observing my daughter and running down my son in a crowded gym. Running interference will take precedent over mingling at these events. It’s a survival/saving face technique.
Unattainable Resolution No. 5
I will teach my daughter to tie her shoes.
I think it’s best for both of us if we just skip this. She can hang out in sandals, Velcro shoes and shoes with speed laces for the rest of her days. When she gets older, her not being able to tie her shoes can be a funny quirk. It will be a great thing to share at those team-building, ice-breaker-type sessions.
Unattainable Resolution No. 6
I will get to and leave work early
This would involve getting to bed and getting up earlier than I already do. Enough said?
Unattainable Resolution No. 7
I will play with my kids every night after work.
I will feed my kids dinner every night after work. I will attend to their personal hygiene needs. I will read them a book and sing them a song. They can play with each other while I am tirelessly cooking food they won’t eat for dinner. (Please note I said I would feed them dinner. I have no illusions about them consuming it).
Unattainable Resolution No. 8
I will get to the gym at least three times per week.
I will get to the gym once a week or maybe twice. I will do some planks. I don’t want to work out too hard and give my kids an unrealistic expectation of what a woman’s body should look like. I need them to grow up with the proper perspective on such things.
Unattainable Resolution No. 9
I will stop picking up after my kids.
That would be impossible, but I think I will make one of those handy chore matrices, just so my kids can disregard a piece of paper before they ignore my requests to do something. This way, I won’t take it personal. (Seriously though, my kids can be pretty awesome about pitching in. So, I resolve to be thankful about that).
Unattainable Resolution No. 10
I will get my son potty-trained.
I could, but then what would we argue about if not his lack of desire to go anywhere near a toilet? I would hate to be one of those families that never fight and agree on almost everything. That sounds boring.
Unlike my parenting resolutions in years past, I already feel very good about these ones. I know that parenting is full of unpredictability and battles of the will. Luckily, that same unpredictability makes for a lot of laughter. Those battles of the will mean I am raising strong kids. I resolve to stay strong, ride the waves and laugh in 2018. Those are three resolutions my whole family can keep.