(This is a guest post from Jill Robbins of Ripped Jeans and Bifocals.)
Tis the season.
I’m not talking about elves on shelves, the crazy rush from a last-minute trip to Target, or the buzz from spiked eggnog. I’m talking about the seasonally mandated look back/look ahead we all know and love as New Year’s resolutions.
Do you or don’t you?
New Year’s resolutions usually involve stopping something or starting something. Stop smoking. Start dieting. I’m not sure of the statistics on this kind of stuff but I’m willing to bet that most New Year’s resolutions crashed and burn by V-Day.
I’m usually too wrapped up in the joy and headaches of parenting to think about New Year’s resolutions. I know my friends and neighbors are gearing up to start January exercise programs, carb-free eating and all sorts of ambitious stuff. I’m too busy trying to keep my head above water to add the pressure of trying to stick to a resolution.
But, just suppose I did. My momolutions would go something like this:
Stop saying “never.”
I’ve come to eat most of my mommy nevers. I was that girl who once swore up and down I’d never:
let my kids sleep with me;
use the public-butt sniffing method to decide if it’s time for a diaper change;
serve Kraft macaroni and cheese as a main course.
I look back and laugh (or cry, depending on how my day is going and current caffeine level) at that girl who said she’d never do all that stuff and more. One of our kids is a regular nighttime visitor in our bed. It’s far from ideal but I’ve succumbed in the interest of semi uninterrupted sleep.
I’ve acquired a taste for orange-colored cheesy goodness, even though I nod and make appropriate disapproving noises when my granola friends talk about the evils of processed foods. And, my kids are finally out of diapers, so public butt-sniffing has ceased, but I owned that move for a good long time.
Being a mom has changed my definition of what’s gross, appropriate for dinner and pretty much everything. I caught myself going sanctimommy in the grocery store last week as I tsk-tsked some pajama-bottom-in-public wearing chick.
I would never go out looking like that, I thought to myself. I did feel a little guilty for being Judgy McJudgerson, though. I’m not sure I know all that much about being a mom. I’m winging it on my best day, but I do know to expect the unexpected and that there’s always a side of the story we don’t see.
I’m not sure how far I’d get if I vowed to remove mommy nevers from my vocabulary. In general, saying “I never” has always come back to bite me in the butt, but I think I’ll always get twitchy when I see someone in their Hello Kitty jammie bottoms at Target.
Stop the mom lies
If I were serious about resolutions, I’d stop saying stuff like:
“stop pouting, your face will freeze like that;
“no darling, we can’t watch Doc McStuffins. All the TV people are asleep;”
and my all-time favorite big fat lie “I’m going to take that iPad away.”
This is by no means a complete list. I fib to my kids all the time, mostly for self-serving reasons. I don’t want to stop and take the time to rationalize with a four year-old when they’re in the middle of a meltdown. Right now, they accept my words as gospel and I’m sure there’s a day coming when my parenting lies are going to catch up with me. But that day isn’t today.
I could be a better mom. I could be nicer to my family and strangers in their jammies at Costco. I think back on my day every night while I’m waiting to fall asleep and I can always pinpoint something I could have done better.
But, I’m not going to look back on 2014 with too much shoulda-coulda-woulda. I’m doing all right. I could judge less, yell less. I could read more bedtime stories and let more things roll off my back, but looking to the future, if I can give myself one thing to focus on in the coming year it will be to be kinder to myself.
Do you have a momolution? Lemme have it.