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 momolutions: New Year’s Resolutions for moms.
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 New Year’s Resolutions for moms (AKA momolutions) would go something like this:
Stop saying “never.”
I’ve come to eat most of my 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…more than three times a week.
I look back and laugh 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 mentally tsk-tsked some random woman who was wearing out doing her shopping in her pajamas.
I would never go out looking like that, I thought to myself. I did feel a little guilty for my unkind, judgmental thoughts, 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. Maybe the lady had a good reason for wearing Hello Kitty jammie bottoms in public. Maybe she didn’t. I do know it’s none of my business, though, and although I can say I’d never go out in public in my pajamas, there are probably circumstances that would cause that to happen.
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 lie my ass off, mostly for self-serving reasons. I don’t want to stop and take the time to rationalize with my small humans when they’re in the midst 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 bite me in the behind. But that day isn’t today. At least I hope not.
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 this year 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.