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My children are funny and smart and I love them to little bits. But they’re also maddening, exhausting and, I’m pretty sure, plotting to drive me crazy.

Now that it’s the start of another year, I’ve vowed to be a bit calmer and relaxed in my parenting. I’ve vowed to live in the moment and enjoy life a little bit more. But, I’m not going to lie, I could use a little help from my tiny, irrational (but loveable) little humans.

Here are 10 things I would really like my kids to focus on in 2017 to help me achieve my goals of being a ‘gentler’ parent.

1. Listen to me the first damn time.The ‘selective hearing’ skill my children have adopted never fails to make my blood start to boil. I always start out engaging with my kids in a happy and pleasant manner. But when you have to instruct your child to put their shoes on approximately 956 times before they’ll actually do it, by the 957th time, I’m completely losing my mind.

2. Stop wearing 85 outfits a day. I don’t quite understand this phenomenon. You put on a pair of pants and a shirt and they’re generally good for the whole day. In my house, I’ll do my kid’s laundry on a Sunday morning and by Sunday night, she’s worn 2 dresses, 4 pairs of pants, a pair of underwear and about a dozen t-shirts.

3. Put the dirty laundry in the hamper, as opposed to 3 feet away from the hamper. My daughter’s laundry hamper will be RIGHT. NEXT. TO HER. She’ll literally be standing right next to it. And yet, her clothes don’t seem to make it into the hamper. Instead, she much prefers to disrobe and toss her clothing in the exact spot she’s standing rather than exert too much energy by extending her arm and tossing it into the basket.

4. Stop going deadweight/jelly-bones when I ask them to brush their teeth. Another interesting phenomenon. All three of my kids will be happy as can be, playing with each other, inventing a game or reading to one another right before bed. When I interrupt and ask them to go brush their teeth because it’s time for bed, they’re instantly lethargic. Their ‘legs don’t work’. They’re too tired to even move an inch. Very interesting.

5. Behave like a little angel for me as well as for Grandma. Grandma loves to tell me about how my kids ate perogies and didn’t fight once and listened to everything she said intently while she had them over for the day. And I’m genuinely happy that my kids behave well when I’m not around. I am. But for me? They complain loudly about the dinner we’re having, don’t listen all that much and generally behave like little beasts from time to time. That just seems unfair.

6. Poop before dinner as opposed to right in the middle of it. It’s like clockwork at our house. Before dinner we’ll ask “Hey guys – anyone have to go to the bathroom before we sit down to eat?” Three little voices will yell a resounding and firm “No!!!!!” So we sit down to eat and within minutes “Can I be excused? I have to go poo.” Lovely.

7. Inform me before grocery day when they suddenly no longer like cantaloupe. (Or a number of other items). One day, we’ll go through a pint of blueberries as soon as it comes in the door from the store. The next? Blueberries are suddenly on the ‘Nah, I’m just not into them’ list. It’s happened with cantaloupe. Strawberries. A giant brick of Costco-sized cheese. And it can be ridiculously frustrating.

8. Vow to talk instead of having ‘yelling conversations’. I think because I have three children, they all want to be certain they’re heard. Or maybe they just haven’t developed the skills involved with managing the loudness of their voices. But their motto seems to be “Why talk when you can yell?”

9. Sleep in after staying up late. Just once. I’m not sure why their bodies work this way – but no matter how late they stay up past their bedtime, they still get up at the exact same, crack-of-dawn time each day. I would love one morning of even just a half hour more sleep.

10. Never stop being ridiculously cute and sweet and amazing. All the above being said, their little idiosyncrasies don’t even come close to overshadowing how cute and fun and amazing and incredible they are to me. So if they can just keep on being themselves, I think we’ll all have a fantastic year together.

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