I have never made a New Year’s resolution. It’s not because I am all the things I want to be; it’s because I’m simply too impulsive to wait until Jan. 1 to start anything. If I want to change or try something new, I’m probably going to drop everything I’m doing and do it now.
I do find it difficult, however, to ignore the blatant calls for us to lose weight, start an exercise routine, get our finances in order and generally stop sucking at life. This year, it actually has me thinking that I should break my 30-year non-resolution streak and make some parenting-specific changes regarding things like:
Having unrealistic expectations about children and permanent markers.
The baby WILL find the marker, she WILL color on the couch, and she WILL think it’s funny. Why in the world would I ever think that anything different could happen?
Having unrealistic expectations about myself.
Why do I think flying alone with two children is a good idea? Why do I assume that I can take the kids to a department store without having to alert security that one of them has run away and I can’t find him? Why do I believe that I can clean the house when the kids are awake?
Giving the kids a cookie every time we are in a grocery store.
Every.damn.time. We actually do not put anything in our cart until we visit the “free cookie” area and both children are stuffing their faces with sugar. Admittedly, I am setting a a terrible, unhealthy precedent.
Leaving the boxes of my contact lenses in stupid places.
How many times has the toddler run up to me with fat little fists full of individually wrapped disposable lenses? TOO MANY TIMES. Yet I keep putting the boxes in the same drawer, which is of course the drawer she loves to explore when I am in the shower or getting dressed or doing anything other than staring directly at her.
Asking for parenting advice.
Like, why? Why do I ever ask anyone anything about parenting? Half the time, I totally dislike what the person offers, and the other half the time, the advice is useless and has me second-guessing my friendship with the person.
Giving parenting advice.
No one should EVER ask me for my advice on parenting. I am definitely the person who gives bad guidance, because my advice is usually, “I mean, just do whatever. It doesn’t really matter, anyway, because your kid will not sleep/eat/care/stop screaming/do whatever it is you want them to do.”
Mailing it in.
Some days, the kids and I are pajamas all day. Or we go to the gym, come back home and get back into PJs. And some days, I let the TV be the babysitter. And some days, no one in the house takes a bath or shower. And some days, I don’t even really listen to what my son is asking me, I just say things like, “Yup, for sure,” and “I don’t really know, buddy,” and “Wow, that’s really neat.” And some days, we have take-out for dinner.
But you know, when I really think about it, having expectations simply means that I have hope. And one little cookie at the grocery store can’t be THAT bad, and it does keep them happy and preoccupied so I can focus on buying healthy food. The contact lenses really do belong in that drawer, and the baby will grow out of that phase soon, anyway. And as long as there are parents, there is going to be the need to talk about issues and offer opinions, no matter how unhelpful they may be.
And lastly, I think we all have earned the right to mail it in from time to time.
So I guess I’m saying that I don’t really need to make any resolutions. My streak stands.