My New (School) Year Resolutions
Now that I have finally admitted that I am in fact, in my mid-thirties and a pretty darned responsible mother, the beginning of the school year is infinitely more significant than the start of an actual calendar year. Gone are the days of lighting bottle rockets out of my teeth or having a handsome Spaniard drop 12 grapes in my mouth at the stroke of midnight while lounging around in some tropical country. These days I go wild by drinking my homemade 36-hour cold brewed coffee at exactly 3pm in order to stay awake past midnight. And the start of the school year is a big cause for celebration in my book – as well as a great time to regroup my thoughts and double up on goals that lost momentum sometime between Mardi Gras and now. Join me in doing so, if you feel the same or if you just really like making lists.
Read more parenting books or attend age specific parenting classes.
When my son was between two and four, he went to an amazing Montessori school that offered bi-weekly classes on various parenting themes. The classes helped me to come up with a solid script when arguments happened or when issues would arise that I didn’t know how to deal with. When there were problems sleeping through the night, they helped me compile a list of go-to strategies. When my son was angry, hurt, sad or frustrated they helped me formulate conversations that allowed him to communicate to me. I found the solutions to be incredibly functional and vowed I would stay on top of these preventative measures for my son’s young years. That stopped when we left and he entered a different school for kindergarten–oops.
Self-care is as important as childcare.
Whether it is drinking too much, exercising too infrequently, eating too much pizza or chillin’ with Netflix too late and too often, I now feel the ramifications immediately. In my bones, in my morning routines, and most importantly in the level of patience I have with my family. I’ve found in my few short weeks of attempting to improve that having alternatives to pitfalls is key – preferably as a physical barrier! I now have a little pocket in my wallet specifically for cash not spent, which is a super incentive. I put short 15-minute yoga videos on my queue so they are readily available when I have time to watch TV, and I buy and cut up all the produce so it’s ready to go when we get home from work and school each evening. As my sister reminds me daily, “My practice is my nature.” If I can repeat something long enough it will become normalcy.
Put Away the Screens.
We all limit screen time for our kids, but what about our selves and the effects OUR screen time has on our kids? My new regulations for myself are: look at the phone for no more than 10 minutes on the hour (unless there is an emergency occurring that I need to be up-to-date on), put it away at least an hour before bedtime, and never during meals or any other time my child has grown accustomed to having my attention.
Focus on positive news and achievements rather than letting negative events ruin my outlook.
Obviously it is important to stay informed in order to make good decisions and be an upstanding citizen and educator, but the availability of news is not beneficial to all of us right now. The media operates with the ideology that if it bleeds, it leads and that can misrepresent reality. Not everything is bleeding all the time, there are many things that are totally out of our control, and to live in constant fear and panic is not good for our children’s psyche.
Forget about comparisons.
Comparing myself to other moms, women, business owners, neighbors, and people in general is like racing strangers that happen to be driving next to you. We aren’t headed for the same destination. If it doesn’t serve me, let it go.