As we come to the end of 2011, most people take time to reflect upon the year and consider positive changes going forward. Eating healthier and exercising more are always in the back of my mind, but I thought I would also set some realistic resolutions around parenting. These are my hopes for me, my son, and my family in the new year.
Unplug: This applies to everyone in our household. Many times during a typical day I find that I will have my laptop open, while my husband is on his smart phone and my son sits in front of the TV. These things are all okay in moderation, but it’s easy to get sucked down the rabbit hole of technology. We already resolved a few months ago that phones are not allowed at the dinner table. Going forward we will also implement daily limits for electronics in general, and stick to them.
Expose our son to other cultures: This doesn’t have to mean travelling to another country (although a girl can dream). It could be as easy as trying to new foods or attending a culture fair. These kinds of fairs are not just for those that share the heritage. In fact it’s a great way to gain exposure to cultures that aren’t your own. And they always include music, food, and fun for the whole family.
Give myself more time outs: We will be knee-deep in the Terrible Twos this year. I continue to read and learn about my son’s behavioral development and disciplinary methods that I can use. But I will also make an effort to give myself time outs, by taking a step back, a deep breath, and to think before I react. It will help me keep a cool head when dealing with the inevitable tantrums to come.
Spend more quality time with my husband: The first couple of years of our son’s life have been 100% devoted to him. Somewhere along the way my husband and I realized that while all of our attention was on our son, we lost some focus on our marriage. It is crucial that we spend some time away from him to reconnect, and not just for dinner out on birthdays and anniversaries. We plan to make it a regular thing. A happy marriage means happy parents.
Worry Less: It’s a given that parents worry, but often it gets to the point where it is no longer constructive and instead becomes detrimental. Before it gets to that point, I will try to catch myself, especially when it comes to worrying about what other people think. Life is far too short.
Play more: Eventually the dishes will get done, the floors will get swept, and emails will get answered. My son will only be this age once. So I want to enjoy him while I can, by rolling up my sleeves and finger-painting or building a tower of blocks only to knock it over immediately. The little moments are what matter most.
Happy New Year everyone!