I love new year because it’s a time to reflect, revise and refocus. Every year, it’s comes at just the right time, right after the holidays when I’ve spent four-plus weeks eating more, exercising less, and juggling more details of holiday events than I care to. Every year at this time I have lots that I want to change. I can think of many ways to improve my health, my parenting, my relationships, myself. I find all the things I’m not good at (or especially haven’t been good at the past several weeks) and feel inspired to change my ways. I want to stay calm, be more patient, read more, create more art, exercise more, eat less sugar.
This year, I’m feeling overwhelmed with it all.
After finding so many things I can “be better” at, I started to wonder, what do I not need to get better at? What is it that I’m proud to do well?
- Reading stories out loud to my kids
- Starting each day with a huge, warm hug for each of my children
- Not having all the answers; being able to say, “I don’t know. What do you think?”
- Making delicious soups from scratch
- Understanding my children’s perspectives–I always seem to hear the core of what they tell me.
This new year, instead of setting another resolution–adding a new improvement to the ongoing list–I’m taking time to focus on what I already do well. Yes, there are certainly things I can do better, but I’m always aware of what those are; I work on them all year long. Rather, I resolve to do more of what I do well. There are things that have already made me a good parent to my kids…I want to focus on those strengths and celebrate them. Do them more often. Use them to make my family stronger.
I’m not good at doing it all. I haven’t volunteered at all in my kids’ classes since school started, I don’t do holiday lights, and we typically live out of piles of clean laundry in the hallway (until the next laundry day). But I bake something almost every day. Now there’s something I’m good at…baking. I’m going to keep doing that. It’s fun and satisfying and I love it. It gives me memorable moments with my kids in the kitchen. And the results always taste wonderful.
I will continue to read books to my kids, even though they are completely capable of reading to themselves. I will stop what I’m doing to listen to them share their troubles from the day, cry over the stresses in their lives, and communicate their thoughts on life. I will gladly keep up our gigantic, good-morning hugs as long as my chldren like. These are the things I already do well, and they’ve been working pretty well for our family so far.
These small parenting successes are the things that bring us together. I know those “off” moments will happen and it would be really easy to resolve to not have them anymore (you know…the resolutions like, “yell less,” or, “have more patience,” or other similar declarations). But more importantly to me this year, it’s these ongoing, successful little habits that are building a lot more connection than anything else. And I want to keep them up.
So this year I was most inspired to make an un-resolution. To not work on developing a new habit of parenting better, but to maintain the old ways of parenting well. It’s an encouraging way to start the year…I resolve to celebrate my successes before dwelling on my failures.