There is something about a new year that feels energizing and refreshing. The thought of having an entire year to get things figured out and to meet new goals is always exciting. I have never been big on making resolutions for the New Year, but that was before I became a mom.
My typical resolutions pre-child included things like saving for a trip or losing weight or eating healthier. And while all of those things are still a priority, they are not at the top of my list of things that I want to accomplish.
So, what do I want to accomplish? Well, it’s really simple. I want to be the best possible mother and person that I can be. It sounds easy, right? But it’s not. It’s going to take a lot of self-discipline and a lot of reminders to keep myself on track. But I know that I can do all of these things, and making my goals public will certainly hold me more accountable.
Be kinder to myself. I am not perfect and I never will be. There will be days when I yell or order pizza for supper or have a messy house or forget to run an errand. This is okay. Being perfect is impossible and it’s also setting an unattainable standard. I need to remember that it is okay to make mistakes and it doesn’t make me a failure or a bad mother because of it.
Treat others how you want to be treated. Raising a daughter who is kind and considerate is very important to me. And she can only become that way through example. I have (and I hate admitting this) gossiped and said not-so-nice things about other people in the past and it needs to stop. Because I don’t want my daughter doing that and I definitely don’t want anyone else doing it to her. It is so easy to get caught up in the web of drama and gossip but I am refusing to go there anymore. If it isn’t kind, loving or compassionate then it doesn’t need to be said.
Stop with the mommy guilt. Mommy guilt creeps up on me when I least expect it. I could be out having a great evening with friends and out of nowhere I get hit hard with mommy guilt. I think single parents feel mommy/daddy guilt a little harder than parents in relationships because after working or going to school all day, we feel the need to spend every possible second with our children. I love spending time with my daughter, but I also need a break now and then. And as if the guilt from being away from my child isn’t enough, there’s also the guilt of spending money. I am the only income for our family and I budget carefully to make sure we have everything we need. However, I always leave enough room in the budget to treat myself, so the guilt over this needs to stop. I am allowed to go out for an evening with friends or get a pedicure or go for a massage or get my hair highlighted. I don’t indulge in those things often and when I do, I need to remember to enjoy them. I work really hard to provide a good living for me and my daughter and I am allowed to treat myself now and then.
Patience (it really is a virtue). Remembering to be patient is something I need to remind myself of every single day. I love my daughter fiercely but when she crunches up goldfish crackers and then spits them in my shoes, I have to take a deep breath. Children are always testing boundaries and trying to challenge the rules. I know I was not the easiest child in the world and my parents had plenty of patience with me and both of my sisters. This is probably why they drank at night. It’s why I’ll continue to drink too. Love my wine!
Less screen time. This is for both me and my daughter. It is so easy to get consumed with TV, smart phones, Facebook, tablets and all other forms of technology. I want to be more present in the moment and that is going to mean putting away my phone and turning off the TV and focusing on enjoying whatever the moment brings. One of my favorite things to do with my daughter is jump on the bed. There is something so sweet and innocent about it. It doesn’t cost anything and we don’t need any kind of fancy technology to do it. The way she squeals with delight and jumps into my arms as she falls on top of me is something that can never be replaced with any form of technology.
More quality time. Do you know what my best childhood memories are? It’s got nothing to do with extravagant gifts or trips or being given materialistic things. My most favorite childhood memories are the ones when I was spending time with my parents. Sometimes it was a drive or a late evening at the beach or a bonfire in the backyard. Those are the things I remember and they still bring a smile (and sometimes a tear) to my face. My daughter doesn’t need things. She needs me. Thirty years from now she won’t care if she had the latest piece of technology as a child; all she’ll remember is how often I was present. I plan on taking her on as many silly, fun and random adventures as possible. A trip to Disneyworld? Yeah, that is something I want to do with her. But I also want to make sure we build sandcastles and catch snowflakes with our tongues and drink hot chocolate on a cool night as we look up at the stars and the sky. Those are the things she’ll remember most and they cost absolutely nothing.
Remember that happiness comes from within. Being a single mom means I always hear this line, “oh you’ll meet the perfect guy someday.” While this is a nice thing to daydream about, there’s always the possibility that I won’t meet someone. And that is okay. I don’t need a man to be happy. My happiness is not dependant on a relationship. My happiness comes from within. It comes from being a good person, a good mother, a good daughter, a good sister and a good friend. A friend of mine once told me that I need to stop measuring life by what everyone else is doing. I don’t have to follow a certain timeline or path to be happy. I can stray away from societal norms (long term relationships or marriage) and still find joy and happiness with my life. And to be perfectly honest; I am truly happy. I have an amazing family, the best friends, a job that I love and have everything I could ever need or want. I may not have it all, but I have enough. Anything above and beyond what I currently have would be a bonus. I am perfectly okay to continue on the path that I am on and see what life holds in store for me. And I’ll do it smiling because I love where I am at. I wouldn’t change a thing.
2016 is still very young. There is so much time ahead of us. There’s time to make resolutions, mess them up, make mistakes and try again. I know there will be days when I don’t stay true to all of my resolutions, and that is okay. As long as I keep trying and move forward then I’ll consider it a total success.