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Challenge: Parenting Resolutions

I Resolve to Remember

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It’s stressful just thinking about it. New Year’s Resolution time is upon us. I remember one year I vowed to give up sugar. That lasted about 2 days and, dang, that chocolate bar sure was worth it. A more proactive year I resolved to try to be kinder to myself and use “positive self-talk” until I locked my keys in the car. I served up some choice words that could put anyone in a biker bar to shame. The best was when I resolved to work out more and joined a gym because it was a “great deal.” The workout clothes that I bought to go with the membership were adorable. Too bad they never saw the light of day.

Needless to say, I am not a fan of the New Year's resolutions. In fact, I am not sure many people really are. So why do we put ourselves through the madness year after year? Tradition. No other explanation seems to fit. It’s just what we do as the new year rolls in. Did it come up at your New Year's Eve celebration last night? Do you even remember what you answered? How likely are you to stick to it?

If forced, I could rattle off a great list of resolutions that would improve my life but be really hard to stick to:

  • Less time on social media (Yeah, right. Like that would last!)
  • No more Diet Coke. (Lord, save me. Better yet, save those around me.)
  • Eating “clean”
  • Always uploading my photos right away instead of letting them pile up on my phone
  • Play more board games with my kids
  • Make “date night” a priority
  • Etc., Etc., Etc.

Ugh. All this list making is depressing - and I LOVE making lists. The problem is that the process of making New Year’s resolutions is more about focusing on the negative. It’s focusing on all the habits, personality traits, physical traits, and routines I would love to change about myself or my life. What fun is that? None.

So, this year I am changing the rules. We mamas can do that whenever we want, right?

This year I am resolving to validate all the experiences of the past year by choosing to remember. I resolve to remember the significant milestones, but also the fleeting experiences that meld together to create this happy life.

It’s about remembering that morning I woke up to find all three of the kids nestled on the couch letting mom and dad sleep in.

It is about celebrating the memory of the grit and tenacity it took our perfectionist daughter to fight through the tears of failure after failure at water skiing on one ski only to eventually succeed.

It’s the fact that the dog is no longer eating the other dog’s poop. I mean, come on. This is a serious victory!

In all the rush to keep up, get stuff done and make sure we are doing all the “things,” we blindly move from one experience to the next. This New Year, I am pushing STOP. (Okay, maybe just “PAUSE”). How is it possible that I look around and see budding adolescents and teenagers gracing my family room furniture (with their feet up and their noses in their electronics, no doubt)? Slow down, kids. We only get to do this family stuff for so long. Then your dad and I will be those wild and crazy mid-lifers who get dressed up on NYE and actually have social plans again.

It seems as if one year blends into the next.

It is in that vain that I will ask my husband and kids to think back over 2016 and decide what events, decisions, triumphs, failures and "stuff " is worth remembering. Even better, I will write down what they say.

Why not celebrate the little things - like the fact that I actually grew real food in my garden this year?! And ate it! Or the fact that we made a few date nights this year, even if they ended up at Costco. (So romantic). That counts as a date, right?!

When asking my kids to reflect on not just the highlights but the everyday happenings of 2016 they struggled like I did at first. Eventually they started putting pieces of the year together just like a puzzle


One of my favorites that made their list was the time a thunderstorm moved through and left behind a crazy, orange sky and a rainbow which was the perfect cue for all of us to jump in the lake and swim


Of course they recalled the big stuff but they also reminded us about times we just couldn't stop laughing or a monumental argument that finally found it's resolution. They remember the big feelings and some of the things I didn't think were even that important. My pen couldn't keep up.

Starting this new year, I resolve to remember because it all goes so fast. I wish the same for you and yours. Remember not just the big stuff, but all the in between stuff, too. That's where the magic happens.

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