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Challenge: Parenting Resolutions

My New Year's resolution: More self-care, less mommy guilt

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New Year's Day officially turns this year to the next, with a clean slate of possibilities and intentions. The hopes, dreams, and goals of resolutions seldom last past six weeks, statistically speaking, based on research. I am all for reflection and resolutions; I just want to be realistic about it and be successful in achieving my resolutions. Instead of making a total upheaval in my life only to feel frustrated when by March I haven't followed through on most of my goals, I choose a couple of specific goals that are doable in my already busy life.

My New Year's resolution, bringing meaning and happiness front and center in my life by taking care of myself and letting go of the mommy guilt. Not caring for myself makes it very tough to care for my family; if I'm run down, it's hard to keep giving and nurturing effectively and mommy guilt, well, it simply takes away happiness and enjoyment in life.

My first resolution, increase self-care. When I make the time to care for my basic needs, getting enough sleep, nourishment, exercise and doing activities I enjoy, I have the energy to show up for my children and family in a more balanced way. In a busy schedule, with four children, my husband, clinical work, writing, being a Girl Scout leader and making time for friends, there is little time left over for self-care. I've learned self-care not optional, it's necessary. So my resolution is to take time each day to do something that is restorative to my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It may be as simple as getting up before my children to exercise or enjoy a cup of coffee as the sun rises, or going for a walk without any noise except listening to nature. I've been able to take care of myself most days, but I have to admit, during the holidays and with so much going on, my self-care has been put on the back burner to a couple times a week instead of daily.

My second resolution is to let go of mommy guilt. I don't want to be a perfect parent and feel guilt for what I do and don't do; I want to be a good enough and present parent. We often hear about being the "perfect parent", but this ideal simply doesn't exist, because nothing is perfect. The mental worry like I do not measure up to perfection is a happiness drain. So I am shifting the way I see myself and have embraced being a good enough mom. My children don't need me to be perfect, they need us to be present, available, supportive, caring, kind, understanding, and have boundaries and consequences for their behavior and ours.

So here's to a New Year filled with love, laughter, peace, happiness, and self-care!

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