To “resolve” means to find a solution to a problem. It’s pretty absolute in its meaning. Right or wrong, a matter is settled, put to rest.
To apply this definition to parenting is like trying to understand what B613 actually is in Scandal. It’s not worth it because it is always changing. I have made and broken “resolutions” regarding parenting throughout the year, multiples times per day, sometimes within the same hour.
But perhaps “broken” isn’t the right word. It’s not that I always just quit what I resolved to do. It’s that the resolution to the particular concern, problem, or neurotic worry in my mind changed without warning – or was never intended to have one solution.
In reflecting on this last year that started with rather sedentary 8-month-old twin boys and is ending with raucous and hilarious brothers on the cusp of the crazy two’s, there are many areas I have never fully resolved. Here are four of them, along with my plan for doing each one better in 2016.
How to keep them from biting/throwing/stealing. When we are at the grocery store and the employee giving out the balloons knowingly gives us two of the same color without even asking, I want to cry. They get it. They get us. Because if one is purple and the other green, they will both need purple. And then only green will do. And then they will open their mouth, growl and go in for a chunk of skin (I might have imagined the growling part). I know this is normal and I have tried a few different forms of “discipline,” but the more I get involved, it seems the worse the behavior gets. I worry incessantly if I am teaching my boys how to be caring and generous humans. But in 2016: I will always intervene if they are hurting or being overly aggressive with each other, but otherwise, I am learning to let them fight some of their own battles and just go with it.
How to explain that the snacks are gone. There are no more snacks. I was so proud when the boys learned to sign “more” by bringing their short, chubby fingers together. So smart were my little guys! I always gave them more to reward them for signing for more. And I may have created monsters because sometimes there is just nothing left. And one of the constant aspects of parenting that I can’t quite resolve is the inability to reason my way out of a situation. Whether it’s the lack of snacks, a delay at the airport or leaving the sandbox, I sometimes desperately need them to look at me and say, “Oh, we ate all the snacks and there are no more in the pantry? Cool, just let us know when you have a chance to hit up Target. No rush!” In 2016: I will give up this fantasy, explain as best as I can and just go with it.
How to switch gears from my working self to my parent self. I often sit in my car in the garage and take a few extra deep breaths before I get out. I miss my boys and can’t wait to see them, but I sometimes wish I could hit pause on the scene and have 10 minutes to put down my work stuff, go through the mail, change into yoga pants, and then unpause the scene and embrace the chaos. I have yet to find the perfect way to make a smooth transition from office to playroom. In 2016: I will do my best to leave work at work and be fully present when I am home. After that, I will just go with it.
How to show them just how much they are cherished, loved and supported. Because seriously, how would that even be possible?
So I’m going to keep going with it, all of it. The thrown food and the biting, as well as the laughs and the joy. And the love. Oh, so much love.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.