Parenting Resolutions

This article, entitled Parenting Resolutions comes from Erin Ferris at Chasing Roots.

The middle and end of January isn’t too late to commit to New Year’s Resolutions, right?

I start thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions in early December, so by the time January 1st rolls around, I usually have a pretty good idea about what I will try to do less of, do more of, and improve upon in the coming year.

This year I broke my resolutions down into four categories: Professional, Physical Health and Wellness, Relationship Development, and Fun. Though I did include one kid-related resolution in Relationship Development, a category devoted solely to parenting is noticeably and purposely missing.

I can’t exactly pinpoint why I went this route; being a parent has been a significant – if not dominant – part of who I am for the last 6+ years, and making choices that guide me down the road to becoming a better parent is never far from my mind. Perhaps my reason for segregating my personal and parenting resolutions is that combining the two would result in too daunting of a list – I mean, there are A LOT of ways in which I’d like to improve my parenting.

Starting with…

Spend more time with each of my children on his/her own.
Because my daughter is younger and in school less than my son, I spend more hours with her on her own than I do with her older brother. But those hours are almost always spent running errands, grocery shopping, and cleaning the house – hardly activities she would consider fun. I’d like to set aside at least a couple of hours a month to spend with each child, by themselves, doing something they choose.

Help both of my children expand their palates.
I hate to say it, but mealtime is a complete chore in our house. My son has always been a good eater, but because he spent the first six years of his life dealing with a plethora of food allergies, he has always been leery (rightfully so) of new foods. He’s now outgrown all but one of his food allergies though, so my goal is to slowly introduce the previously forbidden foods into his diet so that he won’t forever “fear” them.

My daughter, on the other hand, is allergic to nothing but also eats nothing. Her calories come primarily from four foods, so this year I resolve to double the number of foods she’ll eat from four to eight. Accomplishing this feat may be the hardest thing I do all year.

Eat dinner with my children more often.
I sit down with my kids while they eat dinner, but because my husband often works late, I frequently wait and eat dinner with him after the kids go to bed. I know I should actually EAT with the kids more often, and I’m hopeful that doing so will help me accomplish the above-mentioned resolution of increasing the number of foods my daughter will eat…perhaps watching me enjoy asparagus spears and pork chops will encourage her to eat more and complain less.

Adventure outside of our “comfort zone”.
The city in which we live is not huge, but it’s certainly not small either – the population of our “metropolitan area” is approximately 175,000 people and during the school year we add 50,000 college students to the mix. There’s plenty for my kids to do, primarily because they like consistency and hardly ever feel the need to visit new places and try new things. So because the kids never ask to go anywhere beyond our city’s boundaries, we don’t. And that’s starting to wear on my husband and me a little.

We live less than two hours from two major cities, three hours from a third major city, and four hours from a fourth major city – cities with zoos and aquariums and museums and sporting venues and restaurants that put the few options for entertainment and dining in our area to shame. It’s time to put in the extra effort required to take our family to these cities and experience what they have to offer…if not for the kids, than for the adults.

Teach my daughter to read.
She’s still young so I’m not at all stressed about accomplishing this resolution, but I can see that she’s frustrated watching her brother excel at something she can’t yet do. I realize that this is often the case for younger siblings and is an important part of growing up, but whenever I can help my little one step up her game and give her brother a run for his money, I like to do so.

Lose my cool less.
I know when it’s coming. I know that the refusal to get up for preschool + the spilled orange juice at breakfast + the tantrum at the grocery store + the lost coat at kindergarten + the constant sibling poking/prodding/biting/hitting = a mom standing dangerously close to her breaking point. What I need to learn is how – when I know that one more eye roll or whine will be the end of me – to walk away. How to put myself in a timeout, behind a closed (and preferably locked) door with a funny sitcom or a good book, until I’ve once again found my cool.

Play more.
Playing with my kids – actually sitting down on the carpet and playing with toys – is hard for me. I’m decent at board games and I love to color, but when it comes to building with Legos and blocks, battling action figures, and dressing up Barbie Dolls I lose interest very quickly. Throw into the mix the fact that I don’t have a lot of spare time for playing and that when I do play, my kids think I play “wrong” (apparently it’s not acceptable for Batman to borrow the Little People school bus or for Strawberry Shortcake to ride to her birthday party on a Playmobile wolf), and it’s no wonder that most of the time I just let the kids play by themselves.

I can do better though. I need to get in on the action a little more: pull on my scrub cap and play doctor, go shopping in the kids’ roughly assembled playroom grocery store, and let those Bey Blades rip. I’ve suddenly – as in right now, while typing this post – come to the realization that in a few short years my children will want nothing to do with me. At some point they won’t want to play with me anymore, and if I don’t start playing now, I will ALWAYS regret that I didn’t take advantage of the years when they still considered me cool enough to be a part of their games. Even if I don’t play right.

How about you? What are your parenting resolutions for 2013?

About the Author...
Erin Ferris
My name is Erin, and I’m a wife, mother, and writer living in College Station, Texas.

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