A Chicago Parent’s anti-resolutions resolutions

I think one of my most favorite unexpected perks of becoming a parent is that I have a rock-solid excuse to not participate in the hunt for an “epic” New Year’s Eve night. Before having a child I would spend a large portion of my mental energy in December trying to come up with an excuse other than, “I think New Year’s Eve parties always fall short of everyone’s expectations and also it’s cold and I want to just spend the time on my couch and you expect me to be out past midnight, are you mad?!” Now it’s easy: “Sorry, childless friends: I have a kid. New Year’s Eve parties are out.” Friends with kids, you didn’t even ask because you all have the same excuse. Fist bumps all around.

One problem, though. While the party piece of New Year’s is taken care of with kids, the “resolutions” piece seems to stick around. All of the “science”/talk shows/news reports/Googling seem to agree that 88-92 percent of resolutions fail, and then give the same advice year after year: make the resolutions specific, share them with others to become accountable and … you know … just do them? Something like that. The baby had a diaper at the end of the segment so you’ll just have to trust me there were more pieces of advice. But my question is this: if the same advice keeps being advertised and 92 percent of us fail, maybe it’s time to put together some unconventional “rule-breaking” resolutions: an anti-resolutions resolutions list, if you will.*

I will not get my hopes up

Repeat after me: It’s okay if it’s not the Cubs’ year this year.

Set your dedications in the beginning of your yoga classes, repeat it as you go to sleep, replace it as your frustration phrase when you get cut off in traffic (that should give you plenty of practice), sew it into your pillow: I will not get my hopes up this year like I did in 2015.

Except you will. We all will.

It’s totally da Cubs’ year dis year. Doh!

I will brave the elements and get out of the house this winter.

Deep breaths. We can do this, folks.

Yes, Chicago winters are long and our couches,blankets and houses are warm. Yes, it’s gloomy and snowy out and it looks like a black and white movie outside while the inside of our houses are potentially still decorated merrily to infuse happy color into our lives. But, I swear, we can do this.

We have bundlers, snowsuits, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, mittens and boots! We have museums and music classes and swimming lessons with heated pools at our fingertips! Did you know there is a restaurant in Lincoln Park called Jam ‘n Honey that has Nutella on the table for your spreading delight?

This city is primed for indoor delights, so this year, we’ll do it! We’ll use those museum memberships we dutifully asked for for Christmas. We’ll join those music classes (might I personally recommend The Music Playhouse).

Unless there’s another schmolar schmortex (I worry if I say the correct words too many times I will summon one), in which case all bets are off, unless you’re betting on my couch and those aforementioned blankets.

I will let myself off the hook and move on.

Infuriatingly vague? Yes. Probably the most important one I have? You betcha.

If erring is human, then beating ourselves up after being human is humanity. We all make mistakes and stumble, but being a parent somehow adds to our guilt because it’s not just us we’re talking about, it involves another miniature human along for the ride. This year, no more. If I spend too much time looking at my phone one day, I’ll move on the next one and see what keeps me from experiencing my kiddo’s childhood through a 4-inch screen (an actual resolution of mine, by the way). If I am too tired to do the dishes one night, they’ll get done eventually (And there’s always delivery. Thank you, city life!). If I don’t make it out of the house because seriously, have you seen how gray and cold it is outside, then that’s okay too.

I’m talking calibration in 2016. Evaluate, calibrate and–since we all know the line because “Frozen” will be permanently in the DVD player until 2035 apparently, we can say it together–let it go.

*Also, I will lose those five pounds**. Specific, shared and accountable. Are you happy now, Today Show?

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