Chicago mom sets New Year routines, not resolutions

I have always typically found New Year’s resolutions to be daunting, overwhelming and overall unattainable. Every year, I would attempt to make one or two resolutions like, “This year I will keep a cleaner home,” or “This year I will be more fit,” or “This year I will read more.” By February I would start to feel like a failure if I didn’t vacuum one day or if I skipped a day (or five) of exercise or read the first 10 pages of a book and decided I’d rather watch Downton Abbey instead. I like the idea of starting anew, but I DESPISED what resolutions were doing to my self esteem.

After thinking it over, I realized that the reason I felt like a failure was because there was no real planning. It was a blanketed statement with no quantitative data to determine my success. I know this sounds kind of scientific but the old way of making resolutions was failing me. If I skipped something just one time, I would give up entirely, not realizing I had a whole year of opportunity to improve.

When my children were babies, I was kind of known as the Routine Queen. My kids were on a strict routine for eating, naps, cleaning, baths, bedtimes and playtime. I wasn’t SUPER strict with them but I found that without some guidance or system our lives would quickly fall into chaos. At one time in my life I had a two-year-old, a one-year-old and a newborn, so you can imagine what my life would have been like without some kind of structure. These routines saved me more times than I can count.

Now that the kids are older, the routines have changed, but they are still there. I have been able to modify, add, subtract and alter things for flexibility.

I decided this year, rather than make some blanketed statement such as “I will try to eat healthy,” and then 10 minutes into the New Year eat Oreos and give up before I even start.

 I have decided this year to add some small changes to an already pretty well oiled routine. 

This year, in regards to my children I would really like to be a kinder parent. I have noticed that now that I have school age children who have places to go, I have become a parent that spends a lot of time barking orders and doing chores and less time talking with my kids and playing board games.

This year, I have decided we are going to “fill each other’s emotional buckets” a little more often and have built-in times in our everyday routines to do that. I have decided to create moments throughout the day where, instead of focusing on where we are going or what needs to be done, we will spend time just chatting. Snack time after school, dinner time and bedtime are examples of times during our day where no ordering around or rushing is allowed.

I also have built in a contingency plan for when it just isn’t possible to have a nice long conversation after school because we have to get to ballet, then soccer and then to dinner. Each person in our family has a literal bucket where we can leave notes, pictures or colorings. That way if we miss a conversation, no one feels like we failed that day because we still have an opportunity to literally “fill the bucket.”

No more New Year’s resolutions! Only New Year’s routines!

 Happy New Year!!!
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