I like New Year’s Resolutions.
Some people hate them. Some people think they are useless. Some people think you are only setting yourself up for failure if you make them.
Maybe its because I think of them more as reflections, than resolutions. My New Year’s Resolutions mean I have taken some me-time to consider what is important for me, not just my family or my career. Every parent (particularly if you have a child with a disability) has been told, “You have to take care of yourself first if you want to take care of everyone else.” And we all know how that goes. But, like any skill your child is learning, you don’t have to get it right the first time. Just remember to keep practicing (and move the goalposts a little when you need to).
So here, on the first of the year, with a cat on my lap, hot tea at my side, and three teenagers still asleep, I am taking some “me time”. And since I LIKE to write, I am sharing it out.
After big changes in 2017 (publishing a book, adopting two teenagers) and a super busy 2018 (trying to find time to market the book while uber-parenting two new teens), it is time for 2019. What do I want for me?
- Eat better– I always make this one and I make little inroads each year. This is also a moving target. My needs change and evolve. I have noticed my metabolism slowing during my 40’s and 50’s, but I swear, last week it stopped. I have decided I can have all the fruits, vegetables and protein I want, while limiting carbs and sugar. I will let you know how that goes.
- Exercise a little more– Yeah, another repeat resolution, but why not? It might re-start my metabolism. I started over Christmas, lets see if I can finally stick with hitting the gym a few times a week.
- Mediocre Parenting – Last year, I was the best mom I could be to my two new teens. I don’t get 18 years to model good mom behavior because they are already 16 and 18. I had to work fast. I am inordinately proud of them for how they have managed this tremendous transition. However, I told them last night that in celebration of our one-year mark, I would be doing less and helping them be more independent so they can launch when they are ready to. Bring on the bus passes! Hand over the laundry duty! Yay me!
- Write more – I love to write, but somehow it gets put in the category of “me time”. Maybe I will have more time when I am not picking up from school or doing laundry.
- Get rid of stuff – While my new teens have reveled in getting stuff and loved earning money to buy it for themselves (ah, the power of spending money), I want to continue to shed things. This will be made a little harder by my teens who love to gift me with perfume, make-up, shampoos, lotions, and all things teenage girls love. No worries, there is lots to shed here without turning down their sincere gifts.
- Reduce my plastic consumption– In the Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle mantra, I will focus on the first because I have the latter two down pat. What I like most about this one, is it is such a mental challenge. It requires an alertness to things I ordinarily do not pay any attention to. And although it is a mental challenge, ultimately, it simplifies my life in deeper ways.
- Get More Sleep – An oldie, but goodie. I make it with great conviction every year and am still often failing spectacularly.
And failing is ok. Little bits of progress count. Partial successes are great. (Heck, maintaining my current weight would be progress enough!). These are my reflections upon my life and what would be good for me. I have to integrate these into a complex of family and career life. I can’t expect perfection of myself any more than I expect it of my kids.
But I have had successes over the years. A few of my favorites are:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – This is a life saver when parenting. I let the small stuff slide. I may mention little problems to my teens, but why harp, why yell, why spend my precious time over things that do not directly impact their future, safety or health? So when they fall asleep in their clothes on some weekend nights (because that is the only time their phones are allowed in their bedrooms), I may roll my eyes and say , “Really!!” but I am not going to worry about it.
- Model the coping I want to see – I think I have mastered this one at least 95% of the time. I want to model calm, I want to model problem-solving, I want to model good decision making (even if that means saying, “I don’t even know what to do in this situation, let me think about it for a bit.”). This took YEARS of practice! It is not an overnight skill. But now, when a teenager is punching a brick wall because I will not let her walk home with their new boyfriend, or when the school calls to tell me someone went off-campus for lunch and was 30 minutes late getting back, or when I walk downstairs after New Years Eve to find the den littered with candy wrappers, dirty glasses, empty bowls, and random teenage detritus, I am calm. There are important discussions to be had with the first two issues and a simple request to go clean up for the last problem. They do laugh about this one because I did yell yesterday when I realized that two teens were riding in the car without seatbelts while the third teen was driving through a snowstorm on a busy highway. I kept the yell short, just one sentence (another accomplishment).
- Clear pee – yes, staying well hydrated was a goal one year.
Wish me luck in 2019!