A Wacky Mother’s New Year’s Resolutions 2013:
1) Remain normotensive. Others would say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” This is a trite phrase I commonly recite to myself when my little ones are using green marker to draw on their stuffed animals or antique white bedroom furniture or blue crayon to create a masterpiece on the carpet in our office. I can feel my blood pressure rise when the older boys are bickering over Legos. I have told myself to get a grip countless times in the past 8 years of motherhood. Living in a scary world of school shootings, childhood cancers, accidental injuries, I know I should feel grateful to have my kids around to wreak havoc to my house and mind.
2) Keep a dirtier house. I like to keep my house meticulously clean, tidy and mess free. Often times as I am cleaning, my Tazmanian devils are creating more mayhem and disarray at a faster rate than I can clean! However, every moment I am cleaning or straightening is a moment I am not actively mothering. My kids won’t remember living in a clean house when they are older, they’ll remember playing chess/Legos/dolls or reading books with their mother.
3) Smile more frequently. I have noticed that sometimes when I purposefully smile at my children, they will flash me their reciprocal smiles. They may also suspiciously ask, “Why are you being so nice to me?” or “What’s with the weird smile?”
4) Count to 10 before saying anything negative to my children. I think I may have inherited my grandfather’s legendary volcanic temper. The kind that simmers and bubbles and then overflows when the pressure reaches a certain level. Anger is only a useful or productive emotion when harnessed in a positive way.
5) Be as patient with my children as I am with my kiddos at work. I am measurably more patient with my clinic children. Typically if my sweet pediatric patients are acting feisty, it is because they are out of their element. They may be febrile and ill or anxious about impending vaccinations. I try to approach my patients gently and try to be understanding of their fears and frustrations. Conversely, I need to translate this serene tolerance to my four spunky children at home. It seems unfair to my little ones that I save my equanimity for my clinic patients and then sometimes unshackle my ire when I am at home. All children deserve consistent benevolence, especially from their mother!
6) Travel unconventional journeys with my four children. Walt Disney World and the beach are cute and sweet in their own way but not at all off that beaten path. I want to take my kids to see the natural wonders in this world. I want them to understand there are other possibilities outside of suburbia. Parenting can be difficult at home or in travel, but the amazing memories created can be so much more vibrant than a prosaic home routine.
7) Dance daily. My kids like to take showers in our master bathroom. Several times a week, we will turn on the iPod in the bathroom and dance to Led Zeppellin or PSY or Jason Mraz while each child is showering. Some days I am exhausted at the end of the day and just can’t get my mojo on. My dumplings become so disappointed when they can’t dance naked in the privacy of their own house. There will likely be a time (sometime in the near future) when they also won’t want to dance with me anymore or realize that I am a truly terrible dancer. Right now, they actually think I am funny and have good dance moves! I need to take advantage of this time!
My resolutions are probably pretty basic or simple and I likely should have been doing them all along. But sometimes when I get stuck in the mire of working, rushing, cleaning, I lose sight of enjoying. Happy New Years!