I LOVE fresh starts and clean notebooks and lists of goals (preferably by category and color coded). And now that I’m a mom, my goals and lists look a little bit different.
For one, my goals now a bit more realistic. And for another, they contain words like “patience,” “shower,” and “chores.”
I still haven’t finalized my new year resolutions for 2018, I’m toying between picking one word of the year like I did last year, setting a different intention for each month, and setting a few realistic goals and putting them on my wall.
But, in the process of thinking about goals, and asking friends on facebook + instagram what their New Year Resolutions are for this year, I’ve compiled this list.
Some of them will certainly be things I’ll be working on next year, but NOT all of them will be a focus. DON’T get overwhelmed by how many good ways there are to spend your time and energy as a mom. Just pick a few (or only one) and see how that focus changes your days, months, and year.
New Year Resolutions for Moms
1. Don’t Say “Don’t”
Instead of using the negative “don’t touch that,” swap it for the positive, “keep your hands to yourself.” It is actually easier for your kids (especially toddlers) to process positive commands and requests so they’ll be more likely to respond the way you want.
I’ve been working on this positive parenting method for a few months and while it’s a bit of a mental exercise for me when my natural instinct is to shout, “DON’T DO THAT!” I can tell a difference in our home when I’m using softer language and my kids .
I used a similar tactic when Lincoln was 9-18 months old with the word “no” and reserved it only for a very select few things (touching outlets, touching my glasses, and hitting). The word had more impact when he was only hearing it once a day (or so) and it helped me feel like I wasn’t saying “no” all the time. I didn’t let him do everything else but instead of, “No, don’t touch that,” I would redirect or say “instead of touching that decoration which could break, let’s play with these blocks instead.”
2. Make One Dinner
Am I the only one guilty of making dinner for the kids at five pm and then enjoying something else with Ben around 8 after the kids have gone to bed? Before we moved to Boston we always ate all together and Lincoln would eat whatever we were having but in the crazy of the last few months I often found myself feeding the kids something simple at five, especially if we were having something I wasn’t certain they’d eat.
For me, committing to one dinner means planning meals long enough in advance that come 5pm I know what we’re doing and am not scrambling for anything my kids will say yes to. I also recognize they won’t eat everything but that eventually having this one dinner option will expand their palates and help them experience a wider variety of foods.
3. Care about Cleaning
So many nights in the last few months I’ve gone to sleep in a messy house, determined to tackle it in the morning. And each morning I wake up with 15 more minutes of extra sleep and a lot of added stress. The mornings where I have taken the time the night before to straighten up feel calm and energizing (that sounds contradictory but I think you know what I mean – it’s like waking up well-rested; peaceful but ready to tackle the day).
And I’m not the only one that loves a clean house. My kids are calmer when our space is orderly and while my husband claims not to care, I think he’s more productive and patient when our home is clean.
4. Go Bilingual
So Ben is the true bilingual parent in our house and used to speak only in Spanish to Lincoln. But, my support goes a long way in having another language be spoken. One of our family goals is to speak more Spanish at home, and I want to commit to reading to both kids in Japanese (my dwindling second language) again this year.
5. Put Motherhood Second
I love the guidance “The most important thing a father can do for his daughter is to love her mother.” It applies to mothers, too.
This year, consider focusing on making sure that you aren’t giving all of your time and effort to being a great mom. The example of a strong marriage and the secure home that marriage creates is an invaluable gift to your kids.
Maybe it means scheduling regular date nights. Maybe it means letting your kids play on their own for a few minutes while you regroup in the late afternoon. Whatever it means for you, find ways to make sure motherhood isn’t taking a serious toll on your marriage.
6. Practice Patience
I like super specific goals I can measure and this one is hard. But I feel SO much better at the end of the day when I’ve been more patient with my kids.
I am more patient when I’m well rested, fed, and dressed in something other than what I slept in the night before. I’m also more patient when I’ve focused on being patient during the days prior. Patience is a skill you can develop and this year I’m excited to focus on responding and not reacting, showing a little bit more patience.
7. A Potty of One
I heard this resolution from a friend and while I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to it, 2019 might be my year where I kick all children out of the bathroom with me for good.
8. Take a shower daily
Even I can commit to this one. Think about how clean + on top of things you’d feel if you started each morning showered + dressed? I still only plan on washing my hair a couple times a week, but a quick shower everyday would certainly make a difference on the days I’m tempted to feel tired and lazy all day long.
9. Get Dressed
Every single time I make goals as a mom they include getting dressed everyday. There is something about not wearing what you slept in the night before that changes the way you feel, which impacts the way you act and how you treat your family.
For me, even just changing out of the yoga pants I wore to bed into another pair with a shirt I plan on wearing to the gym later that day makes me feel ready for the day.
If you’re really ambitious, you could consider adding makeup to this list. I almost wish it didn’t, but spending a few minutes putting on makeup in the morning makes me more confident, productive, and likely to have a good day (I should use this 90 second makeup routine more often).
10. More Drink more water
Hydration contributes to health and energy which have a direct impact on patience and attitude. Your skin will also thank you!
P.S. My favorite way to get myself to drink more water is by using MIO water drops. So delicious.
11. Stop Comparing
Just stop. There are so many other ways to use your energy.
Try to learn to be happy from other people’s successes, but mostly, just learn to be happy with exactly what you have. And remember, on social media, you are often seeing curated, staged, styled moments. Even candids snapped in influencers homes have often been semi-staged or are the result of good lighting and men who have taken 4902928 of photos in their career as instagram husbands. Don’t compare your worst to their best or your beginning to their middle.
12. Call Home
I call my mom more often then I’d care to admit. Sometimes it’s because I have a question and sometimes it’s just because I need someone to entertain my children on facetime for five minutes while I make dinner. But, relationships are one of the only proven ways to increase happiness and I have never regretted the time I spent investing in family relationships.
Be a Better Girlfriend
Speaking of relationships, have you sacrificed your friendships for the sake of your children? Me, too. And that’s okay. BUT, consider committing to making more time for the women in your life. Whether it’s regular girls nights, calling to see how they’re doing, or just texting someone everyday (not the same person, that might be overkill) to catch up. Celebrate their successes, commiserate in their struggles, and when you really need them, they’ll be there, too.
13. Exercise your mind.
Read a book, listen to a podcast, take a class, or at least watch a documentary. Sometimes after kids come along it is easy set our personal development aside (well, our brain development at least… nothing has done more for my personal development of patience, charity, and selflessness like motherhood), but I promise you’ll feel a bit more you when you spend time learning about something that interests you.
14. And get yourself to the gym
Or find a home workout program. Or commit to walking the stroller two miles each day. I won’t preach on the benefits of exercise, but just do it.
Exercise has been my medication of choice since becoming a mom – not because I particularly enjoy the act, but because I love the effects. My kids deserve the energetic, happy, enthusiastic, patience girl I am when I’m exercising regularly, and so do I.
15. Use your Phone Less
This is actually a terrible resolution on it’s own. It isn’t measurable. But, it’s worth listing because the detailed version will look different for a lot of people. Maybe it’s leaving your phone plugged in in the other room. Maybe it’s setting aside a full day where you don’t use screens.
For me, I’m committing to a few phone free mornings each week and going back to sleeping with my phone in another room. I also love the idea of putting away phones from the hours of 5-8 each night.
16. Make a plan for kids to help with chores
My kids are 1 and 2 right now but this is on my list. When Lincoln was 1 he was great at picking up his toys each day and would clean his room before bed, with A LOT of direction and some assistance. With two, I’m not nearly as diligent because it’s faster and easier for me to spend three minutes picking up everything myself. But, I know consistency pays off and I’m excited to help Lincoln and Adelaide learn a little bit about responsibility and work this year.
And a few more New Year Resolutions to consider:
- Stop trying to be your kid’s best friend. Be their parent, not their BFF.
- Stop complaining about the messes. Kids will always make messes – don’t waste time complaining about the inevitable.
- Be quiet more, respond less.
- Be more grateful.Gratitude is a muscle and the more you practice, the stronger it becomes.
- Have unplugged dinners each night.
- Meal plan at the beginning of each week
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are doing an awesome job. Tell yourself that (out loud).
- Resist the compulsion to over-protect your kids
- Set screen-free times or areas in your home.
- Spend more time playing outside with your kids.
- Find a toy organization system (and stick to it)
- Ask for help (consider making this specific – “Ask for help with something every month.”).
- Make consistent time for yourself.
- Shoot for a clutter-free home (consider taking the minimalist challenge and de-junking in January) .
- Unplug for a whole day once a week
- Say no more often, to the things you don’t want to do or don’t have time for.
- Give your children more autonomy.
- Find a hobby that has nothing to do with your kids.
- Find something to delegate (whether it’s to a maid, your husband, your kids, or family/friends that offer to help).
- Stop complaining.
- Cut toxic friendships out of your life.
- Write three things your grateful for down at the end of each day (or add them to a note in your phone).
- Eat something green everyday.
- Find a way to serve with your kids each month.
- Make a mom friend in your town (consider setting goals you can control such as “talking to a new mom at the park each week” or “attending story time at the library with my kids”)
- Find your momiform (find an outfit combo that is comfortable and makes you feel great and wear it on repeat).
- Set up all your appointments for the year in advance (can you actually set appointments eight months in advance? it’s worth a shot).
- Write monthly updates about your children in a journal.
- Alternatively, write letters to each of your children this year (let them read them now or save them for a later date).
- Print photos every month OR print a photo book (our favorite place to print photos is Mixbook).
- Take more photos. Or take less photos.
- Get professional photos of your family taken.
peplum tee: my sister and I snagged this in two different colors from GAP FACTORY yesterday for under $10 – it’s super comfy and a lot like this one I have that is better quality (more cute peplum tops here)
denim: these are the ultimate pair of jeans I’ve been dreaming/saving/wishing for since I got to wear them for this post with Saks four year ago – I finally bit the bullet two weeks ago and have been thrilled ever since (p.s. the different washes are different prices – some half the price of others! lots more great everyday denim options here )
watch: my one consistent accessory these days