Every New Year since my daughter was born, I've made resolutions about being a better mom to her. Most of these resolutions have involved those conventional standards about what makes a good parent. In years past, I vowed to breastfeed for another year, to cook more homemade meals, to teach her to read by the end of the year, to get her involved with volunteer projects. In every case, I succeeded. But now, as we kick off 2013, I'm ready to bid farewell to my past aspirations to be Supermom. I'm ready to let go, to have fun, and to enjoy every minute of motherhood in all its wonderful (and imperfect) glory. Here are my resolutions as a mom for 2013.
Forming Mommy Memories
In all of my past New Year's resolutions, I've vowed to do something as a habit all year. But it isn't the general memory of a habit-- like spending a year volunteering or breastfeeding-- that stands out to me. It's those special, individual moments: nursing my daughter to sleep one night when she was sick, watching her hand Christmas cards to elderly people at the nursing home, beaming the first time she finished "Hop on Pop" by herself. This year, I hope to form specific memories of times when motherhood made me laugh, smile, or cry with joy. My resolution in 2013 is to make memories and keep them.
Finding Time for Me
Part of being a good mother is being a balanced person. I need and deserve to have time for myself-- days to sleep in, to play video games by myself, to go for long walks in the woods without a kid slowing me down, to have a couple of drinks with friends. My daughter's increasing independence will make it possible this year for me to really get some time for me. After years of high-stress parenthood, I'm ready to take this year to make sure that I'm meeting my own needs so I can best take care of my daughter.
Bending the Rules
I'm going to make a point this year of relaxing a little about some of the rules we follow in our home-- because I've learned that absolute consistency isn't as important a part of parenthood as many of the experts would have us believe. The most joyful moments of motherhood (and childhood) come from the times when we allow ourselves to bend and break rules. I started this year by letting my kiddo stay up until midnight to ring in 2013. In the next 365 days, I plan to let her break more rules: a little extra TV time here and there, a PG movie or two, and hey-- if we end up eating ice cream for dinner once or twice, it'll be our little secret.
Uniting Our Family
My most important goal for this year is one that will be remembered by my family forever. In June, I'll be marrying my fiance-- not my daughter's biological father, but the most amazing, dedicated, loving parent I've ever encountered. After our marriage is official, my partner will be formally adopting our sweet little girl, making our family complete, protected, and legally accepted. When we start out next year, my daughter will have a daddy not just in the eyes of our family, but also in the eyes of the whole world.
What are your parenting resolutions this year?
Juniper Russo is a Shine Parenting Guru and full-time freelance writer when she's not busy reading, crafting, and playing with her bright, eccentric four-year-old.