Parenting Guru: When Resolutions Aren’t Enough

More family time. Less eating out. No over-scheduling. Fewer fights. Tighter hugs. A cleaner house. A shorter to-do list.

If I'd written this post on December 31 or January 1, that's what it would have consisted of. In fact, the list of resolutions I make looks surprisingly similar every year. I was determined that this year, my New Year's resolutions would be more than that. I'm not making broad generalizations about what I want the year to bring. When I do that, nothing changes (at least not for long). This year my family are doing more than making resolutions. We're making changes.

Mom is not a maid.

I say it all the time, but 2013 is the year that my daughters need to realize it. It's the year that the girls will start to earn an allowance. In addition, they're responsible for one household chore that benefits the family and maintaining one communal space in the home every week. This is in addition to keeping their bedrooms and bathroom clean. Everyone lives in our house, and everyone should be responsible for keeping in presentable.

Our Progress: The girls have been earning a small allowance ($2 per week) and they've started to thrive with some added responsibility around the home. I'm also feeling slightly less overwhelmed by the household chores.

The Verdict: Success!

There's only so much time in the day.

I love that the kids down the street participate in five activities each, make straight-As, and sing in the choir every Sunday. I know our limits, though, and we can't do it all. Everyone is selecting two activities to participate in, and that's it. No matter how worthy an additional activity is of your time, there's only so much time in the day. Both girls want to participate in Girl Scouts, but they are still torn between gymnastics and piano lessons. They're both beneficial to both mind and body. But life is about making choices, and they have to choose one or the other.

Our Progress: The girls are still making their spring activity selection, while both Dad and I have decided to commit our free time to only the PTO and volunteering with religious education at church.

The Verdict: Success!

Less is more.

Toys and clothes and books and games have taken over every free corner of the house. With our daughters' help, my husband and I have started to realize that we can't keep every toy the girls ever receive, nor can he or I keep every book we've ever read. A cluttered house has become synonymous with a cluttered life, and we've decided to let go of those items that are taking up space and not really adding much to our daily lives.

Our Progress: The closets, basement, and dresser drawers are cleaner, and we've made several large donations to charity. I've noticed that some messy build up has started again following a birthday and some new clothing purchases, but we're determined to stay on top of the clutter.

The Verdict: We're on the right track!

One twelfth of the year is behind us and we're determined to focus on these changes throughout the year. Will 2013 be the year we stick with our resolutions? We certainly hope so.

Kelly Herdrich is a writer, blogger, and knitter. She's the mother of three young daughters who constantly keep her on her toes. She is determined to stay on top of things in 2013.