Parenting Guru: Why a Parent's New Year's Resolutions Are Worth Keeping

With Kids Who Depend on Us, It's Time to Start Keeping Our Word

The elliptical at the gym hasn't seen you since January 5th. The frozen Cinnabons in the middle of the frozen food aisle at the supermarket hardly noticed you were gone in the one or two weeks you managed to convince yourself to skip them. You haven't given up Facebook, or Twitter, or Pinterest in favor of reading more books; heck, you haven't even slowed down at all.

Well, join the saddest club in the land. Like all of other millions of people who made themselves some New Year's resolutions during those last fleeting moments of 2012, you've probably already let yourself down, right?

"But I'm a parent", you shout into the wind. "It's so hard!"

That's true. Parents all know that hours are long, there is no pay (unless you are Honey Boo-Boo's mom, and even then it might not be worth it), and you have to slog through at least 18 or 20 years of a very binding contract before you really get to come up for much air again. So, its no wonder we make excuses for ourselves at every turn, huh?

I mean, sure we made a couple New Year's resolutions, and sure we'd like to drop ten pounds or start attending that book club at the book store once a week, but listen up. WE ARE TIRED, MAN! We are exhausted. Our lives are tumultuous and chaotic.

That voice sounds pretty pathetic, doesn't it?

But guess what? That's how you sound to your own kids.

That's right. These young guns who we love more than anything in the world, who we claim to adore so much that we would do anything in the damn universe for them, these are the exact same children who, year after year, watch us spout off about the weight we are going to finally shed or the culture pond we are going to re-dip our toes in and then: TA-DAH! They watch us do absolutely nothing of the sort.

How weird is that? And how sad?

How bizarre is it that as a responsible and intelligent parent, we would solemnly swear to want take better care of ourselves, to love ourselves the way we need to be doing it, right in front of our own flesh and blood every year like clockwork only to turn around and show them six weeks later that we really don't give a crap about what we said we were going do?

Some inspiration we are, huh?

Imagine if your kid's school teachers acted like that. Or their coaches. You'd be down at the ballfield or in the principle's office raising cain, shouting,'How dare you make promises in front of my kid, how dare you get them excited about the prospect of a grown up doing some good in their life and then just turning around and forgetting all about it?

I quit smoking last year.

It wasn't easy; I'd been a smoker for a long long time. But the day finally came when I looked at my daughter who was 3 and my son who was 1 and I just walked over to my pack of cigs and crushed them in a ball in my fist. (Of course, then I went and bought another pack, but I DID quit after several tries!)

"So what?" you mumble.

Well, my point is this, and it isn't anything new or revolutionary, but chances are you need to hear it again. You can do stuff you want to do, if you really want to do it. Hitting the gym, quitting the smokes, reading more books, whatever it is you want to do, you can do it.

But you have to tattoo a picture of your kids right there on your thumping heart.

You have to realize that they are watching you, or will be watching you in the years to come, closer than you can even imagine. You have to understand that the kids you helped bring into this world will be looking hard to be inspired by you more than anyone else in their life.

And you have to recognize that if you want to let them down big time in that department, well, all you need to do is just keep on making those New Year's resolutions that you never ever keep.

Serge Bielanko is proud to be a Shine Parenting Guru. He can also be found writing all about the ups/downs/joys/and blues of being a dad at Babble.com. and on his own blog, Thunder Pie.