We are crashing into the new year at full speed at my house, how ’bout you? I realized yesterday that the dry erase board containing our “family calendar” was still showing the month of November. I was so overwhelmed with holiday activities that I didn’t even manage to write the entire month of December down! So I am going to adjust my expectations yet again. I bought a giant chalkboard to put in the kitchen so I can (attempt to) plan meals and put giant reminders in front of my family’s faces. My new goal for 2019? To forget only one thing for each kid per week. Surely I can do that, right?
I am past the point of making ridiculously ambitious goals and then feeling like a failure just a few weeks later. This year, I am going to taking a cue from my youngest kid, our four-year-old wild child. My husband has lovingly described him as our pet raccoon: you take your eyes off of him and you never know what snack he has torn into or what furniture he is climbing on. He has completely figured out that we are just so. dang. tired all the time (mostly because of him). He brings us a mixture of hilarity and frustration in equal parts. But when I really considered his attitude toward life, I couldn’t help but wonder, what if we just rolled with it in 2019 like he does?
Life Tip #1: An empty stomach isn’t good for anybody. We nicknamed him Little Bear because the kid is the textbook definition of hangry. He eats one breakfast at home and a second breakfast at school, has lunch, enjoys another snack after nap time, then I pick him up and he eats another snack at home, then has dinner, and he usually asks for another snack again at bedtime. Last night, he climbed out of bed around 10:00 P.M. and politely asked my husband to cook him scrambled eggs for breakfast. Now, I am not saying we let him eat Snickers bars all day long. We have a fridge drawer that I try to keep stocked with healthy snacks like yogurt or carrots. The point is that I want to be more aware of giving my body good things throughout the day so that I don’t reach starving status (and become not nice to anyone in my near vicinity) and then eat something horribly unhealthy and full of sugar. So my goal is to snack—in a healthy way. Totally doable! Because guess who is usually the person who purchases almost all the food that enters this house? Moi, the mom.
Life Tip #2: Just go for comfort. While I do have to dress up for work on occasion, I have the flexibility to wear jeans on days when I am staying in the office. To me, jeans are a casual choice, but to my athletic-attire-loving kids, they are practically a tuxedo. If they have the choice to be in sweatpants and a hoodie, there is no talking them out of it. I used to buy them things that I wanted them to wear and they would just languish in the closet. Skirts for my daughter? Not gonna bother anymore. Fancy church shoes for my boys? Waste of money. And you know who has noticed and really cares? Nobody. If they can be happy and comfortable, I am gonna go full Elsa and sing from the mountaintop. And as for me, I just bought myself a super cute pair of leopard flats. I can still wear my fancy heels (in four-hour increments) whenever I want, but why not just embrace the fact that I don’t have to impress anybody with my model walk through H-E-B?
Life Tip #3: Choose that attitude of gratitude. I have said to my youngest on many occasions with brutal honesty, “Sorry, third kid.” The truth is that when you are the youngest, sometimes your schedule gets thrown out the window because of somebody else’s activity. Sometimes the hand-me-downs are gonna end up in your closet because Mom still thinks they are perfectly fine. We recently did the post-Christmas purge of my middle child’s room (wherein I left his room with a trash bag full of random papers and broken toys and mangled Crayons), which led to a toy shuffle. Things that my six-year-old has outgrown were just as exciting as something brand new to our four-year-old! He happily made room in his toy box and played for a few solid hours with his “new” stuff. We moms know that our wish list is often put on the back burner, but I can still work on being grateful for the things I have. Do I hate how loud my old dishwasher is? Yes, but it still works! I am going to try to be more aware of the feelings that make me want more and more unnecessary stuff and work on appreciating all that I have.
Life Tip #4: A smile and a compliment go a long way. The Bear has a way of driving everybody crazy and then whispering in my ear, “You’re the best Mommy in the whole world!” And—voila!—all is forgiven. You have probably had those sweet moments with your kiddos too, where you want to smother them with hugs and also maybe send them to timeout at the neighbor’s house. In 2019, I will make more of an effort to be kind and share the things that I admire about the people in my life. If someone looks like they put a lot of effort into their appearance, I won’t just mentally think how nice they look. I will share a sincere compliment about the person, not just their clothes. When someone is helpful or thoughtful or pleasant to spend time with, I will say the words out loud so they know how much I appreciate them. And I want to remind my kids how good it makes everybody feel when we genuinely connect and see people.
Let this year be a chance to start fresh in whatever capacity you want. If your goal is to not write down any goals, more power to ya! If you want to lose 50 pounds and run a half-marathon, that sounds awesome too! Just know that you won’t be getting any pressure from me. I am going to make it through 2019 by not taking myself too seriously. This year, I’m taking a cue from my four-year-old and living my best Little Bear life.