Parenting is equal parts wonderful and terrible. Really, it’s true. One second you’re cooking in the kitchen with your bubbly 13-year old daughter, and the next, she’s slamming the door in your face telling you she hates you. Likewise, you could be having the most relaxing time sitting on the couch with your toddler reading his favorite book, and 10 minutes later you’re both in tears because he won’t poop in the toilet and you desperately need him to.
When all is said and done, whether your kid or teen is being naughty or nice, it is up to you, the parent, to lead and guide them into responsible adulthood.
This reality check is a hard pill to swallow, but with a little help, some seemingly lofty goals — and a new year at your toes to start fresh, we know you can do this. To help you out, here are some healthy New Year’s Resolutions to get you started.
1. Make time for you everyday
You can’t be expected to pour juice from an empty pitcher. The same goes for you. You really can’t be expected to give to others if you haven’t filled yourself with love, energy and confidence, first.
Maybe reading from your favorite book fills your cup. Perhaps it’s going for an early morning run or exercise class. Whatever you need to do each day to give you the capacity to give to others, do it.
2. Make time for your marriage/partnership everyday
If you’re in a healthy marriage, it is important that you make it a priority. In fact, a 2015 research survey studied the effects on marriage on children from the early 1960s to the present day. The findings concluded that couples who stayed in a healthy marriage had a higher likelihood of protecting their children from poverty, abuse, school failure, criminal behavior and serious emotional problems.
So, take time to make your marriage stronger, so you can in turn help your parenting and children follow suit.
3. Make time for your child everyday
Whether you have one, two or eight children, it is important to make time for each child every day. This could be a simple hug, talking about how the day went, sitting with a couple of them at a time as you read a book or watch a show. Simply being present in their daily lives will make them feel loved, which will in turn, make you feel the same way back.
4. Practice meditation
Meditation is an age old practice that comes in many forms. You can do it quietly in a room as you breathe deeply and achieve a state of mindfulness. If that is too hard to do, meditation can happen while doing something you love to do — something that is so innately you that you can set your mind and body on autopilot.
This could be dancing, sewing, going for a run, cooking. Really the sky’s the limit as long as it is an activity that allows your mind and body to relax and be in the moment.
5. Exercise more
Perhaps your “me time” or meditation does not include physical exercise. Even so, getting a healthy amount of exercise for your body is crucial in helping you perform daily tasks and even cope with daily stress.
According to the Stress in America Survey published by the American Psychological Association found that while most adults reported experiencing positive benefits from exercise, only one-third of adults report exercising less than once a week or not at all. This comes even with study after study finding that exercise can relieve stress, reduce depression and improve cognitive function.
So, make the time to exercise regularly. You will see the benefits, and so will your kids.
6. Eat healthier
Exercise is only part of the recipe to a healthier you. Eating a diet rich in natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber — all the good stuff — will help you fight diseases and common illnesses, cope better with stress and even give you more energy. Really, just try it.
7. Put the phone down
If there are two things that many parents are short on, it’s time and confidence. And one surefire way to consume both of those things is by mindlessly scrolling through your phone at social media. Sure, it has its good points, but if you find yourself staring at your phone for no rhyme or reason, you will find that the minutes will melt away as you look at the seemingly perfect lives of everyone you follow.
In the new year, try taking a break from social media to see how it makes you feel. Then, set limits on how often you use it. You will likely find that you will have more time to be productive, and will be happier with the life you’ve chosen.
8. Forgive more
People can do and say dumb things that hurt us, and when they do, we have two choices: hold onto the hurt or let it go. And guess which one is going to promote the most healing? You guessed it: letting go of hurt.
Whether it’s a friend or family member — even your teen who has said or done hurtful things — make a conscious effort to forgive. When you do, you may find that you have an increased capacity to love because you have freed the protective barriers that have been holding your heart hostage.
9. Be more honest
You are going to have bad days that have nothing to do with being a parent. Maybe you had a rough day at work. Maybe your hormones are out of whack. Perhaps personal issues like finances, your health or relationships have caused stress in your life and you end up taking out your frustrations out on the kids by being snappy and irritable.
It happens to the best of us, and don’t be too hard on yourself. However, you do need to take time to be honest with yourself about what is really happening. There may even be times when you need to let your kids know, too so that they don’t beat themselves up over something that really had nothing to do with them.
10. Practice gratitude
It is so easy to get caught up in the things we don’t have. Maybe it’s not enough money to buy things you want, or a job that lets you have more time. Perhaps you are consumed by troubles in your marriage or the poor decisions of a child. Negativity can quickly take over our lives, rendering us unable to see even the slightest bit of good.
This is why it is so important to practice gratitude.
Do you have a roof over your head, food on your plate, clothes to wear? Do you have the capability of finding a better job, or the ability to look past difficulties in your own job? Are you able to see beyond the downfalls of your child, and show gratitude to him for the good things he does? If you’re going to stick to one resolution this year, might we suggest an attitude of gratitude. Because when you are grateful, see the good in life, and as a result, do the good things this life has to offer — and it sure has a lot of good to offer.