Happy 2021! Parenting Resolutions For The New Yearby Ellie Thompson
Welcome to 2021! To help you settle into the new year, here are some of my top ideas for new year's resolutions you can try either by yourself or with the whole family.
1. Putting down the phone.
I’m so guilty of this, and not just because I’m being ‘sociable’ but because I’m mostly always taking photos of the kids, but one app leads to another – isn’t that how the saying goes?
I want to ditch my phone from when the kids come home until they go to bed. Unless of course, there’s a really amazing photo opportunity.
2. I’ll do something with those 45k photos on my phone.
Anybody else? PLEASE say somebody else out there is in this situation. How do I remedy it? I’ve tried to back up all 45.8k (may as well be million) photos, but how do I know they’re all really in that little black box that plugs into my computer? Because once they’re gone, they’re really gone! I lost the evidence to the last half of my twenties because of the self-same technology error. Looking back, it was probably for the best.
3. I’ll stop raising my voice… and eyeball them whilst talking slowly and murderously instead.
Yes, that should do it. I didn’t even realise I was shouting at my kids until we were sitting on the sofa one day, and I said to Maddie “Oh, I really need a wee!” and she shouted, “WELL, GO THEN!!!” and I thought… Hmm – those potty training methods are coming back to haunt me – in more ways than one, it has to be said! (But oh, isn’t potty training SO frustrating!!)
4. Be better at listening or more accurately, be better at ‘acknowledging’.
Have you noticed how kids will repeat the same thing over and over and you’ll have heard it the first, second, third, umpteenth time and yet you still won’t have acknowledged them or responded? Sometimes it's almost like hearing an echo from another world, even when they're right there next to you. Yep, must get better at my response times.
5. I’ll stop eating their food
Oh hello, those tantalising leftovers on their plates! And I don’t mean Maddie’s regurgitated chicken or the food that ends up overboard on the floor (although I’ve seen Jamie eat both if I’m honest).
But when Billy leaves his homemade chips (which in my book should be a crime punishable by law) it’s hard to resist. I mean, who doesn’t love homemade chips?
6. To stop eating cat food.
Nope, you're wrong. This resolution isn’t mine, I'm just not that hungry. It’s Billy’s, although he doesn’t know it yet. He’s sometimes more interested in finishing Ralphie’s dinner than he is his own! And don’t get him started on the Dreamies. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside… He snuffles them down whenever we're not looking, and even when we are. "BILLY, NOOOOOOO!"
7. Drinking out of the toilet
Nope, you're really wrong. This resolution is definitely not mine. Oh no, this one is for the cat. As a responsible parent, I must remind everybody in the household to close the toilet lid once they’ve finished. This simply CANNOT go on, Delilah!
8. Stop thinking the kids are out of earshot when they’re not…
Yeah, not proud of this one. Put the kids to bed the other night, came down the stairs, and said to Jamie, “I think it must have been Mum’s Christmas present that got nicked from the doorstep. Fucking thieving bastards!”
“DON’T SAY THAT WORD!” cries Maddie from the upstairs landing.
“Oh SHIT!” I exclaim, I mean, “OH, BOTHER! I am SO sorry Maddie! Mummy is going to go and sit in the corner.”
“NEVER say that word.” She said solemnly. "Never."
I woke up in a sweat at 3 am the following morning, having just dreamt she shouted it at her preschool teacher, Emma. Please God, be kind to me.
9. More date nights, mate nights, get outside of these four wall nights
Covid, throw us a bone! 2021 will hopefully be a year to put life into a bit more perspective. I'm looking forward to spending time one to one with my husband, my mates and myself, without the kids being around. Juuuust every once in a while.
10. A toy cull.
Shhhh! Don't tell the kids!
This resolution is going to be hard to pull off after having recently scarred myself completely by reading The Velveteen Rabbit, but it must be done. All those cute and memory-filled baby toys… Maybe I’ll just put them in a bag and sneak them up into the attic?
Oh, and to definitely stop tripping on them and doing myself an injury. And in the inevitable event that I do, I must resolve to hold my breath and count to ten instead of being tempted to shout obscenities.
11. Remind me I’m only human
Being kind is important, and being kind to you is even more important! That is definitely how the saying goes - ha!
Cast aside the mum guilt, we’re ALL of us doing the best we can. Kids don’t want perfection; they just want to be loved.
So here we are. “Cheers to a new year, and another chance for us to get it right.” Damn right, Oprah!
Happy New Year, all! Make it a good one. x