Christmas is over and 2012 is a mere few days away. Time to make those New Year’s resolutions. Yeah, not so much —not for me anyway. If making resolutions is your things, hey, that’s cool; knock yourself out, especially if it works. That’s the thing, they don’t for me. Two weeks into January, and I’ve either forgotten or ignored three-fourths of them. By February I’m like, “Ah, screw it.”
I’ve tried all the standard resolutions—lose weight, exercise more, be less cynical —and they’ve always done nothing except to make me feel like a failure (Next year’s resolution: Be less of a failure). In fact, it’s for this very reason that I refuse to make resolutions concerning my parenting. To me they’re BS. And I must emphasis the “To me” part; so if these are part of your goals for 2012, don’t be offended.
Feed the Kids Only Healthy Foods
Why it’s BS: I’ve got nothing against healthy foods, but 100% all the way? That’s never going to happen. I’d rather teach my kid why a healthy diet is good for them rather than shoving it down their throats. And letting them have junky treats here and there isn’t a bad thing. The forbidden fruit of the snack aisle is the strongest because it’s forbidden. Thus, I shouldn’t be surprised to learn that my kids secretly jammed 4 bowls of sugar frosted crap down their gullets while at their friend’s house because it was their chance to get away with it.
Get More Involved at their School
Why it BS: This one’s motivational dependent, I suppose. If I’m only doing this to feel better about myself as an involved parent, then someone shoot me. Besides, if spending time at school detracts from my time to get other things I need to get done, then it’s likely I’m going to get resentful about it. Better for me to get done what I need to and skip the resentment which, no doubt, the kids will notice.
Limit their Time on Video Games
Why it’s BS: Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not giving my kids a blank check here, but there are times when I need them to be occupied for more than a few hours. So if I tell them one minute the rule is an hour a day, but then let them have two on another, I’m just confusing them, and that can also dilute in their mind the parameters to other rules in the house.
Resolve to Communicate with My Children (Yes, I’ve actually seen this one on people’s lists)
Why it’s BS: If I have to resolve to communicate with my kids, then I need to just quit.
Refuse to Feel Guilty
Why it’s BS: I don’t think parental guilt is always a bad thing. A little bit is good and perfectly normal. It’s like playing basketball; if you don’t have at least one foul in a game, then you weren’t trying hard enough. Mistakes are part of parenting, and feeling bad about them means you care. By the same token, if parental guilt is creating a lot of family dysfunction, then you’ve got bigger issues and a New Year’s resolution isn’t the answer.
Not Lose My Cool
Why it’s BS: First off, if I’m losing my temper with the kids all the time, then like the dysfunctional parental guilt, I’ve got bigger problems. But losing my cool at the right times is a warranted in my book. There are moments that kids need to know you mean business, and telling little Johnny that such and such is a no-no’s, sweetie, isn’t going to cut it. An infrequent outburst saved for the appropriate occasion will.
Be Less Stressed Out
Why it’s BS: Hahahahahaha! What a joke. Like you can control this. I actually think it’s good that my kids see me stressed—not all the time or for a prolonged period, but enough that they know what it means to be stressed out, and that it’s part of life. If I were going to make any resolution here, it would be to show my kids how to effectively deal with stress.
Spend More Time with the Kids
Why it’s BS: Granted, I get the sentiment behind this one, but truly it shouldn’t be the amount of time, but rather the quality. Thirty quality minutes of listening to them goes a lot longer than three distracted hours with them at the park as you think about work. Kids know the difference, believe me.
Be a Better Me
Why it BS: What the fig newton? Being a better me isn’t a resolution; it’s a day-to-day process of life, provided I’m paying attention to what’s going on and what I’m supposed to learn from it. I’d rather teach my kids how to pay attention, than waste energy focusing on whatever nebulous concept is behind this resolution.
* * *
Ron Mattocks is a father of five (3 sons, 2 stepdaughters) and author of the book, Sugar Milk: What One Dad Drinks When He Can’t Afford Vodka. He blogs at Clark Kent’s Lunchbox, and lives in Houston with his wife, Ashley, who eternally mocks his fervor for Coldplay.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos (SupaKitMod)