Anyone who has written today’s date has no doubt noticed that it’s a cool one from a numbers standpoint. 1/11/11, only to be outdone, or course, by 11/11/11. I’ve decided to take advantage of this neat date by unveiling my 11 parenting goals for the rest of the year. Sure, I could have waited until November to unveil them, but then I’d only have a little over 6 weeks to implement said goals. Presenting them today still gives me virtually the entire year.
And notice how these are parenting goals, not tips? I don’t know about you, but when I’m looking for tips, I prefer to get them from experts. And I most certainly do not consider myself a parenting expert, so I leave the advice-giving to folks who have the letters PhD alongside their name. But goals? Any simpleton can have those. Here are 11 of mine.
1. Stop using my smartphone like a dumb-dumb: I truly believe that 10 years from now, there’ll be countless studies which prove the negative impact smartphones have had on any number of relationships, including the ones parents have with their children. So this year, I’m checking the smartphone at the door when I come home from work. Sure, I’ll use it, but only after the kids have gone to bed.
2. Cut down on shenanigans: Shenanigans. You know, the fun stuff. Notice how I didn’t say eliminate shenanigans, mind you. All work and no play makes JCO a lame parent. But I do intend to cut down on some of my less-than-neccessary endeavors. I figure that cutting shenanigans will buy me a little time, and perhaps rest. And to be a good parent, one needs all the time and energy one can find!
3. Increase the number of “date nights.” I’m of the trickle-down school of thought. Everything trickles down to the kids from Mama and Papa. And if they’re good, odds are the kids will be, too. Luckily, Caroline and I are pretty good (as evidenced by the unexpected 5th child she’s carrying). But no time to get complacent. More date nights in 2011 will help ensure that we remain a united front.
4. Teach the triplets to swim. This one should be easy. At 3 years old, they were all pretty good last year maneuvering around in their life jackets. This year, it’s time for them to master the water without their floaties.
5. Fall camping trip. One of the best family activities is camping. No computers, no TVs, no radios, no nothing. Except the teamwork and comradery needed to pull off a successful weekend in the woods. I’m hoping to take my family on a Cadillac camping trip this fall. Those of us who are old enough, that is. Hopefully we can talk someone into keeping our baby. Probably not cool to bring a 2 month old camping.
6. Overnight hike. My 9 year old loves to Cadillac camp. I’ve taken her many times. This year, however, I plan on going to the next level by taking her on a mellow 2-day backpacking trip. Or perhaps hiking to a cabin to spend the night, then hiking back the next morning.
7. Music and art. Speaking of my 9 year old, I’ve noticed she’s getting more and more into music and artwork. My goal is to help foster that interest for the rest of 2011. Nothing cooler than getting in touch with true art. On any level.
8. Fitness. Turns out I got a year older in 2010. And it translated into 5 extra pounds of JCO. Okay, that’s a lie. It’s more like 7. Ten tops. With baby number 5 on the way, I’ve got to stay young. Time to recommit to my level of fitness.
9. Soul searching. To be the best parent you can be, sometimes you gotta dig deep. And I like to do that at least once per year by backpacking a section of the Appalachian Trail with a buddy. No kids. No wives. Just two guys armed with 40 pounds of necessities and a desire to live a more meaningful life. Last year we covered 80 miles in 5 days. This year, I hope for something similar.
10. Enjoy the moment. Cliched, no? Still, I found myself cringing through more moments than I would have liked to admit in 2010. Three toddlers will do that to a man. But with one full year of toddlerhood remaining, I have to embrace the beauty underneath all the difficulty our trio provides.
11. Know when to say when. It’s official. As great as parenthood has been to us, Caroline and I are done making babies. Child number five will be our “grand finale.” Which means that I’ve got a little procedure to schedule.
Hmm. Maybe I should schedule that during March Madness.
So there you have it. My 11 goals in 2011. Do you have any parenting goals you’d like to share?