This is a list of the five New Year’s Resolutions my two-and-a-half-year-old came up with, things she’s going to stop doing. Okay, so maybe this is just a list of things I came up with for her, which is really just a list of ways in which I can be a better mom.
We have so many sweet intentions about what kind of parent we'll be or what things we'll "never let our kids" do before we ever have kids ourselves. I mean, we babysat kids, right? So, we had our future parenting plans down pat. Ha!
I can’t tell you how long my list of things I swore I’d never do as a mom has become now that I am a mom…One word for you – SURVIVAL! Some days you’re just trying to keep your head above water and prevent the rest of your family from drowning at the same time. Other days you’re leisurely floating down the lazy river or swimming like an Olympic champion, but the days of treading water for survival usually outnumber the others. On those days, we moms throw our hands up in the air and say “____ it!” (You fill in the blank).
But since it's a new year, a clean slate, an opportunity to start fresh, we all pull up our big girl pants, put one foot in front of the other, and take the opportunity to do better. Somehow it feels easier when you know the rest of the world is doing it too – working out, starting that new diet, cutting back on bad habits, etc. So why not have reasonable intentions of being a better mother? Sometimes it doesn’t even take much…
So here are my (toddler’s) resolutions:
1. Stop Wasting Milk.
If my daughter were still drinking my breast milk, maybe I’d be better at making sure every last drop was dribbled up or preserved, but she’s not. She drinks non-dairy plant milk because she has a dairy sensitivity and the kind she likes the best is not cheap! Yet here we are wasting cups of it almost every day. And it's totally my fault!
I’m likely in a rush to clean her up and get her down from her highchair before she climbs out of it and get distracted or am too lazy to clean up her leftover food right in that instant. So, I leave it there for later, forgetting that she still has a half glass of milk left that needs to go in the fridge. Or, I give her a cup of milk that she drinks on the sofa, and then we leave to go somewhere, and I forget to put what’s leftover away.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found multiple spoiled cups of milk sitting around our house, and it’s really getting ridiculous! Not to mention, it eventually gets moldy and smells disgusting. [Visualize puke emoji here.]
2. Stop Watching So Many Shows.
I am so guilty of parking my toddler in front of the TV or giving her my iPhone to watch YouTube Kids! When I’m tired, have something pressing to get done, or selfishly just don’t want to play blocks for the twentieth time, I cave. I know she watches TV too much because I catch her singing along to a new character theme song every other day. My first thought is, Wow! How does she know that song? Immediately followed by, Well duh, you’ve let her watch way too many shows lately!!
The worst part about it is that she doesn’t even really need the TV most of the time. I’ve found that as long as I can get her set up with some toys, she’s usually happy to entertain herself with imaginary play while I’m cooking dinner or folding laundry. I’ve realized that turning the TV on is my bad habit, and I have to admit that maybe it’s because I’m needing the background noise to drown out my day, even if it comes in the form of PJ Masks!
She does ask to watch a show on my iPhone in the car, which is a terribly hard habit to break now, and I do give it to her when I’m taking a shower too so she’ll sit patiently and safely. Any other time I give it to her though, it’s for purely selfish reasons on my part.
3. Stop Spilling Food All Over the Place.
Cereal in my bed, crackers in the sofa cushions, dried beans on the carpet…Let’s think about this one for a second. If I enforced the rule I swore I would have before I ever became a mom, it would be that eating happens in designated places only, and NEVER upstairs or in the bedroom. For my daughter, this would mean that eating food always took place in her high chair.
But alas…I could say I haven’t enforced it as well as I should because “I’m picking my battles,” but that would be a lie. I honestly don’t think my child would throw that big of a fit if I didn’t let her sit on the sofa with her snack. So, this one, again, is on me.
Getting her set up in her high chair shouldn’t seem like a daunting task, but on some days, it sure feels like it. And those are the days that like a waiter I bring the bowl of food to wherever she is happily comfortable. I already see how big of a slippery slope this is. I’m imagining my teenager with her feet up on a chair, watching some trashy TV show and asking mom to bring her chips and guac! Okay, I’ve got to get my act together now!!
4. Stop Always Getting My Way.
This is a tough one for toddlers. They're pretty pushy and demanding, and bossy, and whiny. They know how to press every one of your buttons, and I swear they enjoy watching you edge closer and closer to insanity on some days. If you’ve ever watched Boss Baby, it’s not too far away from the truth.
I’m trying to be better at sticking to my guns. I’d like to think that I’m great at being firm, but my daughter is also great at being firm. I can already foresee how things are going to go down when she’s prepubescent, so I need to assert my unwavering authority now before she no longer believes I’ll follow through. She’s just so damn cute, and oh how it shatters my heart every time she cries! But it’s her secret manipulative weapon…I’ve seen her turn off the waterworks on a dime!!
If I keep letting her get her own way, I’m the one getting played. And I may make it sound like she’s a difficult kid, which is not my intention at all because she’s actually extremely sweet and loving. I actually think that because she’s generally so wonderful, her “toddler moments” tend to be amplified in my eyes because I take for granted how easy she is to deal with on the regular.
5. Don’t Be So Rude.
This is probably one of the more important ones to nip in the bud right away. My daughter is a sweet little firecracker, but boy can she be sassy! She has been exercising her right to say “Stop!” complete with her palm out. Who taught her this!? I’m all for empowering little girls to define their boundaries and stand up for what they want, but when my daughter says “stop” it’s usually in response to my singing (which is not so horrible!), me having a conversation with any other adult, or me playing with her and her toys in a way she doesn’t find acceptable.
She’s also great at making all of her musical toys go off all at once as soon as I make a phone call or “meowing” so loudly in the background that I can’t help but start laughing when I’m trying to resolve something with a customer service agent on the other end of the line! It’s kind of hysterical, but also really annoying. If I lock myself in a room to have privacy, then she proceeds to pound on the door and yell, “Mommy, mommy, mom, mommy…” over and over and over.
So, we’re working on listening, understanding what “being rude” means, and giving positive reinforcement when she expresses her desires graciously. God, just please continue to give me the patience!