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F is for … Five Ways I’m Going to Be a Better Parent in 2015

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“Your daughter is so helpful and well-behaved.”

As my friend praised my 5-year-old daughter, I felt proud — and also a little ashamed. We’d had a long car ride over, during the course of which, in dealing with my screaming 2-year-old, I’d missed my exit and lost my cool, shouting and putting everyone on edge. My daughter’s response to Mommy’s outburst? “Don’t worry, Mommy,” she said, turning to her little brother. “I’ll take care of him. You just focus on driving.”

Yes, my daughter is remarkably mature and helpful. Mommy, on the other hand, could use some work. But it’s a new year, and a good time to start fresh — to put my bad behaviors in time out and inch a little closer to the parent I want to be. Here are five things I’m going to do better in 2015.

1. Yell less, breathe more. Yes, my daughter may have knocked over her cup for the third time. Or my son may be writhing on the supermarket floor because he was denied a lollipop. But yelling only proves that Mommy is just as crazy as the kids — worse, in fact, because one day the kids will grow up, and Mommy will still be a ranting lunatic. Instead, I’m going to focus on stepping back and breathing when things get overwhelming. I may not be able to change the situation, but I can regain control of myself. Welcome 2015, my year of Zen.

2. Consider my plate under surveillance. I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth. However, lately I’ve noticed my son watching everything I consume, coveting each unhealthy morsel on my plate. Apparently, if I want him to get excited about vegetables, serving up some broccoli isn’t enough. I’m going to have to develop better habits myself, and rethink what goes on Mommy’s plate each day. Goodbye chocolate-chip muffin(s) for breakfast. We had a good run.

3. Break my smartphone addiction. Once upon a time, I had very few bad habits. I didn’t smoke, rarely drank, and never saw a single episode of Real Housewives. Then I got an iPhone, and suddenly, I was an addict. Now, if I go too long without checking email or Facebook — or even the weather app — I’m in complete withdrawal. While I try not to check my phone when I’m with my family, I constantly feel its pull, taunting me with its irresistible HD display and 8 mega-pixel camera. But no more. This is going to be the year I turn the damn thing off and get on with my life. At least until I can sneak into a bathroom for a quick slide-to-unlock fix.

4. Give back to the community. In 2014, I made it my mission to introduce my daughter to volunteerism. We got off to a great start, distributing flyers for the local food bank and volunteering with 10,000 PB&Js to make sandwiches for New York City’s homeless. But then the holidays came, and giving back took a backseat to Christmas cards and Santa Claus. This year, I’m going to resume my quest to get my kids volunteering. Whether they’re making sandwiches or donating toys, they’re going to learn that they can make a difference.

5. Get outta here. My 2-year-old can be rather, well, destructive. I’ve reached a point where it’s just easier to stay home than to venture out where he can commit various acts of vandalism and petty larceny. While I initially planned to stay home for the next 15 years or so, I’m starting to think that these kids need more stimulation. Whether it’s a museum or the aquarium, in 2015 we’re re-entering the world — even if my son has to observe some of it from his stroller. Hey, it’s a start.

While I don’t expect to become the perfect parent the minute the ball drops (assuming I’m even still awake), I know there are changes I can make. Whether I’m hitting the soup kitchen or simply turning off my phone, I plan on making the year ahead one I can be proud of as a mom. Maybe I’ll even search for my lost gym membership card. Or not. After all, I have to save something for 2016.

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37 Comments

  1. Pingback: F is for … Five Ways I’m Going to Be a Better Parent in 2015 | cozybrik.wordpress.com

  2. You should be very proud that your daughter turned into a very mature young lady. It also shows that your 2 year old will also be better at 5. You are a great parent!

  3. Your five ways are really great. Sounds like two through five will make one a little easier!

    I always think that speaking softly gets more than yelling every time. Often coupled with a crazed look in the eye.

  4. Great resolutions – we all could use a few like this. I admit to having an unexpectedly strong iphone addiction as well – surprising since I resisted getting a smartphone until my old cell phone died and I discovered that no one made batteries for it anymore. I’m trying to think of my kids like one of those “take care of your virtual pet” apps – bonus points if they are clean, happy, and well fed! Maybe that will help me break its evil hold on me!

  5. Be kind to yourself. As Moms we put lots of pressure to be perfect, not yell, make no mistakes, etc – remember we are but human. There are days I yell, scream, maybe even cry (just a little) but pull it all back together and apologize to my smallest people. It’s good they understand that even grown ups make mistakes. :-)

    • Agreed! I’m definitely teaching my kids a lot about making mistakes! :) But you make a great point…and we can all be kinder to ourselves as parents. Thanks for the comment! Have a wonderful new year.

  6. Wonderful list! I’m piggy backing on the gal above’s comments. Goals/resolutions are good to have, but also don’t get discouraged when old habits return. Each day is a new day, so begin fresh and continue forward. I’ve been a recovered alcoholic for almost 16 years. In recovery we say, “Progress, NOT perfection!” Certainly holds true in parenting, but being cognizant of our behavior and its consequences is the first step. I think you are one awesome mommy already! XOXO-Kasey

  7. Great list! Being a parent is always being prepared to make adjustments and rethink “tactics”. Definitely not easy. But, based on what you have shared about your adorable kids, you are already doing a great job.

  8. Pingback: F is for … Five Ways I’m Going to Be a Better Parent in 2015 | SeeVast.info

  9. What a great list of good intentions! I, too, have good intentions for growth and patience in 2015. We will see how it goes. 😉

  10. #3. I need to work on #3…

  11. I think this is a great list!! Trying to stop yelling has been on my resolution list since I had kids… one year I will get it! 😉

  12. Yelling less is very much on my (continual) “I will do better at this list”. Less IPhone time is another one.

    A great list – and I wish you both luck and success with it.

    Happy 2015!

  13. This is awesome! and something I am striving to do. Unfortunately I am still a work in progress!

  14. These are great resolutions! Most of them should be on my list too :-).

  15. Omg. ..I can absolutely relate to EVERYTHING in this post. It’s amazing how children seem to have it more together than the adults sometimes. I’ve lost my cool plenty of times only to have my three year old daughter tell me “calm down mommy, remember to breathe.” Good luck with your resolutions and Happy New Year!

  16. Pingback: Be a Better Parent in the New Year Parents Families.com

  17. Great tips!! I thought I was reading about myself!! ha/ha Relaxing and taking a breathe is so important in being a parent. Here’s hoping this will be a great year!

  18. I have a bunch of resolutions on my blog which just got published nationally. I think we moms are experiencing much of the same things and let’s face it, we all have the best of intentions!

  19. Jeez, what is it about our phones that is so fascinating? I laughed out loud when I read your comment about the weather app–I find myself refreshing it when there is nothing else on my phone to see at the moment–so crazy! I love the idea of incorporating kids into giving back, and it sounds like you have done some awesome things. I am trying to find service opportunities that I can do with my 4-year-old, and you’ve inspired me to get more creative with it! :-)

  20. I love these resolutions! I held off on getting a smartphone until last year and now I find myself looking at it more than I would like.

  21. These goals are so great and so “on point” with things I need to work on. Can’t wait to check back in next winter!

    Amanda
    http://www.queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com

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