Here then, are Ericka's Seven Parenting Resolutions—for keeps!
Patience for my child, for my family, for my self, with life. Like everybody else, I'm pretty patient, most of the time, until I'm not. I don't know any parent who doesn't occasionally lose it and scream or worse, and I can't expect myself to be as serene and smooth as a still mountain pool on a quiet day. Anybody who knows me knows that I'm basically amiable until I'm not—and there's no arguing with basic temperament. All I'm seeking is a little more patience, so when my child starts running around the house and refusing to go to bed, I can take it in stride without ending up a hoarse, quivering mess.
2. Time Outs
I resolve to try the tricks—count to ten, count to one hundred, give myself time-outs, or imagine myself swimming in the aforementioned mountain pool. I resolve to pretend to act patient, even when I'm not, and hope that the behavioral psychologists are right, and that doing is being.
3. Don't Interfere
My child is her own person (ooh boy, is she!) and a lot of times, she knows what she's doing, she knows what she needs, she is on her own timeline through life, and when I open my big mouth, I'm only in the way. This resolution is going to be hard for me because I feel best when I'm actively doing something. Letting things happen without my interference is hard for me. I'll try not to give my daughter advice until she asks for it. Bite your tongue, Ericka!
4. Take Time for Yourself
And this doesn't mean working! So often these days, parents take their "free" time as work time. Especially for those of us who have home offices, work never ends. This year, I'm hoping to see a lot more of the woods, the coffeehouses in my neighborhood, and the beach. And yes, this is a parenting resolution, because there's a fabulous and true equation that goes something like this: Happy Parent = Happy Child. Even though I was not a math major, I can see the truth in this.
5. Trust Yourself
Oh, to stop guessing and counter-guessing my parenting decisions! This year I resolve to 1. Know that I do my best to learn what I can, and then 2. Act without second-guessing myself. "Pedal to the metal, Lutz!"
6, Reach Out to Other Parents
It's easy to get isolated. When Annie was a wee little thing, I had a Mother/Play Group that happened twice a week. But then again, I wasn't killing myself with work, either (see resolution #3, above). As I slow down (wa-a-a-a-y down), I resolve to get together with my other parent-friends more often. I talk a lot about the importance of building and maintaining community. Time to walk the talk.
7. Focus on the Joy
I am so lucky. I have a great kid, a terrific family, a lovely community, and I like what I do. It's easy to forget that in all the hullabaloo of life. Parenting is always going to be a challenge. So what? Challenges are to be met. It's time to refocus on the joy.
Those are mine. Your turn?