9 New Year’s Resolutions for a Happier Family
I don’t usually make resolutions. Mostly because I think that they don’t work; if people wanted to change their habits they would just do it, not wait until a specific day of the year. However, 2011 was a tough year for me on many levels. I want to box it up and put it away and never think about it again. It was a year where I lost my joy. I spent most of the year going through the motions, doing what needed to be done, but not really doing any of it well. This year I am determined to get it back and make my family happier in the process.
1: Choose kindness, even when it isn’t the easiest option. I think I am pretty good at this one, at least where my children are concerned, and I am thankful that my children are generally nice to each other. Choosing kindness has always been our family motto and I want it to stay at the forefront of our daily lives. So this resolution isn’t so much something that I want to change in our lives as much as it is to acknowledge that this is important to us as a family.
2: Cut our grocery bill. If I told you how much money I spend every month on food it would make you cry. In fact, it makes me cry! I could have a second house. Aside from my mortgage, it is the highest expenditure I have every month. I think this is one of those areas where I can cut back by being more creative with our meals. I’m not willing to give up fresh vegetables and fruit, but I think planning ahead for the days when I know I’m not going to be home or we are busy with activities will make a big difference. At least I hope so.
3: Say yes more often. Have more fun. I want to be a fun mom, I really do, but often I feel bogged down by the daily stuff. I say, “Later,” much more than I would like. I want to make an effort to say, “Yes, we can bake cookies.” “Yes, we can go to the park.” “Yes, we can go for a bike ride.” “Yes, I will play that game with you.”
4: Chores! My kids won’t like this one, but I need to be better about assigning chores and then making them do some. This would free up more time for me to say, “Yes!” to all the fun things that they want to do. The beginning of the year is the perfect time to start some new habits because the children have been out of school for two weeks and and we can restart the second semester with a brand new routine. I’d like to say that I can let housework slide, but I know I can’t do that. A cluttered, disorganized house drives me crazy. That brings me to….
5: Get rid of the triggers that stress me and that in turn make me impatient with my kids. We all have them. For me, if my house is messy or I over commit myself to things I really don’t want to do, but do anyway, then I am on edge.
6: Save money for the things we really want to do as a family. How often do I end up spending bits of money here and there on things the kids want or “need” when we would all be much happier if we spent the money on something else. This will require me to budget my money better. And not to feel guilty about saying no. Apparently I need to learn to say no to material things and yes, to spending more time together.
7: Read more. Surf the Internet less. I have found the more time I spend on the Internet the more discontent I feel. The Internet can leave me with the feeling that everyone has better, prettier, richer, more fulfilling lives than I can ever hope to have. I start to feel like I am missing the crafty gene. The past few months I haven’t been reading very much at all for pleasure. (Let’s ignore all the books I read along with my high school students so I could have discussions with them.) The stack of books next to my bed has dust on it. During the Christmas season we read outloud as a family every night. I want to continue this throughout the year. I think we can all take 20 minutes a night out of our schedules, yes, even those who have homework, to do this together.
8: Hang out with my children and their friends more. I volunteered to chaperon a middle school field trip a few weeks ago and I was dreading it. But you know what? It was fun. I had a good time getting to know the teachers and the other kids. A little preemptive ibuprofen for all the yelling on the bus and I would do it again.
9: Set time aside for us to just spend time together as a family. Just us, no friends, no texting, no music loudly pumping into headphones silencing the rest of the family. For now I will make sure that everyone i s home so we can have Sunday night dinner together.
What about you, have you made any resolutions for your family for this upcoming year? What goals are you setting? And tell me what are you doing right that you want to continue doing in the new year?
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