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9 New Year's Resolutions for a Happier Family

9 New Year’s Resolutions for a Happier Family

By Chris Jordan

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, last year was a tough 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?

Photo credit: Depositphotos/crashmedia

Chris Jordan
About the Author

Chris Jordan

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children. Yes, the...

Chris Jordan began blogging at Notes From the Trenches in 2004 where she writes about her life raising her children in Austin, Texas.

Oh, she has seven of them. Yes, children.
Yes, they are all hers.
No she’s not Catholic or Mormon. Though she wouldn’t mind having a sister-wife because holy hell the laundry never stops.
Yes, she finally figured out what causes it. That’s why her youngest is almost 6.
Yes, she has a television.

She enjoys referring to herself in the third person.

If you would like to submit a question for Chris to answer publicly, please do so to adviceforparentsoftweens[at]gmail[dot]com.

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  • Angela

    December 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks for your post, Chris. I have asked my children so many times to choose kindness — is what they say kind, necessary, and/or true? We could also cut our grocery bill (organic is not cheap, but we can make it work) and pitch in as a family. Good luck and happy New Year!

  • Kat

    December 31, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Great post. And all perfectly do-able for any mother and family. Thanks.

  • Mrs. Q.

    January 2, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Last year I made the resolution to read books more, online less. It was time very well spent.

  • LMo

    January 4, 2012 at 9:44 am

    This was a great post! I am always inspired by how well you balance your family and other demands, but we can all aspire to do a little bit better. Thanks for the (continuous) inspiration.

  • gorillabuns

    January 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    the only thing i’m trying to really work on is being a kinder, patient, more quiet parent. Day four: I’ve failed on all accounts.

  • Nicki

    January 5, 2012 at 2:22 am

    I don’t do resolutions either. But had I drawn a list, I think this one would be on it:

    “Spend more time alone, just being, so that I have enough energy to spend some high-quality time with the children.”

    (For me, this entails letting the household slip. I’m done with letting it drive me crazy. There’s only so much a woman can do with her life.)

  • kate

    January 5, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    i think i am just going to steal all your resolutions as my own! except the one about chores, my little ones aren’t quiet up to them yet and honestly it’s their father that creates most of the mess. For that one i will swap “sleep more than 4 hours a night” because i think if i dont do this i am going to lose my mind. soon.

  • Arnebya

    January 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I love this list, so thoughtful, inspirational, and just plain true. We upped the chores recently and though they griped at first, it’s still going along smoothly. I’m definitely with you on the triggers. Once I’m tired, I’m cranky and I have to take time to myself to recharge. If I don’t, it’s no good for anyone. Saying yes more is definitely one I’d choose. How their faces light up when they get an unexpected OK, why not…it’s worth it. I don’t do resolutions either, where I sit down and write out goals for the year. I just do them. Right now aside from practicing patience and saying yes more, I’m drinking more water (this is very hard for me) and no more Pepsi. Not less Pepsi. No more. That’s even harder. There are other little things I plan on doing but I don’t feed into the hype of calling them resolutions.

  • KristenM

    January 5, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    These are great. I’m going to adopt them all for my myself, if you don’t mind. Thanks!

  • Michelle

    January 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    These are great resolutions — I’d like to think I could make some that are similar. The only one I’ve made so far is to get a massage. It’s good to have achievable goals.

  • shireen

    January 6, 2012 at 9:45 am

    As a family, we have resolved to make every Sunday “screen free” no TV, no computers, iphone, ipad, etc. The first Sunday was so peaceful — and fun!

  • Vicki

    January 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Wow, it’s like I wrote that post myself. I’m a single mom of a 10 and 6 year old and I have the same struggles. I have also told myself that I’m going to spend more time with my kids and say ‘Yes’ more often to those fun things they always want to do. That’s funny that you read things online that make you feel like others have more because that’s what I think when I read your blog. lol Your house is so beautiful and you get to be a stay-at-home mom and those are 2 things I wish I had. Good luck with your resolutions and having more time with your family.

  • Deirdre

    January 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    “The Internet can leave me with the feeling that everyone has better, prettier, richer, more fulfilling lives than I can ever hope to have.” Amen! I am going on a bit of a browsing diet, as well!

  • Joy H

    January 14, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Right there with ya sister……meal planning helps my budget; when I’m away from the online envy it’s better for my soul; and the house chaos makes me crazy too (and I only have four kids!)
    My real resolution was to take a photo-a-day just to record the regular life that I often forget is so precious.

    Happy New Year!