Resolutions Shmesolutions

It’s January 5th.  I’m back at work for my first “normal” week since mid-December.  The decorations are down, the new stuff has been put away, the guests are gone, and the holiday menu checklists have been thrown away.  As my mother would say, the “doldrums of winter” have begun.

Most people spend January acting frantic about their resolutions.  Go to the gym no less than 3 times per week and for no less than 1 hour each time.  Eat no more than 1.285 desserts per week.  Eat no less than 6 pounds of celery per week.  Blah blah blah.  My resolution this year?  Kick resolutions to the curb.  In fact, I started the year by QUITTING the gym.  How’s that for going against the grain?

Yes, there are absolutely things that I want to work on this year.  Things that I need to improve upon in my personal life as a wife, mother, friend, sister, and daughter.  But I don’t want to set unrealistic goals because I know these continuous improvements should be part of my everyday life, whether it’s January or July.  I like the way that sounds actually –“continuous improvements” instead of “resolutions.”  I didn’t wake up on January 1st with a big slap to the forehead and say “dammit, I think I’m going to be more patient with my toddler this year!”  Who does that?  Every day I strive to be more patient as he becomes more aggravating.  Patience, for me at least, is a hard concept.  I’m bitterly type-A, and have had to finally realize that there is often no room for reasoning with a 4 year old.  Sometimes they’re just plain difficult.

And then there’s the health and fitness piece.  I can picture what the gym (the one I just quit) looks like at 6 PM Monday through Thursday evenings, at least until about March.  Once again, I didn’t wake up on the 1st and say “time to get healthy!!!”  I’ve always known that I need to eat well and get exercise; we ALL know that.  We just feel like January 1st is the right time to obsess about it because we spent the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas eating and drinking like slobs.  There’s too much unnecessary pressure surrounding the “get healthy in the New Year” movement.  Who’s really going to drop 15 pounds in the month of January?  Most people can’t completely overhaul their diets and expect to stay the course for more than a month (hello Valentine’s Day chocolate!).  So why set yourself up for failure?  Continuous improvements…

So there you have it.  For me there were no resolutions going into 2015.  I need to try to be a better mother and a better wife because let’s face it, there’s always room for improvement in these roles.  I need to continue cooking nice meals for my family and not feel bad when I call in a pizza from time to time.  I need to get my money’s worth out of the new exercise equipment I bought (in lieu of keeping a gym membership) because no matter how hard I try, I’m just not a gym person.  I’d rather work out at home in my ratty college t-shirt at 9:30 PM watching re-runs of Friends or Law & Order SVU.  I’m a realist, not a resolution maker.

If you came up with a long list of resolutions for yourself, three cheers for you and I hope you get ‘em done.  If things go awry, don’t beat yourself up…  If you’re like me and have no interest in resolutions, enjoy your year of continuous improvement and the occasional slice of greasy pizza!

Advertisements

Gimme Gimme Gimmes vs. Give Give Gives

As the Christmas holiday nears I start thinking about presents (duh).  Buying them, wrapping them, giving just enough without being obnoxious, especially when it comes to our 4-year old.  And I unintentionally start noticing what other parents are getting for their young kids.  Am I doing enough?  Are they doing too much?  Is my son spoiled or is he deprived?  Throughout the year we try to strike a good balance between giving him things he wants and not giving in to his every demand.  Make him feel special but not entitled.  Are we successful?  I think we are, but an outsider looking in may totally disagree.  “Spoiled” is in the eye of the beholder, especially during the holidays.

Our son is our one and only right now.  He’s the only grandchild right now.  So yes, I’d be totally lying if I said he wasn’t spoiled to some degree.  But while it’s the grandparents’ duty to greet him with a little trinket whenever they see him (especially since they all live out of town), it’s my job as a parent to pull on the reigns a little so he understands the process of being rewarded, and why he can’t have every little thing his heart desires.  Well let’s be clear here – we don’t have an unlimited budget to give him every little thing his heart desires…  But even if we did I think we’d still err on the side of conservatism because that’s how my husband and I grew up.  The whole “we’re not here to keep up with the Joneses” cliché was a favorite with my parents.  Ugh I hope I never say that to my kids, even if it’s what I’m thinking…

So back to Christmas.  Fortunately at this stage I think he’s happier opening lots of small, inexpensive stuff rather than one big gift.  More bows, more paper, more trinkets, more this, more that.  Fits the bill at 4 years old right?  Gimme gimme gimme!  So over the course of a couple of months I pick up odds and ends as I’m out running my regular errands.  And I try to keep in mind some of the things we want him to DO in the coming year, not just play with.  Camping with daddy is on the agenda, so he’ll get a cute little sleeping bag from Santa to set the stage.

And that brings me to the extended family.  One of the reasons I remain fairly reserved at Christmas time is because he has 3 sets of grandparents, plus aunts and uncles and cousins who are champing at the bit to load him up.  So for that reason I have to make lists – lots and lots of lists – to come up with ideas not only for Santa (us), but for the other family members as well.  “We’re getting him the sleeping bag, so you get him a lantern.”  “We’re staying away from big toys this year, so you can have at it.”  “He needs a new outfit, so why don’t you handle that.”   And before you know it the living room has exploded with more boxes and bows.

Yes, he’s spoiled in late December.  I realize it and maybe it’s wrong for me to say, but I don’t feel guilty about it.  Instead, I try to balance it out by helping him understand that all kids aren’t as lucky as he is, and that he should be thankful for everything he has.  I let him choose the Angel Tree recipient from the church Christmas tree.  He picks a non-perishable food item to bring to daycare every day during the food drive.  He helps me box up clothes for the Goodwill truck throughout the year.  And he drops change in the Salvation Army bucket every time we pass it.  He’s only 4 so I’m not sure he totally understands what it all means, but I hope we’re giving him a good foundation for being humble and gracious as he grows up.  How does YOUR family balance the gimme gimme gimmes with the give give gives?

Happy holidays!