5 New Year’s Resolutions for Stressed Parents

Before you dive in, know that this isn’t the kind of list that will make you feel insufficient as a parent. I’m not going to tell you to get more involved with your child’s school or make a chore wheel from Pinterest.

This list is about taking care of yourself and finding more moments to enjoy parenthood more. As we know, the days are long but the years are short.

1. Be Super Silly

Do you sometimes reach the end of a day with your kids and realize that most of it involved simply telling them what to do? That’s not a great feeling. Make a resolution to have at least one super silly moment with them every single day. Maybe you make up a game to play on the way to school or do a funny dance together while they brush their teeth.

2. Make Your Own Play Dates

You probably spend a good amount of time planning, scheduling and transporting your children to their play dates. Please put at least a portion of that same energy towards your own social engagements. Spending time with friends is key to our happiness. Even if it’s just grabbing a quick coffee or having a wine and FaceTime sesh with a friend who lives far away, you’ll feel better afterwards.

3. Cut Out Drama

As Elvis Costello says, “What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?” This year, I urge you (and me) to embrace this message by being gentler on ourselves and others. Everyone is dealing with things we don’t know about. So, if another parent was short with you at a school event or your neighbor made a snarky comment… try to take a deep breath and really let it go. Don’t hold it against them, don’t gossip about it, and don’t let it ruin your day.

4. Stop Worrying About Optics

Let’s stop saying, “Yes” to stuff just because we worry about how it’ll look to others. You and your kids don’t have to do everything the neighbors are doing. Stressing yourself out to keep up with the Joneses is a game you just can’t win, and it’ll deplete your energy for the things that really do matter to you.

5. Unplug More

I know, I know… this is one you probably make every year. But it’s worth the reminder. Our electronics can rob us of precious moments of connection and relaxation. We all need our devices to function, but we don’t need them every minute of every day. You may even consider deciding on a screen-free time you can all agree to every day. I’d like to start by saying screens are off-limits for the whole family for an hour every night while we prepare and eat dinner. Do what feels reasonable for your family and choose a goal you can stick with.

The fact is, taking care of yourself fills your cup. And it’ll be pretty hard to fill your children’s cups if yours just has a few drops. For the year ahead, I wish for you to be able to find the kind of balance that makes you feel fulfilled, connected and proud of your role as a parent.