The end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on the fun moments I’ve had with my kids over the past 12 months. It’s also a time to pat myself on the back for a “job well done” and vow to “never do that again.” Here’s a list of my top five Mommy “DOs” and “DON’T EVER AGAINs” for 2014!
1. More road trip adventures. I love when we get away for the weekend to explore a new city or even a new area of Jacksonville. A road trip can be 50 minutes (St. Augustine!) or 5 hours away (Charleston, SC!) It’s a great time for us to reconnect over exploring a new place, trying new food, and even sleeping in the same room.
2. Dinner together at the kitchen table on school nights. We love to share stories about our day over macaroni and cheese. Sure, some days are harder than others when it comes to sports and activities, but the goal is to always do our best to sit down as a family on weeknights. My husband and I encourage our children to follow our family motto at school: Be kind, helpful, hardworking, and fun! The dinner table is the time for them to fill us in on what they accomplished that day. We learn about a friend they helped on the playground or a fun new song from music class.
3. Encourage independence. I’ve been working on giving my two little ones more responsibility, and that includes picking out their own snacks and packing up their school backpacks. They have a chore chart that sometimes gets neglected, but when I stick to it, the results are awesome. They help me put away laundry, make their own beds, and set the table. They love getting quarters for treats, but they also know they must save some for their bank accounts. In 2014, I want to work on full homework independence, one of my weaker areas.
4. Perform one charitable act per month. My kids know we donate our old toys to less fortunate children, and they also give money from their piggy banks to the church, but I want to amp this up for 2014. There is more we can do. Some of my ideas are writing letters to soldiers overseas, cleaning up a local park, and participating in charity walks.
5. Start yearly photo albums for both kids. As much as I love blogging and the internet, I still love the idea of a physical photo album that my children can touch and pull down from the shelf to look at whenever they want. My goal is to go back to year one (yikes!) and organize the photos from their major moments and milestones. I may use a photo website to create the books for me because I don’t want to get too overwhelmed and give up on this goal.
DON’T EVER AGAINs
1. Question my parenting style. I sometimes struggle with parenting decisions because of other parents and their personal choices. I don’t want to be judged. How strange (or maybe familiar) does that sound? I’m finally comfortable with who I am as a Mom and I don’t want to ever apologize for it. I won’t let my children see a PG-13 movie, drink soda at home, or stay up past 8 PM on a school night. And that’s that.
2. Pick out clothes for my 5-year-old daughter without her approval. Enough said.
3. Say “yes” when I really mean “no.” I want to help out. I want to volunteer. I really do. But sometimes I just CAN’T. And instead of saying “no” and moving on, I will say “yes” and then find myself overwhelmed with responsibilities and deadlines that I can barely handle. I will trust my gut more in 2014 and know that if my heart says “no” then I have to follow it. And get rid of that mommy guilt.
4. Turn down a babysitting offer. Sounds crazy, right? Sometimes I turn down my super generous mother-in-law because I don’t want to burn her out with the kids. I also have a wonderful babysitter who I never use to my advantage. Date nights are so important for my husband and I to connect, so I plan to do that more in 2014. We have a great time whether we’re at the movies for a few hours or at the bar grabbing a glass of wine for 45 minutes. I will always take advantage of any babysitting offers in 2014.
5. Take any moment for granted. This is a tough one. Life moves at such a fast pace that it’s easy to sweat the small stuff and feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I need to remember that I have the world’s best husband, two amazing kids, a supportive family, fabulous friends, and I’m one lucky chick. Amen. Bring it on, 2014.