What is it about a new year that compels us to make resolutions? Do we really need to set ourselves up to fail, because, let's face it, with the best will in the world we're not going to eat salad for the rest of our lives, we are totally going to let the kiddos have some screen time, and chances are we'll be back on the wine by mid-Jan. If we do have to make resolutions though, let's make easy resolutions for parents - ones that we have a half a chance of sticking with...
1. Eat like a grown-up
Whilst we won't be giving up the carbs any time soon, we can resolve to stop eating the kids' leftovers and reaching for the biscuit barrel because we didn't have time to make an actual lunch for ourselves. Let's try and go meat-free once a week, take time to sit down at a table for meals and eat adult food (leftover chicken nuggets don't count). Let's also try our best to practise what we preach when it comes to eating our five-a-day (these smoothie recipes totes count).
2. Stop comparing your parenting to other's parenting
It's far too easy to think that Susan down the road has it totally sussed with her neat kids and envious waistline, but chances are Susan is as much as a neurotic parenting mess as we all are at times. Social media is not real: this should be your 2024 mantra.
Always do what is best for YOU and your kids! That means not listening to your mother's 'advice' on toilet training (that generation swears we were all potty trained by 5 months), ignoring Susan's claims of getting a solid 10 hours of sleep per night (it's just not true), and giving your kid a dummy if needed. It doesn't matter if you breast feed or bottle feed (FED IS BEST), that your child didn't eat anything greener than a bogey all day, or that your little one just watched Encanto four times in a row. The best kind of parenting is the parenting that is best for you. No wrongs or rights.
3. Hang out with your partner
It's not always easy to get out on date nights, but that doesn't mean we can't snatch moments of romance with our partner: it's all too easy to end up just as parents and lose ourselves as individuals along the way. Go for a walk together, hold hands, share a bottle of wine (or two), chat, laugh, cook together, eat together, kiss and just hang out without the kids in the way. Put said kids to bed early once every fortnight, and make time for date night at home.
If you're a single parent, then try and make time for evenings off. Run a bubble bath, binge watch Bridgerton and Zoom call your friends to share a bottle of your fave tipple with.
4. Be kinder to yourself
Parenting is tough, but you know what? We're doing a good job. We need to remind ourselves of that more often, and reward ourselves with a quick sit down to catch up on social media/read a book or call a friend for a chat. The hoovering can wait. Self-care is everything, so if you can (and you can!), download one of these easy mindfulness apps and take a breather every day just for you.
5. Make a family bucket list for the year
Now that travel is all back to normal, make a list as a family of cool stuff - big and small activities - to get done during 2024. Anything and everything: family vacays, trips to the coast, rock painting, new hobbies, visits to cool places in London, picnics in parks you've never been to, geocaching - the options are endless.
Happy New Year, parents!
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