Gosh, here we are again. I’ve completely lost track of what year it is, but I believe it’s sometime in the 21st century… or so. I think one of my top new year’s resolutions for parents (well, me) is to keep better track of time.
You see, my kids were 7, 9 and 10 years old last year, but this year they appear to be 14,17 and 18. I know. I’m just as shocked.
I do know that my eldest finished school this year, so it’s been a massive one for self-reflection as a parent. I end the year on a high, sharing his wild enthusiasm for all that lies ahead, but I’m grounded by such an overwhelming feeling of melancholy that I can barely breathe. And the missing has started already. A gaping hole where my son is supposed to be.
The reflecting has been good for me. I have come to realise that despite it all, we are doing it. We are somehow growing those tiny babies into something large and important. This thing – the highs and lows, the longing, the fretting, the pride, the endless, bottomless, breath-grabbing, gut-suckering love – this remarkable thing called parenting is somehow working.
Here’s what I vow for in the new year, given what I’ve learned in the old. Perhaps these new year’s resolutions for parents resonate with you too?
New year’s resolutions for parents: I promise
1. To enjoy it more
I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to always be looking ahead. What comes next. Which is a good thing to know, of course, but we all have a tendency to rush through it, don’t we? To want it done. We want what happens next to start happening now so we can get on with it already.
But this year, I’m going to wonder about the future less and sit gently in the present more. I want to be fully present when my children are telling me about their day, not half-distracted by what I’m making for dinner, or some deadline I’m behind on, or whatever it is that pulls my attention away from what actually really matters.
Instead, I will bury myself in the moments and let the future sort itself out for a bit.
2. To embrace it more
Not just to enjoy whatever happens, but to actively seek and create moments. I learned this when Max asked if his band could play a gig on the back deck to celebrate the end of the HSC. What now?
Every fibre of my being screamed no way, but instead, we somehow said yes.
Read this too: 100 fun, quirky, important ways to bond with your teen
It was the best night we’ve probably ever had as a family (and there have been many good ones). Our home was filled with music and the energy of over 120 teens and other family guests, all celebrating what it means to finish school and be young and gorgeous and full of the whole universe.
What a night! What a joy! What a reminder of the gifts our children bring into our homes and our lives. More, please!
3. To pause it more
I am telling you, kids put on roller skates the minute they enter high school. Those early years are long with short days, yes. But the later years are just plain short. It goes. by. in. a. blink.
When my kids were newborns, I used to stop everything I was doing and just drink them in. I can still close my eyes and remember everything about those moments. Their scent, their chuckle, their liquid-soft skin and my own love beaming through every part of my child.
So this year, I am going to stop and drink my children in more. Great, snuggling embraces that will make them stiffen at first, of course, but soon melt. I’m going to pause to pour all the love I have in my heart into their hearts.
Those big embraces will whisper to them I am here around you, always; no matter what, no matter where.
Happy new year, to you and yours.
PS – I also vow to write here at Mumlyfe more regularly next year, so thank you for bearing with me during the drought years of 2020-2022!!!