As we turn the calendar to January again, here are 10 realistic New Year’s resolutions worth making—and keeping.
1. Stop yelling (as much).
Let’s face it, kids are rough. At any age or stage. Many days we find ourselves counting the hours until bedtime and trying to make it there with some sanity left. We’ve all read the books, we’ve heard the experts, and we are acutely aware that yelling isn’t the right approach. But honestly, there are days when it is impossible not to. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to win the “Gentle Parent of the Year” award. Just try to take it down a notch in 2023.
2. Cut back on screen time.
Screen time is a hot topic in Mom Shaming 101. Sure, it would be great to promise to cut back the kids’ screen time this year, too. But equally—if not more—important is learning to cut back ourselves. Stop the scrolling that brings you endless parenting anxiety. Take a break from looking at all the picture-perfect parties and perfectly planned family outings that leave you spiraling in a combination of envy and mom guilt. Maybe go back to the trashy TV that brings joy.
3. Make healthier meals.
This sounds as cliché as anything, and it is. No need to do a total kitchen overhaul and live off grilled chicken and salads from now until forever, but throw some water in there a little more often. Eat a vegetable that doesn’t always come from the freezer aisle. And remember, mental health is health too, so don’t feel guilty for that glass of wine and/or ice cream splurge to take care of yourself.
4. Take time for yourself.
Real time. Genuine YOU time. A hot shower that lasts more than three minutes doesn’t count either. If you aren’t sure what that means, just see numbers 2 and 3 above and start there. Lock yourself in your room with a show and a snack.
5. Play more.
With your friends. With your spouse. Maybe even with your kids. Do things that are fun and carefree and make you genuinely laugh. And do them with the people who make you genuinely laugh. We spend our days dealing with such serious and strong emotions; sometimes we forget how to just throw it all aside for a minute. Go bowling. Plan a date night. Get on that swing like your kids have been begging you to do all year.
6. Brush up on current events.
The ones that matter to you, big or small or anything in between. I’m not suggesting you glue yourself to the evening news if that’s not totally your thing. I’m simply saying to make sure you find a way to stay connected to the world around you. We get so wrapped up being moms and dads that sometimes we forget there is a big world outside of Disney Junior and snack breaks, one we were interested in once upon a child-free time.
Anywhere. Everywhere. Get out and go somewhere. I know this is not a reasonable option for many of us because of jobs and bills and grown up things like that. Don’t blow your retirement fund on a 12-night Mediterranean cruise, but don’t stay in the same place all day, every day. Go for a drive. An overnight trip to a random hotel in a local town. To visit family you’ve been avoiding because they have a good restaurant in town. Change of scenery=better frame of mind, nine times out of 10.
Your body. Your mind. Your credit card. Whatever makes you feel good. Of course, everywhere you look you are going to see a commercial for a gym or a workout trend from now until spring. And yes it’s important. Even if it means just going out for a walk, because let’s face it, you just didn’t do it last year. Dream big, but start small. Just get moving. Remember, shopping is great cardio too.
9. Get a grip on your finances.
The best way to start is to brush up on your bargain-hunting skills. Maybe even become an extreme couponer—it’s both fun and resourceful. Personally, 2022 taught me I really needed to pay better attention to our family’s spending. Do some basic math and see how much better you feel when you take control of your money and financial freedom. And maybe better budgeting this year will lead to more vacations next year.
10. Slow down.
No really, stop to take it all in once in a while. Good, bad, and ugly. I tried to avoid being corny and sounding cliché, but I stand by this one. Time flies, and not just when you’re having fun. Don’t be in such a rush all the time and lose out on some of the best moments of the year—and your life.
Cheers to 2023!