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Mom's Time Out

New Year’s resolution

Mary Angel

(1/2013) Wow, I can’t believe how fast Christmas came this year. It didn’t help that we went on vacation right from Thanksgiving dinner. Suddenly it was December and we didn’t even have our tree up. It was actually an evening in December at the dinner table when my family got into the conversation of New Year’s resolutions. That was interesting to say the least. It went a little something like this.

My oldest son (thirteen years old) was asking if anyone had thought about what they were going to make their New Year’s resolution this year and away we went. He informed us that he was going to change “nothing, because I am perfect the way I am…just kidding!” After he stopped laughing, no one else was, he said his actual resolution. He wants to not yell at the girls for being messy. He then looked at the girls and asked if there was anything they wanted to say back to him. Which they took as their invitation to mess with him after his “nothing, because I am perfect the way I am” comment. So they said no they had nothing to say about their messiness.

My youngest son (eleven years old) informed everyone that his resolution was going to be to turn his school work in on time. He then added that he was going to stop goofing off and doing his work. Oh yeah, and he was going to be nicer. Turns out he was getting ready to bring home a progress report with three “F” on it. Mostly from not turning in work he already had finished. Some of the problem was from not finishing work. The bottom line is that his New Year’s resolutions made complete sense when we found out about his grades. The resolution about being nicer was simply because he has been a bear to live with since he was worried about us finding out about the grades. Once we found out he was much more relaxed, still not happy about his punishment, but more relaxed and therefore nicer.

My oldest daughter (eight years old) announced that she wanted to change her grades as well. I am sure she was motivated by her brother’s resolution, as per usual. Since this is her first year receiving real grades (instead of s and o’s) she is always a little nervous how things will go. Every report card and every progress report she starts having doubts and getting antsy. After rambling on and on about everything she was going to do differently to change her grades she actually had me a little nervous too. Finally she finished her dissertation on her resolution by saying, “you know up is what I meant when I said change my grades, right?” That struck me so funny. My husband just looked up from his plate and said, “Well we hoped that is what you meant”.

My youngest daughter (five years old), not wanted to be left out, conveyed her irritation that no one had asked what her resolution was. We informed her that we were all just talking and that no one had really asked each individual and she was certainly not being excluded. After a little nudging and a little comforting she said she doesn’t get “real” grades so she doesn’t need to change anything about the way she does her school work. She then informed everyone at the table that she has gotten so many good emails home from her teacher that she is pretty sure she is doing alright in school. A good email home is what the parents get if a child has earned over thirty good behavior/good school work tickets for the week. I told her that we had received quite a few good emails home and that was wonderful but asked her if there was anything she felt she would like to change in the New Year.

She thought for a moment and then announced that yes there was. She would actually like to not do so good because they have an elf in her kindergarten class. I inquired what her reasoning was and was shocked and worried to find out that she wanted to stay back in kindergarten to stay with her elf. Needless to say, we had a long talk that night about doing your very best and how the elf in her class would be so very sad to find out she would not want to move on to first grade. I also pointed out that she has her own elf on the shelf at home and she wouldn’t want them to have to talk to Santa about her not doing her best at school. What a conversation that was.

My husband and I always have the same resolutions and they are always about the kids. Sometimes it is to not sweat the small stuff, or not to lose our patience with the kids, or maybe to find more time to spend with the kids. No matter what, it is always about the kids. Just like all parents we struggle to do our best and be the best parents we can be. We constantly make mistakes and we constantly change how we are doing things, all in the hopes of getting “it” right.

By the time dinner was over, and it was one of our longer ones, we had laughed and talked and had a great time. There is nothing we like better as parents than everyone coming together at the dinner table and talking. Some evenings the conversation just isn’t there, but when it is we would sit there for hours…and sometimes we do. After writing this article and actually reading what I wrote I think I might change my resolution this year. All of the things I mentioned are things I should be doing regardless of the New Year. This year my resolution will be to help my kids with their resolutions, to help them accomplish what they want, to help them be the best they can be.

Read other articles by Mary Angel