The end of a year is always the perfect time to reflect on the successes, failures, and misgivings of the prior year and to make goals for the shiny, sparkling promise of a brand new spin around the sun. Now that I’m the mother of a precocious nearly-three-year-old, my parenting choices, strengths, and weaknesses have moved to the top of my year-end self-eval.
In summary? Strikes and gutters. I’d say that I did pretty well as a mother this year, overall, and maybe even had a few stellar super-mom moments. But there are decidedly a few areas in which I need to improve.
To make myself feel better, let’s start with love. That I’ve got covered. I love this little kid with all I’ve got and shower him with affection on a continual basis (while I still can and before he starts to get embarrassed). I tell him that I love him a thousand times a day and am always sneaking kisses and cuddles in. He says ‘I love you,’ back to me now, which is just about the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard in my life. Okay, it’s absolutely the most adorable thing I’ve ever heard in my life. And when he gives me an impromptu kiss on the forehead, my heart melts into a gooey little puddle inside my chest. (Awww, he loves me, too!)
It’s no secret that I adore him… look at this huge eclair I let him eat.
Moving on to learning and education. I think I’m doing pretty well in this arena, too. His dad and I have always read Miles as many books as he can handle, so he is an avid bookworm. It’s really showing because he knows all of his letters and would rather sit down and look at a book than watch television. He can also count to thirteen (new today!) and his teachers at the Reggio daycare/preschool he attends say that he knows more than many of the four-year-olds. Yes, I’m one of those dorky parents now that thinks their child is a genius. But, clearly, he is.
Okay, so I have love and learning on lock-down. Now let’s talk about something I’m not so great at: discipline and addressing problem behaviors. I readily admit that I have been entirely too lenient with him and that he kind of owns me. Wrapped around his little finger, I am. He knows exactly what to do to get what he wants: cry. I know, I know. It’s the cardinal sin of parenthood to give your kid what he wants when he cries. Or to pick him up every time he demands it. I’m trying to get better about these two things… but that little face and those big brown eyes filled with tears, though! Make it stop! Even when I know that they’re crocodile tears, they get me every time. I can’t handle it. But this is definitely something that I will be working on in the new year: toughening up and not giving in to his whimpers and whines.
Another thing that I need to work on this year: food. Miles is super picky and I’m so terribly uninspired in the kitchen. I’m not the best cook in the world–I’m not even a mediocre one–and I severely lack culinary intuition. I can’t just throw ingredients together and produce something delicious. If you can, I’m eternally envious of you. I need help here, people. And I need it badly. So, one of my resolutions is to invest time into learning to make delicious healthy food every day that even my picky little eater can’t resist. Still working on how to make this happen, but it’s on my list. Open to recipes and advice.
Another thing I want to work on is being more present and mindful. I think I do a pretty good job of this, but I know I can do better. I could put my phone completely away when I’m playing with him, for example. I always do that at first but then we’ll get into the second hour of playing trains and… well, I don’t love trains as much as he does so my thoughts wander to the news or Instagram or work or basically anything to distract me from the second hour of playing trains. I don’t like that I do this, and I want to stop. I am admitting to the problem, though, and so for that I will congratulate myself.
All in all, my parenting this year was a mixed bag like everything else in my life. He may be an ever-so-slightly malnourished cry baby, but he’s a smart, beloved one who knows his letters!
Happy 2017 to you all – may this be the year that all of your dreams come true.