Emily Writes: Achievable New Year resolutions for new mums

This year, I’m going to make some achievable ones. None of this – write an entry in your gratitude diary every day - nonsense. Here are my new resolutions. Achievable ones. For parents as useless as I am.

This time last year I was very, very pregnant. I gave birth 28 days after making my resolutions for 2015. I broke all of my resolutions about 28 days after making them.

They were your standard resolutions – write every day in a gratitude journal and my son’s baby book, and read more quality fiction. Not particularly ambitious I thought.

Well, the only thing I was writing when I had a new baby was my feed, sleep, poop schedule. The second time around, I was so tired by two children that I couldn’t even work out how to use a pen. I lived gratitude and figured that was enough.

Did I write in the baby book? Well, my second son will turn one in a few weeks and I have exactly zero entries in his baby book. I have a book. Don’t they say it’s the thought that counts? When I present him with an empty book I’ll make sure I say that to him.

Did I read more? Well, I did read a lot in those hours and hours of establishing breastfeeding and not sleeping. But I read absolute garbage like “18 dresses that actress from the Hunger Games wore in June” and “287 ways to say it’s cold in German” and “32 questions every person born on 11 June 1985 asked their maths teacher in 1999” and “47 signs you’re not a mother but a reptile incapable of looking after children” and “She set fire to her hair and you’ll never believe what happened next to her cheesecake!” and “This mother checked her phone when she was at Junglerama, the reason will make you cry!”

I did not read anything of substance during 2015.

I also had some other resolutions that I was clearly very committed to because I can’t even remember what they are now. This year, I’m going to make some achievable ones. None of this – write an entry in your gratitude diary every day – nonsense. Here are my new resolutions. Achievable ones. For parents as useless as I am. I started with the obvious ones…

I will revamp my wardrobe (I will stop wearing maternity clothes – but not leggings). Yes, it’s time. I have not been pregnant for almost a year. It’s possibly (probably) time for me to hang up my preggo clothes. But I’m not crazy, I’m not throwing out the leggings. Leggings work for every occasion when you’re a mum – cleaning the toilet, baby puking on you, getting food thrown at you, getting smeared with paint… Just replace the leggings you were wearing with more leggings. You can never have too many leggings.

I will begin an exercise plan (I will go to the gym at least once). There is a wealth of studies that suggest positive thinking is really important. Thinking positively about going to the gym at least once is going to be just as good as actually going to the gym at least once. I mean I could say I’m going to go six times a week or even three times a week or let’s face it even once a week. But that would be lying. I do other exercise – like carrying a 11 kg baby on one hip and a 14kg toddler on the other. I scrub floors (when they’re so disgusting people start noticing). I run for the bus. I chase after my kids. I walk for miles trying to get the baby to sleep in the buggy. I’m sure I’m probably getting enough exercise and if I’m not – oh well, 2017 goals right?

I will cherish every moment (I will be realistic and not destroy myself trying to make being a parent something it’s not). I love being a parent, I really do. I wouldn’t write about it every day if I didn’t. I adore my children and I really feel like becoming a mother has been the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I also don’t cherish every second of every minute of every day. And I don’t know any mothers who do. Because it’s unrealistic and it’s ridiculous to suggest otherwise. Parenting is hard, really hard. All wonderful and important things are usually hard. We are allowed to acknowledge when we are finding parenting tough. This year I will embrace the reality of parenting and be kind to myself. I will continue to cherish my children, but I won’t falsely claim every second, every moment, is something it isn’t. That’s a lie and I won’t buy into it.

I will be organised and on time (I will mostly be organised and I will try to be on time at least three times a week). Of all my goals this seems the most unlikely to be achieved, even with a more realistic option. I often see working mothers arriving on time for meetings after dropping off their children to kindy on time after getting ready for the day in a timely way and I actually just think that they’re magical beings. They clearly have a secret that makes them so organised and able to get out the door. Maybe one of them will mentor me and help me not be such a giant fail mum. I once got up at 6am to get to a 10am appointment and I was still 10 minutes late. I mean – at some point you have to ask yourself if you should be studied as someone who is clearly incapable of not being a mess. But 2016 is my year. And if it’s not then 2017 is definitely my year*.

*I’m not going to lie, I had to check the calendar to remember what year we are in.

Finally – I will be kind to myself. Sometimes being a parent feels like such a huge pressure. You’re responsible for these amazing little beings and you love them more than anything in the world and you just want them to be happy and healthy and fulfilled. But sometimes they’re not; and that’s not your fault. Last year was an incredible year of new opportunities for my whānau and I – but it was also a really tough year. Especially for our little one. He was hospitalised three times and was unable to breathe on his own for a period. It was painful and awful. I blamed myself (and on my worst days I still blame myself) even though I can’t think of anything I could have done to stop him getting sick. My eldest managed to get through the year well despite his respiratory condition. I don’t credit myself for that. It seems I only blame myself when my kids struggle. I need to change that. How can I teach my children to be kind if I’m not kind to myself? I encourage them to list the things they love about themselves, I praise them, I celebrate their achievements with them. Maybe in 2016 I’ll do the same for myself. Maybe being kind to ourselves as mothers is something achievable – we can try at least.

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Emily Writes from 'Mama Said'

Inspired by: Emily Writes

She's our new weekly columnist who calls herself a 'sleep deprived, feminist, ranty mum of two – a toddler and a newborn – living in New Zealand', who likes coffee, Bruce Dickinson, and her kids. Sometimes in that order.