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Real (Recycled) Resolutions

As everyone begins to scramble for that
pad of paper, intent on making the noble, self-improving list
needed to start your year off right, remind yourself of last
year’s list and how long it lasted. What does it say about
us, that we constantly feel the need to re-evaluate who we are and
how we’re doing and, deciding we’re lacking, come up
with some grand and totally unrealistic plan to completely change
ourselves, save a ton of money, and save the world all at the same
time? Are we really such a disappointment to ourselves? Or are we
simply mommies, and unable to resist the siren call of a
multi-tasking, impossibly-huge challenge?

Honestly, can you even keep a straight face as you write down,
“Go to the gym three times a week” one more time? Or
how about that classic, “Lose five pounds”? Or does
this one sound familiar: “Read an Important Book”? I
know we love those seemingly-insurmountable tasks, but
doesn’t the pile of laundry fill that quota already?
I’m telling you, we need a list that makes us feel better
about ourselves, not worse.

Every year I promise myself I won’t
use some arbitrary date on the calendar as a burr under my saddle
to get organized, become “better”, yet every year I
feel this compulsive need to sit down and obsess over my
weaknesses, my shortcomings. This year I went back and dug out last
year’s list, recalling that it was actually somewhat
realistic. And what do you know – I’ve managed to stick
to most of them.

Which is why I’m dusting it off once more, doing a bit of
revision, and simply tacking it up on the cyber-bulletin board as a
reminder to me that I’m trying, bit by bit, to make a change.
Not even a save-the-world, free-Darfur type change; my goals are
much more modest, and frankly it feels darn good. So this year,
join me and make a realistic list of resolutions. Give yourself
small goals you can actually keep, and make sure they’re not
important enough that you hate yourself when you don’t keep
them (and you won’t.)

I’ll start.

1) I will wash my hair at least once a month, baby or no baby. Come
on, she’s seven months old now.

2) I will sleep at least two hours a night. I make no promise that
they will be consecutive, however. Come on, she’s SEVEN

3) I will not eat chocolate more than once a day. Ok, twice a day.
Listen to me when I say that’s an improvement.

4) I will not worry about the last five pregnancy pounds I have
still to lose. Ok, seven. Hey, last year when I wrote that
resolution I was eighteen months post-partum; now I’m only

5) I will not hate myself when I break resolution 4.

6) I will love my daughters as much as I can, and tell them so as
often as I think about it.

7) I will not hate myself when I have mean and selfish thoughts
upon first waking to Cora’s screaming cry at 2 a.m.
I’ll be doing the right thing in spite of my first thoughts,
and that’s what counts.

8) I will say a thankful prayer that there’s not a little
thought bubble over my head so Cora remains blissfully unaware of
those uncharitable thoughts I just had.

9) I will not judge other mommies on the street for improperly
dressing or feeding their babies.

10) I will not judge other mommies on the playground for failing to
keep their kids in line or neglecting to teach them manners.

11) I will not judge the entire city for refusing to stay home when
they’re obviously sick and contagious and the thought of
another sleepless night up with a sick toddler fills me with fear.

12) I won’t get mad at myself for breaking resolutions 9,10,
or 11, as long as I don’t do it out loud.

13) I will tell my husband what a great job he’s doing as a
dad much more.

14) I will tell my husband what a terrible job he’s doing as
a dad much less.

15) I will sacrificially break resolution 3 if it helps me maintain
any of the other resolutions.

See? That’s a list I think I can pretty much stick to. And I
think I can sum it up with this:

This year, I’ll try. But I don’t make any promises.


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