This time of year we focus on improvement. We resolve to be healthier, kinder, more conscientious parents. We make lists to help us achieve the elusive “work-life balance.” Instead of setting ourselves up for failure with all-or-nothing resolutions, what if we took a minute to acknowledge what we’re doing right? In the spirit of celebrating small wins, and forging ahead, here are four ways parents are already getting it right this year.
We got the message about childhood obesity, and we are taking action to get our families in shape. Communities from Illinois to Alabama are taking steps (literally) to keep kids active, and we are encouraged by news that obesity is at least beginning to show signs of decline. Forget a grand plan to “go organic” and revel in a smaller success, like Meatless Mondays.
Being the grown up
We have to keep up with a world that moves at a pace our own parents never imagined. But we manage. We ask the tough questions, keep up with social media, and set boundaries for technology that didn’t even exist a few years ago. Faced with what can seem an ever more dangerous world, we continue to take on the important issues. The job of parenting can overwhelm if we let it. Instead, let’s remember that while being the grown up isn’t always fun, we are all capable of taking the days as they come.
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Fathers are taking childcare seriously, embracing their responsibilities with heart and humor in blogs, magazines and television shows. We are having real and public conversations about work and family, and slowly letting outmoded gender roles give way to the practical needs of our families as they are now. Help your man keep up by reminding him where the laundry detergent lives.
Tapping the village wisdom
It does take a village to raise a child, and the village is no longer right outside our doors, but rather at the tip of our fingers. Researchers at the University of Missouri analyzed posts on parenting message boards and found that moms ask for and receive emotional support and practical advice on everything from eating and sleeping to potty training and mother-child relationships. So log on, connect with other moms. Just don’t forget to call your own.
Next time you feel guilty about all those things you’re not doing, switch your focus to the positive. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back. We are rocking this Mom gig.
Lela Davidson is the author of "Blacklisted from the PTA," and "Who Peed on My Yoga Mat?" Her thoughts on marriage, motherhood and life-after-40 have appeared in hundreds of magazines, websites and anthologies.