I have never understood exactly what shift in the universe supposedly occurs the moment that ball drops in Times Square that is suddenly going to add time to our days and provide some up til now untapped resource of energy and patience, that will allow moms to finally magically tackle the never ending “to do” list or all our unfulfilled aspirations.
For this reason alone, I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. I think moms are up against enough pressure, without thinking that simply turning the page in a calendar should make it possible for us to transform our lives. However, I’m reconsidering my stance this year.
I’ve actually decided to approach this whole New Year’s resolutions thing from a different angle and I’ve come up with 15 Things Moms Of Teens Should Promise Themselves They Won’t Do In the New Year.
Maybe that sounds a little less than positive, but hang with me here. I think one of our biggest issues as modern parents of teens is that we try to DO too much, we try to BE too much and yes, sometimes we EXPECT a little too much from ourselves and even our teenagers.
These are the 15 I came up with for myself and you are welcome to adopt every single one for your own. But consider taking some time (yeah, I know) and as we get ready to embrace this New Year, maybe you’ll come up with a few of your own ideas about what you are ready to let go of or NOT do this coming year and make a list that better fits you.
Life is complicated enough raising teenagers. If we really want positive change in the New Year, the best thing we can do for ourselves is look for ways to make it simpler. To take things off the “to do” list. We don’t need to scrutinize the ways we feel we are coming up short and pile more on our shoulders, instead we need to realize we are enough just the way we are.
15 Things Moms Of Teens Should Promise Themselves They Won’t Do In The New Year
1. I am NOT going to put other people’s happiness before my own health. If I’m not healthy then NOBODY in my family is going to be happy. Stop putting off taking care of yourself and listen to your body. Don’t skip important doctors appointments and make your physical and mental well-being a priority. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are getting older and taking care of ourselves is becoming more important. When we feel better, life is better not just for us, but our whole household.
2. I am NOT going to allow those things that are not a priority to steal time away from things that are. Life has a tendency to go faster and faster as our kids get older and it can be so easy to get caught up in this racing current and carried off to places we didn’t intend to go and don’t want to be. Be sure to take a pause sometimes and make sure you are connecting with yourself and your teens to keep from veering too far from those things that are most important.
3. I am NOT going to follow social media accounts, read magazines or watch TV programs that make me feel bad about how I parent, how I look or the state of my home. While we tend to be more conscious about what are teens are watching or what they’re doing on social media, we don’t always realize that we also need to be mindful of our own entertainment consumption. We can be just as vulnerable as our teens to the comparison trap and other aspects of media that can hurt out own self-esteem and negatively influence our peace of mind.
4. I am NOT going to put my teenagers before my marriage. These young people are meant to leave someday (and it’s going to come sooner than I think), but he and I agreed we were in it together ‘til death do us part. So, dates nights might mean missing the occasional teen activity or leaving our teens home to fend for themselves for a night. And sometimes it means putting all our worries about our teens aside and focusing on each other again, even planning for the days when they will no longer be under our roof. It’s okay and might even be fun to talk about what life will look like as empty nesters. The world is not going to end when your teens grow up. It is better for all of you if they aren’t always the center of your family universe.
5. I’m NOT going to continue the myth that my teens need to do All. The. Things. (activities, AP classes perfect grades, perfect test scores, etc) to be successful. I’m going to show them that it is okay to set boundaries, say “no” and protect their mental health. I hope in helping them be better at this, I will teach myself the same important lessons.
6. I’m NOT going to allow my teens to have a schedule that is so packed it doesn’t allow for some family meals that we all share together during the week or where there isn’t some free time on the weekend to do fun activities as a family or maybe just #7.
7. I am NOT going to feel guilty for binge watching too much TV, planning time with my friends or heaven forbid I sit down and read a book or maybe even take a nap. It is not only okay, but necessary to take time for ourselves and do things we enjoy. It refills our tanks and helps give us the patience to deal with the drama that is raising teens today. It also sets an important example for our teens. Downtime is important and it has value, it is nothing we should feel guilty about or have to justify.
8. I am NOT going to regularly allow myself or my teens to get less than 7 hours of sleep a night. It can be a hard battle to fight, because teens are naturally wired to stay up late and sleep in and their school schedules don’t really accommodate this built in tendency. But their brains are still developing and they need 8-10 hours of sleep for this growth stage. Also, whether it is them or us, it’s been scientifically proven that lack of sleep directly contributes to mental health issues and overall health.
9. I am NOT going to do things for my teens that they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves (occasional favors and thoughtful gestures excluded). Sometimes it can feel like it is easier just to do things ourselves, because it will get done the way we want it or we’ll avoid the complaining or arguing that can come with asking teens to do their part in a household. But we don’t do ourselves or our teens any favors when we don’t require them to do chores and take personal responsibility for managing key parts of their own lives. The can set alarms and get themselves up in the morning, manage their schedules, do their own laundry and even make their own appointments. They are only under our roof for a few more years and then need to know how to do these things to function as independent adults. We need them to do these things, so that we aren’t trying to do it all and killing ourselves in the process.
10. I am NOT going to allow my teens to act in a way or says things that show they don’t value me. It is not okay for them to disrespect me, treat me poorly or overall impact my happiness and well being in a negative way. Yes, teens today are under a lot of stress and they often can feel like we are their only safe space to take out their frustrations. The occasional teen tantrum is to be expected, but constant verbal abuse from our teens is not okay. We need to work with them to develop healthier coping mechanisms for dealing with the challenges and struggles that come with the teen years. Not only will this help them as they move into adulthood, but it will also help ensure our homes are more peaceful places for all of us.
11. I am NOT going to complain about situations that I know I have the power to change and yet choose not to for whatever reason. There are times in parenting teens where we need to choose our battles and find some level of acceptance with the less than perfect. We will make ourselves crazy if we’re constantly focusing on all the little things that our teens are or aren’t doing the way we want or think is right and it will hurt our relationship with our teens. So do like Elsa and ‘Let It Go’!
12. I am NOT going to gossip or in any other way speak negatively of other teenagers or their parents who are doing the best job they can do, just like the rest of us, especially in front of my own teenagers.
13. I am NOT going to feel bad that I’m not my teen’s best friend and that sometimes, maybe even a lot of the time, they don’t like me very much. If I do my job right by setting boundaries, guiding them to value themselves and make healthy decisions and I do my best to keep them safe, then I’m doing my job as their parent. Believe it or not, this is often what sets the foundation for a strong relationship with an adult child.
14. I am NOT going to miss out on the fun of raising my teens and building better relationships with them because I’m afraid of what others might think about my choice or my actions
15. I am NOT going to judge myself too harshly when I fail at any of numbers 1-14 or anything else in my life for that matter. I’m just going to remind myself to try and be better next time and move on.
Are you in the thick of raising your tweens and teens? You may like this book by Whitney Fleming, the co-owner of Parenting Teens & Tweens: Loving Hard When They’re Hard to Love: Essays about Raising Teens in Today’s Complex, Chaotic World.
Parenting Teens and Tweens is hard, but these popular posts that other parents found helpful, might just make it a little easier.
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