Word to Live By

I now understand why January is full of messages of lighter living and organization. Our family has had a great winter holiday! Rich food weighs us down, sleeping-in and late night fun put our kids off bedtime schedule, we have great new toys to explore, and enjoyed family visits. But all this fun has wrecked havoc on our lives and bodies–is there such a thing as too much fun? My house is a giant “before” picture. But now we are back to real life–back to school, work and schedules. Time to set some goals:

1). Eat right;
2). Exercise;
3). Keep the house cleaner;
4). Cook nutritious meals.

Same resolutions every year that fall by the wayside in February. Try again:

1). Cure picky-eater-ness;
2). End sibling bickering;
3). Enforce good table manners.

Now I’m just dreaming.

I have so much to learn in 2012. Starting with striving to make our mornings smoother. I have schedules posted all over the house, bans on T.V. during the week, and when I am really on my game–both breakfast and lunch made before the kids get up. Yet every morning it feels like a race to the finish with a lot of cajoling to get everyone out the door. It makes for a stressful start of the day and I wish I could figure out what key ingredient I am missing to fix the situation.

Next, I need to learn how to take my kids (all with different skill levels) biking safely: an 8-year-old with a brand new mountain bike, a 4-year-old daredevil on a balance bike and a hesitant 4-year-old on a trike who longs to catch up with the other two but is not confident enough to try. If you can imagine me running around the neighborhood after this crew, dodging speeding cars, then you can understand my need for a new plan.

Finally, I need to figure out new and interesting ways to teach my boys their letters and numbers. They attend a fabulous play-based preschool and are learning social skills everyday and kindergarten requirements somewhat by osmosis. However, September is fast approaching and while we have a great (but competitive) elementary school, I feel the need to catch them up a bit so they go into kindergarten as prepared as any other kid.

What this really comes down to is learning how to accept and thrive in the challenge of:

1). how to be a great parent to an 8-year-old girl and two four-year-old (almost five!) boys;
2). learning how to balance the talents, needs, and desires, of everyone in the family so that my husband and I can reach our full parenting potential.

My goals all relate back to one thing “I” need to accomplish for success in my family. So I have chosen a word of the year to help me keep it all in the front of my mind: LEARN. I need to learn new skills in both parenting and time management in order to be a great parent this year and fulfill my goals. Do you have new year’s goals for yourself or your family?

Leslie H. is a freelance writer and parent to three great kids (two happen to be twins).

2 thoughts on “Word to Live By

  1. I do have some new goals for the family for 2012. I have just ordered the cookbook “Sneaky Chef” and I hope to find some recipes in there for foods my boys (ages 4, 4, and 10) will actually EAT which contain more fruit and veg ingredients! We all need to lay off the cheez-its and the quick foods we grab as snacks which contain NO nutrients. That’s one important family goal for 2012.

    My boys will enter kindergarten in Fall of 2012 and like you, I am worried about getting them “ready”. I have a couple of tips for you: Have you checked out the learning website which is free and great for preschool learning: it is Starfall.com
    My 4 year old boys love it and they DO actually learn letters from it!
    I also try to make it fun, like giving them a sheet of paper with markers and making a “letter machine” picture – asking how many letters can you put in your “machine” ? Or challening them to write a letter that is “hard” asking mom to “figure it out”. They like anything with the game aspect so making that challenge helps them.

    Also check out this website Hannahkeeley.com – it is packed with great tips & articles for moms who NEED motivation! I am inspired by her and have one of her books.
    Happy new year!

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