I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I don’t have any willpower and the only time I’ve displayed enough to feel any pride was when I gave up smoking on 2 Jan 2005. That was only because my pathetic lungs couldn’t stand smoking ten-a-day, mind. No, I’ve always deliberately set myself resolutions that are easy and not painful and even then I’ve soon forgotten about them. The only one I can seriously say I’ve ever followed through on was ‘I must dance more like Bill Cosby’ (for those of you too young to remember The Cosby Show, take a look at the opening titles on YouTube). I managed that on and off for a full year. Of course, since the revelation that said comedian is a really horrible man, I’ve had to completely rein those moves in.
Anyway, now I’ve got two children I figured I should try and set myself five resolutions that will be of benefit to the family rather than just me, in the hope I might take them seriously. Three days in and I’m already struggling with the first one…
- Put down my phone:
This is the toughest. I really struggle to stop myself browsing the internet, reading the news, checking Instagram, Facebook etc, and I worry it’s causing me to miss out on valuable time with the children. There’s already a stipulation in our house where we came up with house rules to help Blondie, and Mummy Cool slipped in ‘no looking at phones at meal times’ specifically for me. And yet I often find myself sneaking a glance under the table. Thing is, yesterday my new iPhone X came so I’ve been playing with that way too much. MUST TRY HARDER.
- Exercise patience:
Actually, more exercise would be a good one, considering how much crap I ate over Christmas. Patience has never been one of my strong points and I see that in my children now, which means I need to be more tolerant about how long EVERYTHING takes with two kids – particularly bedtimes. We may bemoan the loss of so much free time, particularly on an evening, but it won’t be forever and I know I’ll miss it when it’s gone, particularly when Blondie is on form and cracking me up, doing her best to avoid having to end another day.
- Less toilet humour:
I love that Blondie and Red already display great senses of humour but with them being 6 and 2 respectively, a lot of their humour revolves around ‘trumps’ and ‘poos’. Now that’s fair enough, that’s what kids do, but it doesn’t mean I should always be falling back on it in order to get cheap laughs. I find myself wracking my brain trying to come up with impromptu songs with words about poo in them to make them laugh. Sometimes this is out of desperation as we’ve discovered that the power of distraction is the best way to get Blondie and Red out of meltdowns, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t just do it to get a giggle sometimes.
- Get them on their bikes:
We’ve had several false starts here. Blondie has had a bike for several years but still doesn’t enjoy it. I was very late in learning when I was a child and wouldn’t want her to take as long, but we’ve tried in fits and starts, which normally ends in a loud sigh from me and a march back to the shed in disappointment. I know it’ll be a brilliantly momentous day when it finally happens, so perseverance is key for both of us.
- Show more enthusiasm:
After a long day at work it can be hard to be full of joy when the kids want to play one of their games. With the best will in the world, sometimes children’s games can be boring and hard work. Blondie’s can be a struggle because she doesn’t pause for breath and it’s hard to keep up, whereas poor Red’s games are still at a very basic stage due to her not talking much. But I’m their dad and need to sometimes put on one of those inane grins children’s entertainers have and get on with the job, even if it sometimes descends into them climbing on me and beating me up. Actually, I’m lying, that’s much more of a laugh than playing with toys.
Here’s a bonus resolution. Feel less guilt. I need to work on all the above but also remember that no parent is perfect. This is one I think all parents need to remember every now and then. As long as we all try our best, we’ll get through this, won’t we? Now, where’s my phone…