Buh-bye 2015 and hello 2016! Out with the old and in with the new! A week and a half into the new year and my hangover cum jet lag is finally over (try staying sober on a week-long family cruise). Which means I’m finally clear headed enough to get on with the tradition of making new year resolutions. And this year I want to go back to the basics. Don’t worry, I’m not feeding you the tired old line ‘my new year resolution is to lose weight and gain friends’. What I mean is that I want to focus on rediscovering forgotten priorities. This past year I have had enough of ‘me time’ and ‘free time’. The new year is going to be all about ‘we time’, or as I like to call it The Year of Family Fun in Fresh Air. I’ve given a lot of thought into what habits or activities we can develop as a family to ensure we’re getting the most out of each other, in a constructive, fun way. So, here are my five new year resolutions for ensuring a happier, healthier family in 2016… drumroll please!
There, I confessed, I’m a typical nagging wife. But no more! The shrew has decided to tame herself this year. I will be grinning instead of gritting my teeth, batting my eyelashes instead of rolling my eyes and fawning over the husband instead of frowning at him. Exception to the rule… wet towels on the bed and socks not thrown in the laundry basket. Then the gloves are off.
This does not include time spent whatsapping, texting, emailing or face-timing each other. This also does not include time spent talking about which child has not pooped in the last two days, who was given a time out, who got a prize in a drawing competition or who came home with a note from the teacher. I’m talking about a real face-to-face grown up conversation. And I don’t want to schedule a ‘date night’ for this. I’m a married woman who does not need to date her own husband to have a meaningful conversation, I should be able to talk to him whenever I want to!
If I had a penny for every time I said no to my kids! It’s almost a reflex to reply in the negative whenever I hear my kids say “Mumma can I…”. So much so that I can say the word in several languages… nyet, non, nein, bu, iie, nahinnnnnnnn! But that’s all about to change. I resolve to let my kids finish their sentences before proclaiming my decision. Also, to try and give them better logic and reasons to listen to me than the supremely vague ‘because I said so’.
I’m not a mothership, I’m a hovercraft. And it’s exhausting both physically and emotionally. I want to have control over what they eat, what they wear, who their friends are, where they go… to the point that I irritate even myself. So this year, I want to take a step back from the worries that come with being a mother and embrace the joys of parenting. I want to laugh with them, tell funny stories, act silly, soar with their imagination and create a picture book of 2016 thats filled with smiles!
I want us to rediscover each other as individuals and connect together as a family. I’m the first to admit that I’m extremely inconsistent in setting a timetable to limit my kids’ use of gizmos. Its come to a point that the only way we can have a peaceful family meal is if my kids are bribed with a gadget to keep them busy while we eat. And sadly, even my husband and I are guilty of preferring gadgets over conversation. 2016 is going to be the year of living in the real world as opposed to the virtual world :) Be outdoors, breathe fresh air, and end the year as a happier, healthier family!
And now, I’ve realised just what a mammoth task I’ve set for myself. I should’ve stuck to my tried and tested (and failed) resolution of thinking before I speak. Oh well, it’s not going to be easy but let it not be said she never tried! May the force be with me.
Aditi Kalra is a part-time writer, reiki healer, and a full-time mom. She’s lived across three continents, raising two high-on-sugar kids and managing one low-on-patience husband!