My Resolution to Stop Resolving

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New Year’s resolutions always get me. Every year around Christmas, I get this sudden boost of confidence in my abilities to do everything better starting January 1st. Every year I make really cliché resolutions like “get in shape,” “get organized,” “follow a cleaning calendar”… the list goes on and on. And every year I base these resolutions on things that I feel I do poorly in my current day-to-day life. I want to get in shape because I can’t help but notice those extra {mumblemumble} pounds that I’ve put on since last year. I want to get organized because I know I really suck at keeping a peaceful house without everyone doing everything as frantically as possible and at the very last minute. A cleaning calendar seems like the best way to quash my obsessive-compulsive tendencies and create a little less anxiety surrounding chores. Basically, at the end of every year, I compile a long list of all the things that I fail at doing, and I resolve to become Master of All The Things.

This year I’ll be a better mom.

This year I’ll be a better partner.

This year I’ll lose some weight.

This year I’ll do X, Y, and Z, because I’m the worst at doing those things right now.

New Year's Resolutions

I feel like as women {and especially moms}, we are inherently self-deprecating. We’ve been programmed from a very young age to celebrate accomplishments with self-doubt, and to find reasons to bat down compliments before we let them boost our self-esteem. So of course, naturally, we are all prepared to spend a good portion of time identifying and focusing on our flaws around this time of year.

Happy friggin’ New Year.

This morning, while shampooing my hair and trying to think what time I’ll need to start waking up in 2016 in order to be more productive before my son wakes up, I had a very profound thought: what if I just didn’t change what time I wake up? I already wake up fairly early. I’m not a nice person early in the morning–I resolve to be a morning person!–and it makes absolutely zero sense that waking up even earlier and being even more of a grunting, eyebrow-furrowing monster would actually benefit my family. When did waking up at 6:00 instead of 5:00 become a bad thing? Sleeping that extra hour so that I’m a little easier to handle in the mornings has somewhere down the line become a flaw of mine.

What if we didn’t focus on our flaws when making resolutions? What if–don’t let me lose you here–we didn’t even consider those things to be flaws?

What if our resolutions stopped being another way for us to negatively view ourselves?

Here’s the thing: scales suck. We’ve all gained some weight. Somewhere along the way, though, we’ve started connecting that number on that scale and our physical fitness with our self-worth. We’ve decided that we aren’t good enough because we don’t look as good in a dress as that other mom at church. The fact that our houses aren’t as organized and magazine-worthy as that mom in our MOPS group means we have somehow failed. Our Instagram and Facebook photos can’t be filtered enough to make our lives seem as pretty and easy as all those women who clearly have their lives together online. All these “facts” have become our downfalls, and our happiness depends on whether or not we can fix them. We’ve become late night Pinterest fiends and internet scourers who just have to find the perfect DIY solution to our problems. But are they truly problems?

My goal as a mother is to raise little humans who grow up to know their true value in this world. I want to raise my children to be the kind of adults who don’t doubt their self-worth, and who are happy being… themselves. We all try to teach our children how wonderful they are and lift them up so they can grow into confident and successful adults, but look at the example we set for them. How can we teach our daughters that they are beautiful the way they are when every year Mom vows to fit into her pre-mom jeans? Why? Is Mom’s worth somehow wrapped up in the denim of those size fours? No.

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Our children absorb more from our actions than our words. Anyone with a two- or three-year-old can attest to that. They actually don’t ever listen to any words that come out of your mouth. But they’re watching, and they’re feeling.

This year I’ve decided to stop it. I’m going to stop teaching my son that a woman is only as good as her clean house. I don’t want him growing up thinking that the best women are either slim and fit, or busting their butts to be. I’m going to show him that a good mom isn’t good just because she wakes up 3 hours before everyone else just so she can be photoshoot-ready before the sun comes up. I want him growing up knowing that a good mom takes care of herself and loves herself the same way she takes care of and loves her family. Sometimes she has crazy bed head for most of the day, but that’s because that day her priority was building a fort and watching movies with her munchkins. A woman who is confident and happy is a beautiful woman. A person who is kind, fair, and gracious has the best life.

This year, I resolve to love myself as much as my son loves me.

Will I eat healthier? Yes, because I am worthy of being healthy. Not because I love myself more when I eat kale. I actually hate kale. As a matter of fact, I resolve to never again force myself to eat kale. And you know what? I won’t hate myself if I eat some awesome pizza from time to time. My son loves pizza, and he loves me. Will I take time to wash my hair and make myself presentable {most days}? Yes, because I deserve to feel like more than a greasy jungle-gym. Will I stress about the organization of my house, or the little tumble weeds of pet fur rolling across the tile floor? Maybe. But I will strive to give myself grace in those times. My son does.

When our children are small, they see us as perfect. My goal for 2016 is to see myself as perfect as my son sees me. And that’s a resolution I’ll actually strive to continue for more than a couple of months.

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