Woulda Coulda Shoulda: New Year's Resolutions Without Regrets
Blogger Mir Kamin reflects on resolutions as part of the Care.com Interview Series
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your family?
How much time do you have? I could probably write you a novel about my family life, but the short version is about five years ago my husband and I finally got married, and now live in northeast Georgia with my teenage daughter and 12-year-old son, and one very spoiled rescue mutt. It took a long time to get here, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Our little blended family has its ups and downs, for sure, but for the most part life is pretty sweet.
Do you believe in New Year's resolutions? Tell us why you feel the way you do.
I've made resolutions and failed to keep them, I've made resolutions and worked my tail off to achieve them, and I've had years where I refused to buy in to the whole "new year, new me" thing at all. At this point in my life, I sort of feel like there's nothing magical about January 1st, and if there's a change my life needs, it shouldn't have anything to do with the calendar. That said, last year I made a "vision board" on New Year's Eve -- feeling that it was all kind of dumb -- and really did find it a cathartic experience in the end. It hangs over my desk here in my office, and it helped to remind me all year about what I really want to focus on more.
Do you make New Year's resolutions? Tell us a little about why or why not.
I try not to set a "here is the goal, measurable in this way" challenge for myself anymore. But a little reflection on my hopes and general wishes for the year ahead feels like a kinder, gentler way to start the year.
Both as a parent and an individual, what are the kinds of things you are always trying to improve on?
Oh, goodness. I'm always trying to unwind my high-strung self. First and foremost, I am always trying to be more patient with my kids. And second, I try to be more patient with myself. It took having kids to realize exactly how hard I am on not only others around me, but myself as well. Seeing my kids be similarly hard on themselves is heartbreaking. We're all working on it, together.
What is the most ridiculous New Year's resolution you've ever made? How did it go?
One year I decided to completely give up refined sugar, and it was during the divorce aftermath when my kids were still small and I was often unemployed and life was really, really challenging. All things in moderation, but a life without dark chocolate isn't one I want to live. Just sayin'. (I think I lasted about three miserable weeks.)
As a mother, what are some resolutions you think all parents could benefit from?
I rather dislike it when people frame things in terms of "once you're a parent you understand that..." because it's not as though being a parent is the penultimate path to enlightenment, or anything. That said, for me it took becoming a parent to really get that you can never go wrong with kindness -- for others, for yourself, and just as a general goal. I think approaching most of life's challenges from a position of "be kind, everyone is fighting a battle" is nearly always a good choice, and a great example for kids, too.
If we were to ask your kids what resolution they would make for you, what would it be and why?
I'm guessing my son would say I should spend more time playing (preferably with him, of course), and he has a point. Despite my best efforts, I work too much. My daughter would probably say I should resolve to be less strict, as it is currently her job to hurl her teenage self up against every boundary we set for her. (That one isn't going to happen, by the way.)
Finish this sentence: This is the year I...
This is the year I want to trust that challenges are just that, and not catastrophes. I tend to get a bit "Chicken-Little" when things go wrong, particularly when it comes to the kids. In retrospect, just about every challenge turned into something that strengthened us and wasn't so bad after all, but I'd love to bring some of that hindsight to bear on situations while they're happening, rather than a year later!
Mir Kamin began authoring the blog Would Coulda Shoulda in 2004 following a major life upheaval that included a divorce, single parenting, and unemployment. She is, in her words, "living a life I never planned for but now cannot imagine being any other way" as a freelance writer, remarried, with two children and a very spoiled rescue mutt. You can find Kamin on Twitter and on Facebook.
>>See what other resolutions kids are making in the Care.com Interview Series: The New Year's Resolution My Kids Would Make For Me.
Image used with permission from Mir Kamin.
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