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New Year, New Me: One Mom's Take on New Year's Resolutions

Melissa Roja Lawlor
Dec. 14, 2011

Mom blogger Jennifer Doyle shares an honest take on becoming her best self as part of the Care.com Interview Series

For Jennifer Doyle, being honest with herself has led to effective resolutions. The immensely self-aware mom and blogger has always taken advantage of New Year's Day to improve and become her best self. From resolving to give up holding grudges to losing weight with her husband, Doyle takes the New Year tradition seriously.

As for what resolutions her kids might make for her, that's another story altogether. While letting her kids play Wii all day and eat ice cream isn't on Doyle's resolution list this year, she tells us what did make the cut in our full interview below.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your family?

My husband Tate and I have been married for ten years and have two wonderful, but wild children.  Carson is six and Ella is four.  Thanks to our kids, my husband and I know way more about NASCAR and Monster Jam than we ever thought possible. Since 1999, we've moved five times for my husband's job and are hoping that Knoxville will remain our home for a good long while.

Do you believe in New Year's Resolutions?

Overall, I think that New Year's resolutions are just another way to make you feel bad about yourself when you don't achieve them.   But of course, I make resolutions EVERY SINGLE YEAR even though I know I could make changes in March or June or August. There's something about the New Year and having new goals that just feels like the right time to start something new.  Last year, my husband and I decided to lose weight for our resolution (I KNOW! How original!) and we've both been very successful.  Having a start date to begin eating healthier and exercising really worked for us.

Both as a parent and an individual, what are the kinds of things you are always trying to improve on?

I'm very concerned about the legacy that I'm leaving for my kids.  I'm always trying to do better about yelling at them and about being in the moment with them.  One of my favorite bloggers and author of the book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp, says, "Life isn't an emergency."  This quote punches me in the gut every time I hear it. I don't want my kids to look back at their childhood and remember the times I yelled and rushed them.  I want them to look back and say, "Mom was awesome; she just let us be kids."

What was it that sparked your intense desire to give up holding grudges (your 2007 resolution)?

I decided to make the resolution to not hold grudges several years ago because I knew that I was putting far too much energy into the choking grasp of the wrongs that I felt had been committed against me.  Instead of putting so much thought into the negative, I wanted to turn it around and focus on forgiveness instead.

How did your resolution go? How has it changed you as a woman, a parent or a wife?

This resolution is...ongoing.  Always.  I try to hard not to keep letting the hurts consume my thoughts, I often have to remind myself that I'm just not going to let myself hold onto the grudge.  Learning and practicing the letting go and focusing my energy on forgiveness has been very freeing.  I think I'm a much more relaxed and gentler version of myself than I was in 2007 since I'm purposely not holding onto so much anger and hurt.

What is the most ridiculous New Year's resolution you've ever made? How did it go?

I make the resolution nearly every year to be a better housekeeper.  It's never going to happen. I should make the resolution: Find a housekeeper.

What is resolution you're sick of others making?

I think it would be presumptuous of me to judge another mother by her choice of resolutions. I think we could really stand to support other moms with their resolutions, whether it's to lose weight or spend more time with their spouses, or find something in life that fulfills them beyond motherhood.

If we were to ask your kids what resolution they would make for you, what would it be and why?

Left to their own devices, my kids would most likely sit with a Wii Remote in one hand and a bag of candy in the other all day long. In our house, the rule is that video games are for the weekends only, and only if they earned the time with good behavior throughout the week.  With candy and sweets, they maybe get one to two pieces a week. Ice cream is a rare treat since I purposely just don't buy it very often.  I keep the candy up high on a shelf to keep it out of sight...and hopefully out of mind!

Having said that, my kids would love it if I made the resolution to allow them to eat chocolate ice cream and play Wii everyday.  This won't happen, maybe I could compromise and let them eat carrots and play outside everyday. Wonder how they'd like that?

For 2012--finish this sentence: This is the year I...

Will run a half-marathon and live to tell about it.

Jennifer Doyle is a speech-language pathologist turned freelance writer, editor, and publisher. She chronicles life with two kids in Knoxville on her personal blog, Playgroups Are No Place for Children, for which she was named one of Babble's Top 50 Mommybloggers. You can find Jennifer 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 Jennifer Doyle.
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