Motherhood Resolutions for 2016

The (Mis)adventures of a Modern Mom: As a mother, I hit some home runs—and had a few strikeouts—this year. Here’s how I plan to improve as a mother in the new year.

Emmy and Aliya S. King
Emmy and Aliya S. King Aliya S. King

I have five resolutions for how to be a better parent to Emmy in the new year. Let’s go.

5. Be careful of the snap-back.

I don’t necessarily lose my temper with Emmy. Wait. That’s a lie. I do often lose my temper with Emmy. Because her sister is 10 years older, Emmy functions as an only child. Which means there’s a lot of “Why, why, why?” and a lot of “Please, can I … please, can I?” There are far too many times when I respond to Emmy in a way I later regret.

Now, I’m not burning her with a hot iron like Penny’s mom on Good Times. But I definitely snap at her often, usually with something like, “Oh my God, Emmy, please go sit down somewhere.” I’m ashamed to admit that earlier this week, she was following me around the house as I tried to clean, babbling about a television show, and she stopped and asked, “Are you even listening to me?” I told her, “Honestly? No. I’m not.”

Emmy’s face made me feel awful. I apologized. I know I’m human and I’m bound to make mistakes as a mom. But in 2016, I’m determined to have fewer snap-back moments. Emmy is 8. And it won’t be long before I’ll be following her around the house—and she’ll want nothing to do with me. And I won’t want to hear any snap-back from her. Modeling the behavior you want to see from your children is critical, and I can do a better job of it.

4. Save money for Emmy’s college education.

My go-to order at Starbucks is a triple grande soy Cinnamon Dolce Latte. The cost? $6.26. I am ashamed just to type that. Why on earth should a cup of coffee cost $7?! I don’t buy it every day. It’s more like once a week. But even that needs to end. I can’t bemoan my financial situation and Emmy’s paltry college fund and then turn around and ever spend damn near $7 on a cup of coffee. That’s obscenely irresponsible. Even if I buy that drink only twice a week, that’s nearly $700 a year that could be growing in a college fund for Emmy.

My husband and I didn’t save as much as we could have for our oldest daughter’s college education, and she was fortunate to receive several scholarships. But that may or may not happen for Emmy. We were able to send our older daughter to school without saddling her with student loans (yet). And I want the same for Emmy. In 2016, there’s no Starbucks. Unless it’s a $1.50 drip coffee.

3. Stop stressing the little things.

I often compare myself to my own mom. Especially when it comes to the cleanliness of my house. You can eat Thanksgiving dinner on my mom’s bare kitchen floor—no plates needed. My mom went to college part time and had two children and a husband as well as a full-time job. Yet there was never a thing out of place in our home. She did laundry every week. (And actually folded it and put it away!) She even washed and pressed my hair and my sister’s hair every week. Basically, she was a supermom.