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Be a Positive Parent in 2011

As the holiday chaos comes to an end so does the entire year of 2010.
As tradition has it, many of us used the last week in December as a reflection period.  We went over the lists in our heads of things we did or did not do; the things we’re excited to celebrate and those we’d rather forget. It’s a time where we feel ever-so-obligated to evaluate how we measured up over the last twelve months.
I don’t know about your year, but mine was quite challenging. I am sure that there are some moments where I’d rather hide under a rock than remember my mistakes or short comings.  (We won’t mention how I made my son cry during holiday pictures.)  That’s right.. I was not always sparkling and shining.
I’m sure you would agree, that no matter what type of parent we are, and no matter how dedicated or loving we are, we can probably all look back at our year and remember something we did wrong regarding family matters.
Factors like sleep deprivation, work deadlines, over commitment, impatience or just plain lack of experience can lead us to be less of a parent than we intend. We can end up saying or doing something we didn’t mean, or worse, making judgment calls that might not have been the right ones.
In any case, I think it’s quite fair to say, parenting is not the easiest thing in the world to do and it’s not something that comes with directions, and we’re not always going to be perfect.
So it’s important that we don’t beat ourselves up over it.
When I had just  one child, it didn’t seem so difficult to have it all under control, but having more than one child has made me realize that my home will never be spotless, my plans will never be perfect, and I am not always in control of everything, including myself.
As 2011 arrives, you too may be getting caught up with the stress of making some New Year’s resolutions.  And as the thoughts of what we did wrong last year, and what we swear not to do again this year, swirl around in our heads, it can put a pretty big damper on our outlook for the future. This is no way to start a brand new year.
So, this time, just relax and give yourself a break. Our best is all we can do. We learn from our mistakes and shouldn’t strive to be perfect.  (This, of course, coming from a well known, long-time-Type-A-personality mom, lol, but it’s true!  We can’t think this way! This also comes after years of making notorious ‘New Year’s Resolution Lists’ and shortly into February feeling exhausted and  discouraged.)
This New Year’s I’ve decided to focus on the positive and celebrate the things I’ve done well in 2010! I am ringing in the 2011 by supporting myself in a positive way. I am focusing on my accomplishments and my healthy actions, rather than focusing on the things I did poorly, and which need to be changed.
So.. as I look forward to another year of positives, I would like to share with you My List of Things Done Well in 2010, and hope that you will share your list as well! Because after all, isn’t the positives what helped overcome the negatives? And isn’t it the positives  what we want more of? Yes! I think it is!

My List of Things Done Well in 2010:
·         Forgiving

·         Taking advice, facing my fears and going to court for my children’s sake (results: life    
            changing for years to come)
·         Volunteering at my children’s schools (only once for the holidays was all I could do, but it  
           made a giant difference to both the teachers and my kids)

·         Leaving early from work the nights that kids have performances at their schools so I am
           not rushed and stressed, which helps to leave a wonderful memory of the evening…the
           kids feel like they are less of a burden when I am enjoying myself J

·         Using email to gain good,  strong, communication with my children’s teachers and to help
           keep on top of my kids school life

·         Taking each child out individually for a date with Mommy

·         Completing our Kids Art Gallery wall in the hallway and letting them paint it the color they

·         Asking my children questions often regarding friends, school activities and their feelings

·         Doing family movie night at home once a week, complete with  popcorn and ice-cream

·         Taking time for me

·         Being patient

·         Starting a family vacation tradition ( At  the end of summer we go camping, it’s not
          elaborate or far, but it’s family time spent together and we can afford it)

·         Volunteering with my children with organizations that they feel strongly about

·         Giving my children freedom to make choices

·         Not doing a big to-do for my children’s birthdays, but allowing them one friend and the
          choice to go wherever they want (i.e., the farmpark, chuckecheez, or a night at the
          bookstore with money to spend and a yummy treat)

·         Taking the kids outdoors and spending as much time outside with them as possible
          (including winter walks in the Metroparks, family football at half-time, sledding, bike riding
          on the bike paths, the boys going golfing )
Give yourself a pat on the back for the things you’ve done right!  You deserve it! And keep those memories with you!  They will help you in the New Year to stay motivated and optimistic!
Do the best you can and don’t worry, no matter what, your children will always love you.
Happy New Year! J
(For a list of Things Done Well in 2010 that which may have not been directly related to parenting, please visit my motivational blog: Yellow Inspiration @



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