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Practical mommy resolutions I can actually keep
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I commit right now not to become the most amazing Mother of the Year in 2016. But I can also resolve to take baby steps by making more practical resolutions that I can actually keep this year without adding another fail to my mommy ego. - photo by Erin Stewart
The beginning of the new year makes everyone want to start fresh, do better and become the amazing person they know they could be if they just ate a few more vegetables and hopped on the treadmill occasionally. Yes, we are all superheroes with a few bad habits.

The truth is, New Years resolutions are hardly ever kept because we aim too high. We commit to fad diets of eating only juice and air. We buy exercise equipment that we just know is the missing link to our success. We promise to change overnight into the most amazing, disciplined, hardcore person anyone has ever seen. This year will be different. We will be different.

By February, we are back in our old routines, eating fast food and piling dirty laundry on that massive treadmill in our bedroom.

As mothers, we do it, too. We resolve not to yell at our kids and to spend more time enjoying the small details of our childrens lives. We commit to becoming the kind of mother we read about in parenting books. Our children will honor us, and other mothers will stand in awe of our perfection.

Fast-forward to February. Life is just as hectic as ever, and we snap at little Johnny because he stopped to look at a worm while we carry an entire grocery store in bags on our arms. In that moment, we realize we cant do it. We are not that mom in the parenting book, and we might as well give up our ridiculous, pie-in-the-sky resolutions. Whats one more mommy fail among so many, right?

So this year, Im being a little more realistic with my resolutions. I commit right now not to become the most amazing Mother of the Year in 2016. But I can also resolve to take baby steps by making more practical resolutions that I can actually keep this year without adding another fail to my mommy ego.

1. Fantasy resolution: Be on time. What mother wouldnt love to be the one calmly sitting in line when the bell rings in the afternoon? Id so much rather be that mother than the one swerving into the pickup line on one wheel because my child has been sitting outside the school for 10 minutes while everyone else with a responsible mom slowly disappeared. Yes, Id love not to be chronically late to everything, but its definitely on my list of pipe-dream resolutions. My children will just have to get used to running to class in the morning as I yell out the window, Love you. Hurry, the bell is going to ring any second!

More practical resolution: I might never be punctual, but I can try to lessen the constant rush in our house when we are late. Instead of waiting until one minute before pickup time to tell everyone to Hurry! Shoes on! Were late! I can set alarms on my phone for 10 minutes before an event. And then (and this is the really amazing part), I can actually leave when that little alert comes up on my phone rather than hitting the ignore button. This is groundbreaking stuff here, people.

2. Fantasy resolution: I will get dressed in actual clothes every day. Lets be real here this just isnt going to happen on a daily basis. Some days are just sweatpants kind of days, and thats OK. I am always mystified by the mother who wears adorable riding boots and skinny jeans while cleaning her house or playing at the park. Thats not me, and it never will be. I will be comfortable in my house and playing with my kids, and occasionally I will get dressed and put on makeup when I have to interact with other real-life people. (But dont hold your breath.)

More practical resolution: This feels somewhat ridiculous because I make my children do the same thing, but I will lay out my clothes the night before. Instead of staring bleary-eyed at my closet and inevitably reaching for my sweatpants, I will at least have an option for regular, land-of-the-living clothes each day. You can bet I will be changing right back into stretchy pants and a sweatshirt when I get home, but at least I will have tried.

3. Fantasy resolution: I will not look at my phone in front of my kids. OK, I have really been working on this one because I do not want to be one of those digitally dazed parents whose eyes are glued to their smartphones while their kids have completely given up on even trying to get moms attention. But there is no way to go a whole day without checking your phone a few times while the kids are around. So while I am scaling back on the check-the-phone-every-five-minutes routine, resolving not to look at it at all is just not going to work. Ive made my peace with it, and really, moderation is always the best route to go anyway.

More practical resolution: Instead of banning myself from phone time, I will put my phone in a specific location in the house so I wont be tempted to lose myself in its glorious, informative vastness. I will not judge myself if I do need to look at the phone for something, but I will return it to its place after so I do not become a phone-zombie mom.

4. Fantasy resolution: I will make more mommy time. I have made this resolution in years past because who wouldnt love more time reading books or hanging out with girlfriends? We all know mommy time is vital to recharging our batteries, so yeah, lets prioritize us some alone time! Heres the problem: Where in the world are these magical mommy hours coming from? All the same chores and to-do lists are still there, even if I resolve to prioritize myself occasionally.

More practical resolution: I will pick one night a week when I do not work or clean or prepare school lunches after the kids go to bed. I will spend that time doing something I want to do that is not for anyone else. If the kids have to buy lunch, fine. If the house is a mess, thats OK.

5. Fantasy resolution: School nights will run on a tight schedule so we have time for homework, dinner, activities, bedtime rituals, chores and some relaxed family time. I actually think this is going to happen every night and am disappointed every night when the evening devolves into chaos, unfinished homework and hurried bedtime kisses. Its like some time thief sneaks into our home after 5 p.m. and makes it impossible to get everything done.

More practical resolution: I will have dinner on the table at 6 p.m. every night. Thats it. Thats my big, fix-the-nighttime-routine solution, and its one I can actually control. I cant force the kids to do their homework or finish their chores, but I can have dinner on the table at 6 p.m., and everyone has to be in their seats by this point. This may mean dinner will consist of chicken nuggets some nights, but it will be on the table at the same time, every night. And I can take one little baby step that has a chance of actually lasting until next year, when I can take another.

What are your practical mommy resolutions?