Every year, about this time, I joke that I’m resolving to “start smoking and gain 30 pounds,” just to be different and to have an achievable goal.
In all seriousness, I’m a big believer in personal growth. So I actually like looking back over the past year and think about what I can do better during this next trip around the sun.
It’s very difficult to do much outside the normal routine during the week, being a single mother with a full-time career. By the time I get home from work it’s basically homework, dinner, baths, bed. And, as the kids get older and into more after school activities, the evenings get shorter. We try to make the most of the weekends, spending most of our time doing fun things together.
My son is reaching an age now where he can entertain himself for extended periods of time, and my daughter is going to start middle school (gasp!) next summer, so she will need more attention from me than ever. Something I really want to do more of next year is to spend one-on-one time with each child. It’s something they both need and appreciate, but it’s so difficult to do when I’m outnumbered!
Currently, my youngest goes to bed an hour before his sister, and I sit with him each night and read him a story. Once he’s in bed, I hang out with my daughter, either practicing the guitar or playing a board game or watching her favorite tween drama on Netflix. So we do get a little one on one time most nights.
My goal for 2015 though, is to add in a “Date Night” for each child, where I take one of them out of the house – to dinner just the two of us, or for ice cream, or on whatever activity they each enjoy. With the kids' upcoming activity schedule in the new year, I’m not sure how often this will be feasible, but I’m hoping to manage a date at least once a month.
At the very least, I might be able to take advantage of one child being at an activity to spend time with the other – although, with my luck, they will have activities in different places on the same nights! (I work in logistics and I haven’t figured out how to manage this yet!)
So, there you have it, my parenting New Year's resolution … spend more quality one on one time with each of my children. What’s your way of being a better parent next year?
Stacy Lamb of Apex is the divorced mom of two. She is an active member and former organizer of Single Parents of the Triangle. Find her here monthly on Wednesday.