It's the end of January, and my son is furiously trying to finish his science fair project at the last minute despite my warnings (pleadings!) weeks early to finish it early “or you’ll be sorry.” The end of term occurred just days before and I had the pleasure of listening to not one, but two teenagers give me passionate speeches ranging from “The teacher must not have entered the grade in right,” to “Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered, and I won’t really learn unless I handle this on my own,” and my personal favorite speech: “Grades don’t really matter because it’s really about the learning process.” (I keep telling my kids that I WAS a jr. high and sr. high teacher. I know their tricks and I know students, and 9 out of 10 times, I’m going to be on the teacher’s side. Sorry.)
It’s the end of January, and we’ve already been on a family trip, celebrated two of our daughter’s birthdays, hosted parties, prepared for and arranged a baptism and celebration and prepared and launched a play opening.
We’re only a few weeks into the new year, and my resolve to “simplify in 2016” is mocking me at a ridiculous level.
I should have known better—“simplify” is too vague of a goal and largely out of my control because I chose to be a mom. I should make resolutions and goals based on only those things that are actually in my control. As mothers, we are responding to the ever-changing needs of other people, and despite our best efforts, we cannot control, only influence (I wish!), the choices our kids will make. (After nearly 18 years of parenting, I think it’s finally starting to sink in for me. I’m a slow learner.)
I am modifying my New Year’s resolutions. Instead of simplification, to which I admit defeat (I had five kids. I want to raise them and they are complicated, like me—I made my choice!), I will seek simplification in my daily life. I will recommit myself to taking time everyday to: read my scriptures, exercise, and write. Three things that always make me feel better and that I never regret doing, and are only THREE THINGS. Simple.
It’s only the end of January, and I don’t need one more thing to do, or self-imposed list of ideals to make me feel guilty. It’s time to hunker down and get back to basics. There is always another “end of term” around the corner, birthday, science fair project, or unexpected surprise. I’ve got to be ready.
For more family tips and a healthy dose of parenting humor, check out Lisa Valentine Clark's book, Real Moms: Making it Up As We Go available now at Deseret Book.
As moms, we improvise. We get along. We make things work. And we make a lot of things up as we go along because, let’s face it, no manual is ever going to cover all the bases a real mom needs to touch. But if laughter and perspective and a renewed energy to face the day are what you’re after—if you too are a “real mom”—this is the book for you!