I wanted to write something about marriage and parenting and the fresh start of a new year. In thinking about it, I looked back at an old blog Thomas and I wrote six years ago in which we vowed to once-and-for-all resolve all the un-resolved issues in our lives. We agreed to make more of an effort to work together as a team, deal with things head-on and not let them lie, festering, only to rear their unresolved heads again. We titled the post New Year’s Non-Resolutions.
So where are we now, six years later? Are our acts together? Are we a unified front to the kids? Do we deal with things as they arise? No siree! It pains me to say we aren’t much better at this issue-resolving thing at all.
Why? Well, we’re tired! Six more years of age, trials and tribulations wear a person/marriage/parent down. Also, we’ve become better at prioritizing what’s worth our attention and what isn’t. For instance, when we’re faced with a more serious issue, like motivating one child to raise his grades so he doesn’t fail, then the pile of clothes he leaves on his floor just isn’t as important. We let that one go unresolved.
Also, sometimes we resolve to handle something with the kids a certain way and stick to it. Then they don’t do the whatever-it-is we want them to do. They have issues, objections, reasons (some compelling) as to why the thing we’re holding them to is never going to happen. Just because we, as parents, set expectations and consequences, doesn’t mean they are going to respond the way we want them to.
So where does that leave us in 2015? Keeping on, keeping on. Knowing what our values are, continuing to instill them, providing good examples, good messages and love. And, I’ll head into the new year grateful for all the things that are going well – that Thomas and I still work to nurture our marriage, that the things I used to have to stay on the kids about when they were younger, they now do without being asked. Let’s hear it for small successes and the motivation to keep at it, year after year.
It is disheartening to think that another year has gone by and we’re not any more effective at getting a handle on this parenting thing than we were the year before. Sometimes, I wish we could set up hidden cameras (that somehow Courtney and I would also forget were there) and let a parenting expert observe the goings-on of our family and then critique us, showing us the right way to do it all.
Yes, there are unresolved issues and problems that keep repeating themselves because of it. But we also have to give ourselves credit when we see that things are sinking in with the kids. Like when we don’t have to remind them to do a chore, or we see them do something kind for someone else, or they do well in school. Maybe we are doing okay as parents, despite not having a handle on everything.
Really, and I’m not making excuses here, with all of the day-to-day things that come up when parenting, maybe things can’t really be resolved. Maybe parenting is all just an evolving thing, constantly presenting us with opportunities to either handle it poorly or well. So if we continue to stick to our values and love for our children, as Courtney said, we’re doing a good job of parenting in an ever-changing existence.