The New Year's Resolution Every Mom Needs to Make This Year

This is the time of year we all reflect on what was and what we want the future to be. We take stock of our successes and failures, we pledge to do better at work, get more involved in our communities, try harder to control our sugar cravings, and to get to the gym. The list of what we aren't doing well enough is, for most of us, endless. There is always more; there is rarely a crossed finish line.

This is especially true when you're a mom. Our reviews come not in the form of professional pats on the back or raised salaries. Our "bosses," a title that can feel both figurative and, many days, literal, regularly tell us we're the best one minute and the worst just moments later. And the stakes are oh so high. Our jobs are not about filing the correct reports or closing the next deal. They are about shaping lives, and not just any lives, but the lives of the people we love most in the whole world.

So, of course, it would be easy for a mom to make the same resolution every year: this year, I will be a better mom.

Nothing feels more important, yet it is a fool's errand. If you're reading this, you already are a better mom. You are thoughtful about your role. You are focused on being great for your children. You have sacrificed sleep and sanity and independence and probably your prebaby body for them, willingly. Are you perfect? Of course not. None of us are. But you are good enough, better than most.

So this year, make another resolution, one that's about you, not your children. Resolve to enjoy motherhood more.

Let me be clear: this has nothing to do with being more fun. It's not about sitting on the ground and playing Legos for hours, especially if you hate playing Legos. It doesn't mean you should immediately put on your coat and boots and make a snowman with your kids, unless being in the snow brings you joy. It certainly doesn't mean you need to take your kids to the pool every day next Summer, despite your mild allergy to the sun.

What it does mean: you should resolve to find the parts of being a mom that bring you the most happiness and vow to make them happen more. If you love reading to your child, then find time to do it every single day. If crafting or drawing or baking is your thing, then do it more. If watching movies on the couch under a blanket is your kind of fun, then stop feeling guilty about the screen time.

You should resolve to find the parts of being a mom that bring you the most happiness and vow to make them happen more.

The second part of the resolution involves cutting out some of the things you truly hate about motherhood. Of course, you can't eliminate changing diapers or dealing with midnight wake-ups and temper tantrums, but there are things in your control. If playing chauffeur to endless classes and practices is stealing your joy, realize that your kids don't need to be in every possible activity. They will still be successful adults. If constantly hosting play dates is driving you crazy, cut back. Your kids will still have friends. If you simply feel overwhelmed, then find a way (a gym, a Mom's day out program, an affordable babysitter) to get away more frequently . . . even if it's just so you can go to Target by yourself.

Realize that your satisfaction is just as important as your children's. In reality, your happiness affects theirs just as much as their joy fuels yours. It is a codependent situation, despite how often we moms feel like we're giving without getting much back.

So make this the year that you embrace the truth, the one that has always been lying close beneath the surface of our lives as mothers, filled with the daily struggle of making lunches and doing homework, picking up toys, and folding laundry. Your happiness matters. You must make it a priority. Doing so benefits everyone, including your children.