I am not a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. Sometimes I make them and sometimes I don't, but mostly I feel like they just put too much pressure on you to ever succeed. I understand the impulse, though. There's something almost desperate about looking at another year and knowing it'll probably be more or less like the one before it.
Only for me, that desperation doesn't revolve around a calendar, but around the school year. I'm not sure why, but every year, as we are shopping for school supplies and settling on the perfect first day outfit, I feel certain that I can't keep going on the same way.
It doesn't help that my birthday is right around the beginning of school, so I have that milestone to reflect on, too.
So, every year, I sit the girls down, family meeting style, and tell them that this year is going to be different. This year, we are going to keep the house clean, we are going to get ready for the next day the night before, we are going to pre-pack lunches, lay out clothes, eat breakfast at the table. This year, we'll be prepared for all the madness, we'll keep our stuff organized and I will sign the planner every night.
What I picture in my head is a magical transformation where I become Donna Reed and they become perfect sitcom kids. I will scrub the floors and bake bread. They will come home from school and do their homework and their chores without nagging and occasionally say something cute which will make the studio audience laugh.
What happens is not that. What happens is usually that by the end of the school year, we're eating granola bars in the car, while Brynna digs for a pen so I can sign her planner before she gets out. What happens is our house is a mess, I drop into bed exhausted and realize in the morning that no one has clean underwear.
But this year is going to be different.
But what I've realized over the last few days, while I've put together new chore charts, frantically done laundry and planned the annual lecture, is that it's not been as bad as I thought. Every year, something sticks. Not all of it. I'm still not Donna Reed, but yeah. We went all of last school years with only one box of pop tarts. And my house is a wreck, but it's way less of a wreck than it used to be. Every year's New School Year's Resolutions have a little effect.
I might actually have this all together by the time Maren graduates. My only hope is that when they have kids, they remember how hard I tried and how it got better little by little. I hope they forget how hard I am on myself when I fail.