I’m not a believer in New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I think in terms of growth goals. This year, I want to continue fostering intimacy and growth in my relationship with my kids and my husband.
Rather than coming up with the growth areas on my own, I decided to do something a little different this year.
I asked my family to give me input about my strengths and weaknesses as a mom and wife.
I thought, “Why not go to the people who are most affected by my attitude, words, and behavior?” Since my kids are still six and eight, I needed something simple. So I thought of these two questions and asked them on New Year’s Day:
What is one thing that you want mom to keep doing?
What is one thing you want mom to stop doing?
These simple questions provided some good talking points with the four most important people in my life. I was also surprised with how much I learned about them and what they appreciate and value in our relationship.
Here are a few things that I learned that I need to keep doing:
I need to keep hugging.
I need to keep paying attention.
I need to keep trusting because they love being trusted.
I need to keep doing “Hey come here? I have a secret to tell you.” Then whisper in their ears, “I love you.”
I need to keep praying.
I need to keep singing.
I need to keep smiling.
I was delightfully surprised to hear that these are things that they really value. I am so glad to be encouraged to keep doing these things because I do love doing them!
Here are some things that I need to stop doing:
I need to stop raising my voice. (They used the word yell, but my husband said I never yell as what some may consider yelling.)
I need to stop hugging and kissing without asking. (One of our kids have sensory issues and it makes the child not like hugging.) But I can wrestle.
I need to stop giving that look of disapproval to communicate something I’m unhappy about.
I need to stop asking the same question twice as a way to communicate that I want them to do something. (i.e. “Do you want to wear a jacket? It’s cold.” “No thanks, I’m okay.” A minute later. “Don’t you think you should wear a jacket?”) They want me to just say what I want them to do instead of asking. If I ask, it means they can say no. 🙂
I need to stop calling our child with the first and middle name when I’m angry.
So I’ve started working on some of these things.
This morning, instead of raising my voice, I spoke in a quiet voice about something that I was not happy about. The response wasn’t, “Oh mother, thank you so much for not raising your voice!” It was, “Why are you acting like that?” I responded, “Because you asked me to not raise my voice so I’m working on it.” Then I saw a light bulb go on.
Instead of giving hugs and kisses with this particular child who really doesn’t like the sensation of hugs and kisses (this one was a hard one to let go as a mother), I have been asking, “Can I have a hug?” or “Can I wrestle you?” The response was a hearty hard hug.
I was reminded today that I used a first and middle name, and I had to apologize right away.
I am a work in progress.
I am thankful that I have four people who see me in my best and worst moments every day of their lives and are able to help me become a better mom and wife.
I really want to get better.
I need their help along the way, with their encouragement and honest constructive criticism.
Do you know what you need to keep doing this year?
Do you know what you need to stop doing?
Don’t hesitate to find out by asking the people who matter the most to you.
You might be pleasantly surprised by their words of encouragement and advice.