Every year around this time we are bombarded with messages that we need to change. The second the clocks strike midnight on Dec. 31st we are supposed to go down 2 jean sizes, run a 7-minute mile, cook 5-star meals, and become the perfect parent and partner. Easy enough, right? Wrong. Here at the Parent Alliance, we have always been anti-New Year's Resolutions. It is an unnecessary pressure that people put on themselves every year and it often leads to feelings of guilt or failure when we aren't able to magically reboot our lives in 1 month.
That is why we won't be telling you how you are expected to change this year. What we will do, is remind you of the positives that come with starting a New Year.
1. It marks the end of the holidays
Look, we love the holidays as much as anybody - I've had my tree up since Halloween. There is no doubt about it, December is a month full of holiday cheer, but also obligations and financial stress. Since November you have probably been up to your ears in holiday gatherings, making elaborate meals and desserts, and shopping till you drop.
Any year this season proves to be particularly exhausting for parents, but this year it's been even more stressful. Everything is way more expensive than it used to be and that has caused the holidays to be even more of a financial strain for families. From grocery shopping, to the gifts you buy, to what you wrap them in, everything costs more and that's not only financially scary but its also a huge mental drain for you to have to constantly think about it.
Add to that, the social obligations of the holidays, which can be a lot - especially for a parent who is raising a child who is struggling. Maybe you have had to smile and nod through some unhelpful parenting advice over the last two months. Maybe you had to pretend to not notice your aunt roll her eyes when your child was more energetic than she would have liked. All of that should be slowing down for you as the new year begins and we leave the holidays behind us.
2. School starts back up soon
Like the holiday one, this might sound harsh - but it's true. It is a lot for a parent who is raising a child who is struggling to have their child's routine altered. And, that is exactly what the holidays do. Many children thrive on structure and the holidays are anything but. Your kids may be coming off of a month long sugar high where they got to sleep in, and the routine that you worked so hard to get them into has been put on pause.
Also, it can be very hard for parents who are raising children who are struggling to find someone to watch them. If your child is anxious around new adults, or has very high energy, or any other reason that makes it difficult for you to find care, this time can be a lot for you. Your kids may be off school but that does not necessarily mean you are off from work.
While the holidays are all fun and games and the holidays are a great time to make family memories - the new year means the welcoming back of structure into your children's lives. Either already, or any day now your child should be packing up their book-bags and getting ready to dive back into learning and thriving under their routine.
3. It is a fresh start
If this has been a difficult year for you, use this as a time to wipe the slate clean. While we don't like the idea of New Years being this arbitrary day where you need to change everything, it can mark the start of something new.
Maybe you and your teen have been arguing a lot lately and you want to try and forget about the past and start your year off on a positive foot with them. Perhaps, you have been feeling a lot of guilt about a particular parenting moment, this is a great time to let that go. Use the calendar change as a time to forgive the ones you love, and yourself and move forward together. Nothing that happened last year has to define your 2023.
We are so proud of you for pushing through and getting to the New Year. We know how stressful it is to be a parent right now and we think you should give yourself a huge pat on the back.
Want to start the new year off with a little prioritizing of your own mental health? Check out our very popular Emotional Safety Tip Sheet to make your very own!