A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
Happy new year, I guess. It feels a little silly to say it, sometimes, especially if the previous year was a tough one. I mean, 2014 was just last week, not on another plane of reality. Would you say “happy Monday” to someone who got dumped on Friday? Really, no one should wish anyone a “happy Monday” under any circumstances, so that’s probably a flawed comparison. You get my drift. I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions for that reason, and also because they’re just the worst in every way. They don’t work. In fact, they do the opposite of working: they force the resolution-maker to confront her own personal failings and utter inability to improve her body, soul, mind or relationships, thereby sending her into a tailspin of shame and defeat. They’re contrived and overhyped and create an unhealthy environment during the month of January in which everyone is walking around juggling a serious inferiority complex with a sanctimonious juice cleanse program. It’s simply too much pressure to turn on a dime and make major life changes just because it’s time to unwrap the 2015 edition of the “Pocket Pigs” wall calendar.
Did you see July? OMG. Where did they find a picnic table so tiny? Could you die? I could honestly die.
Anyway, what I meant to say earlier was that I’ve felt no need to make new year’s resolutions—until now. Because being a first-time parent has made me face some hard truths about just how little I know about . . . well, about anything. And trial and error is a perfectly fine approach to child rearing, except for all those pesky errors. Never before have I simultaneously experienced such total and unchallenged power over another life and such crushing self-doubt and general confusion. I know that there are no right answers in parenting, but I’m beginning to believe that there are quite a few wrong ones. I’m open to advice from all sources, and I’m trying to incorporate it all into my maternal essence or some crap like that. In the spirit of all the unsolicited suggestions I receive from family, other moms and internet writers, here I go a-resolutionin’.
Detach more: My child has enjoyed the luxury of having her mother home full time since she was born, which means she has developed a potentially unhealthy level of attachment to me. I need to encourage her to play independently and cling to me less by busying myself and refusing to give in to her constant pleas of “mommy do it” and “up, UP, UPPPPPP.”
Make the most of the time I’ve got: I shouldn’t worry so much about being too indulgent! My daughter will soon be off to school and finding her own way, and I should just focus on enjoying our days together before I’m weeping in the passenger seat of the car after dropping her off at college.
Enroll my daughter in more classes: She needs to get out and meet more kids and become used to the classroom setting. She’s a year and a half already and she doesn’t have the slightest clue what a somersault is! Time to get in gear or risk falling behind.
Spend less money and use the toys we’ve got: My daughter needs to learn how to entertain herself at home with the resources she’s been given. She’s got a lifetime of formal learning ahead of her.
Screw “mom” friends: It’s so unnatural to make friends with another woman just because we’ve both chosen to procreate at roughly the same time. Being a mom isn’t enough of a common ground to foster a real friendship, and having only “mom” friends limits my worldview and social life.
Make more “mom” friends: You guys, I’m bored. It’s not that I don’t love discussing the virtues of the truck that’s blue or that duck who quacks, or engaging in a heated debate about whether or not it’s time to eat a cookie (it isn’t), but every so often I’d like to hang out with someone who uses all the parts of speech.
Be better at stuff: You know, life stuff. Mom stuff. Prepare more crafts for my child’s developmental progress. Cook more. Use the microwave less. Learn to sew a damn button. Read more books above a toddler reading level. Pay more attention to the dog. Be nicer. Give back more. Spend less. All that good jazz.
Make better use of nap time: Exercise! Clean more. Prepare dinner. Make meatloaf! Catch up on paperwork and correspondence. The world is my oyster for anywhere from one to three hours per day. I should be making the very most of every free minute I am granted.
Stop putting so much pressure on myself to do stuff: I would like to say it just makes me run around like a madwoman until I’m exhausted and spread thin as a Parisian crepe, but actually it just paralyzes me into doing even less than I did before I aspired to better things. So really, I need to resolve to resolve less so that I do more. But not too much more, because then I’ll start doing less again. You follow?
Further my career: First I have to pick one, then I promise to further it. So, so much further.
Or don’t: Having it all is so 2013. Not having it all is so 2014. I predict that 2015 will be about having some of it, or having one of it, or maybe having a little sprinkling of various “its” from columns A through G, in which case I’m probably doing pretty okay. So are you, incidentally.
Oh, girl, stop beating yourself up so much about losing weight: You’re a mother! You bore life! Your body is a mystical temple of life-giving goddessness and you need to wear it with pride. It looks great. I’m sure everyone walks around admiring other women’s post-childbearing belly pooches.
Lose weight! Duh. Still waiting for the ten months I spent breastfeeding to kick in with its magic pound-melting effects. Any day now. Pride doesn’t help you fit into those old jeans. This year I’m going to try giving up carbs and sugar, except for wine and dark chocolate, and also sometimes pasta and bread. What am I, a robot? Get out of here.
Phew. I feel better. Don’t you feel better? I’m a higher quality human already.
Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!