The problem with January 11th (Do moms even get to have resolutions?)


One of my goals two years ago was to revamp my morning routine. I was going to win my day by getting up early, enjoying the quiet, having a shower before any little ones could wake me up with a “Mommy, Mommy.”

So I did all the right things. Made my list and checked it twice.

  • Started going to bed early.
  • Set an alarm.
  • Perfectly curated my outfit for the next day.
  • Planned breakfast and packed lunches.

Two years later, the routine that worked then is still working.

But, the problem is… even with good goals and great results from good goals, we still have January 11ths— days where for no apparent reason, more than one kid was crying. The laundry overflowed on the dining room table and snacks intermingled with crafts all over the kitchen. And dinner was frozen chicken nuggets because I got stuck between a big mess and wiping a many little tears.

My morning routine was perfect on January 11th. How did the afternoon fall apart? It was a quiet, peaceful, glorious morning even. Gah. Our good goals don’t guarantee good days.

And that’s the problem with mid January. We look at our good goals and use them for guilt, comparison or lofty expectations and all we’re left with is half of a good day. Resolution #1: fix morning routine. Done. Check! (But for what?)

In my ten years of parenting, this is what I’ve learned. I’d love to set resolutions January first and steward my year meticulously. Really, I’m a Type A wannabe and being productive sounds grand. But, I didn’t choose to be productive, I chose to be reproductive and when I chose to grow and birth and parent and feed and clothe homeschool these four children, I lost a lot of resolution-creating-stewarding-mastering ability.

Instead of alarm clock setting routines and planned meals or exercise regimens, my one big idea is to be present with this family. I want to accept these moments for what they are, to love and give and serve with everything I have, to not be a victim of my home or children, but to make powerful choices with my heart and attitude, my thoughts and my gratitude.

Yeah, I ended up in the pantry eating Nutella straight out of the jar January 11th.

But I took a minute to let go of the goal guilt and January’s productivity hype. I marched back into the kitchen, grabbed the box of tissues and starting wiping little eyes, hugging little necks, kissing little foreheads.

I decided that I could do this. (Deep breath.)

It took about 30 minutes to deal with the laundry mountain, corral the crafts off the kitchen island, and wipe the crumbs from the snacks. I looked around and gosh, I’m awesome. It wasn’t December’s angst or a January 1st goal to keep up with the laundry or keep the kitchen island clear (oh dear, Lord. Please everyone keep your junk off my kitchen island) but here I am, grabbing hold of this minute and moving right through it and I’m dang proud. I’m so proud of myself.

I won’t have a sticker or a certificate that says in 2017 I was awesome and accomplished all the pretty resolutions. Oh but look at what I do have! I have four little people for whom just want me– no goals, good goals or bad goals, however I come– any day, they just wanted me and here I was- with my Nutella, chicken nuggets and all.

I guess I’m hoping you’ll take a minute to remember there’s nothing magical about January 1st and resolutions don’t always work for busy moms. Your life, your work, your hustle is precious. “Children are not a distraction from more important work, they are the most important work,” CS Lewis says. What if the most productive things you do are the little ones you raise?

January 11th, you aren’t a problem. You’re just a day and tomorrow is new.

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