By Megan Zander
The other day while my twin four-year-olds were napping, instead of organizing the winter clothes like I had planned to do, I decided the time was better spent talking on the phone with my best friend. With three kids between us it's rare that we actually get to hear each other's voices without interruptions every 15 seconds for juice or wiping butts, and we like to take advantage when we can.
The topic of new year resolutions came up. We've been friends for nearly 20 years now and we both talked about how we always make the same one each year, and we're so over never sticking to them. We vow to lose the last ten pounds, to get more sleep, to take more time for ourselves, but life always seems to get in the way. I told her I wasn't sure I was even making a resolution this year, and then got off the phone when my sons woke up from their nap. "Ah, naptime. I wish I was four again," my friend said with a laugh." "Me too," I said as we disconnected.
As the kids wiggled their way into my lap, their pre-nap grumps gone, her words about wishing that she were four again stuck with me. While preparing the boys their afternoon snack (delicious banana with peanut butter for one, sliced grapes with pumpkin seeds that looked so much more appealing than my kale smoothie for the other) I started to realize preschoolers really are living their best life. So that's why this year my New Year's resolution is to act more like a four-year-old. Here's how.
They give into their emotions
I'm not saying I'm going to throw myself on the floor of Target if my favorite scent of all-purpose cleaner is out of stock the next time I go (but really it's been a month so please can the all-seeing bullseye get on that?). But when it comes to how they're really feeling, four-year-olds don't hold anything back. They say what's on their mind with perfect honestly and allow themselves to express their emotions instead of hiding them. I hate it when my kids cry over something, but they do seem to feel better once they sob away the sadness over the last of the cookies being gone. So this year I'm going to try and express myself better to those around me, to say what's on my mind instead of pretending I'm happy when I'm truly not. It may lead to some difficult conversations, but I have a suspicion that like my kids, I'll feel better in the end.
They only eat when they're hungry
My kids don't care if it's 5:30pm and I've just spent the past hour chopping, stirring and burning myself in the kitchen. If they're not hungry, they're not eating. As much as that drives me crazy, I also understand that a four-year-old is better than I am at listening to their own body for hunger cues. I know I'm guilty of eating because the clock tells me to instead of when I'm actually hungry. Maybe if I try eating like my kids to I'll actually manage to lose a few pounds in the new year without having to go on a diet. And along with eating the right amount of foods, they eat what makes them happy. I'm done with the fad diets and living without carbs. Kids eat bananas because they're yummy, not because they adhere to a magic rulebook of "safe" foods, and that's good enough for me too.
They value sleep
In the car or right in the middle of the floor while playing Legos, nothing stands in the way of my kids and a nap. I'm constantly promising myself that I'm going to get to bed earlier, but then I spend an hour scrolling through Facebook or Pinning crafts that, let's be honest, I'll probably never do anyway. The next morning I'm tired and crabby all over again but my kids always wake up full of energy, like they have a double espresso with their breakfast instead of milk. If I start placing more value on sleep, maybe I won't want to hide under the covers when I hear them charging down the hall every morning.
They're proud of their accomplishments
"Look at my drawing, isn't it a masterpiece?" they ask me as they hand me a paper covered with scribbles. My kids love to show off--their art creations, their singing skills (or lack thereof), their block towers. I hear, "Mommy, look!" a hundred times a day and I always cheer them on. But when it comes to my own creations, my writing, I don't have the same level of pride that they do. I'm too afraid of being rejected by people or being seen as bragging, something I think a lot of women struggle with. And why? Sure, there's always going to be someone out there who will try and knock your block tower down metaphorically speaking, but someone might say, "Yay," too right? So this year will be the year of taking more pride in what I do.
They know that pants are overrated
Seriously. Let 2017 be the year of the legging.
This piece was originally published by Megan Zander on Mommy Nearest. Megan Zander is a mom to twin three-year-olds who loves running and buttercream frosting in equal measure. Her work has appeared on SheKnows, Yahoo Parenting, Romper, The Stir, Scary Mommy and more.