Katie Bugbee is our global parenting expert. As a parent herself, she has navigated some major mom-guilt and balancing acts. Here is her insight on resolutions you can really set – and achieve next year.
Happy almost New Year’s Eve! The year is (almost) over and a fresh start is coming. For some reason a change in the calendar can be inspirational – a time to stop bad habits, put ourselves first and leave some negativity behind. This must be why we see a surge of people come to Care.com in January. It’s time to make a change. And when it comes to giving yourself more me-time and stress-free time – we’re seen as the place to go. We’re thrilled about that. So if you’re looking to do something different next year, here are some resolutions we are really good at helping you accomplish:
- Going on more dates. For a while, the idea of snuggling on the couch with take-out and a movie was a perfect date night. You were saving money and it still felt romantic. But then you got out of the house. You dressed up. You laughed with friends and your partner. You felt like your old self again. And it re-charged you. I’ve been there. And after getting back into the date night groove, it has just become a necessity for us. Even if we just go up the street to our neighborhood spot, it’s OUT. And it feels healthy. The same goes for single parents. Getting out of the "just the kids and me" can be empowering. Booking sitters in advance - once or twice a month - can make this new routine easy.
- Creating more time for yourself. The inside of the gym? Haven’t seen that in years. Visiting with a friend sans kids? Didn’t know I could. A yoga class? As if I have the time! But there is time. We just have to create it. It’s either by saying these needs to our partners or family members, or hiring someone to stay home with the kids – so you can put yourself first – for at least an hour. Once you come home, it can be all about them again!
- Passing off the house cleaning. Whether your full time job is at an office or with your kids, the last thing you want to do is clean the toilets when you’re done. Oh, and can you dust the blinds and scrub the baseboards? Forget that S***! A cleaner doesn’t have to come every week. Try once a month, or before important family gatherings. Just try to get it off your plate.
- Fixing a care situation that isn’t great. Sometimes we hire nannies or sitters we love, at first. But over the months or years, we outgrow them. Maybe they were great for our babies – but not so great for our super active toddlers. Maybe they’ve lost their enthusiasm for the job. When this happened to me a few years ago, I was super torn about letting someone go. But a friend said to me "You know Katie, more than one person will love your children." And she was so right. I knew this person loved my kids. But there were things that needed changing. I needed a new nanny who had strengths like high energy, creativity and a nice grasp of handling classic toddler issues.
- Hiring help to check in on parents. The holidays can be really eye opening. A lot of people come home realizing their parents need a little more TLC than they realized. And it’s especially tough if you’re far away. Maybe a neighbor should look in on them, or they should have meals delivered. Maybe they need a senior caregiver to help with certain projects once a week. Either way, it might be time to have that conversation with your siblings or spouse and parents. And look at these organizations and services for help.
- No more guilt about the dog. You leave the dog home alone all day long. It tears you up. If someone could just play with him for a few hours, you’d feel so much better – and he might not be so crazy when you get home. Look into a dog walker. The rates might not be as bad as you think. And it could create a happier pup.