New Year Resolution

new_year_resolutionI’m starting my New Year Resolution List early this year. I want to feel like I have some traction when the ball drops and I have to actually put effort behind my words. I’m going to keep it simple too. And do-able. No saving puppies and oceans for me, no Sir! No more epic dieting aspirations or stupid feats of physical abuse like running a marathon. No more swearing up and down that this is the year I learn Italian. Or Japanese. No more hollow promises of cleaning out my studio and finding new homes for my collections of magazines, yarn, sewing patterns, and cookbooks. This is the year I keep shit real simple.

FIRST: Stop Swearing Like A Pirate.

It really isn’t OK to start the morning with words like “Holy Hell! Why the fuck is the dog on the couch again?!” Especially when a very smart four year-old is listening. It never takes long before I hear his sweet little voice repeating my poor choice of words. Sure, it’s funny, and inside I’m peeing my pants laughing, but I’m also horrified and fearing the day when he lets that verbal canon loose on his grandparents or at the next play date. This is not to say that I let the epithets fly all the livelong day, but it does happen. It just, well, shouldn’t.

I walked into the bathroom the other day where my son was playing on the floor with his pretend fishing pole and bottle caps (attach a magnet to a string on a dowel and then pick up pop-tabs or bottle caps and call it Indoor Fishing…hours of fun) and I heard him exclaim to himself “Why won’t this fucking thing work?” I doubled over in pain trying not to respond! I knew that if I gave that F word ANY attention that my son would latch on to it with religious fervor. So I said nothing.  Later that night when my husband came home from work I told him about the incident and he laughed at me. He said, “Yeah, I wonder where he got that from, Pirate Mouth!”

Sometimes natural consequences feel like ice water being poured over your head. I’m changing this habit. Right. Now. If I have to yell out made-up silly words then so be it. My kid can’t be the classless wonder at the playground. For crying out loud, his verbal skills are above average. An F bomb could stain his reputation the way a bounced check can ding a credit rating.

SECOND: Get My Toes To Touch The Back Of My Head

Get your mind out of the gutter…

I have a daily home yoga practice that has become stale. I don’t challenge myself on the mat these days. One could even say that I have become lazy about it. When my son does yoga with me it becomes about being playful and breathing and showing off. It turns into me spotting him while he does crazy inversions. I need a challenge. I need to find a beautiful pose that is difficult to do and requires practice and patience. I decided on the Cobra pose. Imagine laying on your belly and lifting your chest up by resting on your hands with your arms straight and then lifting your feet until they touch the back of your head. You end up looking like a curly fry. This is my challenge, to be a curly fry.

Some day I want to sign up for a weekend retreat at Kripalu for a yoga boot camp. I want to be surrounded by other people wanting to develop their practice. Instead of peacefulness I am surrounded by dogs and children whom are all vying for my attention. I can’t exactly get my Savasana on while my four year-old throws his socks at me and demands that I turn on PBS because it is time for Wild Kratts! Sometimes, in the relative chaos of my life as a mom, I actually wear earplugs while doing yoga. Not so much to ignore anyone, but because I just can’t hear myself. I can’t hear my breathing. I can’t hear the soap opera of thoughts floating past me while I try to be mindful. Sometimes I just need quiet.

When I was a kid I would marvel at the sound of my heartbeat while my ears were under water. As an adult, I sometimes dunk my head underwater when I swim or bathe just to return to that sweet and simple wonder. I think practicing yoga is akin to this because if one can listen close enough it becomes clear that the mind and the body are always reaching out to each other looking for a connection.

THIRD: Become One With My Inner Martha

Not to be all braggy, but I’m a pretty damn good baker. My cooking is badass too. I just love to sink into a new recipe and play with it until it is mine. My family enjoys this pastime too because they get to try out all kinds of marvelous new foods. Homemade sweet potato gnocchi with a tomato and bacon sauce baked with fresh mozzarella on top, anyone? My problem is that I am terrible at cleaning up the aftermath. My kitchen always looks like a freight train just got detoured through it.  The dishes do get done, but not without lots of grumbling.

I am going to tap into my inner Martha and embrace the cleaning-up side of culinary invention. I will make those lemon and salt paste recipes to scour my sinks. I will turn washing the floors into lessons in alchemy by adding essential oils to my bucket of boiling hot water and baking soda. The windows will get washed with vinegar and newsprint. Damn it, my house will shine. I will probably lose my mind, but I will lose it in a sparkling clean house.

So, there it is…my super simple New Year Resolution List. I have only one real job here. A good mother should at least make an attempt to be the role model she wishes for her children, right? And isn’t the whole point of New Year Resolution Lists to cultivate a little bit of self-improvement? So, here I am, in early December planning out my winter with these three ideas for self-change in mind: mindful speech, a peaceful being, and a healthy home. Not too bad. Maybe next year I can save those puppies and oceans.

© Sarah Cottrell and and Housewife Plus, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sarah Cottrell and and Housewife Plus with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Maine-based writer Sarah Cottrell is the voice behind Housewife Plus at the Bangor Daily News and is a regular contributor to Disney’s Babble and Momtastic. She is a co-author in six books including I Still Just Want To Pee Alone from the New York Times Bestselling series. Sarah’s work has also been highlighted and featured by SELF Magazine, National Public Radio, Washington Post, and VICE Tonic.