By Debbie Farmer

I always start the new year by writing a list of ambitious resolutions that are harder to achieve than fitting into my pre-pregnancy jeans. Although I always start out with the best of intentions, this year I figured I might be more successful if I lowered my standards and modified my resolutions to
more reasonable goals.

Last year’s resolution: The television will remain off during school days. Quality family time will be spent reading, talking to each other, exploring the outdoors, or doing arts and crafts.

This year’s resolution: The television will remain off every other Tuesday morning on even months beginning with the letter J. We will spend quality time eating fast food out of Styrofoam containers and seeing who can make the fanciest design in catsup with their fries.

Last year: I will create gourmet meals from scratch, seasoned with fresh herbs from my garden.

This year: I will use a spice other than salt.

Last year: I will decorate my house with custom holiday items handmade from dried cuttings grown in my backyard.

This year: I will make a homemade Christmas wreath for the PTA potluck by pouring macaroni and cheese into a Jell-O mold.

Last year: I will improve my mind by joining a local book club so I can read and have lively discussions on current literature.

This year: I will stay awake long enough to read a picture book to my children without falling asleep in their beds.

Last year: I will take time to talk and actively listen to my children so I can learn about who they are and grow to respect them as individuals.

This year: I will not nod off when my daughter tells me what she did at school, who she ate lunch with, how much she ate, how much everybody else ate, the rules of the new game she played at recess afterwards, how many times she won, and the plot of the last Disney movie she watched — even if my brain goes numb and my teeth fall asleep.

Last year: I will strive to lose weight, be more organized, and
successful like my childless friends.

This year: I will make my childless friends feel overweight,
disorganized, and inadequate by having them baby-sit my children.

Last year: I will try to stay informed of political happenings and current events.

This year: I will try to remember what day it is, where I live, and my real name.

Last Year: I will make my children’s Halloween costumes, entire school wardrobe, and a set of custom curtains for their bedroom that match the Disney characters on their wallpaper.

This year: I will attach my daughter’s Girl Scout patches without using a glue gun and stapler.

Last year: I will let my children know how much I love them.

This year: I will let my children know how much I love them.

When I finished writing I stuck the list on the refrigerator and, as I popped a bag of frozen peas into the microwave and hid a basket of ironing behind the sofa, I knew I had finally made some resolutions I could keep.

Syndicated columnist Debbie Farmer is the author of the print book LIFE IN THE FAST FOOD LANE: Surviving the Chaos of Parenting. Order your copy, or sign up for her free monthly email column, at the Family Daze website: Her weekly column “Family Daze” is available to print publications. Contact Debbie@f… for more information.