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Mediocre Mom Manual: My Family’s Resolutions… FOR ME!


I’m sure by now everyone is resolutioned-out, tired of talking about them, making them, and failing to fulfill them. But I came across an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal the other day, which suggested outsourcing your resolutions to your family members.

Yep. Actually ask them what you need to change. And not being mad about it either.

I already wrote about my own New Year’s Resolution on my blog, namely to Live Life On Purpose. But I was curious what my family would say if given the opportunity to take a stab at changing something about me.

I prefaced my question to all of them with, “If you could make ONE resolution for me this year, what would it be?” thereby eliminating the possibility that each would launch into a litany of changes large and small and not be able to stop. They were surprised by my question, leery and trepidatious. Why was I asking? Would I be mad? My son even prefaced his statement with, “Well, I don’t want to be hurtful, but…” That just shows you how often I ask for their opinions of me.

I began with my husband. “If you could make one resolution for me this year, what would it be?” He laughed. “You can’t just ask me that. I need time to think about it.” And even after the second and third pestering, “Seriously, what would you pick?” he still has yet to answer me. Maybe there are so many things he’d change about me that he’s whittling the list down to the most offensive. Either that or I’m so damned near perfect that there isn’t anything to change. My gut, however, tells me it isn’t the latter.

My twelve-year-old son, taking a break from killing aliens on his video game long enough to listen to my question, easily spit the answer out, as if he’d been waiting his whole life to have this very opportunity to tell it to me like it is.

“Well, I’d like you to be more loose,” he said. “Not so tight.” Figuring he’s not referring to my thighs or abs, he continued, “You know, more lenient.” And he kept explaining, saying, “You know how we went out to dinner tonight? Well, I thought you really wanted pizza and we went to P.F. Changs instead and you know, sometimes you just get all moody, and you should relax more..” I stopped the boy right there, because he does have a penchant for stream of consciousness rambling and I feared that once he got on the roll of things I needed to change, he’d continue talking until my eyes glassed over.

But I’ve got to give it to him, I could stand to be more loose. Not so tight. Relax more. Live and approach life just like him, which is to throw caution to the wind, never worry about much, and see where you end up. Perhaps being more laid-back would be better for me and my relationship with my children all the way around. I’ve yet to find that parenting sweet-spot—setting boundaries and expectations while still remaining flexible and easy-going. Maybe I’ll have it mastered by the time he leaves for college.

My ten-year-old daughter was stumped at first. She said, “I can’t think of anything you need to change.” I love this girl. Apparently, we are a lot alike because I can’t think of anything I really need to change either. She also asked, “Why are you asking? Are you going to blog about it?” I nodded affirmatively and she said, “Can I see what you write when you are finished?” After assuring her that she needn’t worry about what my blog would say, she followed up with, “Well, you could be more calm with your children.”

Ahhh. Another parenting poke in the eye. Yes, I suppose I could be more calm, especially when I’ve asked them to do things four or five times and they are still ignoring me. I could ask six and seven times nicely to perform their daily chores, or quit fighting, or help their younger sister. The saddest realization about this resolution is that I’m more calm with them now than ever before in my history of parenting them. Don’t they remember the good ol’ days when their dad worked in Russia and I was essentially a single mom for a year? That was some ugliness, I tell you. Compared to that time, now I’m practically a saint. Well, at least a saint’s cousin.

While I asked my four-year-old what she’d like me to change, she really doesn’t understand the concept. She kept asking me what the answer was, and if she could “guess my problem.” Well, apparently my problem is that I’m an uptight, non-calm-mother. I’ve no doubt her brother and sister will fill her in on that one.

And my husband? He still hasn’t weighed in. He also probably knows I was going to blog about this and doesn’t want to share his list with the world. You know, so I can save face. But all in all, my family did have some good feedback, and I agree that I could work on all of those ideas this year. In addition to living my life On Purpose, of course.

My resolution for you this year is to perform this little experiment. Ask your family what resolution they’d give you this year and share their answers here! Are or were you surprised by what they’d change? You may be shocked by their responses, but maybe for the first time, you’ll be more motivated to keep them. Happy 2012!

Rachel Vidoni is a professional writer and blogger and former classroom teacher. She is a mediocre mother to three pretty neat kids. You can follow her humor and family blog at You might not be a better parent after reading her blog, but you will feel like one.





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