• Wed, Jan 1 - 11:00 am ET

Resolution Week:10 Things I Vow Never To Do With My Kids In The New Year

81774045When it comes to New Year’s resolutions for adults, they are pretty much universal. Lose weight? Boring. Hit the gym every day? Boring. Eat healthier? Boring. Stop watching the Real Housewives? Boring. And, also, by the end of January, you’ve pretty much forgotten your resolutions and are eating chocolate chip cookies while watching the Real Housewives saying to yourself, ‘I will go to the gym tomorrow…maybe.’ However, this year, I’ve made resolutions based on my life with my children, mostly resolutions that I will never, ever do with them. I’m so passionate about these resolutions that they have to stick. Instead of things I plan to do, or change personally, here’s a list of what I don’t plan to do in 2014 with my children.

1: No more sleepovers

(Image: getty images)

(Image: getty images)

At least at my house. I have never once had a good experience. Either my daughter’s friend wakes me up at 3 a.m. telling me she can’t sleep. Another friend of my daughter’s used her Iphone to call her mom at 12:30 a.m. and then at 1:30 a.m., without my knowledge, to tell her to come pick her up. Another of her friends woke me up at 4 a.m. to tell me she had a cough. It’s just too stressful! Do I give the friend cough medicine at 4 a.m.? Do I take away all phones before allowing her friends to come into my house for a sleepover? Do I make them sign a contract saying they are staying for the entire night and will not come into my room unless it’s an emergency? Plus, my daughter is exhausted the next day and grumpy and I don’t like her that way. If you want a sleepover with my daughter, she’s coming to you!

2: No more buying toys that are big and make noises

(Image: getty images)

(Image: getty images)

Yes, I get kids love them. But if I step on another toy that plays music, or a toy if you even slightly touch, plays annoying children’s music, I may check myself into an insane asylum. I want a calm, no-noise-unless-absolutely-necessary house. Quiet toys only please, which is what I will also tell people who want to buy gifts, along with no toys that are bigger than the actual baby or kid. I am running a house, not a day care centre.

3: I will not look at my daughter’s diary

(Image: getty images)

(Image: getty images)


I know. I know. But as a concerned parent, I feel I need to know if something really wrong is going on in her mind that I need to take care of. I will stop snooping. Or at least try to. Yes, I will TRY not to look in her diary or her phone. I will tell her to hide them really, really well, but not so well that she won’t be able to find them. Because I can’t be trusted. I admit it.

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • brebay

    I’ve had a no sleepover policy (at my house or anyone else’s) forever, based partly on my own experiences and partly on the fact that, thanks to technology, the number of things that can go wrong is just so much greater than it was when we were kids. The worst that could happen after parents went to bed when we were kids was maybe a racy flick on cable. My cop uncle says “Nothing good happens after midnight,” and I think that applies here. They can have all the fun they want to before 10 pm.

  • SusannahJoy

    Aw, that’s too bad that the sleepovers haven’t gone well! I loved sleepovers as a kid. Also, what kind of dinner only takes half an hour? Maybe I’m just too slow or something, but even the “super fast weekday menus!” take me at least an hour. And we really should stop eating in front of the tv too… It’s just so much easier…

    • jane

      Practice and they get faster. We eat dinner together almost every night (not said to shame anyone, but it started because a. we thought it was important and b. we were too damn broke for takeout) and I can make a ton of meals truly in 15 minutes or less, and even more in 30 minutes. Promise, it can be done. Let me know if you want a list!

    • SusannahJoy

      I would love a list! I only started cooking dinner in the past year or so, so I know I still have a lot to learn. I am proud to say that I can now touch raw chicken without gagging! Woo!

      Also, why would anyone downvote me? I didn’t think that post was controversial enough to warrant a downvote!

    • jane

      Here’s just a few off the top of my head:
      - Frozen tortollini – boil, drain, toss with store bought pesto and crumbled feta cheese. Serve with salad.
      – Pancakes – bisquick is fine. Serve with fruit salad
      – Tacos – saute hamburger with taco seasoning, heat taco shells according to package directions, serve with pre-sliced olives, lettuce, pre-shredded cheddar cheese and salsa
      - Homemade pizza – the trick to store bought crust is to take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temp for about an hour before you try to roll it out. Then top with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and whatever else you like.
      - Grilled sandwiches – popular choices in my house are ham, cheddar and apple, turkey and dill havarti cheese, roast beef and boursin cheese. (Assemble the sandwich however you like, grill on both sides in a little olive oil til the bread browns and the cheese melts). Serve with good potato chips, cut carrots, cucumbers and celery
      - cheater stir fry – mix 3 tbsp hoisin sauce, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp sesame oil together. Saute one bag of premade brocoli slaw until tender (about 5 minutes). Add 1/4 cup cashew nuts and some combination of of the following – leftover boneless spareribs, precooked diced chicken, precooked tofu. Serve over rice.
      Finally, a great way to cook just about any vegetable (carrots, broccoli, green beans, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, etc) is to dice them, toss them in olive oil, and roast them at 450. You’ll have to play around with the timing (sweet potatoes take about 45 minutes, green beans take about 15) but once they’re in the oven it’s effortless.
      Happy eating!

    • Maria T.

      Thanks for that list!!

  • K

    Why would lie to a dermatologist about your age? What on earth could you possibly gain by lying to a healthcare professional?

  • ElleJai

    Yeah, stop reading your daughter’s diary. I don’t care if she’s selling herself or suicidal, you NEVER READ YOUR CHILD’S DIARY. You can work out what’s going on with them by having an open relationship so she feels safe enough to talk to you. You, in turn, keep an open mind and heart and listen to her when she wants to talk.

    You won’t need to trash her right to privacy and individuality then.

    • Kay_Sue

      I was going to say this, actually. My mother read mine, and it caused serious trust issues for years, as well as taking away a coping strategy that, ya know, my therapist taught me because I no longer felt safe writing in it…it’s tempting, I have no doubt, but it’s best to just…not.

    • ElleJai

      I was a suicidal self harmer and my mum knew because we TALKED. If she’d so much as touched my diary, I would have quit talking to her and never trusted her again. It’s NOT ok.

      You gave birth to a brand new person, with a right to privacy, their own thoughts and feelings. If you have to read their diary to know what they’re up to I have an instant suspicion that your relationship with your child is in dire need of improvement.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    Some of these are… kind of… not okay.
    1. The sleepovers are quid pro quo. No parent likes hosting. It’s noisy and disruptive. You do it because it’s fair to the other parents. You can’t just accept hospitality, you have to reciprocate.
    2. You’ve been reading your child’s diary? That’s a real betrayal. It’s supposed to be a place where she can safely record her thoughts. If she’s not displaying alarming behaviour that suggests drugs or suicide, stay out of there! Reading a diary is a last resort, not a check-up. I’m glad you realize this.
    3. You’ve been digging into your daughter’s piggybank out of laziness? Are you kidding me? My mom did the same thing– because she was poor, single and couldn’t afford gas. It’s really unnerving to have your parent take your money.
    It’s just not kosher to raid your child’s thoughts or money. Talk to her and go to the bank.

  • pixie

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who was uncomfortable about the reading of the daughter’s diary. I understand she is a child, but she still deserves privacy. If you’re worried about your child, open up a dialogue with them. As them if everything is ok, if there is anything bothering them. If they seem reluctant to give information, let them know that you’re there for them if ever there is anything they need to talk about that’s bothering them. Reading your child’s diary and having them find out would hurt their feelings and make them feel like their privacy has been violated and they will lose their trust in you. It would be a similar feeling if your partner read your diary or snooped through your texts and emails. If you wouldn’t want someone reading your deepest thoughts, feelings, and worries, don’t snoop into your child’s. Communication is important between parents/caregivers and children, and if the child feels like their privacy has been invaded, they’re probably going to be less likely to open up and share their feelings with the one they believe betrayed them in the future.

    Really, you can play the concerned parent angle all you want, but put yourself in your child’s shoes and think about how you would feel at that age if you knew your parent snooped in your diary.

  • Kay_Sue

    I always worry about sleepovers because, thus far, the only ones we have had are with the kid that lives directly across from us. I’m always terrified that when my kid is over there or theirs is here that one of them will decide to just…walk home. In the middle of the night. We still do it, but there’s definite rules.

    The dinner thing is a good one too. I’m a stickler for it. When we first moved in together, our table was too small to have a whole family dinner when all the kids were here. My husband surprised me with a bigger table set a few years ago, and I have been rabid about putting it to use ever sense. Crockpot meals work awesome too–I freeze them and then throw the ingredients in that morning, and it’s ready when we are.

    Please, please please stick to not reading your daughter’s diary. My mother did this–and for good reason, honestly–but it damaged our relationship so badly, it very nearly didn’t recover. That’s just truth. It also took away a coping strategy that I really relied on, because I no longer felt safe doing it.

  • Chrissy

    I have to wonder if your daughter ever looks up and reads your articles. How do you think she would feel to find out that not only do you read her diary but also take her money, and furthermore you told a bunch of strangers on the internet about it? I would be horrified. I think this article should have simply stated “I’m going to be less selfish in 2014″

    • ElleJai

      I’m hoping her children never read her articles because so many of the comments get really personal and downright nasty towards the author. No one wants to see people being so awful about their mom.

      Well, that and the fact she’s often come across as flippant about her various bio and bonus kids’ feelings.

  • Michelle Pittman

    no sleepovers?!?!?!?!?!?!? aren’t those where you make some of your best memories w/your friends as a child?? i have 2 boys and no, they’re not always fun but…come on — it’s about the kids….can’t you just enforce rules? we have a family room in the basement where they play video games and hang out — video games done by 1 and they have to lay down by then (mine are almost 13 and 10 — obviously the time was earlier when they were younger)….and here’s an idea — talk to the other parents — hey – if your kid has a cold or starts coughing uncontrollably all night, can i give them cough syrup? or just give them a tablespoon of honey — works just as well and no medicine…

  • Rachel Sea

    Maybe you should also not lie about, or in front of your kids because it sets a terrible example?

  • NOLAroll

    I never trusted my parents again after they read my journal when I was 18. And then threatened to not send me to college because they found out I dated a girl (I’m a female). Our relationship has never been the same; and I tell them nothing about my adult life. Even now, I can’t leave them alone in my house because my mother starts opening drawers and trying to access my email. Please don’t do this.