“It’s Wine O’Clock!”
Most of us have probably uttered these words at some point since having children.
My kids are great kids, but they’re still kids. They’re loud, they don’t listen, and they lack impulse control. And unlike when they were babies, I often feel at the end of the day like I’ve been hit by a truck, between school, activities, work, and just general kid craziness.
At this time last year, I ended every day with a glass of wine. I even had my hilarious wine glass that said “Because Kids” (because kids…). Then one day, for no particular reason, I thought to myself that maybe one (or two) glasses of wine each night was not the best decision for me. Addiction doesn’t run in my family, so I wasn’t worried in that sense. But, was I teaching myself to “cope” with the stresses of parenting with unhealthy habits? As someone who has used food as a mechanism to control stress, perhaps I had just shifted one bad habit into another.
I am generally not one to make New Year’s resolutions. I always set my goals too high (I’ll exercise three times per week and eat salad every day!), which inevitably leads to my breaking resolutions within mere weeks.
But a year ago, I decided to set a reasonable (and relatively attainable) New Year’s resolution. I resolved to not drink any alcoholic beverages from Sunday through Thursday, with the exception of holidays or (the very rare) night out.
I can’t say I’ve been perfect. There have been two or three weekday nights when I caved and had a glass of wine. But for the most part, I succeeded.
Why did I succeed at keeping this particular resolution after years and years of failing to keep a single one?
Well, here is my best guess. For me, each year of parenting has been harder than the previous year. Perhaps this is mere perception. Even so, I have been making conscious choices every day on how to “survive” parenting, when I frankly feel like I’m failing at every turn.
As I am looking back on my last year of parenting, I can say two things, both with 100% certainty: I am ending my most stressful and frustrating year of parenting to date, but 2017 was the year I took the best care of myself as both a parent and a human.
This past year, I have made many personal changes that have made me a happier human being. I resumed exercising regularly after three years of being pitifully sedentary, increased the hours I work from home and taught my kids to entertain themselves while I do so, and deferred housework to my husband and allowed myself to go to sleep at 8:00 p.m. when I felt defeated by my day and needed to reset my brain. The list goes on. Living more intentionally has allowed me to prioritize myself, which ultimately prioritizes my family, since I’m not a walking black cloud.
Do I still make jokes that it’s Wine O’Clock? Of course. Do I still use a glass of wine to unwind after a long day? Yep. I don’t think there is anything wrong with either of those things, so long as you’re aware of what is healthy for you.
So as we approach New Year’s Eve and the age-old question of what our New Year’s Resolutions should be, toss to the side any preconceived notions of what you “should” be doing. Instead, ask yourself: what realistic and attainable change can you make that allows you to be a happier human being? Take it from there.
Happy Holidays, all.