Why would you want to do a New Year’s Reflection for parents? You’re already so busy, why should you find the time to squeeze in one more thing? From my experience, completing a New Year’s Reflection for parents is quick and completely valuable.
A few weeks ago I was listening to the podcast, the Crystal Paine show. Her husband and she discussed three questions about their year and it seemed like a great discussion. On a whim, I decided to ask my husband similar questions and it lead to amazing perspective and discussion. And it was a brief, 15 minute conversation.
A New Year’s Reflection for Parents could potentially be the best and most useful thing you do all week. So check this out!
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Why Should Parents Reflect?
Parents are so busy scrambling from thing to thing, we need to take stock of where we’ve been and what we’re doing. When we’re constantly putting out fires with the children, it’s hard to see the bigger picture.
You see, we’ve been sick with a horrible upper respiratory virus for almost a month. My three-year old had to go to the ER for epinephrine and steroids to breathe. Meanwhile, I’ve been on a sort of bed rest in this pregnancy for almost a whole month with an injury to my pelvis and thighs or something else pregnancy related.
Finally, we were able to take our kids to drop in day care and go for a quick breakfast date. I kind of thought 2019 had been a bust since we’d had a hard month. But the New Year’s Reflection for Parents proved otherwise.
A New Year’s Reflection is helpful because celebrating the successes is important. It helps to see what didn’t serve the family because deleting unnecessary obligations and re-prioritizing frees up time and mental bandwidth for what is important. Last, taking time to articulate what we have learned is both affirming and provides direction for the future.
You can grab the free New Year’s Reflection for Parents printable here.
Three Questions Parents Need to Ask
I created a free printable and I based these questions on Crystal Paine’s questions.
- What worked well?
I added the word “well” to focus in on the biggest successes.
- What didn’t work as well?
I added on the words “as well” because my husband thought we ought not focus on the failures. I pointed out that none of these are failures but just things that didn’t serve our family that well.
- What did I learn for 2020?
I added in “for 2020” so I can focus in on positive changes for the following year.
What Worked Well?
These are the things that worked well in 2019 for me:
- I launched PrintableParents.com.
This required bravery on my part. I’m no parenting expert – I’m right there in the parenting trenches with you, but I’d created so many printables and my education background and skills drove me to share.
- We decided to try to have a third child.
Honestly we debated for over a year and finally decided our family didn’t feel complete. We are expecting a baby in January 2020. If you struggle with infertility or this is hard to hear, I genuinely apologize and offer you my heartfelt empathy.
- I limited social media and read 40 books this year.
In the winter of 2019, I limited myself to 15 minutes a day of social media. I think I even took several weeks off social media. It’s amazing how much I can read if I don’t waste time on social media.
- I gave up gluten, dairy, eggs, and sugar to see if it would help my autoimmune disease.
I’m not sure it did. But it helped me lose the rest of my baby weight from my son before I got pregnant with Baby #3. I also have only gained 20 lbs with this pregnancy at 34 weeks and it helps that I can’t sneak cookies at Starbucks and justify it with pregnancy. I will reintroduce gluten, dairy, and eggs at some point to see how I feel.
- My husband and I started dates again.
We found a drop-in childcare that worked for our children and had a diner near by that had gluten-free options. We started going on breakfast dates.
What Didn’t Work as Well?
These are the things that didn’t work as well for me this year:
- I struggled with squirrel syndrome at times with this blog
Instead of focusing and finishing what I already had started, I kept chasing the next idea I read about online.
- I still waste a bunch of time on social media.
When I go online, I forget what I was doing in the first place and get trapped in scrolling cycles.
- My husband and I argued more this year.
It took a while to see it was just the same argument.
- My daughter was in too many therapies and activities.
She was doing speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, family counseling, feeding therapy, sensory swimming, and Sunday School. We had various other professionals telling us more stuff we “needed” to work on with her.
- We were more hands-off with the implementation of my daughter’s IEP this fall.
She suffered as a result when we took a wait-and-see approach.
What Did I Learn for 2020?
- When my husband and I argue, we need to make a list.
Seriously. As stupid as this sounds, we had the same argument for months until we wrote down all the problems. And guess what? It was related to a parenting issue. The solution was obvious as soon as we wrote it all down.
- We can rely on our children’s pediatrician.
She can see the bigger picture and help us make decisions. My daughter had too many demands; she helped us prioritize. My son was sick for a long time; she listened, examined, and explained about how his croup had been severe. I made an appointment for another concern; she had her nurse just call me to problem-solve and save the trip. For a family with a lot of medical concerns, it’s a big deal to find a professional who gets the whole picture.
- We can fire people.
We had to fire three people this year. The details are not mine to share publicly, and it was the result of poor fit or lack of professionalism – so nothing super bad. But it’s okay to let go off people or medical professionals who aren’t serving the best interest of your family.
- We are resilient.
Like I mention above, around Thanksgiving, I developed some sort of pregnancy complication with my pelvis or tendons. My OB isn’t quite sure what’s going on, but it has been extremely limiting. We found solutions to cope with the unexpected.
- I need to adapt a little faster.
It took me a long time to accept my morning sickness in the first trimester was just a season. I survived, but really I think I could have thrived. Similarly in this third trimester with the pelvis stuff being so physically limiting, I wish I’d been able to accept this was my season faster. If I could learn to pivot faster, I could have embraced that maybe I was too injured to do housework, but I could catch up on podcasts on the couch.
Recapping New Year’s Reflection for Parents
Here’s the summary for busy parents:
- It’s important to reflect on the prior year.
- Use a free printable for super fast and focused discussion.
- A New Year’s Reflection can help you identify successes even if the year felt hard.
- It can help you eliminate unnecessary obligations when you identify what didn’t work.
- A New Year’s Reflection will provide direction for your family in the coming year.
A New Year’s Reflection for parents might just be the most useful activity you do this January. Grab the free printable and a fun pen, find 10 or 15 minutes, and enjoy celebrating the successes of the year and what’s to come.