A Foster Mom’s New Year’s Resolutions

2016: The Year of Low Expectations

Kelly Meldrum December 31, 2015

I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions. I tend to have unattainable expectations of myself, so the last thing I need is a big goal hanging over my head for the next 365 days. But this year, I thought that maybe I could use this whole resolution thing to my advantage and make some changes that require me to do less.

Listen up, moms (dads, grandparents, people). I think I’m onto something . . .

But first, a juicy secret . . .
1. But first, a juicy secret . . .

Before I share my resolutions, I’m going to tell you a secret that few people know: Foster parents are just like “regular” parents. I know, crazy, right?

We come in all shapes, colors, religions, income brackets, and sizes. Some of us are really great at parenting and some of us are barely making it through the day.

Really, the only universal thing that differentiates foster parents from all other parents is PAPERWORK. So. Much. Paperwork.

As much as I love being called a saint or an angel or having it implied that I am some sort of super parent, it is just not true (by the way, I actually hate that). My challenges as a foster mom are as boring, frustrating, and funny as the challenges of every other mom in the world.

Resolution #1: Stop mixing up the kids’ names.
2. Resolution #1: Stop mixing up the kids’ names.

My poor children. I rarely call them by the right name on the first or second try. It’s not uncommon to hear, “Jacob, Sarah, Logan . . . uh, whatever your name is, come here!”

To make it easier, I’m going to stop using the kids’ names altogether and call them all by pet names like honey, sport, sweetie, small human, tiger, lovey . . . basically whatever pops into my head.

But how will I differentiate between them? I’ve decided I that I won’t. When I need one, I’ll call for the whole bunch. They’ll get used to it soon enough.

Resolution #2: Check the toilet seat before sitting down.
3. Resolution #2: Check the toilet seat before sitting down.

We have little boys. I often get wet. It’s gross. I’ll spare you any more details.

Resolution #3: Let go of my imaginary friends.
4. Resolution #3: Let go of my imaginary friends.

There’s this thing called Facebook. Maybe you’ve heard of it? I have “friends” on the Facebook that I don’t see in real life, I don’t talk to in real life, and I don’t have any sort of relationship with in real life.

Yet, I spend time every day looking at these people’s updates and photos like it’s my job. I’ve decided that I need to let go of my “imaginary friends” and focus on the real, live people that actually exist in my world.

Resolution #4: Stop feeding the dog.
5. Resolution #4: Stop feeding the dog.

Okay, calm down. I’ll make sure the dog doesn’t miss a single meal (but my kids don’t have to know that). In our house, it’s the children’s job to make sure the dog always has a full bowl of food and fresh water. But when I walk by and see an empty bowl, instead of telling a child to fill it, it’s easier to do it myself. Well, not in 2016, my friends!

My diabolical plan is to make it clear to the kids that I will no longer be filling the dog’s bowls. Ever. And if the dog loses even a tenth of a pound because she has not been fed, we will find a wonderful new owner for our sweet puppy. Then, every time I see an empty bowl, I will approach the nearest child and say, “I’m not feeding the dog.” The end. No pleading, no bargaining, no nagging. Parenting is so easy.

Resolution #5: Stop holding it until my kidneys hurt (this actually happens).
6. Resolution #5: Stop holding it until my kidneys hurt (this actually happens).

I apologize for another potty resolution, but apparently I have bathroom issues. I am a mom and therefore, I never pee alone—everyone knows that.

But what most people do not know is that I rarely get to pee at all!

Every time I try to get to the bathroom, someone is in there, or someone needs something, or I get distracted by an overflowing trashcan, or I see an empty toilet paper roll, change it, and leave. Only later do I remember that I had to pee, and the whole thing starts all over again.

Don’t worry; I have a solution. When I have to go, I’m going to get a kid and take him or her with me. I figure if I already have a child by the hand, I might make it to the bathroom without distraction. Sure, I may have to go while discussing Bubble Guppies or some nonsense, but that’s a sacrifice I am willing to make for my health.

Resolution #6: Remember the year.
7. Resolution #6: Remember the year.

I know. This sounds like an actual resolution, but it’s not. You see, society expects responsible adults to remember, or be aware of, the current day, month, and year. I am actually lowering that expectation by only asking myself to remember the year (and write it correctly on the fifty pounds of paperwork I will fill out in 2016). If I also happen to know the day and month, then I will reward myself handsomely.

Resolution #7: No pediatrician visits that end “you should see it in his poop in 2-3 days”
9. Resolution #7: No pediatrician visits that end “you should see it in his poop in 2-3 days”

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Poop watch is never fun and my life would be easier without it. I don’t have a strategy for this other than prayer and finger crossing. Please comment if you have any ideas.

Resolution #8: Embarrass our kids more often.
10. Resolution #8: Embarrass our kids more often.

I’m going to get crazy and kiss my husband on the mouth in my own house! I’m going to dance whenever I want and sing in the car. I’m going to go down the slide and jump on the trampoline. I’m going to play games and sports, even though I always lose and have no athletic ability whatsoever.

I’m going to be in the picture, instead of always taking it. I’m going to get dirty at the beach and let my kids bury me in the sand. I’m going to be silly and tell stupid jokes and ignore the eye rolls. And, most of all, I’m going to lead by example and show our children that cool is overrated and that “weird” is just another word for “awesome!”

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Kelly Meldrum

Kelly Meldrum is a writer and advocate for foster care and mental health. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or at kellymeldrumwriter.com.

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