02 January 2013

Help me chart the course for Parent Hacks in 2013: What do you need help with?

2013 ahead
Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net

So...is anyone else slightly dazed at the prospect of a whole new 365 days?

I woke up this morning feeling a bit disoriented. Not in a bad, crawl-back-in-bed way, but in a where-do-I-begin? way. I'm more comfortable with closure (looking back and tying things up) than goal-setting (looking forward and setting milestones).

Which is not to say I don't make plans for the future. I just get squidgy when they're too specific. I tend to identify a general direction I want to go, and then set a course there without attatching myself to the particular route. As long as the wind blows me in the right direction, I'm doing okay.

Everyone always talks about the importance of setting SMART goals: goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. But I'm just not sure I roll that way. I've decided to accept it for now and see how it goes.

All this is is preamble to the reason for this post: I need your help in charting the course for Parent Hacks for 2013.

I want Parent Hacks to continue being a useful part of your life, and the best way for that to happen is for me to know what you'd find most helpful.

Tell me: what do you need help with this year?

If you were to choose 1-2 top priorities for the year, what would they be? They can be goals, general "it would be nice" hopes or pie-in-the-sky dreams. 

  • Organizing your home?
  • Simplifying your schedule?
  • Having more fun with your family?
  • Finding time for yourself?
  • Enriching and improving your relationship with your partner?
  • Creating a financial plan?
  • Something else?

Every one of your comments is like a signpost pointing "this way." So helpful for a general direction-follower like me.

Please leave a comment on this post. By telling me how I can help you, you're helping me. Thank you, friends.

I may take a page out of Christine's book and forego goals and instead set intentions.

Clearly the "charting a course" metaphor is resonating for me. When KJ Dell'Antonia asked me to share a parenting resolution with Motherlode, I talked about embracing the notion of "course correction."

Your comments

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We travel a lot as our family is all out of state so any travelling with kids tips and hacks are always super helpful for us. Appreciate your site! :)

I'm anticipating four major challenges this year:

1. Tips for easing the transition for an infant into toddler sibling's room.
2. Getting toddlers to sleep through the night.
3. Weaning a very attached 3/yo from the bottle.
4. How to deal with toddler's best friend (next door neighbor) who also happens to be a bully with permissive (but likeable) parents. This one is super delicate and tricky. Ack!

Organizing! On a budget!

Love the site/blog and honestly, I'm usually most pleased when there is some hack I hadn't even realized that I wanted/needed!

If I were to pick from the list above, though, my choices would be:
* simplify my schedule
* finding time for myself

Thanks! Happy New Year

As you know, I need financial org help! Definitely not my strong suit. BUT, I think you achieve a beautiful balance and mix of things here.

I'm going to go with having fun with family and enriching my relationship with my partner. Apparently, I'm all about the relationships this year. Organization is always fun, too, though. I'm type A like that.

I'm probably about to say too much (and maybe I just need referrals for a good therapist), but I feel kind of lost in my own life at times.

I meet the big deadlines (school bus, medical appointments, etc.), but the rest of the day can be such a challenge (euphamism for quagmire to wade through or dragon to be slayed).

How can I order my life so I can get more done (while keeping track of a toddler, preschooler, and elementary schooler)?

Structure and organization tips like making everyone's lunch in the morning (not just the school-age kids) are always helpful.

Me time

And like Adrienne, hacks for lunches would be helpful. Some days it feels like I'm constantly prepping food for someone or other. :)

-Time-saving household tricks
-Finding time for me
-Time management skills (do I sense a theme here?)
-Cultivating family mindfulness
-Ideas to help with night-time potty training (for pre-k and older)

And don't ever stop the random forehead-smacking parenting tips - those are the reasons I always check back on this site. :)

organization for families with more than 1-2 kids and school-aged

school lunches!

I'm not sure this can be "hacked' but it is what I'm thinking about for 2013: How to find a new career/passion/source of income that is compatible with being a mom of twins. My old career is not family-friendly and, though I want to work, use my skills and talents, and earn some money, I still want to be at home much of the time with my kids.

From the list I would go with Organizing my home and working on my finances. But what I really need are ways to get my 2nd grader to do her homework (and chores) and to convince her that school is fun.

I'm desperate to get my stubborn toddler to potty train. He just doesn't care if he messes his pants.

Organizing is always an interest. As a first time mom, I'm also interested in how to get my husband to help more (hes great and tries - most of the time) and also how to maintain/build fun in our relationship - things we can enjoy with or without our little one.

Thank you ALL for these comments. So, so helpful.

Also: potty training. Sigh. I will say this: it WILL happen. The WHEN is the tricky part, though. Have you looked through all the potty training tips in the archives?

http://www.parenthacks.com/.services/blog/6a00d8341bf6d653ef00d8345157a869e2/search?filter.q=%22potty+training%22

I just joined this site and I like what is posted here, I have a boy of 15, so sure I'll have many questions.

Definitely organizing and decluttering my house! I've been on a selling rampage over December to sell things we don't really need AND are taking up space, but there's oh so much more. Plus I need to organize what's left here - I love those little tips you give for how to be creative in doing or storing everyday things. Also, how do I deal with what's important to keep and what's not? How do I engage my preschooler in fun activities at home when it feels like I'm always picking things up and putting things away? How do I remember to have dinner ready on time?? And most importantly, how do I stay off the computer so that I can get these things done? *grin*

Figuring out the 'good enough' point in all the categories you mentioned - when you can sleep at night because it's done to the point of being good enough without crossing over into obsessive, Pinterest level perfection. And not feeling guilty about calling something 'done' at that point!

I'm not sure to what extent this is "hackable," but I'd love some discussion about regaining my career (I've been home for almost 5 years and I'm youngest just turned 3, so it feels like I can start thinking about the next step) in a way that still retains some of the ways in which being home has been positive for my family (e.g., easier to cook good meals, not cluttering family time with errand running, kids feeling connected).

How about more posts about teens? Disconnecting them from the internet, getting them to get enough food/sleep/fresh air... and dealing with the crankiness--I'm finding is at least (if not more) as challenging as potty training and toddler snacks.

I am often concerned about the way we treat ourselves as parents. So many of us expect perfection out of ourselves & out of our kids. So many of us micromanage. So many of us do not realize that feeling uncomfortable as a parent is the norm. While our kids are ours for life, that doesn't mean that we can ignore that our job is to prepare them to be released out into the world at some point. I suspect that Minimalist Parenting will do a great job in addressing these issues. Reminders for us to be kind to ourselves & be ok with imperfection would be a great help (i.e. learning to laugh at ourselves & the situations we often get ourselves into).

Simplifying and improving, and establishing more, routines. School lunches drive me nuts...would love help with that, too. Could always use more organization help. Always love all of your content. Happy New Year!!

Organizing, Babyproofing, Simplifying

Thank you again for all of these thoughtful comments. I'm taking copious notes. And I wish I could send a lunch fairy to all of our houses...I hate packing lunches too.

Organizing and toddler proofing in a tiny space.

How to toddler proof books on the book shelf (as in keeping the books on the shelf, not anchoring the shelf itself to the wall etc.) packing them up and storing them just isn't an option because we don't have the room.

Kid/ Toddler proofing odd windows such as the ones that have a hand crank and open out. All anyone ever talks about are windows that slide open.

Hacks for hiking/camping with toddlers and young kids. Not just day trips but overnight ones as well.

Travel with babies/ toddlers/ kids. We travel a lot and often spend days on a ferry or hours on the plane.

Those are subjects I'd love to see tips, ideas, and hacks on :-)

When and how to tackle the question, is there really a tooth fairy and Santa Claus?

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