Let's face it, New Year's Eve is a very different holiday when you have small children.
It's nearly impossible to find a sitter; so, chances are, after tucking the kiddos into bed, your New Year's Eve celebration will consist of falling asleep before the ball drops, after drinking one glass of champagne (or sparkling cider if you're nursing or pregnant).
If your lucky, you will be able to stay up long enough to kiss someone you love at midnight as you welcome the new year.
There is plenty of literature out there about celebrating New Year's with children. There are suggestions for fun crafts to try, and ideas for helping children write a New Year's resolution.
But what if your children can't help you bake cookies for the new year or articulate what they hope to do in 2013?
You can still enjoy what makes the holiday special! While your New Year's celebration won't likely be the night of unbridled revelry it once was, there are plenty of ways to enjoy ringing in the New Year, parent style:
1. Enjoy a New Year's Day dinner or lunch out with your significant other or a close friend.
- While finding someone to watch the kids on New Year's Eve may be impossible, friends or family may be willing to help out in the afternoon or evening on New Year's Day. Take the time to reconnect with your partner or closest friend and you'll start the new year refreshed, and refocused.
2. Take a moment to reflect.
- Reflect on what you have accomplished in the past year. You're a parent, you have undoubtedly accomplished a lot! Also take time to reflect on what you are thankful for, and what you hope to accomplish in the next year. You may even want to jot down a small list of goals for yourself and your family. You'll feel prepared for the new year with a clear vision of all the things that are right in your life and how to improve the areas you think could be better.
3. Make a plan to do something small for yourself every day, starting today.
- Keep it simple. Paint your nails after the kids are in bed, dive into that book you have been meaning to read, check in with distant friends by sending a few emails, or just find a little more time for quiet rest. Emotional health is just as important as physical health, and that's especially true when you have children to care for.
4. Pat yourself on the back.
- As parents, we're very good at building up our children's self-esteem. But sometimes we can be our own biggest critics. And our children are watching and taking cues from how we treat ourselves. Vow to be kinder to yourself in the new year. Remind yourself that your children are smart, generous, funny, and compassionate because you are a great parent. And remember, the best way to teach your kids to be happy with who they are is to show them you are genuinely happy with who you are.
5. Start a new, New Year's tradition.
- Whether it's ordering Chinese food and watching the ball drop or baking your family's favorite treat, establish a new tradition to look forward to each year. As you celebrate the holidays as a new parent, you will find some of your favorite traditions have to fall aside. Replace them with new traditions and you'll find the holidays are even more meaningful than they once were.