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BellaOnline's Single Parents Editor


New Choices in the New Year

Guest Author - Cynthia Parker

Those of you who have read my column for a time know that I am not in to resolutions. They are made mostly for the wrong reasons and are usually kept for a short period of time before being abandoned, usually without any guilt. Resolutions are for those who feel they need to do what they are expected to do. For the rest of us, those who want to make changes because we know it is the right thing for us to do, there are choices.

This New Year, my choices for 2008 include:

1) learning how to better take care of myself,
2) learning how to make the most of my time,
3) and choosing a “cause” to share with my daughters.

I realize that these choices sound rather ambiguous when compared to standard resolutions; however, that is the point – these are not resolutions.

Learning how to better take care of myself includes paying attention to factors that affect my health, such as the foods I eat, the exercise I get (or not), and the ways I choose to deal with everyday stress levels. These are things that all of us should be doing to insure our health, but many of us are indoctrinated into the fast track to such an extent that the only thing we can consider is whether or not we can afford the time. How can we not? Furthermore, if we don’t take the time to take care of ourselves, then who is going to take care of our children when we wear ourselves out? Taking care of ourselves allows us to better take care of those we love.

Time management has been a big topic in all areas of life for many years. There is more to managing our time than dividing it up into segments and allotting it out to the areas we feel need attention in our lives. Time management is about creating the time we need to take care of ourselves, our lives, and our loved ones. It is about becoming aware of our priorities and analyzing them to insure that we have them in the proper perspective. For example, some of us might feel that spending extra hours at work to accumulate overtime to afford a week’s vacation at the beach is a worthy endeavor. However, if we asked our children, they may be more willing to spend the week on less expensive day trips to the zoo or a local aquarium, horse-back riding, etc., in order to have you home earlier throughout the year. Sometimes our priorities are selected based upon what we believe is “best” for our families, but often we have made these decisions without asking our families what they really feel. Good time management starts with good conversations. These conversations can aid us in proper prioritization.

It has become increasingly apparent to me how much we need to teach our children the necessity of helping those less fortunate than ourselves. There have been times in my life when I have felt that I was about as destitute and despondent as any single parent could be. Thankfully, it is during these times that it has been revealed to me someone or some group that is a much more precarious place than myself. It is then that I realize how much I have that I can share with others. It is important that we teach our children the ability and the inclination to share our time, talents and means with those less fortunate. What better way to teach them these qualities than to incorporate them into family activities?
Throughout 2008, I intend to share my discoveries and the resulting benefits in taking care of self, learning better time management and teaching my own daughters more about sharing ourselves with others with my readers. Please, feel free to share our own stories of your own New Year resolutions (or choices) with me, as well. I would love to hear from you! You can reach me by clicking on the contact link at the side of this article or in the BellaOnline Single Parents forum. I wish a blessed and happy New Year to you all!
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