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Parenting resolutions for 2011: Ours and yours (updated!)

What are your parenting resolutions for 2011?

At TODAY Moms, we asked our writers and editors to share their ideas for improvement in the new year. And now we have resolutions from TODAY anchors Matt Lauer and Al Roker, too! From knowing what's for dinner to simply loving life, we’ve got big plans for 2011. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration here – and please add your own resolutions in the comments!

Matt Lauer: I want to be more involved in my kids' schooling -- because I'm kind of laissez-faire, I don't check homework and that kind of thing, and I want to get more involved. They're not going to like that, by the way.

Al Roker: I want to try to get home earlier and pick up the kids from school more. 

Natalie Morales, TODAY Show host: Loving more, complaining less!
(Read Natalie’s full list of parenting resolutions here.)

And check out these resolutions shared on our Facebook page:

Jennifer Holland: To get through this pregnancy without any family casualties. ;-) 

Kyra Clem Carver: Try not to yell so much

Debby Head Matassa: Listen more, talk less...very hard to do, but sooo worth it! I can't even believe the scoop I hear now that she's grown! 

Jesi Momcani Davis-Rodriguez: relax, don't rush, and don't yell so much!

More from TODAY Moms:

Sara Pines, TODAY Show producer and TODAY Moms contributor: Forget keeping up with the Joneses.  Try not to compare what my almost 5-year-old daughter is doing to what any other kids are doing.  When I hear: "Benji is reading, and he's only 3!"  "Little Lydia is performing on Broadway!"  I resolve to gush with joy for the other parents… and leave it at that.  No worry.  No stress.  No doubt.  Just live in the moment and say, "That's great!" 

Dana Macario, TODAY Moms contributor: Get organized.  Before I had kids I was one of the most organized people I knew.   "A place for everything and everything in its place" kind of gal.  However, since having kids I feel like I'm the least-organized person I've ever met.  Our house is so strewn with toys that most days it looks like we've been robbed (and that was before Christmas and all of the new loot that accompanies it).  My husband once found a salad bowl in his briefcase; it's no wonder I feel like a whirling dervish most of the time.   So, chaos no more!  One of my friends is so organized she makes Martha Stewart look like an amateur.  While I know myself and my family well enough to not even dream of such organization, if I can reach a place where I don't get insanely jealous of her play room (which is truly a work of art), then I'll be happy with where I'm at.

Rebecca Dube, TODAYMoms.com editor: Write down all the cute stuff my 1-year-old son does (and, maybe soon… says?!). I always think I’m going to remember the funny look on his face the first time he ate toast or the way he laughed when we played peekaboo. And then there’s a diaper change, and a meal to fix, and bills to pay, and oops, gotta respond to that work e-mail, and clean up dinner, and collapse into bed… and what was I trying to remember, again? This year I resolve to write down more – if only to remind myself of these little moments of joy amid the sleepless nights and stinky diapers.

Amy McCready, TODAY Moms contributor and founder of Positive Parenting Solutions: Think about what to make for dinner before my kids ask, “Hey Mom, what’s for dinner?”  Or better yet, I’ll get the whole family involved in menu planning on Sunday and let them pick a night that they’ll be responsible for preparing dinner – or at least a portion of it.  That way, I can ask them, “Hey kids, what’s for dinner?”  I like that!

Wendy Lee Walsh, TODAY Moms contributor: Stick to "a daily 20."  Twenty minutes of focused, face-to-face time each day is what every family member needs to stay bonded, attached, and seen and heard at any age. In my house, I eat breakfast alone with my eldest daughter and that's our chance to talk without technology or interference from her sister. At night my little one gets me in bed for reading, talking and snuggling. Finding twenty minutes of uninterrupted private time for each kid (and a spouse) is surprisingly difficult, but that's my goal.

Amy Tiemann, aka "Mojo Mom," TODAY Moms contributor: After losing my own mother to cancer three months ago, I found myself exhausted on every possible level: emotional, physical, and spiritual.  I know that I still need to give myself time and space to grieve, but also start to come back to enjoying life. My resolution for 2011 is to live by the Arthur Rubinstein quote, "When you love life, life will love you back."  Right now that needs to start with building myself back up physically, through exercise and healthy eating. Equally importantly, I also want to open my eyes, ears and heart to finding the joy in every moment possible with my family.  I know my Mom would want it that way.

Christina Kelly, TODAY Moms contributor: I have two resolutions. One is to find a way to be more loving and patient. The other is to take better care of myself so I can take better care of my children.

Alex Smith, TODAYShow.com editor, TODAY Moms editor emeritus and TODAY Moms contributor: Spend more time being present and actively involved in the lives of my little ones. Like many parents, I spent vast swathes of both my professional and personal lives glued to the computer screen. Even after a long day of squinting at my monitor at work, I’ll come home and similarly gaze at my iMac, even before Charlotte, my 6-year old, and Oliver, my 4-year-old, have gone to bed. While they’re romping about, giddily stalling from having to get ready for bedtime, I’m prone to squandering that precious one-on-one time with them by typing stupid screeds on Facebook, watching antiquated Iron Maiden videos on YouTube or writing up relatively meaningless posts about forgotten record stores on my weblog. I have to remind myself to stop and respond to my kids with my full attention when they chirp up at me or ask me questions, lest I inadvertently broadcast the message to them that it’s OK to tune people out. I need to be more respectful of their time as well as my own.

Beyond it being a matter of manners and etiquette, there’s a selfish reason for me to do this too. I need to take a step back and realize that my kids aren’t always going to be so little. They’re not always going to pine for me to read stories  to them or beg for me to get down on my hands and knees to build a long train track (Thomas the Tank Engine is a huge favorite in our home). It’s not that my heart doesn’t already explode with affection when they come running as I walk in the front door each night, but I need to savor and appreciate it while it’s still happening. I’m always going to be their father, but my time being “Daddy” is heartbreakingly fleeting.

Sue Kidd, TODAYMoms contributor: I launched my New Year’s parenting resolution for 2010 with vigor. It’d be a joint endeavor between myself and my son, who was 9 at the time. We’d journal together. Maybe not every day, but certainly we could do that once a week, right? Yeah, right.

He’s an avid reader, but not so much an avid writer. For his journalist mother, his allergy to writing causes a small amount of consternation. So I thought I would start simple: a journal about dessert, his favorite thing in the world. As the first week of January bled into the second, then the third, I checked his journal. Page after page of blank greeted me, with the exception of one page with a pencil scratch of half a sentence, “Chocolate chip good.”

That’s it??? Chocolate chip good? Certainly we could do better. Couldn't we? I brought it up over the next several days, but was greeted with a sigh of exasperation. Score zero for mom. January slipped into February into March, and soon the idea of the journal just evaporated along with all those other promises that wind up in the Great Resolution Abyss.

But this year? This year, I start anew.  And am I crazy to revisit the same resolution for my son? Perhaps, but I still think journaling is important. It’s a way for kids to capture thought and to internalize something they may not otherwise ponder.

A conversation with a friend spawned an idea that instead of putting pencil to paper, maybe it’d be better for my tech-savvy 10-year-old to video journal. He’s armed with Christmas loot: a brand-new camera with built-in video. Will he video journal about cookies? Will he say “Chocolate chip good,” then flip off the camera? I don’t know, but a parent can always hope. I already mentioned to him today that I’d like for him to use his new video camera as a way to journal some of his thoughts. He was thrilled to learn that would require absolutely no writing.

But then a new problem cropped up: “Mom, can I put them on Youtube?”


Happy New Year, everyone! Check out our Facebook page, and add your own parenting resolutions in the comments.