Family Life

Parents’ Bucket List for the Decade

10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

The New Year countdown can be filled with excitement for those ready to take on the New Year, or it can be filled with dread for those who have vowed to early mornings at the gym. But 2020 isn’t just the beginning of a new year; it’s the start of a new decade.

For some parents, the 2020s will mean the departure of diapers and sippy cups and the introduction to kindergarten or middle school. For others, it might mean empty nesting completely. Rather than creating short term resolutions this year, why not think further into the next 10? Here's a countdown that includes four things you might tell your kids to do, but should maybe consider doing yourself.

4. Join the Club!
Parents invest so much time and energy into kids’ activities. Why not take on a hobby or find a team of your own? Getting into an activity of your own can be good motivation to incorporate exercise into your schedule, or to spend time in fellowship with other adults who share similar interests that aren’t your children.

Start a book club, sign up for a Bible Study, take an adult dance class, or register for a beginner’s tennis clinic. These are things you can do well into your empty nest years, and will provide you with a sense of belonging outside of your role as mom or dad.

3. Continuing Ed
Of course, not all activities require a group setting. Maybe you want to learn to play a musical instrument or take an art class so you can paint or draw in your spare time. With a major university in our backyard, there is a plethora of resources available to help you learn a new skill.

Robin Toups, an attorney and mom of three, took advantage of an LSU Leisure Photography Class after her first son was born. “I signed up after we purchased a nice camera so I could learn how to take advantage of all its features. I didn’t realize I even had an interest in photography before taking the class, but now my friends have appointed me as the official group photographer because I have an eye for lighting and backgrounds.”

2. Clean Your Room
Best-selling author turned Netflix reality TV star Marie Kondo has become a cultural phenomenon with her “KonMari” Method of tidying up. Her philosophy encourages us to only keep things that “spark joy,” and dispose of the rest.

Most will agree that children come with a lot of stuff. And with every stage of life, more stuff is added. Getting rid of the excess you have accumulated over the years can help to create order, both in your home and in your head. It can also help to relieve stress and anxiety.

Lauren Walker, a Baton Rouge mom of three, compares decluttering and getting her home in order to a “spiritual experience.” She recently hired a professional organizer and admits this was really the game changer. 

“Every. single. thing. has a place (and label!). Mornings run smoother, packing is a breeze and the kids are able to pick up on their own. It was definitely an investment but worth every penny,” she shares.

Once you experience the emotional benefits of living with less, you might also lose the interest to purchase more, which will ultimately benefit your bank account as well.

1. Don’t Write in the Margins
If you learned to write on a piece of loose-leaf, you’ve probably heard a teacher say, “Don’t write in the margins!” They are actually there for a reason; to create a boundary telling us when to STOP. But do you have margins in your daily life?

Parents today pride themselves on “hurry uppedness,” constantly leaving one thing early just to get to the next thing late. When we don’t create a space in our lives to be still and present, we can often miss out on the things that bring us true joy. It’s important for us to remember to slow down and enjoy life.

Jenny Cohn, a mom of three and member at First United Methodist Church, did a book study of “The Good and Beautiful God” at church, where she was first introduced to the concept of margins. “I try to put this spiritual practice into place, and have found that on the weeks that I create margins in my time and choices, I’m able to be more centered, which makes me a better wife and mom.”

Wherever you’ll find yourself over the next 10 years, try to create space in your life to be able to savor moments in the here and now. 

Make this a decade that you’ll look back on with joy and gratitude when 2030 rolls around. 

Happy New Year, and let's cheers to the 2020s! 

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