Every January, as soon as we've shaken off our hangovers, Britain's parents stride boldly into the New Year with the best intentions. Let's see how many of the following you can keep up until February...
1. This year, you will... stop eating their leftovers
What is this strange power that your child's scraps hold over you? A smear of ketchup, a clod of congealed beans, a carrot baton recently used to mine ear wax... there are famished urban foxes that would turn up their snouts at this slop. Yet there you are, after every meal, furtively gobbling toast soldiers like a human caddy bin. Well, not this year. Unless they've had chicken dippers.
2. This year, you will... choose your battles
As your fuse grows ever shorter, it's easy to find yourself raging over every dropped pea, misplaced sock and soiled gusset. This year, make a point of saving full-blown nuclear mode for the major stuff, like when you catch them rolling the dog into rush-hour traffic in a wheelie bin, or using your maternity bra to ping petrol bombs at the neighbours.
3. This year, you will... try positive parenting
Breaking the habit of sniping at your child's screw-ups isn't easy, but this year, you're determined to squint for the silver lining: "Oh, darling! You've wiped your own faeces all over the bathroom walls, set fire to the hand towels and made the toilet belch fetid water by filling it with Oat So Simple. But let's focus on the fact that you've only drowned one of the cats. That's good..."
4. This year, you will... stand up to your mother-in-law
For years, you've screamed into a pillow while this purse-lipped harridan declares that career women are "selfish", formula milk is "worse than crystal meth" and children should be "thrashed with a sapling for talking in church". This year, give her the ultimatum. This is your family. These are your kids. If she doesn't like your parenting, she knows where the door is. Granted, it's probably best not to do this when you're over for lunch on New Year's Day.
5. This year, you will... sort out your digital photos
From cone-headed, gore-soaked newborn to eye-rolling teen, you've shot more frames than David Bailey during your child's development – and this year, you're going to exhume them from the hard drive for presentation in a lavish leather-bound photo album. While you're at it, you should probably frame one of the five snaps that you managed to take of your second child...
6. This year, you will... stop moving wine o'clock
The official line is that this much-loved window for binge-drinking starts the split-second their heads hit the pillow. Lately, though, you've been bending the space-time continuum so it also applies to NCT afternoons and soft-play parties, with the flimsy justification that it's already gone 7pm in Kathmandu.
7. This year, you will... stop believing everything you see on Facebook
Nothing highlights your own fractious day-to-day existence quite like logging on to see other families drinking from coconuts, petting Barrier Reef turtles and snuggling in sunsets.
This year, you're not going to be hoodwinked by the propaganda, reminding yourself that five seconds after that blissful snapshot was taken, one of the twins probably had a poo in their wetsuit.
Art. Politics. Theatre. Kim Kardashian's glistening buttocks. There's a whole world of conversational topics out there that don't involve the sleeping habits and gastrointestinal tracts of your bloody children. In 2015, with your fellow parents, invent a penalty system whereby anyone who asks that old fallback – "So, how are they sleeping...?" – is obliged to do the school run in the nude.
9. This year, you will... get out more
Slumping comatose in front of a property show is not living. Make 2015 the year you claw back some me-time, trolleydashing through the TicketMaster website, then block-booking a sullen teenage babysitter while you jet off to Cats, Crufts and a tour of the Coronation Street set. Just be warned: on some level, your kids will realise you're trying to reclaim a sense of self, and manage to develop a fever every time they see Mummy applying lipstick.
10. This year, you will... enjoy the ride
They might drag you to the edge of sanity by your hair, but never forget that your kids are fundamentally wonderful, and these are the days you'll pine for when they leave home. As such, even if your other resolutions nosedive in 2015, make a point of embracing the mayhem and treasuring every moment. Yes – even the moment when they leave a skidmark on your pillowcase...
More on Parentdish: New Year resolutions we all make - and break!
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