That's it, fun's over. January is upon us and the pressure is on to morph into totems of health and morality. And to give our livers a bit of breathing space to regenerate. But, as parents, we shouldn't be too tough on ourselves, after all life's hard enough already. That's why I'll be following these alternative New Year's resolutions.
Spend less time with the children
You love your kids. I love my kids. We can't help it, nature has programmed us that way. That's why we'd feel guilty if we abandoned them. But a little abandonment is good for everybody, as long as it's not a permanent arrangement and doesn't involve leaving a one-year-old alone in a room that's only been half baby proofed because, well, the football was on. He will get into the cupboard in which you keep the super glue and he will use it to glue his sister's hands to her face.
Absence not only makes the heart grow fonder – I prefer my children much more when I'm not with them – it also helps it beat at a more leisurely, life prolonging pace. With this in mind I plan to inflict them on their grandparents much more in 2015. I will use this child-free time to inject a spot of romance back into my relationship and/or make a start on the pile of filing that's been backing up for weeks.
Gain a little weight
But not a lot. I could commit to training for a marathon or an ironman but if I'm being brutally honest there's absolutely no chance I'd make it to the start line, let alone the finish. I'm keeping my ambitions grounded – if I manage some form of regular exercise and can still see my feet when 2016 kicks off I'll reward myself with a massive pie.
Plan fewer day trips
Not every weekend has to include an educative experience. Small children tend to enjoy waving sticks in the air in a threatening manner and cramming stones into their mouths, just as much as hammering on buttons in the multi-sensory section of a city centre museum that's impossible to park within walking distance of. Especially since most of the exhibits broke the day after it opened. Having wondered for years why these are never fixed I've finally realised it's a clever ploy designed to force everyone into the gift shop a little sooner.
Of course, kids will have even more fun if you let them watch TV all day. Obviously I would never do that.
Don't keep in touch
Thanks to smartphones we are constantly connected to each other. Even when we're with friends we ignore them, because we're too busy updating Facebook telling everybody which friends we're with. The problem with this tidal wave of communication is it begins to become an anonymous blur, especially where proud oversharing parents are concerned.
Status updates should be saved for the moments that'll stand out in the social media melee. If you think your child looks particularly cute today, hold off – he looks exactly the same as yesterday. If he has just created a pool of puke that resembles the Mona Lisa you may carry on uploading.
Send the children to school dirty
Our washing machine is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and our clothes horses are burdened to buckling point. On the up side most rooms in our house smell pleasingly of Lenor.
It's time to take control of the situation and live by the rule: a little dirt never hurt anybody. Any clothes not covered in poo or wee will be worn a second time. Glitter, pen, paint, dribble and food stains – apart from the coffee and red wine ones – are no reason to throw a school skirt or babygrow in the laundry basket. What's the point of sending a child out in pristine condition when she'll be filthy within one minute of entering a classroom?
Coast at work
You're tired, you're not that interested anymore; just do enough to get by and leave the promotion chasing to someone else. There are more important things to worry about, like getting home for bath time or, even better, getting home just after all the kids have gone to sleep.
NOTE TO ALL POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS: This was written for the purposes of this article and does not reflect my state of mind. I'm a go-getting, self starter with impressive interpersonal skills who can add value to your business.
Read fewer books
About how to raise children. They all disagree with each other apart from on one matter: you're doing it all wrong.
Never run out of chocolate...
This is no time of year to give up the food that keeps you going and any child not old enough to be addicted to a screen quiet for a brief, glorious moment.
... Or booze
Likewise. In fact give it up during Christmas if you must, when children are excited because Santa is on his way and well behaved because he is going to burn all their presents if they don't clean their teeth RIGHT NOW.
A dark, wind battered Sunday in January which you have been forced to spend entirely indoors is exactly the moment you need alcohol the most. Anyway last time I checked wine was made of grapes – that's one of your five a day.
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