Now is the time that New Year’s resolutions start to fizzle. All of our big goals to cut out drinking, stop scrolling Instagram every ten seconds, get out of debt, lose ten pounds and train for a marathon seem to lose steam around this time. If the big goals and resolutions are getting you down, try incorporating some small doable changes guaranteed to make a big impact instead.
67 small changes that will change your life in a big way!
If hitting the gym is out of the question because you have two kids under five or kids and a full-time job, here are some easy ways to squeeze in activity with or despite your kids because physical health is a must for moms. These following small changes will vastly improve your fitness level but won’t break the bank or your back!
- Walk or run laps around the field while your kids are at soccer practice.
- Go on a stroller friendly walk if your kids are little.>> Scenic stroller friendly walks
- Get the kids in their muddy buddies, and do an easy hike.>> Three easy hikes
- Swim for 20 minutes while the kids are at swimming lessons or go for a swim with baby.
- Go snowshoeing with the kids.
- Head to a gym that has childcare! >> Gyms with childcare
- Get a Fitbit or cue up your mobile phone’s free pedometer to ensure you’re getting your 10 K steps/day.
- Go for quick walk around the block with babe on your back.
- Challenge the over 4s to race around the block (pro tip: let them win). Repeat.
- Set up the over 3s with a scooter so you can walk and they can scoot. They will be much happier that walking.
- Leave the kids with your partner, neighbour or 12 year-old for half an hour so you can go for a brisk walk solo.
Social isolation is a real problem for moms, especially moms of pre-school kids and babies. It vital for your (and your kids) mental health to connect with other moms with kids.
- If your child is a baby, join a mom and baby group. >> Free mom and baby drop in activities
- Go to library story time – every VPL branch has story time for little ones.
- Do a toddler arts drop in program at Chorus and Clouds. >> Winter 2020 drop in programs for moms and kids
- Learn sign language with other parents! >> Winter 2020 drop in programs for moms and kids
- Go to open gym at your local community centre. Open gym is a low-pressure, inexpensive way to get out of the house!
- Get bendy with baby at a yoga class >> mom and baby yoga classes
Me time and self-care
It’s all well and good to connect with other moms with babies but sometimes, we just need alone time. Here are some fun things to do on your own if you can get away for an hour, half a day, gasp, a full day!
- Plug in your favourite podcast and go for a solo walk along the seawall.
- Head to one of Metro Vancouver’s many coffee shops for a latte, a sweet treat and a glossy magazine.
- Take photos of the colourful murals along Main St.
- Book a massage or a float.
- Go for a workout, run or yoga class.
- Take a nap (by yourself!).
- Make a pot of herbal tea and read a book.
- Have a long foamy bath.
- Hire a house cleaner!
- Commit to getting a regular babysitter.
- Listen to inspirational podcasts by moms who’ve been there and survived! >> Leading Moms podcast
Meal time hacks
The thing about meals, and especially dinner, is they always seem like a surprise. What dinner, again? Making meal time easier can be done without a monumental effort.
Remember, meals don’t have to be Instagram worthy or a winner every night.
- Make a meal plan: Map out the week’s meals with a few super basic meals and one or two dinners that you’ll truly enjoy.
- Have one family meal a week at the table together. Instead of shooting for 7 nights a week, go for one or two. Pick a day and get the kids involved in setting the table, clearing, chopping or stirring.
- Get meal fixings or a full healthy meal delivered to your door on a regular schedule. >> 8 meal delivery services
- Order in: Have a regular take out night and get it delivered. Give the kids a say, but be sure to mix it up so it’s not pizza every Tuesday!
>> Take out delivery that’s fast
- Why drag kids to the store when you can order online from Save on Foods, Super Store and SPUD.ca >> 5 reasons to try online grocery shopping
- Stop beating yourself up about the kids eating idiosyncrasies. This too shall pass.
- Like wine with your meal? You can get that delivered too! >> Wine delivery services
We all know that less time on screens has huge benefits for all of us. There are reasonable and varied ways to do this without making is a huge conflict. Be intentional about when you are using your device and for what purpose.
- Establish screen-free zones. In other words, no screens at the dinner table or in the bedroom. This way meals aren’t interrupted by iPhones beeping, and bedrooms are quiet and calming places for rest. This includes mom and dad!
- Establish screen-free times: For example, no screens before school or after 7 pm.
- Get the kids to do a chore for 15 minutes, read for 20 minutes or play outside for 30 minutes (whatever you feel works) prior to screen-time.
- Have a screen-a-thon: Have a set time when kids (and parents!) can play on their tablets for a one or two hours uninterrupted.
- Put your phone in the basement (or somewhere hard to reach) after 9 pm so you can’t fall under the scrolling spell.
- Be the change: Model screen-free behaviour where possible.
Let’s face, the wallet takes a hit over the holidays so the New Year is a great time to implement a few money saving ideas into your daily routine.
- Buy used kids gear >> Save money: buy used kids gear
- Head to a consignments store for kids >> Five kids consignment stores
- Limit yourself to one special coffee out a week.
- Drink less wine or explore $10 bottles.
- Enter one contest a day, you’re bound to win one!
- Delete all of your online shopping subscriptions.
- Get money into your RRSP before March 1st.
- Head to the beach, seawall, park or pier for free family outings on the weekends.
- Take advantage of one of the many free family arts events put on by ArtStarts. >> ArtStarts Explores
- Take books out of the library instead of buying them.
Even if Marie Kondo is passé, hand off the items that no longer spark joy in you; they may spark joy in someone else.
- Donate your unwanted clothing >> Best places to sell or donate your clothing in Vancouver
- Donate kids and baby clothes >> Where to donate kids’ clothing and toys in Vancouver
- Get inspo from minimalist moms like Alison Mazurek, 600sq ft & Baby and Rachel Jonat, The Minimalist Mom
- Buy less stuff by using a monthly budget, only shopping in person, or buying locally for quality items that last.
Giving birth, raising kids can take a toll on everything from your relationships to your own mental health. Check in with yourself and make sure you get help if the seasonal blues become entrenched.
- If you’re feeling alone or depressed after having a baby, there is help! >>Where to get help for post-partum depression and anxiety
- Begin a meditation practice – as little as five minutes a day can help ground you >> 5 ways to deal with mom burnout
- If we’re truly committed to mental health as a family, it may be time to easy up on over programming the kids. >> How to prevent over programming the kids
- Learn how to say “No.” As “No I’m sorry I can’t.” “No, our family needs downtime.” “No, we’re focusing on our health this winter, and we need to rest.”
- Consider giving up wine for a month. If that does not fall under small changes, reduce intake to weekends only, or one glass a night. You’ll sleep better, feel better, and save money too!
No time like the present to reconnect with your significant other now that the holiday whirlwind is over. Whether it’s fancy drinks or a Sunday morning run, you can’t go wrong carving out some precious kid-free time with your partner.
- Send the kids to Kids Night out at Kidtropolis and gorge on great food at Dine Out Vancouver with your partner. >> Isn’t it Time for a Date Night?
- Get dolled up and lounge at a glamorous cocktail bar. >> Five cocktail bars
- Feel like something active? Head up to one of the local mountains and go snowshoeing followed by a hot meal.
- Catch a live show at the Commodore. >> 27 date night in Vancouver ideas you’ll love
- Go to FUSE at the Vancouver Art Gallery and feel like the hippest parents in town.
- Schedule time in your agenda, bullet journal or good-old-fashioned wall calendar as non-negotiable date with yourself, your husband or even your kids. Label it as an appointment or meeting and set that baby in stone.
- Get an up-to-date playlist or podcast app for outdoor ventures.
- Remember that not every meal has to be a winner.
- Don’t beat yourself up for lapses. You’re a mom! You get a pass. Just start again.
Harriet Fancott is the Editor and Social Media Manager for Vancouver Mom. She has over 20 years experience in the arts, tech and mom-based blogging arenas. She lives in East Vancouver with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring all that Vancouver has to offer from festivals and events to playgrounds and beaches to sushi and ice cream (although not together).