Tag: new year’s resolutions

New Year, New Opportunities

I have never been a big fan of new year’s resolutions. They’ve always put a lot of extra pressure on me at a time when I really need to chill out after the madness of the holidays. Then, when life with a husband and three kids and freelance work inevitably gets in the way of sticking to my resolutions, I end up feeling like a complete failure and falling into a depression.

So instead of making big resolutions that are almost impossible for me to succeed at, I just think about little changes I want to make in the new year and resolve to do my best to make them. These changes are much easier to incorporate into my busy life, and I feel successful when I simply try my hardest to make those changes.

Some of the changes are things that can greatly impact myself and my family, like getting everyone to bed earlier, yelling less, and making more time for this blog. (I can’t believe I haven’t written here in over five months!) I will talk more about these things in a future blog post.

But some of the changes are things that will simply allow me to put more positivity out into the world— small actions that can brighten other people’s days. One of these changes is to leave positive feedback or write great reviews when I receive exceptional service. Everyone—myself included—is always so quick to write a one-star Yelp review when the food or service is bad at a restaurant, or to ask to speak to a manager when we receive poor customer service from an employee. But we often don’t take the time to write a five-star review—and mention our exceptional server by name—when we have an excellent dining experience. We rarely ask to speak to a manager to tell him or her how helpful an employee was to us.

But I’m going to take the time to do these things, starting right now. I’m going to send an email to Madewell and Amazon to let them know about the outstanding customer service I received from two employees during the holidays. In the Madewell case, I purchased a gift card online for my cousin that never arrived in the mail, but I didn’t realize it until a week before Christmas. The customer service representative canceled the funds on that card and overnighted me a new one, no questions asked.

In the Amazon case, I purchased a picture frame that had residue from a large sticker stuck on the glass. I emailed customer service to let them know, and the representative immediately issued me a refund for my trouble—even though my husband was eventually able to get the residue off.

These were two of the fastest and best customer-service experiences I’ve ever had, and I’m embarrassed that I never left glowing feedback for these employees. But I’m doing it right now.

So if you’re in the process of making new year’s resolutions—or simply thinking about some changes you’d like to make in 2018—consider taking the time to leave feedback for great customer service, not just bad customer service. And if you’re a business that wants to better grow and serve your customers, and thereby reduce the number of customer-service calls you receive, check out UserIQ. This customer success software, founded in 2014, can help keep your business running smoothly and keep your customers happy.

Happy new year to all, and thank you for sticking with this blog even in the quiet times. Here’s to positive changes and great customer service in 2018!

Disclosure: This a sponsored post on behalf of UserIQ.

Family in front of Christmas tree
Happy new year!

My New Year’s “Mom Resolutions”

We had a wonderful and busy holiday season full of family, friends, and lots of fun outings. For the first time ever, we hosted Christmas Eve and Christmas, then headed to New York for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The kids went back to school this week and we are all settling back into a routine.

Now that 2016 is upon us, I’ve been reading many people’s new year’s resolutions. For parents, those resolutions often revolve around their children: Spend more time with the kids. Put down the smartphone. Be more present.

I want to do all of those things this year. But I have a few resolutions of my own that I feel will make me a way better mom. Here they are:

1. Wake up before the kids.
I used to be really good about this, and it made the morning—and the entire day—go so much more smoothly. I’d set my alarm for about an hour before the kids typically wake up to shower, drink coffee, and eat breakfast in peace. Sometimes I’d even get to read the newspaper. By the time the kids woke up, I felt energized and more focused on them.

But once the colder weather arrived, I got lazy and started using the kids as my alarm clock. That resulted in very stressful and hectic mornings, rushing out the door with coats half on and breakfast barely eaten. Let me tell you, it’s no fun to rush into preschool late with two frazzled kids in tow. So this year, I vow to go to bed earlier and rise before the kids so we can get back to our (mostly) peaceful mornings.

2. End the mom guilt.
No mother—whether she’s a full-time working mom, a full-time stay-at-home mom, or something in between—is immune to mom guilt. And that guilt multiplied exponentially for me after Lily was born. Suddenly, I’ve had to divide my attention between three children while taking on more freelance work and struggling to maintain this blog. It’s a seemingly endless loop that goes something like this: “I work too much.” “I don’t work enough.” “I should have more play dates for the kids.” “I should have fewer play dates because I spend the whole time talking to other moms and not playing with the kids.” “I didn’t play with the kids enough today.” “I played with the kids too much and the house is a mess.”

ENOUGH! This year, I am banishing the mom guilt from my life for good. My kids are happy, smart, secure, well-rounded, and incredibly loved. I’m a great mom. And gosh darn it, people like me. (All you Saturday Night Live fans will appreciate that.)

3. Display more photos of the kids.
This may seem like a silly one, but it’s actually very important to me. I have thousands and thousands of amazing photos of my kids languishing on my cell phone and hard drive. And, 15 months after moving into this house, I still have a ton of blank wall space. Walking past those walls and seeing the twins’ school pictures, or a big picture of Lily in her first-birthday tutu, or some of the amazing holiday photos my brother took of us, would add a great deal of sunshine to my day!

A family poses on a New York City rooftop.
Seriously, how can we not hang this photo on a wall? (Photo by children and lifestyle photographer Daniel Marino of Marino Photography, http://danmarinophoto.com)

4. Travel without the kids. Since the boys were born in 2011, I’ve spent several nights away from my children. There was the 4-day trip to Orlando I took with my cousin Kim, the two long weekends I spent in New York last summer, and several other quick jaunts. Keith has also spent many nights away from the kids, mainly for work trips or field time or his deployment. But we have only ever spent two nights away from the children together, and they were when we came here to house hunt when I was seven months pregnant with Lily. And because we spent pretty much the entire 48 hours touring homes, we don’t count that. So this year, come hell or high water, we plan to take a short vacation just the two of us. We need it for both of our sanity!

5. Chill. The F. OUT.
I’ve always felt the need to be productive at every moment of every day. If I sat down for half an hour, I lamented all the laundry I could have folded or work emails I could have sent. If I spent 15 minutes on Facebook, I complained that I should have unloaded the dishwasher instead. And even when I was productive, I’d get angry that I didn’t get more done. I should have written that story more quickly, or cleaned faster, or multitasked better.

But lately, I’ve really chilled out—and I am so much happier and less stressed because of it. If I feel like sitting in the coffee shop to enjoy my cup of joe instead of going through the drive-through and drinking it in the car, I do it. If I decide to watch some bad reality TV during Lily’s nap instead of cleaning the kitchen, I enjoy the mental break and move on instead of beating myself up over it. And at the end of the day, instead of obsessing about the the two items I didn’t check off my to-do list, I focus on the five things I did get done. I will continue this trend in 2016. After all, when Mom is happy, everyone is happy!


Sure, there are many other changes both big and small I’d like to make in 2016, like finding more time to exercise and spending less money on groceries. But those are my five main goals that I think will really make me a happier and healthier mom.

What are your goals for 2016? Please share! Happy new year!