3 meaningful resolutions parents should consider in 2016.

I struggle with keeping New Year's resolutions.

Yes, I'm always super-motivated in the beginning of the year.


Nobody can stop me in early January. GIF via Yamon Figurs Fitness.

But it doesn't take long for that motivation to fade in the weeks that follow. It's always some lame excuse: I'm too tired ... I'm not good enough ... it's too difficult. Blah, blah, blah.

As a dad, I teach my kids not to quit, and I realized that I'm not setting the greatest example for them by bailing on my resolutions every year.

In order to be a better parent and person, here are three resolutions I plan on committing to in 2016 and beyond.

1. Start enjoying "right now" with my children.

Waking up at 2:45 a.m. to do anything pretty much sucks. Especially when that "thing" includes answering urgent questions from your toddler daughter about if the sun and moon are friends (yes, that happened to me).

But then it happens. That tiny human isn't so tiny anymore. She's all grown up, has friends, starts dating, goes to college a thousand miles away, gets married, and starts a family of her own.

My daughters are 4- and 2-years-old, so I've felt as if I have a bit of a cushion before they grew up. But I've come across so many parents of adult children (including my own parents) who keep telling me that the toddler days ended before they even knew what happened.

I'm committing to slowing down and enjoying these fleeting moments (good and bad) with my kids because they won't last forever.

Let's not take these moments for granted. Images above taken from the Daddy Doin' Work Instagram feed, used with permission.

If you want a real-life example about the importance of valuing time with our children, read this touching story about parents who thought their newborn could die within days. It's truly humbling.

2. Commit to taking care of myself.

You know how flight attendants inform passengers that in case of an emergency to take care of themselves before tending to their kids? It seems counterintuitive, but it's on point.

Sadly, I didn't get the memo. On my priority list, my kids were always at the top. More often than not, I would skip meals, showers, and sleep if it meant taking care of them. Because of that, my ability to be the dad they needed suffered mightily due to being so physically and mentally exhausted all of the time.

But now I'm committing to taking care of myself. It doesn't take much, either. I can take a walk, go to the gym, watch sports, take a nap, or visit with friends. Whatever I choose to do, I can always find a moment in each day for some "me" time.

Every parent deserves some time to unwind. GIF via "Pokémon."

My kids deserve a happy, energetic dad, and that's not going to happen as long as I keep burning the candles from both ends.

3. Recognize that I might not win parent of the year, and that's OK.

It took me a while to realize it, but there is no Parent of the Year Award (and what does that even mean, anyway?). My daughter recently flushed her socks down the toilet because I told her that "only dirty stuff goes there." Does that make me a bad parent? A bad communicator, maybe, but not a bad parent.

Due to my own insecurities, I tried to show the world that I had my parenting game completely on point when in fact, I'm trying to figure out this fatherhood thing as I go along.

The only thing that really matters is raising happy and kind kids. If I do that, everything else become secondary.

I also need to start embracing the ugly, painful, and real aspects of parenting — because in reality, that's what most of us can relate to.

Parenting is really hard. Shouldn't we all commit to doing our part to make it a little easier?

I can't speak for everyone, but parenting is really overwhelming at times — at least it is for me. That's why I find myself struggling with the aforementioned three things, and I have a feeling that I'm not alone.

Wouldn't it be nice if we took a moment to give our fellow moms and dads a quick pat on the back for support? It takes very little effort and has an enormously profound impact.

GIF via Chibird.

And that's something that we can commit to right now.

More
Youtube

Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

Most Shared
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

Keep Reading Show less
Family