Restaurants, fancy shoes and drain monsters

Leaving aside those amazing people who actually accomplish their New Year's resolutions, I'm impressed just by the people willing to make one.

While it's great to set goals, and I understand the concept of a New Year's resolution, I feel like I'm just setting myself up for failure when I make one.

Usually, I don't set one at all, just so I don't have anything to break later.

This year, though, I thought I could make a couple of resolutions. My resolutions aren't completely "unbreakable," but they're pretty close. One will be something easy, something I would probably do anyway. The other will be something immeasurable and untraceable. Either way, by this time next year, I could claim to have met my yearly goals.

My first resolution is to try at least two new Ashland restaurants this year, and for at least one of them I will get dressed up, wear uncomfortable shoes and make a "real date" out of it. It doesn't even have to be a new restaurant; just new to me is good enough.

I get in a restaurant rut, visiting the same four or five over and over. I get burritos at Señor Sam's, burgers at Louie's, pizza from anywhere that delivers, and sushi at Kobe when I'm hanging out with friends.

There's nothing wrong with these restaurants, and my resolution doesn't say I have to stop eating there; I just have to try something different, at least twice.

Besides, I also have a closet full of uncomfortable shoes just begging to be worn.

My next goal is more immeasurable, but also probably more important and more difficult to do. The only thing that will save me from breaking this resolution is that it's much harder to track, unlike those darn numbers on the scale when you resolve to lose 20 pounds.

Like most parents, and I think especially single mothers, I expect a lot of my son. When the whole family consists of two members, it's easy to ask Silas to pick up some of the slack. This year, I will just let my son be a kid more often.

I'm not saying I'll let him get away with not helping or doing any chores all year round. He will still have to pick up his toys in the living room, help me bring dishes to the sink, and load the washing machine. Doing chores is good for an 8-year-old, as is contributing to our family.

I just won't take it too seriously, and I'll let Silas be a little boy in between.

I will get frustrated with him less frequently in the mornings when he can't find a matching pair of socks. I'm 20 years older than he is, and it's still a struggle for me to find matching socks. I will stop holding him to the same standards of finding and matching that I hold myself to.

I will start draining the bathtub myself after his baths, without complaining. I know Silas isn't leaving me a tub full of tepid water just to irritate me, but because it's scary to drain out the water.

I will allow Silas to be afraid of drain monsters and getting sucked away with the water because he's a kid, and when I was a kid I was afraid of getting sucked down the toilet when I flushed it. He can be afraid, I can be the brave mom, and that's OK.

Hopefully, by this time next year I will have a visit to two new restaurants under my belt, and I will feel like a more relaxed, fun mom. But if not, there's always 2014.

Zoe Abel is carefully not tracking her New Year's resolutions and draining the bathtub. You can reach her at

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