By Calie Joy Herbst Special to Published Jan 04, 2014 at 12:01 PM Photography:

There's nothing more hopeful than a clean slate. With the new year upon us, we can put our imperfections and mistakes behind us, and journey into 2014 sans last year's baggage.

I've made lofty resolutions in the past (i.e. cook a healthy dinner every night, work out three times a week, start a meditation practice). But I'm a working mom, and time and energy are precious commodities that I am often running out of.  Just thinking about my inevitable shortcomings makes me not want to make any resolutions at all.

So this year, I've decided only to make resolutions that involve me doing less, not more. Here are my realistic resolutions for 2014: 

Schedule fewer activities. Don't get me wrong. I love activities. I love checking out the latest family-friendly happenings around town. But there is just nothing more beautiful than a day without any schedule or plan of any kind. We might spend the whole day in pajamas, or we might decide to venture out and explore. Either way, I want a little less structure and a little more freedom. 

Buy fewer toys. Experts say that the fewer toys a child has the more creative, social and resourceful they are.  Kids with fewer toys also have longer attention spans, are less selfish, take better care of their possessions, and argue less. And, let's be honest. Those bright loud plastic toys just stress me out anyways. Purging the toy box and buying fewer toys is a win-win for my son and I both.

Cook less (without the guilt!) I've decided that there's just not enough time during the week for me to cook a fresh, healthy dinner for my family every night. So I'm not going to feel guilty when I pick up a delicious dinner from the Outpost, or pop a healthy-ish frozen dinner in the oven. I can cook on the weekends.

Log on less. I don't want to be the parent who is always checking their phone for meaningless updates. Less screen time means more quality time with my kid. Period. (For more on kids and technology, click here.)

Talk less (listen more). I'm a talker. I love giving my opinion. I love telling stories. My husband couldn't believe the amount of minutes I racked up on our last cell phone bill. But maybe all that talking  is getting in the way of wisdom I might be attaining through listening. This year, I resolve to talk a little less, and listen more to my kids, to my husband, to my friends and to the universe.

What are your parenting resolutions for 2014?

Calie Joy Herbst Special to
Calie Herbst is a teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools and editor of She received a Bachelors in Spanish and Sociology from UW-Madison and a Masters of Teaching Spanish from Marquette.

She has travelled extensively through the Spanish-speaking world, but her favorite place in the world is Milwaukee. She lives in Bay View with her husband, two year old son, Hudson and her two dogs. She and her family love to check out the latest events in Milwaukee and spend time at their cabin in Winter, Wis.

In her free time, her ideal self enjoys doing yoga, reading one book a week, and cooking with organic, local foods. Her real self just ends up watching terrible reality television.