The Playroom: Realistic resolutions

Author: Maraya Steadman '89, '90MBA

Maraya Steadman

It’s January, the beginning of a new year, a fresh start, a clean slate, an opportunity to look back on 2012 and come up with New Year’s resolutions for 2013. For starters, I’m not listening to “Gangnam Style” one more time during hockey car pool. I’m not turning up the volume and I’m not listening to 8-year-old boys screaming “Hey sexy lady” out the car windows.

But there I go being negative again, back to my half-empty travel mug of cold coffee. I’m just not the kind of person who goes “kicking down the cobblestones looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.” So this year instead of all those things I’m not going to do, I resolve to think about things I can do.

Here are some things I could do. I could stop yelling at civil service employees in front of my children, but I’ll blow that one the first time I see one of them writing me a parking ticket. I could become a vegetarian, except I can’t get past bacon. I could eat more fruit, but I have no idea how much fruit I ate last year, so there is no way to know if I eat more or less. I also have no idea how many times we made it to Mass last year or how many donuts we ate, so I can’t possibly do “more of” either.

But here is something I can do: I can be more considerate and understanding of my neighbors who raise chickens.

I avow not to make snarky comments about rescue chickens or our new neighborhood chicken hotline for lost chickens, and I will try to be genuinely distressed when Isabella goes missing in the night or Roxie needs a thousand dollars’ worth of veterinary care. I will respect the health benefits of stocking the family fridge with eggs from the backyard coop at the rate of four or so, more or less, per week, that cost approximately $25 apiece. And I will cheerfully concede that the smell of chicken excrement and $25 eggs is a small price to pay for teaching suburban kids that breakfast doesn’t come from a grocery store.

In addition to being less snarky about my neighbors who rescue chickens, I will also try to be more supportive of neighbors who make typos in mass mailings, such as the woman who recently posted a “cock pot” for sale and sent it out to 2,000 mothers in our suburban “Mom Mail” email chain. Instead of howling with laughter every time I pull it up, I avow in 2013 to howl with laughter and then to compassionately reach out to the woman with the typos and tell her that nobody actually reads the posts that closely anyway and she shouldn’t be embarrassed and that $5.00 for a used “cock pot” was, in my opinion, a very good price.

And then, after all my 2013 efforts at trying to be more compassionate and understanding toward my neighbors, I’ll put a chicken in the crock pot, load up the car with 8-year-old boys and go off to hockey car pool with a half-full travel mug of tepid coffee.

Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Her website is Email her at