Chinese New Year: Tips for Moms in the Monkey Year

February 8th kicks off the Year of the Red Fire Monkey, the first day of Chinese or Lunar New Year. The Year of the Monkey promises to bring both brag-worthy and cringe-worthy moments for moms. Luckily, there are more peaks! On the plus side, monkeys are the innovators of the zodiac so moms may see some masterful creations from our little treasures. Picture ‘ooh la la' fashion shows and drawings galore. On the challenging side, monkeys are the mischievous pranksters that can get themselves into trouble. Think of the monkeys at the zoo who love to throw poop at each other and the onlookers. It's all fun until someone loses an eye, or has a smelly brown stain on their favorite jacket.

Moms should harness the energy of the monkey to bring light-heartedness, flexibility, and optimism to their everyday situations. Or else moms will end up feeling exhausted by the commotion and action.

Two of my four children love to talk. They are extremely inquisitive and chatty. Like 357 questions-a-day-type inquisitive. And, one does not wait for my answer before she fires off her next observation or question. The other just yells his question or comment louder and louder until he has my full attention. I'm not sure if my other two are quiet or simply unable to get a word in. I'm going to remind myself to treasure these moments because the talkers are going to be exceptionally talkative this year. Thank goodness they're charming. I'm getting ready to nod, smile, and encourage them even as my ears are bleeding.

Monkeys are okay with taking risks.I love it when my kids try something new or put themselves out there and take a risk. But I'm still a mom. Certain risks, like skiing aggressive black diamond trails all day, make me nervous. Or going out at night, anywhere. Truth be told, I only want them to take the risks that I have outlined because I know these are calculated risks. Like performing in a piano recital, giving a speech at school, or trying out for a school team. I am an expert at calculating risks when it comes to my children. But this year, they may not go along with my plan and I will have to let them be a little more independent than I'm comfortable with.

Monkeys love to brainstorm and are full of ideas. This is a year to be a fun mom. I'm going to throw a monkey wrench in my own plans once in a while. Be flexible. We might eat dinner out spur of the moment when I have cooked a meal at home. Just because my little girl has an intense craving for Outback's Mac and Cheese. I'll say yes to good ideas, even if they are inconvenient.

This is not a year of collaboration and groupthink. That was last year's sheep. I won't tell my children to work as a team to figure it out. Last year, all I got in return from the requested teams were massive arguments, which I had to referee. Or, then there was the new puppy. When kids collaborate, it's very dangerous for a mom. I'm pushing for innovation and imagination this year. The monkey is compassionate and generous. He/she, once committed, is very loyal and good in relationships. Monkeys believe in second chances as long as there is no hidden agenda. This year, I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to my husband and children, especially around dinnertime when I'm on a diet and starving. When nobody wants to eat the food I cooked, I won't yell. I'm going to get this monkey off my back and not get the maddest at the people I love the most.

In this year of the Red Monkey, I can handle a little monkey business if I keep my sense of humor. I can't wait. Great year for fun mom to come out and play.