January 1 may be the day when most people make resolutions, but not mothers.

They save most of theirs for the first day of school.

After three months with the children, mothers are haunted by all the plans that went awry. And who wouldn't be?

This was the summer when you and your son would plant a garden and paint his room; your middle child would cook dinner once a week and learn how to drive, and you and your firstborn would read books together and she would take typing, too.

And you, of course, would be so pleasantly firm with the other mothers in the carpool that it would take a crisis for one of them to ask you to take her turn. Ho ho.

So you planted the garden alone and nobody painted anything. Your daughter, the diver, got swimmer's ear and after one meal the other kids said they got ptomaine. And the firstborn wept when you wanted to read "Little Women" together and she wanted to read "Lolita." But you're only 11, you shrieked. But Lolita was only 11, she shrieked back, which ended literature on a woeful note, and typing too. Heaven knows what stories she would write.

And the carpools to photography, swimming and art class had every crisis you can think of and you buckled every time.

So now summer is done and so are you. You have storebought cookie crumbs welded to the sofa; a litter of kittens and a pregnant cat, fleas in the beds where the children belong and a sack of 47 socks, none of which match, even though you buy six pairs at a time and all of them alike.

Resolutions are not only inevitable, they're essential.

My own resolutions are few now, but in their heyday they went something like this:


1. That I get up 20 minutes earlier than is absolutely necessary, instead of 20 minutes after the alarm rings.

2. That I will make hot soups and homemade cookies and not buy junk food all year.

3. That I never again agree to carpool with someone until she has actually passed her driver's test (and also has a car).

4. That I will mend clothes once a week and teach my children to mend with me. (Isn't that sweet?)

5. That I will not cry when I find 47 socks that match the 47 socks I just threw away.

Some people need to make resolutions more often than others. Mostly mothers.