Its the weekend! And its another Mommy Panel Saturday! This may be my favorite question so far.
Name 3 tips you have learned about parenting that you think are important or want to share.
1. EVERYONE has the way to get your kid to sleep, eat, be happy, etc. And EVERYONE will share it with you. Listen to the advice, but only do what feels right for you, your little one, and your family. You are your baby’s expert…no one else is!
2. Start a babysitting exchange with another family. It will save you tons of money, let you have a date, and give you peace of mind that your kiddo is with friends instead of a teenager.
3. If you have a babysitting exchange, your kiddo will be at someone else’s house. You don’t have to do a date out. You can have some kiddo free time at home with your husband!
I have learned NOT to freak out everytime they run fever!
I have learned that they are going to get dirty, in the brand new outfit that you spent $50 on…..and that it’s OK that they are dirty, they are children! 🙂
And lastly, I have learned that while being a parent is the greatest reward EVER, so is date night. Go out without your child and have fun, it will make you a better parent! 🙂
1. Be patient with your kids. It has taken me awhile to do this myself. Sometimes its hard to be patient with them, but I have to remind myself a lot that they are just kids and its OK when it takes them longer to do things.
2. Take a Time Out for yourself if needed. I have had a few times when it comes to disciplining that I have had to take a time out for myself to calm down. It really makes all the difference if you just take a minute to breath and then go talk with your child. It is amazing how much differently I handle the situation. It works well for me when I need it!
3. It’s OK if things get damaged or broken. This has taken me such a long time to learn. I like my things and I like to keep them nice, but when it comes down to it…they are just things. They aren’t the most important thing in life. The most important things in life are your kids and family. I have a hard time when something does happen, but I keep saying to myself, “”Jill, they are just things and its ok!”” Kids are just kids and things are going to get broken or damaged.
1.) Everyone parent, kid, family situation is different DON’T COMPARE!! Find what works with your family and go with it.
2.) Be willing to adjust. I have found with my boys just when I think I am understanding them and their discipline issues, they change. We just got into “”I’m 5 and I know more than everyone”” stage which is fun…
3.) Have fun!! The memories you make during this time are crucial for you and your kids. It is okay to discipline and be strict and keep them in line, but make sure it is balanced with a lot of fun and a lot of love. Those will be what your kids remember!
My oldest is just turning ten, so I have no tips beyond that age level. (But I’m looking for advice! 🙂 So for younger children, three things that have been really important for me to learn are:
1. Home life is their haven. Support them and love them when they’re home…they fight the good fight at school all day, but when they’re home they just need their mommy’s love and support.
2. Choose my battles with correcting my children. Some things are imperative and my kids must listen to me and do as I say, but a whole lot of other things I really can just let go. Otherwise, I’m just a non-stop nagging machine.
3. Don’t beat myelf up over a bad day. Some days I am super mommy: attentive, nurturing. But other days I am way less than ideal. Think, “”Big Picture”” and know that all in all my children know that I love them. Similarly, it’s not my job to entertain my kids. (That’s what siblings are for!!)
1. Spend as much time as you can with your kids doing things that engage the whole family. Make sure that your kids are as involved as they can be at an age appropriate level. A Saturday clean-up counts just as much as building a treehouse.
2. Skip the theme parks and visit the National Parks. They are cheaper and far more memorable.
3. Don’t blink – they’ll be teenagers before you know it (and on this one, I speak from experience).
1. Expect the unexpected.
2. You might not like all of the unsolicited advice, but sometimes you might actually learn something. Put your pride aside.
3. Don’t take on too much.
1. Learn to LAUGH!! There are going to many situations that might cause you to pull out your hair, but you’ll save yourself a lot of stress lines if you learn to laugh at some of them. Quick story about this…on my daughter’s first birthday we were giving her some naked bum time in her play pen to help with a diaper rash. After a few minutes we found her playing in her own poo! Yuck! But rather than stress, we laughed, grabbed a camera, then divided up the clean-up duties (or dooties…he he he).
2. Except help. ‘Nuf said. No one can do it all alone.
3. If your husband is like mine, learn to ask him for help. I’ve learned he’s more than willing to help out, but he doesn’t always realize that I need help, or what I want help with. If I speak up and ask, it saves me some stress and from getting frustrated with him. 🙂
For me the things that have helped the most are
1.- Learn to slow down. Eliminate as much stress as possible and try to be as present as possible. I’ve had to cut out a lot of volunteer stuff I used to do, and I evaluate daily how important each activity or possible commitment really is in the long run. I miss doing those things but I know this time that I have a baby/young child is but a season. I’m a better parent and I will be able to resume those activities in the future while reaping the benefits of the investment I am making in my son now.
2.- Trust your instincts! The first few times I did this, going against the advice of our baby’s (then) doctor and the advice of others I talked to I was so uncertain and riddled with doubt. In the end I am so glad I did because of the things I learned after the fact. I believe that God gives us our instincts and speaks to us through them so that we can best care for our children.
3.- Don’t sweat the small stuff. The behaviors you are dealing with will fade. Focus on keeping your connection with your child strong so you will always be able to weather what ever struggle your child is having TOGETHER. Of course, I’m not saying don’t discipline here. Just evaluate how important in the big picture is it to correct each particular issue. Is it really the end of the world if she wants to go to the grocery store in her Halloween costume in July?
4.- (I know this is one too many, but it’s important.) At the end of the day give yourself grace. As long as you know you are doing your best and are learning from the inevitable mistakes that happen, that’s all that counts. Being guilt-ridden just sucks energy and doesn’t place you on a stronger foundation for better parenting tomorrow. You are your kids best model for self-acceptance and for getting up, dusting yourself off and learning from your mistakes.
1. Trust your instincts you know more than you think you do.
I think Dr Spock said it, and it’s true. New parents get so much advice (requested and unsolicited) it can be hard to figure out what to do. When all else fails, follow your instincts.
2. Dress like your kid and eat when they do. Before kids can communicate on their own, it can be hard to know what they want. If you dress in the same type of clothing (and I mean number of layers, I’m not suggesting matching outfits), you’ll know if they are too hot/cold. If you eat/drink when they do it’ll be easier to know when their cries mean hunger/thirst.
3. Be careful what precedents you set. Kids are creatures of habits. I know Moms who would buy little trinkets for their kids at the $1 section at Target whenever they stopped by. Now they can’t get out of Target without buying something for the kid. It may not be a ton of money, but it adds up, and is unnecessary and sometimes ends up rewarding bad behavior (kid starts whining cause they didn’t get their toy, Mom gives in to keep the kid quiet).
1. Dont try to be perfect. It doesnt exist.
2. Take time for yourself.
3. Cherish every. single. moment.
1) Never say never! Pre-parenting there were so many things I thought were absolutes. Now, I realize kids will quickly make a liar out of you! Parenting is a lot about being flexible…and, teachable.
2) Mommies NEED other mommies to lean on, cry to, laugh with…and, tell them they’re doing a great job. Find a playgroup or mom group STAT. And, go to that group. Make friends with those moms. Even if it’s uncomfortable at first. Your single, childless friends have a place in your life, but you need mommy friends if you’re gonna navigate motherhood…with your sanity intact!
3) Don’t be so set on “”getting it right”” from the moment you bring baby home. Really, most things can be undone. Don’t fret so much about holding them too long, rocking them to sleep, developing amazing sleeping habits from day one…if you realize you’ve gone down a path you’re not happy with, you can change directions. I promise you won’t be rocking your 18 year old to sleep. So for now, enjoy that sweet bundle.
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Be sure to come back tomorrow for the Mommy Blog Hop! Cant wait to see ya there 🙂