Parenting at your best

I frequently find myself fighting the urge to parent by convenience.

On good days, I am a happy, nurturing, high energy mom who is purposeful to pass on the manners, values, and beliefs that are important to our family.

I think most people would agree that taking care of a kid’s basic needs is not rocket science.  You feed them, change them, give them some toys, take them to play dates and the park etc. etc. etc.  But the hard part comes in when you actually have to parent and try to guide your baby into childhood and beyond.

When things get crazy, I find my parenting style devolving into convenience parenting.  I stop trying to reach their heart or care about why they might be upset.  I’m just like “don’t bother me”, “don’t be loud”, and “don’t make a mess”.  That’s all I care about in the moment.

Here are a few things that help me avoid frustration with the kiddos

  1. Do not be afraid to put your kids in their crib so you can have a 5-10 min breather while you calm down and recenter.  I know nobody wants to get angry with their kids or have their child’s memories dotted with mad mom moments.
  2. Remind yourself what you want your child to learn and remember from their childhood.  I remind myself that I want my kids to remember how much I love them and how much I want them to be functional and caring adults.
  3. I have the best luck when I have a plan in advance.  If you know putting your kid down to play by themselves will trigger a tantrum (or whatever creates chaos in your house), then decide in advance how you will handle it so you don’t act out of your frustration.
  4. Follow through with threats: if you don’t actually want to get up and put your child in time out on the count of three then don’t say anything.  This is actually a lot harder than you would think
  5. Don’t take your child’s complaints or defiance personally.  This was a great encouragement to me because kids are frequently upset about SOMETHING or nothing or everything.  Sometimes I start wondering if I am just not good enough and if I was a better mom maybe I could keep the kids happy and peaceful all the time….but everybody knows that’s impossible.
  6. Kids are kids.  They don’t know much about the world.  Have realistic (aka low) expectations for how much they can understand.  Maybe what they did hurt your feelings,  or made a big mess, or was frustrating, but they don’t understand the implications of all their actions.  Reacting with kindness and a teachable moment is much better than trying to explain to them what they did.
  7. Take time for yourself.  The kids are the top priority but not the only priority.  Happy moms make happy kid in my opinion.

I hope this is encouraging.  I have a 2 year old and a very clingy 1 year old so I have lots of opportunities to love on the kids and learn patience.

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24/7 365

Does anybody else think that parenting with excellence and purpose would be a lot easier if it was more of a 9 to 5 thing and not a 24/7 thing?  There’s really nothing that hard about taking care of kid…except for the fact you have to do it all the time and take the kid into consideration when doing pretty much everything.

When I was a full time nanny, being calm cool and collected all the time was pretty easy.   Then I went home and did whatever I wanted and slept like a baby.

I also think it’s hard because you CARE SO MUCH.  It’s personal.  Did I care about my nanny kids?  Totally!  But when they fussed, it didn’t hurt my heart as much.  When they were upset because I didn’t do something they wanted, it didn’t make me question myself as much.  I didn’t take it personally.  I just tried to do the right thing and be loving.

I still try to do that now but the stakes are much higher and the game is more intense and I am 100% invested in the outcome.

Go for the gold…not a black eye!

I frequently feel torn when one of my kids launches out on an adventure of climbing, getting dirty, wet, etc.etc. etc.

First, you have to clean them up…I recently came back from a day at the beach and got to sift through a giant garbage bag of sandy clothes, hats, dirty diapers, and empty snack containers.  I employ with “dump anything gross and deal with it later” approach whenever I am in a sticky situation.  This works out fantastically until I forget about the blow out diaper plus clothes bag that has been marinating in the bottom of my diaper bag for several days (mom fail).  But I digress…

The real issue is the twinge of concern about your kids getting hurt vs. them never learning a damn thing because you are a control freak.

My mind quickly scrambles to do a cost benefit analysis.  I think “Well, will this activity teach them a great skill and increase their confidence and leave them with a small bruise or is this activity purely fun and will leave them with a concussed brain”!!

What’s a mom to do!

 

Looking Natural…

This is my first post in a new category of N.A.P (Not about parenting) which ironically spells nap which is exactly what I would do if I didn’t have kids!  But I digress…

I have developed a new minor obsession with doing some research and testing of beauty products.  Seems logical considering I use makeup and skincare products on a daily bases.

I have to say I feel a bit duped!!  I have fallen for the dream of creating a “natural” look.  Who are we kidding here!?!  If I wanted to look natural I would just walk around looking like the sickly zombie that crawled out of bed this morning when my baby alarm sounded at o’ -too-frickin’-early-I-can’t-believe-you-are-starting-to-wake-up -early -again- clock in the morning.

So, I have learned that I don’t want to look natural.  But before I figured that out I purchased several BB creams etc. that promised to give me natural coverage and a glowing complexion.  It took me a bit to figured that I was walking around with a slightly oily face and my dark circles were still hanging out.

Thanks beauty industry!

Too close to home…

Has anyone else had to stop watching dark violent shows when they had kids (think Law and Order SVU and Dangerous Women)?

When I had my daughter, everything seems fresh and new and the sun was brighter and grass was greener and every good thing in life was awesome.  I was so excited to share holidays, cooking, and all sorts of experiences with my kiddo.

But then the flip side crept in.  All of the sudden the kid of TV being hurt was not a concept.  The starving baby in their mother’s arms in Time or National Geographic was not sad but devastating to see.  Ok, time to stop evil world, this is too close to home.  That could me MY kid!  I would literally go crazy if I couldn’t take care of my kids.

I once was watching a series documenting WWI and they had video of starving babies in England and I had to turn it off.  I was reading an article in Time about the gender based violence in Africa and I couldn’t finish the article because I felt numb and was literally about to puke!  Part of me is like “well, what do you expect, the world isn’t just lunch dates and care bears!  Don’t be so surprised” and other side of me is glad parents are given a new innocent (at least when they are sleeping) babies to so strongly contrast the evil in this world.  It has given me a new motivation.  When my children have to learn about child molesters and the Holocaust, and least I can say I am doing something to try to change it.

The hidden gift of parenthood

Yes, sweating profusely is the hidden gift of parenthood!  I am not even talking about during or right after pregnancy when you are crazy hormonal.  I am talking about the agitated feeling you get when you hear your kids cry and the workout you get when you do the daily song and dance to maintain sanity.

This came to mind when I noticed a theme when moms tell stories about the crazy stressful things their kids do (think  high decibel screaming fit complete with kicking by your toddler while trying to juggle a fussy baby while grocery shopping while 10 people are looking at you with judgy eyes).  The stories always end with “AND I WAS JUST SWEATING LIKE A PIG!”

Because of my perpetually elevated stress and activity level, even if it’s cold, I almost never have to wear a coat.  What a gift!

 

Living on dog food!

Seriously people, what is it with kids and dog food!  My two kids are obsessed!!!!!!!!   My 1 year old will even try to dip his hand in and then drink the dirty dog water.  If I didn’t puppy guard the food, my 2 year old would probably walk around with a dog kibble in her mouth 24/7.

This is obviously yuck on every level BUT their is a big upside.  If the Zombie apocalypse ever does hit Washington, I am confident my kids will be more than happy to live off of dog food. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  Yum yum!  Eat up!

Seriously, does any other parents out there get a twinge of anxiety when watching apocalypse shows?  Especially ones depicting parents shuttling around kids (think Fear the walking dead).  It always makes me wonder if I could take care of my kids in that situation.  But I digress..

What scares me…

This is a short list of what scares me about being a parent (beyond the possibility that my kids get hurt or seriously hurt someone else).

  1. That they learn how to take off their diapers and begin smearing poop on the wall (I have heard some nasty stories y’all!)
  2. That my kids laugh whenever they hit me and I say “ouch!” really loudly.  A small part of me things there is something very wrong with them.  Yes, I do try to avoid giving them a reaction but sometimes you can’t control these things
  3. That my baby crawls over dog poop…or really that I ever have to come into contact with dog poop.
  4. That a spider crawls all over my kids and bites them in the night!  That’s just nasty!
  5. That my kids will swim in water or plays in some dirt and will contract some parasite that eats their brain (I have hear some scary stories y’all!)
  6. That my kids reject all my values and grow up to hate me.  On this point I feel like I have pretty realistic expectations.

I have a feeling I will add to this list in the future.

Better to love…

We lost our third pregnancy.  I was only 6 or so weeks pregnant and we had only found out we were expecting a week or so prior, but the minute you see a positive pregnancy test, you fall in love.  The only problem is that a mother never falls out of love.  I was honestly surprised how deeply sad it was even though my brain was reminding me that a miscarriage this early is normal and kind of expected.  But it was sad and it’s one of those things in life that just sucks.  There’s not much to say about it except it is sad and there is nothing you can do about it but treasure the memory.

Target Mom

You know you have become a bit of a stereotype when…

ONE: You get mad at Target for not opening until 8 when your kids have been up since 6 and you know trying some new makeup will be a great way to start the day.

TWO: You get mad at the mall for not opening their free kids play area until 10. You tell your kids to sit still for 20 minutes so you can go into “beauty isle coma” and then your toddler’s little heart is crushed when you have to go back to you car after only being able to gimps the play area.

But anyway, back to target, I don’t know what Target does to make itself so alluring but it’s like catnip for housewives.  It’s weird.  And ingenious.