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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.