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.


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!


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!


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.