Dear Mommas Who Worry You’re Doing It All Wrong,
You aren’t. You aren’t doing it all wrong. You may not be doing it all right…okay, you probably aren’t doing it all right…but you certainly aren’t doing it all wrong. So take a deep breath and hear me out.
If your precious baby is screaming his/her eyes out and you simply can’t take it any longer, put him/her somewhere safe and walk away. This is true for babies, kids, and teens.
Mommy time-outs can be a beautiful thing. Back away from the moment and regroup. It may mean you are a few minutes late, but you’re going to be late anyway so two more minutes won’t hurt.
Most of the things you do with your child before they are 5, they won’t remember. Sad, but true. So take lots of pictures of the good and the bad moments. You’ll want the former to help jog their memory and the latter for blackmail later.
Don’t waste time and money doing things with your little kids that you don’t enjoy. When they get older, there will be plenty of opportunities to attend things you don’t enjoy just because your child wants you there. (Thanks, Mama, for sitting through hours of football games just to watch me toot the flute for a total of maybe 10 minutes a night.)
On the other hand, feel free to take your munchkin on adventures that logically you can’t justify spending money on. Case in point: Disney. Your 2-year-old won’t remember seeing Cinderella’s castle, but you will never forget the look on that chubby-cheeked little face.
Remember to often choose your heart-whispers over your brain-shouts.
Find routines that work for your family and then be flexible about it. We have a general flow of our days, but not a strict schedule. And some of the best memories I have are from times when an opportunity popped up and I took the chance that no one would melt down because we pushed back nap time.
Be prepared, however, for meltdowns. Sometimes you see them coming and can work around them. Sometimes they just slap you in the face and blow raspberries at you. Not all meltdowns are the same, but a few guidelines I’ve discovered are universal for all 4 of my (all very different) children. Remove the child from the situation. Try to make the little sucker laugh. And walk away if it doesn’t work. Don’t negotiate with terrorists…or little terrors. Even if you “win”, they’ve learned your breaking point and will push all the way to it next time.
The easiest way to make a child laugh is to do something unexpected. I’m partial to the scare tactic where I snuggle up reeeeeeeaaaal close and then AAAGGGHHH frighten the poop out of them. Sophomoric humor is also a great tool.
Don’t fret about potty-training “on time” or hitting any other milestones on anyone else’s time table. Your child will (fill-in-the-blank) whenever (s)he is ready. Don’t push them forward too much. They grow up fast enough without any help. (I feel like I should include a sidenote here: If your child isn’t meeting developmental milestones and you are concerned, please talk to your pediatrician about it!)
Give them a nudge sometimes. (I know I just said don’t push them, but you know…parenting is weird like that.) Sometimes all they need is a pat on the back or an ‘attagirl’ to do more or be more.
Remind them often that they are enough. They are good enough, kind enough, smart enough, fast enough, etc. But be sincere. Don’t tell your turtle-paced runner that they are the best runners in town.
Be honest with them. If you don’t know the answer to their questions, research it together. If something big is about to happen, give them a heads up. They need time to adjust to things, people, and ideas just like we do!
Love them. Love them. Love them.
And make sure they know that you love them.
Show them respect so that they will learn to be respectful.
Show them compassion so that they will be kind to others.
Show them hard work so they understand what it means to give your all.
Show them that things are nice but that relationships are what bring happiness.
Show them confidence so that they will learn to be proud of themselves.
Show them humility so that they will not boast or become a braggart.
Show them love so that they know the joy of loving.
Oh, there’s so much I could say, so many things to be learned.
But it’s true that each child is different.
And every time you figure things out, it all up and changes.
But just roll with the punches, friend, and soak up these moments.
One day these days will be “the good ol’ days”.
Love and hugs,