Posts Tagged With: Advice

#sogladtheytoldme

Dear Kids,

It’s been going around the mom-blogs recently; advice from other moms that actually helped.

New moms and new dads get a lot of advice. A lot. Most of it unsolicited. Some of it useful. But a rare piece or two is gold. That’s the stuff that comes back to us and again and again as we travel this perilous parenthood road.

Some such advice was given to me by the mom I am most closest: my very own mom.

While slogging through my babysitting years, or staring down ice-cream soaked children in horror in my college years, she held steadfast to her mantra, “It’s different when they’re yours.”

And it was. It really, really was. When you have your own kids you get to make them your own brand of crazy. And my brand of crazy is freaking adorable.

When I was pregnant with my second kiddo, I was nervous. There’s only so much love to go around, right? Mom chimed in again with, “you don’t divide your love 50/50 between them. Your love doubles to include them both; you love them both 100%.

And she was right. I didn’t have to short change one to love the other. I was short on time, short on hands, and short on diapers, but I was never short on love. It turned out I had two unique places in my heart just for each of them.

So, come on, Moms. What’s that golden piece of advice you keep coming back to? Chime in at #sogladtheytoldme

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Categories: Buddy, Kids, Kitten | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Kids – Raising Parents

Dear Kids,

I know you’ve heard me say before that “it takes a village.” The full saying is “it takes a village to raise a child.” This is true. But, it also takes a village to raise a parent.

Children are raised by their parents, their family, their neighbors, and their teachers. Parents are raised by these people too, plus co-workers, friends, and spouses. Raising a parent is simple, but often difficult for some. Too much advice, criticism, and nagging will degrade and undermine a budding parent. Parents don’t need to hear all the time what they are doing wrong – parenthood is already filled with too many moments of self-doubt. They need to be told what they are doing right. Tell them that every parent makes mistakes. Tell them that they are doing a good job. Tell them that as long as the kids are safe and loved, the rest if gravy.

If you are part of a child’s or a parent’s village – congratulations! You may not realize that you are a part of something truly amazing. You are one link in a chain of many people – some more than others – that will shape these lives and influence their decisions. But, as we know, with great power comes great responsibility. Most of that involves restraining yourself. You may be part of the village, but Mom and Dad are the mayors. Your job is to support them and their domain over the villagers. This means deferring to them and their parenting decisions. It means giving advice only when it is asked for. It means being there without judgment when they need to be pumped back up.

In short, to be the best “villager” that you can be simply be supportive and encouraging…and keep the kids alive. We can all use help with that…

Photo Credit: fotografiad

Photo Credit: fotografiad

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Kids – Confessions of a Slacker Mom

Dear Kids,

If you two ever want a glimpse in to the parenting theory upon which you were raised, look no further than “Confessions of a Slacker Mom” by Muffy Mead-Ferro. I read this book before I had children, while I was pregnant, and again after each of you was born. I dog-eared and underlined it then leant it to my sister – a new mom – who added more dog-ears and underlines. To be honest, I have loaned it to so many moms I don’t know where it is right now and that’s ok. I’ve started buying new copies to give out (although, if you find a copy with my name in it, I would love to have it back).

Based on the book, I’ve developed my favorite parenting guidelines:

1) Keep the kids alive.
2) Make do or do without.
3) Enforce it the first time.
4) Let them make their own mistakes.
5) Limit the stuff.
6) Be prepared to be inconvenienced.

A little more on each guideline:

1) Keep the kids alive. Parenting at it’s most basic. Everything after that is gravy, right?

2) Make do or do without. If Kitten doesn’t want that spoon, she wants Buddy’s spoon, then she is going to have to make do or do without. I’ll be honest, this is hard sometimes. Appeasing a child takes 2 seconds, making a point can take 10-20 minutes (hours?). But I hate whining – hate it – and enforcing this means less whining. It’s also important for kids to learn that not getting what they want is NOT the end of the world.

3) Enforce it the first time. This is the key to ‘slacker’ parenting; front-loading. Do you want to spend your whole shopping trip – every shopping trip – chasing junior down the aisle picking up every thing he’s taken off the shelf? Nobody does. That’s a lot of work! This guideline means taking junior by the hand – every time – and having him put the item back. It’s annoying, but eventually he will get it and you will be the envy of every parent in the grocery store when you say, “Put that back, Junior” and he DOES! Now you can be a slacker – you’ve already done the heavy lifting.

4) Let them make their own mistakes. Mistakes = learning. I think this is something helicopter parenting has really robbed children of – learning by experience. Protect your kids, sure, but don’t over protect them. Let them play in mud and learn that it doesn’t taste good. Let them mix every color in the paint box and learn it makes mud, which (horray!) they already know doesn’t taste good. Let them try something, fail, and try again. It’s fun! It’s life! Our job as parents is to make sure they don’t damage themselves, others, or property (much). Other than that, just see what happens. You might learn how much fun it is to watch your kids discover on their own.

5) Limit the stuff. Limiting toys teaches self control and appreciation for what they have. Every spring and winter Kitten and I – and Buddy when he’s a little older – go through their toys and stuffed animals and take out toys and stuffed animals to give away. This helps control the toy and stuffed animal population and it’s a good lesson in giving. It also helps her appreciate more the toys she keeps. My part in this is encouraging family and friends to give us open-ended toys; toys like blocks, a tea set, dinosaur figurines, cars, pirate sword – all of these can be used in many ways and require you to use your imagination. Dead-end toys, like the ones where you push a button and watch it do one thing over and over, don’t require much imagination or interaction at all and usually don’t last long in our house.

6) Be prepared to be inconvenienced. I can’t overstate it enough. Parenting is inconvenient. Parenting is fun and rewarding, for sure, but the meat of parenting revolves around the inconvenient stuff. Without that stuff, you’re just the fun uncle. It’s leaving a cart full of groceries to take a kid to the bathroom, to take a kid outside for a talk, or to take a kid all the way home. It’s not being able to wait until you get home – even it you’re so close! – for a potty break, a diaper change, a bottle, or a drink. It’s slowing everything down – practically to a halt – so you can explain something, teach something, or correct something. But, even still, or maybe because of all that, parenting is incredibly rewarding…and funny. Sooo funny.

Photo Credit: cafepress.com

Photo Credit: cafepress.com

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

Dear Kids – Leave No Evidence!

Dear Kids,

Here’s a handy piece of parental advise for when you become parents yourself:

If you want to get rid of a toy, make sure to get rid of ALL of it.

Example A: Child finds one piece of annoying, repetitive game and begins Spanish Inquisition as to where the rest of the game is.

Example B: Child finds shoe of creepy stuffed animal and commences whole-house search for lost companion regardless of how little they ever played with it.

Example C: Child spies corner of obnoxious toy with no volume control which has been relegated to the Goodwill bag at the back of the closet and can speak of nothing else until distracted by promises of ice cream and Disneyland.

Found it!

Found it!

Categories: Kids | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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