5 Tips for Parents

 

I recently read a post from The Bump Life called The Best Parenting Advice I’ve Received, and I think it’s a great list of 5 key pieces of advice.  I just pulled the toy switcheroo in my house, and it worked like a charm.  And I completely agree, getting out of the house every day makes you feel good – like you accomplished something!

I thought of a few more tips that came to mind:

1. Shower and fix your hair every day.  This sounds kind of lame, but I think it ties back to taking care of yourself.  When I take just 15 minutes to get myself ready in the morning, I feel much more awake and ready to take on the day.  When we do finally make it out of the house, I feel better looking good – even better if I put on at least some makeup.  I remember watching a daytime talk show encouraging women to get ready & dress nice just for YOU.

2. Do a load of laundry or some chore every day.  With rarely getting uninterrupted time to get housework done, I break it up into smaller chunks of time, so I’m not overwhelmed. Today my daughter helped me dust and water the plants.  Yay!

3. Do a few things the night before! This can go for packing lunches, picking out clothes, packing the car for a trip, etc.  It is so much easier to get things accomplished with a quiet house that will help streamline the morning routine.

4. Take a timeout. It is perfectly acceptable to put your child in a safe place and leave them there for a few minutes to calm down.  Parents can take their own timeouts too….again it goes back to taking care of yourself for your own health and sanity.

5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I sometimes aspire to be the perfect parent – to do whatever I can to make my children the best people they can be.  This can be exhausting of course, so give yourself permission to just “show-up.” Sure, there are days when the TV is on longer than I would like, or I may not have handled my daughter’s tantrum in the best way, but I know that there will be PLENTY of opportunities to try something different the next day or during the next tantrum.  Parents – like kids – learn through trial and error, and there’s not one perfect way of raising children.  Do what works for you and your family and just make it through the day.  No matter how many tough moments there were, I try to reflect on the sweet, million dollar moments that I had the privilege of experiencing that day.

Want more advice or tips? Check out these links below:

Advice for Parents-to-be from Go Mama O

How to Find a 25th Hour in Your Day – Forbes Women

Shout Out to ALL Moms!

Voting

Voting (Photo credit: League of Women Voters of California)

I received a shout out today in form of a thumbs up from a man driving a car from our polling place today.

Upon seeing his bumper sticker, I don’t think he would have given me that same “thumbs up” based on the way I voted, but I think that the “thumbs up” meant, “Good job Mom on getting your kids out of the house & voting today.” 

At the time of the gesture of approval, I was pushing my son in his stroller and carrying my daughter’s baby in her play stroller while my daughter walked close by.  My hands were full to say the least, so yes, I appreciated the drive-by recognition.

About 30 minutes prior to that, my daughter and I matched – both moms (one real, one pretend) pushing their babies (one real, one pretend) into the polling place. My daughter kept saying, “Let’s vote mom.”  She was pretty cute & well behaved, thus receiving many sweet smiles from fellow voters. In return, she mostly scowled. After leaving the polling place, we decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to burn off some toddler energy.

I definitely think EVERYONE should get out and VOTE.  My sister did so for one local election even though SHE WAS IN LABOR!  It was the early stages of labor and her water had broke (as a slow leak), but I was still surprised that they stopped to vote on their way to the hospital!  Extreme citizenship! Also check out the article below on the woman who voted this morning with contractions 5 minutes apart! All I can say is wow. You have no excuse NOT to vote today.

No matter who you are voting for, it’s important to have your voice HEARD!  This reminds me a lot about the mom-blogosphere that represents so many voices and choices that each and every mom makes in her life.  Since becoming a mom myself, I try to be less judgmental and just be supportive of what moms and families do to make the adventure of raising children a bit easier. Check out Working Moms Break for her latest post on this topic – It’s Time to Call a Truce to the Mommy Wars.

So here’s my Shout Out to ALL Moms – Keep up the great work you are doing – no matter how you do it!  There are many obstacles that make raising children difficult, but we all find ways to power through and make it work.

The Waiting Game

in the waiting line

in the waiting line (Photo credit: ButterflySha)

So much of our lives are spent waiting.  We are often waiting for something that can bring about significant change.

Top awaited moments that come to mind include:

  • waiting to get your ears pierced (I think I was about 13 for this)
  • waiting for a love interest to call you back
  • waiting for driver’s license (what says freedom more than that?!)
  • waiting to move out of mom & dad’s house (and then move back in after college – but just for 1 month)
  • waiting to move into your own place that is NOT a dump
  • waiting to get engaged, married, start a family
  • waiting for naptime or bedtime (once you have kids!)
  • waiting for vacation (at ANY age)
  • waiting for job related interviews, call backs, offers, raises

Because you’re waiting, you can often find an excuse to not do something else, thinking I don’t want to commit to X if I heard back from Y and will be busy then.  Waiting doesn’t feel all that productive to me.  It gives a chance for your mind to wander to so many “what-if” scenarios.  Waiting feels reactive, sitting on the sidelines, instead of being in the middle of the game as a proactive player.

While I wait for my job search to move along, I remind myself that it NEVER happens as quickly as you’d wish it would.  My speed versus company speed are often FAR apart!  While I wait, I am reminded of the silly dating rule, when you wait a few days before calling someone back.  Do people still do that?!  I don’t feel I can call too soon, but know I need to proactively follow up to re-emphasize my interest.

While I play the waiting game, I am okay to enjoy my current job as MOM.  I am trying my best to shake off the “worry of waiting” and remind myself to just live in the present, because the present I have is pretty incredible.  It was after all, what I had waited 29 years for: being blessed with my beautiful family.

Why I Miss Work

While I love my children and husband deeply, there is part of me that misses working outside of the home. Notice I didn’t say work because being a mom IS extremely hard work.  It’s easy to feel undervalued and under-appreciated as a stay at home mom. Okay – here’s why I miss work.

Lack of Adult Interaction – It’s a bit isolating being at home.  Sure we go places and sometimes have play dates. Between two kid’s different nap schedules, snacks, meals, and everyday errands, it’s difficult to coordinate activities.  Plus, when I’m on a play date, I’m watching my kids, making it more challenging (but not impossible) to have a real conversation.  It’s not just basic interaction with adults, such as exchanging pleasantries with another shopper at the grocery store, but meaningful relationships that I miss. Many of my friends are working, and that’s no surprise since 60 percent of women are now in the workforce.

Intellectual Stimulation – Counting the 3 months of maternity leave and time after I quit my job, I have been a stay at home mom for 10 months.  I’ve figured out ways to keep myself and the kids fed and relatively happy, while keeping our home in an acceptable state of order and cleanliness.  So being the overachiever I am, I want more.  Writing and reading everyday has been a good start.

Time Away– Perhaps it is in doing contrasting activities that we can truly appreciate everything life offers. For example, there are times when I’m home that I’d rather be at work, and vice versa. I like having a variety of things on my to-do list and having a break from diaper duty too.

Making a difference – While I know that keeping my kids happy, safe and healthy each day is a commendable feat, there is a different satisfaction that comes from accomplishing things at work.  There are team members, bosses, harder deadlines, and longer time frames than my daily hectic dinnertime rush.  Maybe it’s easier to feel like you’re achieving results at work compared to being so close to caring for your children each day, where you notice all the minute details: fingernails growing, a slight bruise from falling down, etc.  Maybe I’m too close to parenting to feel like I’m making a difference, so check back with me in 5 to 18 years!  Do you know what I’m saying?  Let me know if you share similar feelings by leaving a comment.

For more about me, check out my first post: