Wise Words from a Super Mom

In my 100th blog post, I had mentioned that parenting seems to be getting easier.  This is QUITE oversimplified, as children can be a both joy and challenge regardless of their age.

A better way of putting it came from a dear friend, and super mom, who started her own parenting journey years ahead of me and made it all look SO EASY!  She had her first child during her second year of law school while her husband was also in grad school and her sister an undergrad all at the same school.  Some may say it was crazy, but like any mom and family, they made it work with rotating childcare schedules and a whole lot of love and hard work.

Truth is: There’s no road map for parenting – or anything in life for that matter! You have to live your life and go with what works for your own unique situation.

Okay, on to those wise words:

“As your children grow, they become less physically demanding, and more psychologically demanding.”

THIS is the best way to describe parenting! With my kids approaching two and four, I’m happy to only change diapers for one (not two like I did earlier), only help one get dressed, and just provide more direction for my older daughter. Sure there are still time outs and standard discipline, but I’m more challenged by the questions I’m being asked by 3.75 year old.  Things like:

Big sister: Why is that man not wearing a shirt?

Me: Well, sweetie, it’s really hot out today, and sometimes men choose not to wear shirts to stay cool.

 

Big sister: That boy isn’t wearing a helmet on his bike.

Me: Yeah, sometimes people don’t make good / safe choices. I’m really glad you wear your helmet.

 

Big sister (after hearing no): I don’t like you anymore.

Me: That’s not very nice to say. That makes me sad.

Big sister (later): Sorry mom.

Whew! These questions can be exhausting! She is also yelling at her younger brother when he does basic two year old things: throwing food, not listening, screaming, etc.  I remind her that she was that way when she was younger, and we have to teach him how to behave.

Do you agree with this revised parenting statement? Can you relate to these questions?  Any advice on other responses?  Have a great day all!

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Some Rules for a Parent’s Night Out

I recently had some evenings away from my two dear children thanks to Daddy O.  We typically take turns to make sure we each have an opportunity to get out of the house to have some time to ourselves.  This could mean working out, playing in a sports league, or meeting up with friends….all good things!

After recently ruining the relaxation and peacefulness of my “away time” upon my return home, I feel compelled to record some rules for a parent’s night out, so I hopefully will NOT break them again.

1. Be sure to leave and don’t return until AFTER bedtime.  As I mentioned above, I returned from a massage appointment (awesome Mother’s Day gift certificate) about 15 minutes too early.  BIG mistake!  Instead of staying in my relaxed bliss, I was jolted into “mom mode” helping with  dictating the cleaning-up process and getting annoyed by over-tired bedtime antics of my nearly 2 and 3.75 year old. I inserted myself when I didn’t need to.

2. You can’t treat your spouse like a babysitter. This is FREE labor – and it should be one of love (well, most of the time anyway).  Daddy O. may have his own ways of doing things, and that’s okay as long as the end result is the same: sleeping kids when I return home.

3. Don’t ask too many questions.  Again, if the house is quiet, and the kids are asleep, just go with it and ENJOY!  I think a more open ended question – “how was your night?” may be better received.

4. Lower expectations on the “honey-do-list.”  Based on how post-dinner / bedtime go, additional items on the honey-do-list may not get done.  I’ve learned to lower my expectations, and be pleasantly surprised when something IS done.

5. Just breathe.  If it appears the night at home didn’t go as you would have hoped, just pause and take a breath.  This is kind of hard when I am sort of a control-freak, or think MY WAYS are simply better.  I’m working on this, trying to learn to just let some things go.

What are your “rules” for your night’s off from parenting?  How do you carve out time for yourself to recharge?

Talking with a Toddler and a Pre-schooler

Over the weekend I read The Sadder But Wiser Girl’s Weekly Wrap Up, and the Fly on the Wall post reminded me that I should share some of the random things that I hear around my own house. If you haven’t checked out Sarah’s blog, you should! She will make you laugh, sing, dance, and nod your head in agreement!

Okay – onto talking with a toddler and a pre-schooler.  Big sister is just past 3.5 and little brother is quickly approaching age 2. They are talkative and funny, surprising me almost daily in their sweet little voices:

Big sister says

  • “Big sisters don’t like to be copied.”  As a younger sister, I’m SURE my big sister said this to me numerous times.  No truer words have been spoken my dear.  I told her that her brother only copies her because he loves her, but she was not buying that.
  • “I am old enough for school now.”  She said this when I went back to work at 3.5, so the transition went well!  YES!
  • Daddy O – “Kids stop harassing your mother.”Big sister – “But we harass Mom because we love her.” Awh, thanks?!

Little Brother says

  • At 20 months, “Wear the orange one.” when helping me pick out his clothes.
  • “Mama come here.”  Sometimes he screams this!
  • “Be right back. Just a second.”
  • He took my book (at the time it was “Mad Women: The other side of life on Madison Avenue in the ’60’s and beyond” by Jane Maas), turning the pages, told me, “It says no wrestling.”  Given how much I say that, I can understand why he thinks my book would say that!
  • “Sumo (our cat) puked.”  This is a common occurrence in our house, but he really had me convinced that she HAD puked again…somewhere. Fortunately, he was wrong!

Now picture these cuties below saying these phrases.  No wonder why they crack me up!

Big sister, Mama O, Daddy O, and Little Brother

The best family picture we’ve had in a LONG time!

Thank you, dear children, for blessing our house with a lot of laughter and love!  I am sure you will continue to surprise us with the creative statements and questions that will pass your lips.

For more words from Big Sister, read Choose Your Words Carefully.

I’ve been keeping track of the crazy things my kids say by using notes on my tablet (and reviewing some Facebook status updates).  How do you record and remember what your kids say?

Related posts

I really enjoyed these memorable posts from some of my favorite bloggers.  Check ’em out!

More Rebranding for and by the Kids!

My own kids have used their creativity to do some of their own rebranding as of late, so I’ve added their gems to this list below.

As I see so many parallels between my professional background and parenting techniques, I’ve decided to write a series of posts on All I Really Need to Know about Parenting I Learned in Marketing.

Part 1: Rebranding

It’s something that companies turn to when the current brand has grown a little stale, as a way to reposition it for future growth and success. Think of the best example – Coke switches to New Coke – only return to Coca Coca Classic to appease upset customers.

Little did I know as a marketing student and professional how useful rebranding would be as a parent. A parental rebranding is an amazing way to help motivate your children’s behavior with a positive and fun approach to everyday tasks. Words like special, magic, bonus, play, and adventure should be used LIBERALLY in any parental rebranding.

Just take a look at some of my favorite parental rebranding examples:

1. Celery becomes bamboo, and you pretend to be a panda chomping on it (credit: my 3.5 year old daughter).

2. Dessert becomes Lunchtime / Dinnertime Bonus and even has it’s own theme song:

    Lunchtime bonus, Lunchtime bonus, Lunchtime bonus, if you eat well (clap, clap).

3. Get over here and clean up now becomes, “I need a special helper.” or “Will you be on my clean-up team? We then sing the Wonder Pets Teamwork song together.  My daughter even asked me to be on her clean-up team this week.  Score 1 Mom / CEO! 

4. Trip to the store or a walk becomes a Secret Adventure. Dress-up costumes, sunglasses, magnifying glasses, flashlights, and backpacks are excellent accessories for secret adventures.

5. Reminder to use manners becomes use the magic words.  I’m sure you’ve heard and used this one before!

6. On our vacation the toothbrush travel holders became spaceships.  Seriously – the green spaceship was constantly with my son in the car!  Find your own spaceship in the travel section at Target.

7. Quick lunch because we have an appointment to get to became a Mini-Lunch today. I think the term mini-lunch just sounds a little more fun than my usual terms: snack, lunch, dinner.  I’m not asking any questions because it worked, and we made it to the noon dentist appointment with a few minutes to spare.  YES!

8. Broccoli becomes Green Trees. Who doesn’t want to pretend they are a giant chomping on green trees?

9. Green beans becomes Worm-ies.  My 22 month old came up with this, but still did not eat the wormies on his plate.  Maybe next time!

What things have you rebranded for your family?  I’d love to hear your own creative ideas!

Go All “Mama Jumbo”

When it comes to protecting your own child, you’ve probably heard the expression to go or become a “mama bear.”  I’d like to coin a new term for a more extreme form of a mother defending her young:

Go Mama Jumbo (as in elephant)

Why the new term? Well, I have it on good authority that bears don’t have ANYTHING on elephants.  How do I know this?  How can I be absolutely sure that I am only sharing accurate, interesting and helpful  information on my blog?

Am I a secret zoology expert?  Do I frequently read or watch National Geographic? Am I a simple fan of elephants at the zoo?

I won’t keep you hanging in suspense any longer… I know this because of watching a famed Disney Classic:

DUMBO

Dumbo Flying-2

Dumbo Flying-2 (Photo credit: Henry Mestre)

I have been lucky to watch Dumbo again and again with my daughter recently. (Can you believe there is a 70th Anniversary edition available?!) The scene where the kids are teasing Dumbo and pulling his ears drives Mama Jumbo over the edge, causing her to grab the little boy, give him a spanking with her trunk, throw hay bales, knock down a tent pole (okay, give her a break, she’s getting whipped by trainers at this point), and loudly trumpeting with crazy red eyes.  Poor mama ends up in solitary confinement because she defended her son. (and I cried when Dumbo gets to visit her in solitary confinement).

Thus the new term – go all Mama Jumbo!

I could relate to this child-defense response on so many levels.  As a mom (and parent), you have that natural, almost animal instinct to protect your young – at any cost.  Today alone I screamed, “No wait,” to remind my daughter not to run out of Target into the road. There are many things we do each and every day to keep our kids safe – just think of all of the childproofing – outlet plugs, gates, door knob protectors, etc.  Pure love will drive you to great lengths to protect your children.

Mama Jumbo actions also brings up the taboo subject of other adults disciplining your child. Everyone has their own ideas on appropriate discipline – babysitters, grandparents, day care centers, schools…and even spouses. When something conflicts with your own rules at home, then Mama Jumbo will appear without hesitation. I can’t recall the last time I went Mama Jumbo to address different discipline approaches, but I’m sure it will happen at some point.

What makes you go Mama Jumbo?  If you are more scientifically inclined than me, are elephants (or another animal) particularly protective parents? At the very least, I know they don’t eat their young!