now i’m no expert in parenting (far from it, in fact!), but i’ve learned a few things in my five short years.
be patient – if your well of patience isn’t deep enough, dig deeper. sorry, but we’re the adults here. your sanity and your kids happiness depend on it. our kids are a reflection of us, and on the days my fuse is short, my kids are in crazytown. on the days i can give more of myself, they’re calm…well, calmer. it took me a long time to see that. kids are constantly watching you and listening to what you say about them (even if you don’t think they are). they will read your emotional health on the daily and reflect it right back at you.
go to bed early – you’ll have more of the aforementioned patience, yahoo! i know it sucks, it means your evening is gone, your already limited time with your partner gets cut, BUT your fuse will be so much longer the next day. and even if your kids each get up twice a night, your collective ‘napping’ overnight will add up to something good. ha! at the very least, pick three days a week to turn in early, and your body (and your family!) will thank you.
get up early – ok, i don’t do this on the regular, but when i do wake up before everyone else and get just 30 minutes to myself, it sets a tone for my day…a good one. i’m happier, calmer, and feel like i’ve already done something just for me. read a book, practice yoga, drink coffee in silence, whatever makes you tick. again, pick a few days each week, and see how it makes you feel.
everything is a phase – good or bad, with kids, it’s all a phase. seriously. sleeping, not sleeping, stranger danger, teething, hitting, clinging to your leg, you name it. we’ve all been there with one or all of these, and just try to remind yourself that ‘this too shall pass’. it might not seem like it in the moment, but you’ll wake up one day, and your kid won’t be sleeping on your bedroom floor anymore. i’m looking forward to that day. ;)
undivided attention – now, some days are just plain cray cray, but try to give each child even just 10 minutes a day where you aren’t distracted by other kids, the dishes, or your phone. make eye contact, talk, laugh. maybe it’s early in the morning, while others are napping, or stealing a few minutes at bedtime. you’ll help fill their ’emotional tank’ for the day.
put a positive spin on things – gosh, my mom taught me this, and it works a lot of the time. the answer is always ‘yes’, but make it work for you. it’s 7 am, and your kid asks for candy. the answer is ‘yes, after lunch!’ can we build a fort? ‘yes, after you pick up the 40 bajillion toys on the floor!’ can i have a sleepover? ‘yes, when you’re 7!’ ha!
stop comparing yourself to others – ok, this is waaayyy easier said than done, and something i work on continuously, but quit it. we each have our gifts (mine is not housekeeping) and that’s ok.
in an ideal world, we would be all these things every day, and that’s something to strive for, but let’s be real. kids are crazy and they push us to our limits – currently mine are fighting about something stupid and scaling the posters on my bed- and perfection is just not possible. if you’re like me, we’re living moment to moment and just trying to survive most days, but see if you can work in a few of these things each day and see where it takes you. remember, we are raising men and women.
life ain’t perfect, but i’m choosing to find the beautiful in everyday.