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9 things I've learned about motherhood & parenting


There was no motherhood monday post last week because well...motherhood.  Also, you'll notice it's Tuesday. So yeah, there's that.  After the inevitable, how do you do it all question, the next question I most frequently get hit with is, what advice do you have.  Let me be exceedingly clear, I don't actually like giving out advice about child rearing for a variety of reasons.  First, I certainly don't have all of the answers.  Far from it, in fact.  Secondly, I know what worked for us and for my child.  Our family and kids are very different and what worked for me might not work for you and I don't want you to drive yourself crazy wondering why it won't.  And lastly, I think that most people can figure all of this out without worrying about how someone else is doing it.  However, with that being said, there are some overarching lessons that I can share to help you get through this season of motherhood.  

1 This too shall pass
Parenting & motherhood is hard y'all.  Like really, excruciatingly hard.  What I have learned in having a five-year-old is that everything is transient. This is just a season of your & their life.  It might be a cluster, full of tantrums, tears when no one (or your whole family) is looking, and maybe one too many glasses of wine, but this too shall pass.  Particularly the hard times, but even the good times.  So appreciate it for what it is and seriously, pour yourself that glass of wine. 

2 There is no wrong way
There are, of course, big ticket items but my general opinion is that if you are a decent human being, you already know that stuff. There are a lot of opinions out there about what you should and should not be doing to 'correctly' parent your child.  Truthfully, by-in-large, there is no real right way or wrong way when it comes to the minutia of parenting.  And people these days, they love the minutia.  Folks, I had this discussion with a friend the other day and we both agree - we, as a society, are over-complicating parenting.  There, I said it. Put away your 30+ books on the french way to parent or how to make your baby happy and take a big deep breath. I am a big believer that in trying to 'find the perfect method' or fitting your child into what a book is telling you to do only induces further anxiety.  The best thing I can tell you is take a look at those books, if you must, take those lessons, and change them to fit what is best for you, your kid, and your family.   

3 Small things make a big difference
I know that with two working parents, there are times that we will fall short for our kids in one capacity or another.  So when I can, I take the time.  I take the time to talk to him about his day or go pick out a lego set that we can build together or watch his favorite TV show.  I guard our family dinner time, I show up to school events (when I can), I take him for ice cream (yes, with sugar and trans fats and it's not organic).  There are so many things in life that we have to say no to or not do, but in those instances where I can, I do say yes.  I'd say that 9 times out of 10 those moments he remembers more and we talk about more than anything else we do, except Disney (that kid loves Disney).  

4 Partner up
The saying there is strength in numbers didn't just come from no where.  Life is easier when you have back-up: whether it be to commiserate over the insanity that is parenthood or share a laugh over nothing at all.  I find that solace in my partner, my friends, & my family.  Whoever that is for you, hang onto it - they are cheaper than therapy & understand you better. 

5 Chocolate forgives all matter of sin
As does wine. Indulge (with moderation) in anything that makes the day a little easier: chocolate, baths, wine, a good book, a podcast - whatever it is give yourself a couple of minutes a day to breath and re-boot.  There's a lot of stuff out there right now about self-care, particularly for women and mothers.  I fully subscribe to it.  And this is one of the things that I do to support that. 

6 If it's not hard, you aren't doing it right
Parenting, when you are doing it right, is hard. The tantrums, the consequences, the day-to-day craziness.  The decisions that you make are tough; you are molding a human being.  But it's also important to remember that not everything is a do-or-die moment.  Scott & I had this conversation the other day because when you are in the moment and your five year old is crying for the third time because he lost a game of monopoly and quite frankly being a pain-in-the-you-know-what, you want to fix it. You want to instill in them this immediate understanding of good sportsmanship and how to not be sore loser and you fully believe in that moment that it will make the ultimate difference.  But these lessons, they are slow and steady usually best learned through example and understanding.  Take a deep breath and realize that at the end of day, it'll be alright.    

7 Give yourself a break
I fully believe that we are our own worst critic.  The best advice I have ever received is your good is good enough.  We aren't perfect people so we need to stop trying to be perfect parents.  Step away from your pinterest boards, the website-worthy birthday parties that are more intricate than my wedding, and the general guilt that comes with not 'living up to' this ridiculousness.  Your child does not care. I promise; they care that you are present and loving.  That's it. And trust me when I tell you you are doing an amazing job.  

8 Don't be above a bribe
Not going to lie, a good old fashion bribe works every time, at least with our son.  Sometimes it not as straight forward as you do xyz and you get a piece of candy (though it was a valuable method during potty training), but often times, if you can implement it it terms of a chore chart or behavior chart with a prize at the end, it is motivating (and a bribe).  We started one with Liam when he was younger with a sticker chart every time he did a task around the household (feed the dog, bring his plate in to the kitchen, etc).  At the end of it, he would get a small trinket and now those habits are ingrained in him (for the most part, not that he doesn't whine about it). 

9 Be quick to give praise, not advice
As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of advice out there.  Everyone thinks that their way is the best and they are correct because it was the best for their kid.  Instead of doling out advice to mothers, particularly when you aren't asked directly for it, I tend to go towards the trend of praise.  I tell my friends they are doing an amazing job (because they are), I tell the mother at the restaurant that their child has great table manners, I share a wink and a nod with the mom at Target with three in tow.  Parenting is hard enough, let's all remember we play for the same team. 

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  1. I love the 2nd tip - there is no wrong way! It's so easy to get caught up in the various parenting styles - organic parents, formula fed, breastfed, moms that give their kids McDonalds etc! It's so important to remember to do what best and right for your family!



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