Do's and Dont's of Parenting
I am 28 years old and a mother to three beautiful children under 6 years old. If someone would have told me how hard parenting is before I started popping them out...well, I probably wouldn't have believed them. Today's technology-crazed society makes being an adequate, learning parent some kind of failure. With Facebook constantly slamming pictures of old friend's all too smiley children in your face and Pinterest making it hard to overlook all the crafts that you really should be doing with you kids.
Here are my Do's and Dont's of [sane] parenting.
- Have a sense of humor. Remember, your children are a product of you. Usually, biologically and always habitually. They will have annoying quirks and things that drive you nuts. But, remember, most likely this is something they have picked up from....you. Take things in stride and don't be afraid to laugh, and often.
- Do what you do best. Sites like Pinterest are great. I, for example, get a tremendous amount of recipes and experiment with my kids with meals and desserts weekly. But, I hate (and I can't stress hate enough), crafts. Crafts are my worst nightmare. Don't feel obligated to be "super mom". If something drives you nuts, it will most likely drive your kids nuts too.
- Enforce rules. Every. Single. Time. If the rules aren't enforced (even once), trust me, your kids will walk all over you.
- Praise. Praise often. But, praise only justifiably. I lived with my parent's for a short time after some hards times with my (then) 3 and 1 year old. My 3 year old, was and is, very smart, but my loving parents praised the crap out of him for doing anything even remotely good. (IE: Wow, you opened a door!) Therefore, from then on anything he did that wasn't bad was incredibly good in his eyes. This may not sound horrible, but remember to praise only when praise is due.
- Talk real. Don't dumb thing down for your kids. I've always used normal vocabulary and now my 6 year old speaks like a 10 year old. My husband always made fun of me for this, but I think he's starting to catch on.
- Sleep. Whenever you can. The laundry can wait. If the kids went to grandmas for the night and they don't come back until noon..sleep until 11:55
- Yell or Scream. I can only lecture on this one, because I break this rule more than I would like to admit. Keep calm. Take deep breathes. Being a parent is tough, sometimes really tough. Don't sugar coat your disappointment to your kids, do it in a stern and loving manner.
- Be afraid to ask for help. This is a must. Even the world's greatest parents need a break from their kids sometimes. Ask a relative or hire a trusted babysitter. Take a date night with your spouse or go out with friends. And remember, don't feel guilty. You had a life prior to your kids, you can still have one now.
- Expect them to (ever) always listen. The first time or even the tenth time. Kids are kids, and they don't have the same mentality as us. They aren't going to listen, they are going to get time outs...and then a half an hour later they are going to do the same thing again and get another time out.
- Put them to bed late. Thinking they will wake up later? They won't. In fact, they'll probably wake up earlier and grouchier.
- Take for granted. Those little fingers and little toes will soon be big fingers and stinky 16 year old toes. They all grow up. You'll miss it.
- Compare. You parenting style is uniquely yours and no-one else's. Don't compare your life to your Facebook friend from college. Or, your neighbor who somehow always walks out of the door with your four kids perfectly groomed. Your kids love you, that's what is important.
Parenting is the most rewarding and frustrating thing that has ever happened to me. Here's to the next 18 years!