all my best advice, i learned from my mother

Let me just say it: My mom is awesome.  I’ve always liked her, but the older I get, the more incredible she seems.  She’s hard-working and principled, she’s always thinking of others and striving to be helpful, she says what she means, and she has good advice on every topic under the sun.  Since I’ve become a parent, she’s passed along some of her best parenting advice as I bumble through this journey.  I’ll share a few of the many tidbits I’ve found helpful.

Grandma walking with kids

My amazing mother and my big kids just happened to be dressed alike on this day. Each of them chose their outfits individually, I just happened to be there for the picture.

  • As a parent, you’ll get all kinds of advice, much of it conflicting.  Do what works for your family.  As long as you keep your kids’ health and safety at the forefront and love them up, you’ll be okay.
  • Pick your battles.
    • Decide up front which things are worth fighting for, establish your rules, and don’t back down on those no matter how tired you are; but limit yourself to making rules you can actually enforce.
    • Everything that’s not that important, well, it’s not that important.  Why pitch a battle over whether your kid decides to stow the toy cars in the red bin or the blue one?
    • There are some things you can’t force a kid to do.  Eating is one of them.  Why begin a battle you can’t decisively win?  Offer a variety of foods, encourage your kid to try new things, and hope for the best.  You’ll enjoy meal times far more if you don’t turn them into a warzone.
  • You won’t enjoy an activity at which your child behaves wretchedly.  Plan your lives with that in mind.  It may mean that you skip some exciting-sounding events for a few years, but would you really enjoy going to that party or on that trip if your kid is throwing a tantrum at your feet?
  • This, too, shall pass.  Your kids will go through lots of awful phases—the not-sleeping-at-night phase, the screaming-when-you-leave-the-room phase, the having-a-gazillion-potty-accidents phase, the talking-back-and-shouting-no phase.  Remember that each phase is just that—a phase.  Soon enough, this one will pass and they’ll be on to another one.
  • Look on the bright side.  In each stage of their life, your kid will exhibit at least a few obnoxious or distressing traits.  Remember, though, that mixed in with those negatives are the positives—the new skills they’re learning, the sweet things they say, their joy and enthusiasm.  Try to dwell on those instead of wallowing in misery, wondering if your kid will still bite when he’s fifteen.
  • Mostly, your kids just want you.  They love the toys you buy them and the exciting places you go, but your time and attention are far more important to their development.  You don’t have to spend your whole day entertaining, but do let your kids know they’re important to you by listening to them and being willing to spend time doing what they like to do.   No matter your budget, you can always afford to invest some time in your child.

What’s your favorite piece of parenting advice?

MommyDotEdu, week 2:

To keep myself motivated, I’m going to continue to post my goals.  This week I will continue reviewing our letter Bible verses and catechism, we’ll practice throwing and do some puzzles, we’ll bake and discuss hot/cold (which for some reason my three-year-old still reverses sometimes), and we’ll have some friends over for a playdate.  We’ll also continue reading and take a trek to trade out our library books.

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2 thoughts on “all my best advice, i learned from my mother

  1. I love all of these, particularly picking your battles and not forcing your kid to eat. We mostly followed this but still, we made a few mistakes of forcing our kid to eat or making an issue out of it. In hindsight, it seems so silly, as I would never force my husband to eat something he didn’t want. Thankfully we didn’t do this often and actually let him eat whatever and whenever, but it just makes me cringe thinking of those times when we made an issue out of it.

    I agree that there’s a ton to learn from our mothers. I love my mom so much and am fortunate to have that relationship with her.

    • I’m glad you have the benefit of a good relationship, too. It always makes me sad to hear how antagonistic many people’s relationships are with their parents. I sincerely hope my kids turn into friends as they age, and that they respect me still when they are grown and have more perspective on life.

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