With the holiday season coming to a close, we will soon be heading into a new year. Which brings to mind the promises we made to ourselves (and maybe even our families) last year. This year, the Mom Squad asks you to reflect not just on your aspirations for bettering yourself as a person, but how you can become a better parent.
Here are some of our Parenting Resolutions.
I’ve broken pretty much every resolution I’ve made, so I just quit making them. But, I think that since this time they are for my children and my family, I will have no problem sticking to these three.
- I would like to get Claire (my almost 3 year old) fully potty trained. Right now she does great at home and at her best friend’s house, but not so good elsewhere. We will get there, I know, but at the moment it just feels so far away.
- Joey (6 months) used to sleep through the night wonderfully, but not any more. He has gotten into the habit of waking at least once (and sometimes more) every night. When he wakes up he is inconsolable. He immediately cries, and then goes from that straight into screaming. Granted, he is only 6 months old, but he was such a great little sleeper up until now.
- Lastly, I want to spend more time teaching both of my children. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t just play and there is nothing wrong with play. I just want to do more learning activities than we already do. I think it’s important for them to get a good start at home before the school years come our way.
I’m not generally in the habit of making resolutions. But, now that I’m a parent (of 3 whole, very long years), I may just change my tune. Regardless of how great of a parent I try to be, I am constantly reminded of just how much learning and growing I really have to do. So this year, I’m going to make a resolution (maybe even two or three) and hope that I’ll be leaving 2012 an even better parent, perhaps even person than when I started.
One of the issues I’ve always had trouble with even before becoming a parent has been patience, or rather, my lack of it. I actually noticed that after becoming a parent I somehow gained patience that I had never before even dreamed of. But that little bit of patience that was miraculously bestowed upon me has been pushed to the limit numerous times since my little girl turned 3. There’s that song, “Three is the magic number”... I’m starting to think that’s a cruel joke, because it seems that as soon as she turned 3 she became whiny, possessive, impatient, tantrum-prone and has experienced acute (selective) hearing loss. There have actually been quite a few times when I find myself saying things like, “You’re driving me nuts”, “I wish you would just stop whining” and have even found myself stooping so low as to engage in a whining contest with a 3 year old (guess who won?).
This year, I resolve to (wo)man up and grow up, and push myself to change in at least a couple of ways.
- Relax. Parenting is NOT an exact science. We ALL make mistakes. And anyone who judges you, is just misplacing their own feelings of guilt at their own fallability. When my daughter does something that makes me want to pull my hair out, I try to remember a mantra I came up with many years ago, “Things are only as big a deal as YOU make them.” For instance; Last week Sabine was holding her applesauce suspiciously over the edge of her chair. In a flash of mom-tuition, I said, “Don’t” and she immediately flung the bowl and it’s contents across the entire living room. All the while keeping eye contact with me. I. Lost. My. Schmidt. This year, when something like that happens, my first course of action is going to be to walk away and breathe until I get myself in check. THEN I will exact the appropriate punishment. That way, I don’t fall prey to punishing because I’m angry as opposed to punishing the actual “crime”.
- It’s Not Personal. When Sabine disobeys me, I automatically get upset and take offense, which I think is pretty natural. I mean, you tell your kid something, you know they heard you, but then they do the exact opposite. How are you NOT supposed to feel like they’re ignoring you on purpose?! The trick here, is to remember that parenting is a BUSINESS. It’s not personal. These kids of ours are little people, trying to figure out their world (and ours), and the best way for them to do that is to test their boundaries. They’re supposed to push our buttons. That’s how they learn. It’s not because they’re evil, conniving little munchkins. Or because they’ve been replaced by mini pod-people on the eve of their 3rd birthday. It’s because they’re kids. They’re on a learning curve. So, my challenge to myself is to try to remember, when I’ve repeated myself for the 500th time, that she’s not doing this because she hates me, or because she thinks it’s funny to drive me insane (okay maybe that’s actually partially true), but because that’s how she learns. And my job is to remember that I’m here to teach. That means I may have to repeat something until I’m blue in the face, or exact punishment, or perhaps even allow her to experience the consequences of her actions on her own.
All any of us can do is try to remember that this isn’t an “instant gratification” line of work. What we do as parents is a lifelong teaching plan. Everything our children are doing is a learning experience for them. Perhaps we should let it teach us, too.
I have never really made a new years resolution. To be perfectly honest, new years is probably my most hated holiday. I don’t enjoy all the forced merriment, it’s just not really my thing. I do enjoy the simple celebration like to get together with my friends and family and just use it as an excuse to hang out past midnight. But to be honest, I doubt I’ll make it past 9:00 p.m. because, as we all know, we still have to get up in the morning and be parents!
However, there are things that I need to work on and accomplish so this is the perfect opportunity to not so much make a resolution but to step it up as a parent and reach the goals I set out for myself.
After the holidays I will begin potty training my daughter, Evie. It seems like such a daunting task and I’m scared to death but it has to be done! I know she’s ready and I know I’m ready to be done with two kids in diapers.
Something I’ve learned after having two children is how much less time I spend reading to my baby boy. When Evie was born, I read to her even when she was asleep. But with Milo I don’t have as much time to sit down and read to him. I still read to Evie all the time, she loves it, but it’s always her big girl books and Milo usually is just sitting next to us playing with toys. I’d really like to spend more time reading him his books and hopefully instill that love of reading that his sister has!
And lastly is a goal I have for myself. For the most part, I am a very patient mother. I have in fact been complimented on it on several occasions. However, sometimes I lose it with Evie. I blow up at her when I should just remain calm. Of course there are times where I believe she deserves to be yelled at, but sometimes she’s just being two and I really need to work on keeping my cool.
Here’s hoping 2012 is a great year for everyone, and may you accomplish everything you set out to!
Happy New Year!
- The Mom Squad
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