Parenting: The most complicated job in the world.
The rewards are infinite, and the feelings range from absolutely amazing to downright exhausting.
Before I had kids, I was an expert. I could problem solve just about any kid-related debacle.
I was a parenting expert, yet I had no kids.
But, I was a teacher. I manned a classroom of 22+ kids on a daily basis, so that had to count for something, right?
The present me smugly laughs at the me before kids.
How ignorant she was!
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Having kids of my own is hard. Really hard!
There are sibling rivalries (already) between my 6 and 3 year old. There are hurt feelings, physical battles between kids, bathtime arguments, t.v. tangles, bedtime arguments.
Then throw a marriage, work and life in there, and things.get.stressful
Parenting can get messy.
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We I lose focus of what’s important and we I experience those ugly moments that no one wants to talk about.
I go to sleep feeling guilty about mishaps that occurred throughout the day and I wake up vowing to do a better job.
But, then I slip…again. I raise my voice. I pay more attention to my phone than my kids. I get impatient with my tiny people…the people who love me the very most out of this entire world.
The tiny people who depend on me for everything… EVERYTHING.
And cue the vicious cycle of overwhelm.
So, for folks like me who need a bit of a parenting boost, I have put together a parenting challenge.
I am embarking on this challenge as a way to reconnect with my kids. Yes, me, the “once-perfect-parent”. The one who had all of the answers.
Even us perfect parents need accountability sometimes. Wanna join me?
Put down your phone. ALL DAY.
Have you been around other phone addicts who don’t listen to a word you say because their noses are in their phones? Me too. It’s frustrating and it feels pointless to be around them. Kids feel the same way. They deserve better. Spend an entire day without your phone. You might like it and your kids will LOVE it!
Get eye level with your child and TRULY listen.
Eye contact is hard when there is a difference of 2-3 feet between you. Get on your children’s level when they speak and watch how they light up as you listen with your undivided attention. What children need and yearn for is CONNECTION. As humans, this is completely normal. Getting on their level with connect the two of you and help your communication.
Spend a minimum of 30 minutes doing something your child wants to do.
Whether it’s sidewalk chalk outside, or snuggling on the couch, let your child choose anything to do and spend a solid 30 minutes doing it. Your interest in their activities go a long way.
Eat all meals together… SCREEN FREE.
Turn the TV off, put your phone down and take away the freaking iPad. Eat your meals together and talk together about life. It has been said that the family that eats together, stays together. Sitting at the table as a family has so many benefits. Try it for a day and then see if you can make it a habit. Your kids will love the quality time they get to spend with you during meals.
Say “Yes” to as many requests as possible.
It’s so easy to become the “no” mom or dad, when there are so many requests made in such a short period of time. Try saying yes to as many requests as humanly possible (adhering to safety and healthy first, of course). Step away from that sink of dirty dishes to go see the Lego car your kids just built. It’s hard to find the balance, but sometimes it’s freeing to just say “YES”.
It’s not easy being a parent. In fact, it’s downright hard. Keep your chin up and keep moving forward in your journey as a parent. The joys of parenthood outweigh the tough times and with a little work, we can find the balance.