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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Before I was a mother of toddlers I said...

Mothers of Toddlers....Give Yourself Grace!
And while you are at it, give grace to all the other mothers also:)

Things I said BEFORE I was a parent of toddlers…
  1. Give them the best there is on the market. I will only feed my children Organic foods.
  1. I will NEVER feed my children fast food!!! If I won’t let my children eat it, I will not eat it!
  1. I am not a short order cook. I will never cook a separate meal for my children! They will eat what my husband and I eat!
  1. Obedience is more important that compliance. I will not “trick” my child into eating vegetables. They will eat what I give them.
  1. I don’t like Barney, so we won’t have it in our house.
  1. Educational Toys. I will give my children only educational wooden toys that couldbe used in a NAEYC accredited preschool like the one I worked in.
  1. Unwavering consequences. If my children are yelling in a store, I will leave immediately leave to teach them that behavior is unacceptable
  1. I will never raise my voice for ANY reason and the word No is not descriptive enough. I will only use variations of the word ‘No’ because it makes the children feel negative and teaches them to use that word. Children only yell if their parents do…
  1. No TV should ever be on when the children on in the room when they are under two years old.
  1. No Tantrums..ever! If my toddler throws a tantrum, it will only happen ONCE!
  1. Pacifiers are only for home, even then only at bedtime.We will never have pacifiers in public.
  1. Perfect Wife while being perfect mother. Since my husband works and I stay at home, I will have dinner ready for him everyday when he gets home.
  1. Separations are good for your child. Clearly say “Goodbye”, give a hug, and leave quickly. It teaches self soothing and independence.
Things I said AFTER I was a parent of toddlers…
  1. Priorities. If my budget makes me choose between organic food and diapers then I choose diapers.
  1. Fast Food can be magical in the minivan. Chicken Fries from BK are great car seat food finger food for screaming toddlers on a long road trip. You can give them a healthy snack at home when you aren't trying to keep you whole family safe while driving 60 mph on the toll road, or even trying to navigate mall parking lot during Christmas shopping season!
  1. At least they are eating. Mommy and Daddy sometimes need an adult meal that doesn't include spending 3/4 of meal trying to get your two year old to eat Tilapia. No it isn't an every night thing, but sometimes you just need to get through a good adult meal while they quietly and happily eat their mac & cheese.
  1. Whatever works to get the vegetables in them! My children will eat anything if it is in covered with applesauce or spaghetti sauce, including peas!
  1. If the boys like Barney, we watch Barney on PBS so Mommy can make lunch...I refuse to buy anything barney still. Small victories:)
  1. Goodwill has GREAT toys that someone else bought new for $20 and their child only played with for 10 minutes. I paid $1.00 for the same 10 minutes.
  1. If done rarely, it is OK to open a bag of cookies to get the grocery shopping done...sometimes you just need more than milk and bread! P.S, I have been one those "awful" mothers who once a month paid my dollar and loaded up my twins into the cart that had the little TV playing at Meijer! I then, with no guilt, bought a Starbucks coffee and slowly did my shopping with two content little boys watching Bob the Builder. It...was...lovely!
  1. Danger equals loud mommy voice. It is OK for Mommy to raise her voice slightly and say ‘NO!’ when you child is reaching for the oven, hitting his brother, biting his brother, etc. etc.
  1. PBS Kids is free AND Educational…and I can get dinner finished. I even watch Sid the Science kids with my boys to learn how they explain the concept of "inertia"! It was even educational for the 28 year old mama in the house!
  1. Toddlers throw tantrums. PERIOD. No you should not have to lower all your behavioral expectations or condone disobedience, but you should not continue to feel like you have failed in your child-rearing completely because your child threw a public...or worse, in front of your in-laws;) Give them a consequence, then move on and know you are a loving caring mom....even if the customers in Walmart judge you otherwise.
  1. Pacifiers can save your sanity. If pacifiers let you get through Thanksgiving dinner with the ENTIRE extended family… DO IT!
  1. Sometimes Daddy has to cook. If your husband wants a hot dinner and you haven't even had time to brush your hair and teeth, let alone take a shower, sometimes he can throw a pizza in himself.
  1. You are your child's safe place, even when you are not at home. I still believe separation time is important for your child, but it will not wreck all your child’s future independence and sense of self if you miss a church service to stay in the nursery and cuddle your baby boy who is screaming for you.

I wrote this a couple of years ago when my four year old twins were toddlers. A little background on me is I have a degree in Early Childhood used to be preschool teacher at a prestigious campus preschool. Not only did I judge because I hadn't been a mom, I judged because I thought I KNEW what it meant to be a mom since I worked with kids on a daily basis. I am not saying my before list us not a good place to shoot for, but it was based from a judgmental place, from inexperience. I did not show grace and I was wrong:)

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