Tag Archives: parenting

Parenting done Right?

Parenting Styles, there’s many to choose from and all of them have some valid point or ideals. Permissive. Attachment. Helicopter. Authoritative. Indulgent. Etc. Etc. They’ve all got fancy names and good ideas but something is still missing. So, I’ve decided to come up with my own and just know that it’s going to change the world. ūüôā

I give you the B.A.M. method.

First off, give yourself permission to mess up, do the wrong things and/or change your mind half way through any given “plan”. If you have your heart set on breastfeeding, and it goes horribly wrong, it’s okay. Try something else. If you swear that you’re never going to let your baby sleep in bed with you, and you later figure out that your little one or you sleep much better that¬†way, just do it.¬† If you buy cloth diapers only to discover that once you started having to actually wash poopy diapers that it really isn’t your thing, oh well. Do not set your mind and your heart so strongly on an ideal that you can’t recognize when it’s no longer “right”.¬† Things don’t always go as planned, and that is SO okay.

Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong to you, that’s a good enough reason to not do it. Period.

You know your child and yourself better than anyone else. Never forget that. If you truly believe that you’re a better Mom working full-time while your child attends daycare, that’s your choice. If you and your child have your best “times” together at 11pm, who cares what all the books say about schedules?¬† If your child needs a soother to go to¬†sleep, give them the stinkin’ soother. I can promise you, he won’t take it to kindergarten. Listen to your child first and foremost.

Don’t coddle your children but don’t always¬†make them cry and scream and work things out for themselves either. You CAN teach your children how to self-soothe and how to entertain themselves without ignoring them, and¬†letting them scream until they’re blue in the face. ¬†Be a present reassuring voice and your child will feel safe. When kids feel safe, they can do anything.

You are not your child’s best friend, you are their parent. Don’t be afraid to stand up to your children and be their boss. Sometimes the strongest love is found in the word “No”. Children need to¬†get used to¬†authority figures in their life from early on, as they will have them at school, in work, and in their marriages.¬† ūüôā¬† Why not make their first exposure to that healthy and normal?¬† You can still be in charge, and be able to laugh and play and enjoy time with your kids.¬† They just need to know that when Mama says “enough”, it’s enough.

Give your children choices, but do not overwhelm them with a huge number of things to choose from. There is nothing wrong with offering red or blue, ice-cream or slurpee, shorts or pants. You do not need to open the closet doors and say “pick your outfit”.¬† Give them options so they feel a sense of control but don’t offer them the world. Their little brains easily get overwhelmed, so make their choices simple and clear, and you’ll both be happier for it.

Do not turn your kitchen into a restaurant.¬† Give your kids lots of different foods to try, and even set a one bite rule. But do not make a separate meal because someone doesn’t like something. Once you begin this, it is almost impossible to stop. Children will not starve themselves, they will eat when they’re hungry.

Set expectations for your children. Kids thrive when challenged.¬† Give them many opportunities to “achieve” something and watch them flourish. If they know that they can do the little things, the big stuff won’t seem so scary.

Teach your children manners. Not just please and thank-you, but things that we don’t always think about. Respect your elders. Speak when spoken to. Don’t butt in line or push people out of your way. Look people in the eye when you speak to them. Give without expectation. Be the bigger person.

Tell your children how fabulous they are. Speak words of encouragement and positivity over them all the time. When they say, “I can’t or I’m stupid”, correct them immediately. Do not give insecurity any opportunity to creep into their lives.

Teach your daughters their value. Make-up, revealing clothes and a boyfriend does not a woman make. Teach your sons to treat women the same way they’d treat their Mothers. A strong sense of self-esteem and self-worth is one of the best gifts that you will ever give your children.

Help your children see the good in things. Whether that be in circumstances or in other people, there is always something positive to focus on. Make sure that they know that it’s okay for people to do and believe other things. Show them it is not their place to judge but to treat others with kindness and respect. Do not raise a bully,¬†be the example that you want them to follow.

Teach your kids right from wrong. Don’t assume that they’ll figure it out on their own. There are opportunities to teach all the time, don’t let them slip by.

In case you didn’t notice, I haven’t really come up with any new or fancy way of¬† parenting.¬†I’m just asking you to consider the bigger picture while you’re raising your children. Look ahead to the future and what you want them to become.¬†How fast they¬†potty train,¬†learn how to walk or say the alphabet will not matter.¬†If they know their colours but¬†have no self-confidence,¬†who are you really helping? ¬†Morals, values and¬†ideals¬†will always be more¬†important than the stuff that everyone seems to brag about and compare.¬† Do not make the mistake of following a crowd, follow your heart instead.

Breastfeeding. Co-Sleeping. Babywearing. Natural Consequences. Spanking. Yelling. Time-Outs. Grounding. Etc, Etc, Etc. Do what feels RIGHT TO YOU. Make the choices that work for your family, and do them. Don’t get caught up in other people’s passion or battles if they don’t affect you. Do not feel guilty or less than worthy if you are not doing the same things as your peers. Who flippin’ cares? Your kids don’t, so why should you?

Enjoy your children, laugh with them, cry with them but always lead them. Let common sense rule your decisions. Don’t over think things and don’t go looking for problems that aren’t really there. Some kids develop really early, and some take a really long time to find their way. Does it mean that you’re doing anything wrong? Absolutely not. What it means is that you are raising a unique individual that isn’t like anyone else in this world. It’s up to you to figure out what is best for them. It’s¬†not for anyone else to decide.

When people ask what parenting method you follow, just say BAM and give them a smile. Be. A. Mom. That’s all that matters.

Be sure to check out my blogging sisters and their Day 2 posts. You’ll love them.

Natasha and Meaghan

Oh how things have changed.

Because of the businesses that I own, I find myself surrounded by Moms that are almost half my age. They’ve got babies and toddlers and I’ve got a girl that’s about to get her driver’s license. They “practice” things that I’ve never even heard of until speaking with them. They go to support groups and play places, they tweet and facebook¬†and virtually support each other. Their Mom journey’s are totally different from mine. Totally.

This was all¬†reinforced¬†a few weeks ago when¬†a huge debate broke out on a friends Facebook page. It was fueled by the ever volatile subject of breastfeeding and it’s ability to rile up the emotions of Mama’s everywhere. I’m not even going to touch on that subject but on something else that I noticed in the conversation. There was lots of talk about trusting your doctor as opposed to someone specifically trained in a field. There was mention of seeking out help online or doing more personal research.¬†¬†It quickly¬†became apparent to me that many¬†of the argumentative points were based on differences in where¬†“we” come from. It was definitely an Old Mom vs New Mom situation,¬†with neither person really being wrong, just coming from completely different places.

It started me thinking about how things have changed in the past 16 years, and I thought I would share some of these differences with you. As I write them all down, I really am amazed at how much has changed and can only imagine what our grandmothers are thinking when they watch us with our babies.

Everything you’re about to read is based on MY experiences, not my Mother’s. My youngest is just about to turn 12 … I have not been a Mom for all that long,¬†but¬†the differences are pretty surprising.

Google.¬†Yep, we didn’t have it. We weren’t able to just jump on the internet, search out a topic and get some answers. We had to ask our parents and grandparents, friends and doctors.¬† Truth be told, we didn’t even have the internet at all. I distinctly remember moving into my new house with my¬†3 and a half¬†year old daughter and being incredibly excited about getting dial-up internet installed. I used to love the little fuzzy beep and crackle sounds that it made as it connected. You wouldn’t stay online for very long because it took forever and a day for a page to even load, and if you wanted to also use the telephone, you couldn’t. It was more of a novelty for fun as opposed to the real help that it is today.

Specialists.¬†You’d probably be surprised to know that lots of us didn’t even have OBGYN’s. When you got pregnant, you went to your normal doctor. When you went into labour, you went to the hospital. Depending on where you lived, you might have had to drive 3 hours to even see a doctor. Specialists definitely existed, but they were few and far between. We just couldn’t pick up the phone and call a clinic somewhere for help. Even¬†if those clinics were actually out there, their phone numbers most certainly weren’t advertised.

Every Good Mom had these items in their diaper bags. These were our go-to products, and pretty much our only options.

 Yes, those are examples of the horrific diaper bags that we had to carry. We did not have Designer Options and if you managed to get a bag with a bottle pocket, you had scored something awesome.

Support Mommy Groups.¬†Nope, didn’t have those either. They may have existed, but they most certainly weren’t talked about or recommended by anyone. I wouldn’t even have known where to begin looking for one. Now they’re everywhere and they’re awesome. Our play “places” were found in¬† McDonalds or Ikea. Moms weren’t encouraged to take their babies with them anywhere, and most certainly not to a coffeehouse.

Lactation Consultants.¬†I got help in the hospital. It consisted of a nurse coming into my room, grabbing my boob and the back of my babies head and shoving them together. There latched, now go on home. There was LaLeche league but as far as I knew, they were all about 100 years old and they didn’t seem all that relevant to me. Yes, I was misinformed.

Co-Sleeping. Elimination Communication. Babywearing. Circumcision. Breastfeeding. All¬†topics that¬†were never really even talked about.¬†If you had a boy, you got him circumsized. That was that. We all tried breastfeeding and if it was going well, you kept at it. If it wasn’t, you switched to formula. No big deal at all. Babywearing¬†was a Snugli¬†that you got at your baby shower but it was so obviously uncomfortable for your baby, that you didn’t wear it for more than 11 minutes. Co-Sleeping consisted of a bassinette within arms reach of your bed.¬† Elimination Communication. Say what??

You’ll notice that the¬†baby swing¬†has a hand-crank, perfect for startling your baby from a deep sleep. The chicken wire baby gate that was supposed to stop your babe from riding their walker down to the basement. Yet another fabulous invention.

The lovely bathtub ring that was actually triple the width of your slippery child, and not at all dangerous. Please notice that the Jolly Jumper required you to tie and snap your baby into it and then clamp them to a door frame for fun. Our car seats were basically plastic buckets with a strap to hold our babies in them.

Organic Food, Allergies & No-No’s. The only “organic” things we had, you bought at the farmers market or you had to search high and low to find. Peanut Butter sandwiches were all my kids had in their lunches until a few years ago. You fed your baby rice cereal within weeks of coming home from the hospital. Babies slept on their tummies and we all had bumper pads in our cribs. Gripe water & Tylenol were the first answer for most ailments, and slipping a little bit of brandy into a bottle wasn’t unheard of. It also was still okay to drink a glass of wine everyday while pregnant.

Surprisingly, we got through it all without really knowing much. We’ve raised amazing kids that¬†somehow¬†survived the now banned products that we strapped them into daily. They’re alive, well-developed and well-adjusted. ¬†We trusted our gut feelings more than anything else. We were young moms doing the best that we knew how to do with very little outside information. Common Sense truly was our guide, and for that I’m grateful.

I challenge you all as Moms to really listen to the other Mom’s around you without judgement or disrespect. You may just hear something that will change your life. Or make you laugh. Or make you cry. Or make you feel not quite so alone. ¬†Just listen and learn from each other. Us Oldies have a lot to teach and share. Be patient with us as we “catch-up” and remember that we have been exactly where you are, we just did things differently. We are Moms, not Opponents. Never forget that.

I’m a Mom and I’m not Perfect.

I’m pretty sure that I knew being a Mom wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows, but I kinda hoped that it would be. I quickly figured out that my days would be filled with smiles and laughter. Hissy-fits and tears. Sleepless nights AND sleepless days. Memories and Milestones.¬† I knew that it was going to be hard, but I still hung on to the hope that I was going to be the perfect Mom.

I would watch the¬†Mom’s on TV¬†that sat with their children and did craft projects and sang songs all day, and thought that I should maybe give that a try. I was going to be the Mom of¬†children that didn’t watch television all day¬†and¬†instead learned things¬†through guided play and life experiences. I’d heard of people who had babies potty trained by the time they were one, that had never drank from a bottle and had never seen a soother.¬† I had great plans to be the Martha Stewart of Mommy’s and make everything from scratch, and wear pretty clothes and just love everyone all the time. And then I had children. Suffice it to say, I am no Martha.

As I look back on my 16 years of Mommyhood, I have many regrets and many situations that I’d like to do over. I wasn’t always sensitive and understanding when I should’ve been. I’ve had expectations that were too high, and expectations that weren’t high enough. I’ve sometimes forgotten that my kids are just kids, and have treated them like adults. I’ve been a screaming idiot, and I’ve handed out a silent treatment or two. I have not always been perfect, or anywhere near it really. But through it all, I did the best that I knew how to do at that time. I’ve had to let go of the guilt that I’ve carried for messing things up sometimes and not becoming the¬†Mom that I had aspired to be. My kids are all healthy, happy and alive, so I know I did something right, somewhere. It may have been a messy journey, but I’ve got some great kids.

So, in honour of all of you that have had some non-perfect days, I give you this. It’s my tribute to you … the real Mom’s living through real problems, real flip-outs and real life. Hopefully my little list of crazy will help you feel better about where you’re at right now. Please stop being so hard on yourself, do the best that you know how and breathe.

Here it goes … do not judge me.

My daughter did in fact learn the alphabet and her colors from watching Barney. And quite possibly Wheel of Fortune. (Something about that spinning wheel made her very happy).

I may have thrown a bottle at a crib in the middle of the night because I was too tired to walk all the way to the bed. I may have actually thrown two bottles.

I have sent children to school with no socks and/or no underwear. And quite possibly without both at the same time. Those same children may have also knowingly been sent to school without coats, gloves, boots, etc, etc. Even when it was -20.

Every meal does not have vegetables. More than once a week.

There is WAY more sugar-coated, red dyed cereal in this house than healthy stuff. And cookies that have NOT been made by me.

My 9 month old has bounced her little bouncy chair right off the cupboard onto the floor. She survived.

My daughter ate nothing but Sweet Potatoes and Tutti Fruiti baby food from a jar for almost a year. She did turn kinda orangey. She may have also had an addiction to gripe water.

I did try to catch my falling toddler by the ankle which in fact made him fall harder. He may have knocked his front tooth out at 11 months.

I pierced my daughter with a safety pin. I promise you I cried WAY harder than she did.

Children will survive on hot dogs and dill pickles. And peanut butter on a spoon.

When my daughter was 3, I took her bottle away while we were on vacation by telling her that we forgot it at home. I may have also hid girls clothes in the boys section just so she’d wear something beside track pants. I think I may have lied to tricked her quite a few times over the years.

I may have left a trail of fruit snacks from my children’s bedroom door to the TV so I could sleep in. I may have also left the TV¬†turned on all night so they wouldn’t have to wake me up to put it on the right channel.

I might have convinced my children that if they ran away in public that bad people would steal them.

I have played hide and seek with my kids with full intentions of not looking for them. Thankfully, they loved that game.

I have taken my children to Ikea for the free childcare.