I’m sure the majority of parents will agree that being a mom or dad is one of the most amazing and life-fulfilling roles you’ve ever experienced!
But you know what would make your experience even MORE enjoyable? Having someone share with you a few secret parenting tips to let you know you haven’t failed or gone loony, that you will rarely hear about elsewhere. So I’m going to step up and be that someone for you. You’re welcome.
1. It’s okay to break down and cry sometimes.
Being a parent is an emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting job! Sometimes it’s going to feel like you’ve got so much pent up inside, you’re about to explode. The solution? Cry it out. It’s not a sign of weakness. Crying allows you to release stress, and more often than not, you’ll find yourself feeling better and more relaxed after a good, healthy cry.
2. The newest, most expensive baby toys will actually be for YOUR entertainment.
Your baby isn’t going to care about the $500 Super Saiyan, Multi-Spin Rider with glowing rims & satellite radio, as much as he does the box it came in. Babies looove boxes. Oh, and they just can’t get enough of the paper cups, orphaned socks, and colorful washcloths!
My kid’s 13. You think he remembers his Super Saiyan, Multi-Spin Rider? Not so much. What he does vividly recall are the times we danced the “Numa Numa” around the family room, and going outside to blow soap bubbles. So invest that extra cash in your child’s future and enjoy your baby getting a kick out of the simpler things!
3. You’re not a bad parent for NOT enjoying “every moment that they’re little.”
If you suddenly see little monsters with horns sitting at the breakfast table instead of the sweet angels you so adore, don’t panic! Sometimes, even the cutest, sweetest ones aren’t very pleasant company. Know that EVERY parent has had bad days (Yup, even the ones who appear to never have them!), so don’t be hard on yourself. It’s not like you’re going to take em to the animal shelter and put them up for adoption, right? Right?
4. Saying “No” won’t traumatize them.
Teaching them rules and boundaries is necessary for their emotional and mental growth. They may pout and cry (or throw a full-blown tantrum), but don’t give in to your little one’s plea for a slice of chocolate cake right before bedtime. Constantly saying “Yes” however, will encourage them to grow up to be spoiled, entitled adults. Standing by your “Nos” is also a great lesson in respect, as well as respecting other people’s boundaries.
5. Giving your kids some alone time does not equal abandonment.
As a matter of fact, this is crucial for the development of independence. Alone time empowers kids to truly enjoy being creative in the moment as well as encourage self-sufficiency. Kids who learn this are able to face time on their own without feeling sadness or panic. For younger children, alone time is when they are able to relax or entertain themselves without help from parents & caregivers who are in the same room.
6. You don’t have to be perfect in front of your kids.
Here’s a perfect opportunity to teach your children by example. Show your kids that mistakes can be used as a stepping stone to something better, by identifying the lessons in the mistake and making improvements for a better outcome next time. It’ll encourage them to problem solve and grow their self confidence!
7. It’s okay to give yourself a time out.
Have your kids read a book, color, or build with blocks while you take a few minutes to meditate, catch a show on TV, or just zone out on the laundry room floor. You’ll feel much better after a quick breather—plus your children will learn that when feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s healthier and more productive to take a break and come back recharged!
8. Don’t let your child play on your cell phone without first limiting access.
Unless you’re comfortable with everyone in your phone book receiving a “jir3pwdn $WEhfw Ssssssss” text message from you, put a limit/lock on your phone before giving it to your child. Otherwise, don’t come cryin when your boss gets a hold of that selfie #fail you never got around to deleting.
9. Tell your vegetable hatin’ child NOT to eat his veggies.
“Finish all your spaghetti and… wait, I’m not so sure you should be eating the spinach. That green stuff can make you so strong, it’ll give you super energy when you’re playing at the park and swimming at the pool… do you think you’ll be able to handle all that awesomeness?”
Answer will almost always be “Yeah!”… and works with almost any food.
10. Nap time is when you get stuff done.
Most people will tell you to sleep when your baby is sleeping. Sure, if you want to get NOTHING else done in your life! Fold laundry, meditate, take a shower (remember that?), read a book, get updated with all the drama on Facebook—and yes, sometimes cuddle naps with the kids to recharge your mind, body, and spirit!
11. You will be unable to escape from the power of cute.
You’ll do your best to keep a straight face, but inside, your heart has already melted and is running down your leg. It’s okay to fall under the spell—just don’t forget to take a photo, video, or write about it on social media so you can appreciate their special power forever.
12. Your kid who had nothing to say to you all day will suddenly want to tell you a story when you’re on the phone.
Give your child an activity such as coloring books and puzzles to keep her occupied while you are on the phone. In all honesty, nothing really worked for me for very long, so I scheduled both my personal and business phone times during my child’s naps.
If you have a trick that’s worked for you, please share in the comments below!
13. You can have fun without the kids and still be a good parent.
Balance is important in maintaining a healthy mind, body, and spirit. You are a parent with little people depending on you, but that doesn’t wipe out the fact that you are still… you! So don’t feel guilty! Go out dancing, catch a movie, have dinner with your significant other, or a girls night out!
The better you take care of and feel better about yourself, the better you will be able to give to your children.
14. You’ll suddenly know the names of all Pokemon characters.
Or any other show, movie, or video game your child will become obsessed with. And you know what? That’s OK because knowledge is power. Granted, it’s power that is useful only in their kiddie world, but your child will think you’re the bomb-diggity—and THAT in itself is pretty powerful.
15. At some point you will accidentally hurt your child and you’ll feel like the worst parent to slither across the Earth.
Whether it’s by snapping at them after a stressful day at the office, or tripping over them because they blended in with the floor pillows. It happens to the best of us, so forgive yourself. Apologize, make certain your child understands that it wasn’t intentional, give them a big hug, and do something that you can enjoy together to mend the hurt and lift the mood.
16. Always bring a change of clothes not just for your kid, but also for yourself.
Kids are messy and dirty; they leak goo and other stuff from everywhere. And there is a good chance they will contaminate you too. Always keep at least an extra shirt for yourself in your baby bag—or in a bag kept in the trunk of your car. You’ll thank me for this.
17. You will make noises and faces just to see your baby smile.
You’ve seen the silly, new-parent portrayals on TV. Well, that’s you. And you’ll do it again and again just to see your little one crackle, smile, and laugh so hard, he farts in his diapers!
18. Your new found interest in baby poop will confuse and frighten you.
You’ll be recording the time, amount, smell, color, and the consistency. And don’t be alarmed if you find yourself celebrating a good diaper full of poop at times. Don’t worry, this phase will pass—pun intended.
19. You will have the highest highs and the lowest lows—all at once.
Parenting can be highly stressful, emotionally overwhelming, and spiritually uplifting—all at the same time. It’s normal and there’s nothing wrong with you. Just step back, give yourself a time-out like we talked about earlier, and resume. Ain’t no thang!
If you feel you’re unable to deal with the mental or emotional stress, please confide in people you trust or seek professional help. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s really a very courageous and responsible thing to do. The earlier you get help, the better it will be for you and your children.
20. No matter how much baby-proofing you do before your angel is able to scoot around the house, she will find the one thing you didn’t baby-proof.
Sure, you might find her feeding your tampons to her dolls and stuffed animals and using your panty liners to cover her boo boo. Just make certain to keep all medication, chemicals, and sharp objects out of your baby’s reach.
21. Sleep deprivation will begin to feel like mental and emotional illness.
Earlier I suggested you take advantage of your kids’ naptimes to get things done. If you’re sleep deprived and unable to function, scratch that for now and nap with them. It’s OK to put off doing laundry and leave the dirty dishes for later. What’s the point in having a load of clean clothes when you’re not able to function properly? Don’t assume there’s something wrong with you or that you’re not a good parent. Get some rest and re-energize!
As stated earlier, if you’re unable to deal with the mental or emotional stress, please confide in people you trust or seek professional help. There’s nothing to be ashamed of and it’s really a very courageous and responsible thing to do. The earlier you get help, the better it will be for you and your children.
22. Time alone in your car becomes a mini vacation/therapy.
Just driving out to the supermarket on your own will make you feel like a brand new person! And discussing life’s most important issues—with yourself, while waiting to pick up your child from school in the car lanes—is OK too! You’ll be surprised at all the clarity and great solutions that results from self-therapy!
23. You will compare your baby against all others and know yours is the best.
Regardless of what anyone else might say, this is NORMAL, and you will be absolutely RIGHT! Way to go for having the BEST-KID-EVER! #highfive
24. Always give your kids your undivided attention.
This will help your child build trust as well as self confidence. Let’s try to avoid the answering while eyes are glued to your text message, or half grunts from behind the newspaper. If ever you are unable to give your undivided attention (work, phone call, guests, etc.) let them know by saying something like, “I’d really love to hear about EVERYTHING you have to say, so will you give me a few minutes to finish this up so I can give you all of my attention?”
My child grew up with this. And now he gives the same respect and consideration to those who ask for his time and attention. It really works—children really do learn what they live. And it’s pretty awesome.
25. Seal your special bond with a secret handshake, dance, or code word.
No matter how silly it is, no matter how old they become, this will be something very special just between you and your child! Priceless!