I can’t believe that my son is about to turn nine, which puts me almost a decade into this parenting journey. That feels insane, because there were definitely days when he was a toddler when I was positive that neither one of us was going to make it to bedtime. Along the way, people have a way of dropping tons of unsolicited advice. Most of it is unnecessary, but some if it has actually been very practical and helpful. Some of the tips I have picked up from other moms I still use in my house to this day. So this post is all about the best advice I’ve ever gotten from other moms. If I had the opportunity to go back in time five years and tell my stressed-out former self with a toddler on her leg and a baby spitting up in her hair about a few of the pearls of wisdom we found, these would be among them.
In no particular order…
- Put the socks and underwear in the bottom drawer. I remember talking to a mom of five and asking how she got all of her kids out of the house in the morning, because I was really struggling to get the two I had at the time out the door. She told me that she always made sure to keep their socks and underwear in the bottom drawer, so that even the little ones could independently go get a pair of socks and start to get themselves ready to leave without needing to be waiting on her to do it for them. I immediately went home and switched my kids’ dressers so that the socks were on the bottom drawers, and they are still like that.
- The slow cooker is your friend. There was a while when I couldn’t use our Crock-pot because it bothered our son’s sensory issues, but now that it is not an issue for him any longer, it is a lifesaver. I also loved using our slow cooker when I was working outside the home. It was so convenient to have dinner ready and waiting for us when we got home! Plus, it saved us a lot of money over eating out. Lots of people feel the same way. One of the most popular posts on my blog is the Crock-pot Buffalo Chicken Dip.
- Potty training can wait. If it is not happening on the time frame you expected, it is okay to just take a breath and slow down. I was the queen of creating charts and offering incentives to my son, but none of them were working on him. He just was not ready. It took a long time for him. He was four years old before he was fully trained, but do you know what? It was not the end of the world. He did still go to preschool. That old expression really did turn out to be true. I never did send a child to kindergarten in diapers.
- What you want and what you get are sometimes different things. I learned this myself after trying so, so hard to breastfeed my daughter and having my body “fail” me. I have seen so many friends struggle through infertility and wonder why. Sometimes it is much more productive to focus on the way that things are rather than the way that they could have been.
- “Understanding the behavior does not excuse it.” This is a phrase my own mom, who happens to be a therapist, says all the time. It means that just because you understand why someone is doing something does not necessarily mean that there should not be any consequences. It can be easy to make excuses for poor behavior like “Oh, Johnny doesn’t normally hit his friends. He just needs a nap.” But even if that is true, and we know they are tired, we still can’t allow them to get away with extremely bad behavior. This doesn’t just apply to kids, you can apply it to anyone in your life who isn’t treating you the way they should.
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