Parenting 101

August 6, 2013

There are many things I’ve learned since becoming a parent. Like clothes sizes (i.e. 3 months) don’t always correspond with the age of the child. To some major things that I never expected.

1. Discipline
There are many gray areas when it comes to discipline. That isn’t my way of cheating the system, although I think parents sometimes feel this way. I, however, have spent many years feeling that discipline is black and white. The child either listens to what you say or suffers a repercussion for not doing so. What I have learned recently is that there are some hills you are willing to die on and others that you are not.

If it’s safety or health related, there is no room for discussion. However, if I ask Drew to NOT go to the baseball diamond and he goes anyway but stays within vision then we are not going to leave the play date for me to use this as a teaching moment. Rather, he won’t earn his “good listening” sticker and we can use it as a learning opportunity later rather than it escalating to an emotional tirade.

2. Travel/Dining
We were going to be the parents that traveled in tow with children to Italy. We weren’t going to be dining at Red Robin with our kids but eating at the trendy restaurants that we were interested in with or without kids. Soon after having Drew, he made it clear that he would never be one of those kids that just went along easily because he was the first born. No place could be baby proofed enough for him and no scenario could be child friendly enough for him. Therefore early on, we learned that EVERYONE (us included) would be better off if we minimally left our house. Add a couple more children to the mix, and the only places we are traveling to include Mickey or family resorts and the only places we are dining are ones that have a kids menu.

3. Routine
Everyone knows those parents who MUST get home in time for their kids’ nap or their kid MUST eat at exactly noon. We all laugh at them and talk about how crazy they are. But there’s something to what they are saying. I certainly can’t keep with an extremely rigid schedule since I have three different kids with three different eating and sleeping needs. However, my kids thrive with structure and continuity in a way I completely under-estimated.

4. “Me” and “Us” Time
Scheduling anything is complicated. As previously mentioned, I have three kids with different schedules and activities. At times scheduling a manicure, haircut, or even a flipping doctor’s appointment can be near impossible. However whatever you do, there needs to be some time in a given day where you do something that is just for you. It’s the only way to survive these self-absorbed, leech like kids. For me, it’s going to the gym but it doesn’t have to be. It just has to be something.

And it’s very easy for you and your spouse to become ships passing in the night juggling the different kids. Remembering that you and your spouse used to be a couple that were defined completely different than “Mom and Dad” is hard to do at times. So as much as it’s easy to become robots that jump from t-ball games to dance recitals, never finding time for the couple you once were is a mistake in ways I never quite realized before parenthood.

5. Money
There’s never enough for all the activities, clothes and food that these monsters want. Most times I even choose to buy something them or me! I totally never expected that one!!!!

6. Transportation
I never realized that minivans are THIS cool 🙂

I hardly know anything, most days I’m lucky if I can answer the question that my three year old throws my way. But these are just a few things that I learned along the way 🙂

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