Parenting. It’s a 24/7 job that comes with no manual. No instruction book for “What to do when they won’t eat fruit. Or vegetables.”
You kind of just have to wing it. And if you’re like me, half the time you think that you’re failing. So while we all know that being a parent is ultimately rewarding and filled with many moments of joy, this month I want to address the many more moments of parenting frustration that I go through.
Basically, I want to pay more attention to my parenting, possibly learn some new skills, and feel happier about the time spent with my children.
My goals for the month are:
1. Stop yelling. My husband tells me to stop yelling at least once a day. My response is always, “This is not yelling. This is raising my voice. But I can show you yelling!” Whether or not it’s actual yelling, it’s still not right. It makes my daughter cry and it’s ineffective. (Even when I yell, she won’t eat those damn carrots!) Also, now my daughter has begun shouting at us when she is frustrated…I’m sure it has nothing to do with me, though. I don’t know any tricks or tips to stop this bad habit of me yelling, other than just being more aware. Maybe I’ll make a sign for my fridge??
2. Read up. I have read how-to books about dieting, marriage, and sleep training. I think it’s time to find out what the experts say about raising good little kiddies. There are certain issues I’m confused about. For example, I know you’re supposed to encourage girls to play with trains and dinosaurs (not just dolls and tea sets). I get the whole gender stereotype thing. But what about if my two-year-old wants to dress up in heels and put on makeup? Is that a no-no? I have been doing some Googling on good parenting books and will be posting about my finds tomorrow. Then I will (hopefully!) read a book or two this month. And THEN I will have ALL the answers!
3. Model behavior. When your kids are babies, you can get away with murder. You can watch Dexter with a newborn in the room, and you can eat McDonald’s without a kid clamoring for soda and fries, too. Then they start walking and talking. And watching you, ALWAYS watching you. So you’re forced to act like a model citizen who LOVES to eat fruits and veggies, drinks tons of water, doesn’t bite her nails, and never burps loudly and obnoxiously (who me?!?). I need to do a better job of acting how I want my kids to act. I want to be kind to my dog, so my kids are kind to the dog. I want to be calm in the face of minor crises. I want to play games and read books instead of watching TV. Because those little eyes are watching me, and I want to make sure I’m being a good example.
4. Plan one fun activity each day. It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut when you are home with the kids every day. It’s also easy to let said children watch TV and snack on Super Why cereal all day while you mess around with your blog and hang out on Facebook. (I’m certainly not saying that I am such a person who does this, but I’ve heard that people do that.) To combat this, I want to have a goal of doing one special activity each day. It doesn’t have to be grand. Just something fun that my daughter will enjoy. Like cook something together. Or paint a picture. BabyCenter has weekly activities to do for each age during your baby’s first two years. After that, there’s plenty of inspiration for activities on Pinterest, like this board of Toddler Activities.
What parenting skill do you want to improve on? Anyone have any tips for quitting my urge to yell all the time?