Happy Hump Day ya’all! We’re halfway through the week and you know what that means!…it means nothing, we’re parents…we always work. 😉 Today I thought I would share some of my parenting advice with you. Parenting is HARD. At times it can feel like people are lining up to tell you you’re doing it wrong. Well, guess what, they don’t make the rules so please ignore anyone who is trying to get you down. There is no “right” way to parent. As long as your children are getting their basic needs met (food, clothing, shelter, love) the rest is just personal preference. These are some “parenting cliff notes” that I’ve picked up over the years. I’ve parented while running scared. I’ve worried about people judging how I parent. I’m just here to share a little bit of my style and my point of view. We’re going to do some bullet points today, because bullet points rock. Here we go!
(These people eat dinosaur shaped chicken, I’m pretty sure it’s organic).
- Breastfeed…or don’t! My oldest literally never nursed and guess what, he’s awesome (and much better at Legos than me). My middle son nursed exclusively for 6 months and he is also awesome. I nursed my youngest for about 2 weeks, then I was just kind of done. It was making me feel overwhelmed and claustrophobic so I quit. She’s also doing amazing and I absolutely refuse to let anyone make me feel bad about my choices. Whatever you choose, own it.
- Leave your kids in pajamas all day if you want. My current plan with my 4 month old is to have her in pajamas as much as possible (and only ones with zippers, why do button up ones even exist!?) The reason is…I have 3 other people including myself to get out the door in the morning, if just one of us can get a pass by wearing pajamas all day, I’m all for it! (And when Ella wants to dress up, she wears a headband with her pajamas).
- Let your house be messy (my husband is rolling on the floor laughing right now, that’s never been my strong suit.) But seriously, it it’s between taking care of yourself and your children or doing the dishes, always choose you and them.
- “Having the laundry done” can be defined as “having clean clothes in a pile.”
- Pack your schedule as much or as little as you are comfortable with. Supposed to go to a birthday party, but you haven’t slept in days? Please don’t feel guilty saying “no” sometimes. I’m canceling plans as we speak because we have to head to the doctor instead of Bible study.
- Cry in public. (Not that you’ll want to, but I’ve done this many times so I just want everyone to know it’s totally okay to not always appear to “have it all together.”)
- Let your kids eat microwavable food. Sometimes my 2 year old tries to eat frozen corndogs for breakfast (I don’t think his taste buds work). I GET that there are healthier options and I always supply fruit and vegetables with each meal. Sometimes though, you just need a 60 second meal made of questionable meats.
- If your kids want you to sleep with them, give in. As a mom who has been through absolute hell mentally, I am forever grateful that I was able to keep my relationships with my kids solid. When they call for me, I come. I want them to need me. I know unintentional co-sleeping isn’t for everyone, but I’ve been in a position where I never thought I’d be able to do it again. I cherish being able to be with them, even if it means getting kicked in the face.
- Compliment your children endlessly. I’m pretty sure Dr. Phil said it takes 1000 “atta boys” to make up for 1 negative comment. I make sure to constantly tell my children how smart, sweet, loving, beautiful, etc. they are. Everyday I tell me 6 year old how proud I am of him, and his face absolutely lights up every time. I also apologize to them when I’m wrong or I lose my temper. I’m trying to raise strong, confident people, so I focus on building up their self-esteem and self-worth as much as I can.
- Lastly and MOST importantly, trust YOUR instincts. Parenting is hard. Parenting while fighting a postpartum mental illness is darn near impossible. At the end of the day, you gotta do what you feel is right for your family and your children.