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Bringing Up Baby: A Moment In Time.. They Won’t Be Tiny Forever

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Bringing Up Baby: A Moment In Time..
They Won’t Be Tiny Forever

Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a moment. Well, truth be told I have them quite a bit. But this one was different, triggered by something I witnessed.

I was in Chicago taping Sweet Retreats (you can watch the full episode here) and had a moment between scenes. I looked across the street and saw a group of new mothers with their babies on a “Mommy-and-me” play date. I stood there watching.. mesmerized by them. I watched as they cradled and burped their little ones, managing with ease, their iced coffees and baby bottles. And as I sat observing them from the front stoop of the house, I fought the urge to tear across the street with an urgent message.

PAY ATTENTION!

A portrait of a happy mother and daughter drinking coffee outdoor

But would they have listened to me, a middle-aged woman who, no doubt would resemble a lunatic if I were to tear across the street like my hair was on fire?

Related: 10 From GEM: 10 Best Parenting Websites

I thought about this again the other day as I was having a very adult conversation with my 17-year-old daughter (and by adult, I don’t mean anything to do with S-E-X but the bigger issues of L-I-F-E). But, in talking with her, I realized how grown she was and how, just a moment ago, I was like those mothers across the street.

Where had the time gone? What did I miss in my rush to get through the not-so-fun-parts of parenting?

So some comforting (I hope) words for those parents of little ones.

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YOU WILL SLEEP AGAIN
I PROMISE!

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But it won’t be the kind of sleep you once knew. Remember those lazy weekend mornings where you slept until 11 am or beyond? You may never have that until vacation or the kids leave for college but you won’t have that bone-weary fatigue that you know, courtesy midnight feedings. You will learn to get by with less, while always wanting more.

Read more: Monday Morning Motivation: Are You Working Toward A Greater Good?

THEY WILL POTTY TRAIN..
EVENTUALLY

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As someone who has potty-trained two, I feel your pain and frustration. But your kid (s) won’t be headed off to Harvard wearing diapers, I can assure you. And here’s the other thing: putting stress on them also puts stress on you and that’s no good for anyone. Expect to go two steps forward, one step back during the process. Take a deep breath and practice patience.

Read more: Ask Rene: Potty Training Troubles

 DON’T COMPARE!

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This is just a good habit to get into about all things in life. But with regard to parenting, remember, it is not a contest, you are not going to be graded nor will you get a prize if your kid is the first one in your playgroup to walk. Repeat after me: NO COMPETITIVE PARENTING!

Read more: What I Won’t Get A Medal For In The Motherhood Olympics | Good Enough is Perfect

CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES

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Your kid wants to wear cowboy boots with a bathing suit to the beach? Fine. He would like to eat the steak you made for dinner and cut in little pieces with toothpick instead of a fork? No problem. Your daughter has all of a sudden wants every.single.thing to be camouflage? Big deal! You see where I’m going with this? Choose the hill you’re gonna die on.

Read more: Battle Royale

 

 BE A THERMOMETER,
NOT A THERMOSTAT

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Learn how to enter into your child’s environment and assimilate not assert, at least on occasion. Learn now to play a video game, or the simple joy of Chutes and Ladders. Figure out how to lie in the grass and not worry about what it will take to get the stains out of your blouse or that there are dishes in the sink. And have dessert before dinner. And skip.

No.. really.

Read more: Are You A Safety Harness Or Safety Net?

LET YOUR KIDS FAIL!

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I’m a HUGE believer in this. Failure is a powerful teaching tool and the lessons learned that way are not easily forgotten. Don’t hobble your child by keeping them in place. Let them experience life, let them figure out on their own what works and what doesn’t. Let them fail.. and be there to help them through it.

Read more: Our Story Begins.. WHy Failure IS An Option For My Kids 

 BE FULLY PRESENT!

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As someone who struggles with this, please, do as I say not as I do (and I AM trying to  be better). Bottom line: this time is precious, the days dress up and flower necklaces are short; they’re going to go by in an instant. Please.. the email to a co-worker/boss/caterer can wait. Make eye contact with your baby and listen.

Read more: Guest Posting: Welcome To Your First Life Lesson, Son

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So those are the things I would tell new moms and dads. What about you; what would you say? What was the best piece of advice you got as a new parent?

 

 

 

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