I’ve had a couple sets of parenting examples. I was raised by my mom and step-dad until age 14 when they went to prison*. At that point I moved in with my aunt and uncle who assumed guardianship of me. The contrast was shocking and startling. Now that I’ve become a mom myself, I’ve looked back on what both sets did well and not so well, and have considered what to emulate. Additionally, I emailed other mothers that I respect about parenting tips, and received great advice. Let me share some of my favorites with you in no particular order.
1) “Kids will suck up as much time as you give to them and then ask for more. Your Faith and your Marriage are the foundation for great parenting…have to protect them from the tyranny of the urgent.”
2) “I think life looks totally different when you have a newborn. Especially your first newborn. Life is kind of slow-moving and you don’t always get a lot done during the day and I think this is completely fine. It’s such a short stage, so, my advice would be to live it up and really enjoy these precious times with just you and your baby. Don’t feel guilty if you nap when she naps, if you’re in your PJs for a majority for the day, if you don’t get around to cleaning because you’re nursing and burping and rocking her. You will never have the opportunity to live life like this again.”
3) “Solid. Planned. Time in the Word and for prayer. The actual time, the actual amount and the actual locations may vary over time as you figure out what works best for you/your family, so don’t get stuck on that aspect… Just make sure it happens!”
4) “Homemaking is an ever changing monster. I still have yet to develop a “system” that works without fail. How I do things, when I do things, what things I do has constantly changed around here. Some times the reasons are for life seasons, nature seasons, pregnancies, focusing on other aspects of the home… so I really don’t put much weight in the logistics of it.”
5) “Use the late night feedings, laundry folding etc as a time to launch you into deeper prayer for your family.”
8) “We sing. All.The.Time. I have so many praise songs in my head from the years of church camp and college ministry, we just sing in the car, before naps, on walks, wherever. Last week I heard our daughter singing ‘The B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the book for me! I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E!’ and ‘Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary’… she’ll grow in understanding of some of the concepts, but songs have been fun for her to participate in and it’s amazing how much she remembers. There are also lots of songs that are really just scripture, put to a tune. I love it when she has those words in her head.”
9) “As we laid our daughter down for bed, we would take a few minutes to pray for her – for her future as well as the little things that we were struggling to figure out. It may be prayers for milk supply or identifying teething or whatever… but it was great to have a daily time set aside.”
10) “The child needs to see his parents living out their faith on a daily basis. Talking with a child about spiritual matters in day-to-day conversation is also important! Including them in praying for important things, such as purchasing the family car, where to go for vacations, etc. PLEASE teach them to memorize Bible verses all their life and you do it too!”
11) “My #1 tip for raising children, in general: Don’t say “no” unless you absolutely have to, but once you do, stick to it. “Don’t let them talk you into a “yes”. For example, if your child asks to play with Play-doh, don’t say “no” just because you are too tired to get it out. If, however, there is a valid reason for saying “no”, don’t let your child whine and wear you down until you say “yes” because then 1) the child will learn to keep whining until he or she gets their way, 2) NO ONE likes a whiner, 3) you are no longer the authority in the relationship, and 4) they’ve lost respect for you as the parent. “
12) “My mother made sure that each of her children excelled (more than other kids) in at least one thing, be it piano, gymnastics, the most badges in Boy Scouts, being the top seller of Girl Scout cookies in her troop, etc. in order to build our self-esteem in a healthy way. If a child feels badly because he doesn’t do very well in school academically, at least the child knows he is better than average in tae-kwon-do or painting. “
13) “I settle for a less-than-perfectly-clean house and our meals are simple-except when company comes. When company comes, I fix extra’s to have for the freezer or left-overs the next day. We do one main meal per day (usually lunch), and then we fix a light dinner of popcorn, cereal, sandwich or left-overs. I typically clean my house thoroughly once every two weeks, but spot clean it whenever it needs it so that it rarely “looks” dirty. Keeping it UNCLUTTERED helps it not take so long to clean and even when the house is dirty, it doesn’t look like it since there’s no junk laying around on every surface.”
So many wonderful ideas, right? A good reminder that it’s never a bad idea to ask for advice. It could have taken me a whole lifetime to learn these great tips, but now I am aware of them and conscious to consider them! Thanks so much ladies for your advice. I hope others who read this will benefit as well.
*People often ask me about my current relationship with my mom. Honestly, it’s great. I love my mom. She’s also a fantastic grandmother!