“You can be anything you want. Except an a-hole”
No really, that’s what we say.
Here are my dirty baker’s dozen-ish ideas on how I want to parent. This is a wish list. I fail often.
- We are mostly attachment parents. That means we co-sleep following the Safe Sleep Seven, I babywear, breastfeed, no CIO, no spanking or time outs (with our oldest we have had her go to her room to calm down but there’s no time she has to stay there and she can leave whenever). We (mostly) follow the lead on when the kids are ready to sleep alone, potty training, wean from the breastfeeding.
- Gentle discipline. this means no yelling, shaming, or spanking. The yelling part is HARD for me. I fail at this often. Our goal is to teach our kids how we want them to handle things. We model, give gentle corrections, talk about what happened. Natural consequences are also a thing.
- Foster independence. Let your kids pick out their clothes (the outfits are truly the most amazing thing ever). Let them help with projects, cooking, etc. Let them climb the big play structure at the play ground. Let them try and fail! You can be there to help and support but let them do it!
- . Follow the child’s lead. They will walk when they are ready, talk when they are ready, sleep through the night when they are ready. Everything is a phase and there is a huge range of normal. They are kids for such a short period of time. Don’t rush it.
- If you are ever concerned about your kid’s development or having a hard time with an aspect of parenting, reach out to a professional (OT, PT, SLP, feeding specialist, IBCLC, parenting coaches, etc). It’s worth the peace of mind.
- Listen to your kids. Everything is important to them. If you want them to talk to you about big things later, you have to listen to all the little things now. Because they aren’t little things to your kid.
- We trust our kids with their bodies. They will tell you when they are hungry, full, thirsty, tired, etc. They may not tell you with words. It might be actions. We do not ask them to eat 5 more bites or clean their plates. We encourage them to try new foods but do not push the issue. We have snacks available 24/7 in the panty and fridge that they can reach.
- Feelings are important. Big feelings are super common with kids. The feelings are 100% valid but the behavior we see may not be appropriate. We work with our kids to teach them out to express their feelings in an appropriate way.
- We believe bodily autonomy is very important. We always use correct names for body parts and start the conversation early about touching. Penis and vulva are not dirty words in our house. And when our kids say stop tickling, we ALWAYS listen. Consent starts at day 1. There are very few times we make our kids do anything and it’s almost always a safety/health issue.
- Find ways to spend one on one time with each family member. Do a craft, cook, cuddle, watch a tv show. It doesn’t have to be a big planned event. A few minutes here and there will really make the difference in a relationship (romantic, friend, or parent/child).
- Be flexible. No two days are the same. Things change constantly. Try to go with the flow as much as you can.
- Sleep, food, water, bath/shower, and cuddles can cure a lot. I try to stick to a bedtime and naptime. I figure out what time works for the kid then go from there. Keep snacks and a water bottle handy. When in doubt, stick the kids in the tub/shower or cuddle on the couch with a movie.
- It’s important to have a few mom friends that parent similarly to you. That way if you have a struggle, you can get ideas from people that aren’t going to make you cringe. And even then, it’s your family and your kid. Do what feels best.
- I apologize to to kids often. We make mistakes. We are human. They need to see that. They need to learn how to say sorry and how to forgive. We model that for them.