It seems that advice, good and bad, are impossible to miss when you are about to have a child, or if you have little ones. I’ve been offered a plethora of opinions on what I must or must not do with my children and I have to say that I leave way more than I take. Should we put the baby to bed awake or rock the baby to sleep? And does it really matter?
Interestingly enough, I got two pieces of great advice along the road that I value greatly and think are worth passing on in case anyone else can use them along the way. They didn’t come in the words of, “I think you should _____” or anything like that. Both were simply comments made in passing by women I respected and whose opinion I valued. Neither of them know I stole these great gems that I will share with you. Remember, this is a take or leave it program. If you think it will work for you try it out, if not, leave it behind.
The first piece of advice came from the voice of a friend. Being a single mom of four young children, she found herself needing to stay calm in situations she typically could explode in. She found such an aid in the push of a button.
When her kids got into something they shouldn’t, she’d stop, grab her camera, and snap a few pictures. Not only did it give her time to cool down and look at the situation differently, but she caught some grand candid moments she otherwise would have left behind.
Take the time that her youngest got into the flour and sugar bins. He dumped them both out into the corner bottom cupboard and crawled in himself wearing nothing but a diaper. Being that he had just finished playing in the bathroom he was covered in a nice white paste.
Or the time she went to the back yard and found her daughter hauling buckets of dirt from their front yard and adding it to the fishpond so she could make sand castles. She was knee deep in mud and working away.
She caught another son in the middle of the kitchen table with a nearly full four-liter jug of milk around him and cascading off the sides of the table. Floating on top was the contents of a box of Cheerios.
Those pictures and moments were priceless and my friend was able to catch them and laugh instead of react to her children. Keeping her calm in those situations has made her a better mother in my eyes.
The second lady I stole advice from is someone I’ve known through a friend for some time, but have always thought her to be an amazing lady. She made a comment in passing one girls night about how she didn’t do any housework after the kids were in bed. This obviously shocked every mother present since she had three kids and they all knew and understood the fundamental fact that the work never ceases with even one. All ears, the ladies asked her to explain herself.
Her thinking is that she works all day every day and when the final kid is down for the night it is her time to do something she wants. Watch a movie, take a bath, walk on the treadmill, or any number of hobbies she had. She stated simply that if she did nothing but work from the moment she woke until she hit the sack exhausted, she’d be a less happy mother and enjoy her kids less. During naps and quiet times she goes to town and gets what she needs done around the house so she can enjoy her kids, and dive into her own time when they were down for the night.
These brilliant women and mothers gave me two of the greatest pieces of advice without even knowing they were doing it. I am a better mother because I follow my kids around with the camera, even though they aren’t old enough to really get into anything yet, and because I take time out for myself.
After all, who cares if I swaddle left over right or right over left. It also doesn’t matter if I throw pinks in with the darks now and then.