The House Where Hope Lives: Parenting During the Baby Through Toddler Years

I get it.  Everything is sticky.  Your decor looks like the now out of business Toys R Us because toys r u. But guess what?  It will not last forever. I know how annoying it can be to be told that.

So let me share some tips with you that might help ease your very long days when you are a mom in those baby through the toddler years.  God help you.

  • Don’t stress over the small things.  Use paper plates and eat pizza-often.  The baby to toddler is the most important thing right now. All your thoughts of career or climbing the corporate ladder or your idea of worldly success do not matter.  There is time later for all those things, but quite honestly, I have seen many women who have reached all that but sacrificed the precious years when their children were young for it and realized too late their mistake.  Think on this: one of these things can be done anytime, but one cannot.
  • Get out.  Dress up. Date your husband. Pawn those kids off on anyone.  Anyone. Go out with the girls every now and then. You need your adult time.
  • Read Dare to Discipline by James Dobson.  He spared one of my kid’s lives.  If it were not for that book…
  • When they are a baby, hold and rock as much as humanly possible.  Let the house go. It’s not a sin to realize that you have no clean underwear or socks and just go buy more.
  • Let’s speak of discipline for a moment:  “When does it start?” Oh, you will know. That cutey will tune up, put on the most awful face you have ever seen and hit you.  Then, it has started. Just a few words of wisdom (to go along with your reading of Dare)-hold the line on discipline and start early.  Be consistent. Make the punishment meet the crime.  NEVER discipline when angry. Discipline is different per child-it’s not a cookie cutter thing. Don’t write off bad behaviors as “he is so cute when he does that” or 2 year olds will be 2 year olds mentality.  Don’t address discipline and laugh it off and when this baby is 16, he or she will be laughing at you and you will not be laughing anymore.
  • Find a support group.  Parents of little ones need other parents of little ones.  

Do you know where the best place to find excellent quality friends that are going through your stages of life? Church.  Find a good bible teaching church. Check out the nursery. Look for those with excellent security (like mine). Listen for the activities that they have for children, and find a place that your family can plug in and make lifetime friends. You will appreciate more people than just you trying to teach your kids right from wrong as the years go by. It truly does take a village.

Also,you will love it when you little starts to talk and shares with you what he or she is learning.  I will never forget picking up my youngest child from her Wednesday night activities one night. She was potty training (bless you, bless you) and had to go, so we slid into the bathroom before we tried to leave.  When she got settled on the toilet, she looked at me very seriously and said, “Do you know about China?” Then she started telling me what she had learned. Priceless.

Parenting is not for the faint hearted.  Remember that I am a middle school teacher. We teachers need parents to be parents.  We are saying that at school everyday. We LOVE it when we see that this is happening.  We love your children, but we can’t be you.

Next issue I will address parenting through the elementary school years.  Build that house where hope lives. Raise that precious one to always see life as fun, an adventure, someday to become an adult who has found his/her purpose, making a difference in our world.

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