Monday, July 9, 2012

30 Day Challenge, Day 14!!

Hi everyone, I am changing today's challenge to make it my own. Instead of posting pics of my celebrity crushes, I will give some of my best motherly advice! Hey, not as fun, but a lot more useful! ;)

#1) Don't give your kids roles to play or to try to live up to. It took me a while to learn that. You feel like you have a boy and he is supposed to like all things manly and be a leader, and girls are quiet and wear pink everyday. HA, ok so we don't think EXACTLY like that, but you catch my drift. Laura is outgoing, but more of a follower. She likes to watch others and see if things are safe before she tries it. Katie on the other hand, a complete leader, and this girl is confident in her personality. Since Laura is older, I would try to pin the leader role on her, and it just doesn't work like that. They are who they are, and we as parents have to sit back and let them be who they are meant to be. No matter what.

#2) Breathe. I should have taken that advice when Laura was a baby. I was so scared to be her mom. She was so tiny and it was all new to me. I could take Nicholas to the park, color, cook, play legos and ride bikes like nobodies business......but nurse a baby??? I wasn't so confident. I guess because my life started with a son that was 3, and not a newborn, I felt like my motherly instincts would be off. They weren't, I knew what to do without thinking, but I wish I would have relaxed more. Let things flow. Now that I'm 27 and have 4 kids, I feel like I can swaddle, nurse and soothe a crying baby like nothing! I guess our moms were right when they said you learn as you grow. It's true....with William I was so much more relaxed.

#3) Don't take every piece of advice you get so seriously. Even mine!! HAHA! ;) I remember when I was pregnant with Laura, I had people telling me to nurse for a year, to nurse for 6 months, not to nurse at all, and to let the baby decide when it was time to stop. I was so confused. Which one was the RIGHT one? Which one would make me be the perfect mom?! None. None of them are "right", yet at the same time, none of them are "wrong". Every mother has to choose these types of things on her own, and block out what anyone else says or thinks. With Laura I nursed her for 13 months. I just decided that, that had been long enough. I certainly wasn't ready to stop at 11 months, and neither was she. At 13 months, I could see she was done, and so was I. Yes, even with those months being so close together. With Katie I nursed for 10 months. She being the leader she is, wanted nothing to do with cuddling with mama all day. She was ready. I can't say I was....I still wanted to cuddle and nurse my baby, but kids, even as babies are all different, and grow at different rates. With William, I only nursed about 3 months. It broke my heart....I loved nursing my babies and when I dried up, I cried for a while. I took herbs to help my milk supply, and did everything I could think of to be able to continue nursing. It took a lot of encouragement from Nick and family to let me know that I was NOT a bad mom for not being able to nurse any longer. Which leads me to number 4......

#4) Don't think that because you can't nurse or choose NOT to nurse, makes you a bad mom. No matter how many "online moms" try to make you believe you are! It's a choice. Make your's for YOU, don't let others make it for you, or make you feel bad!

#5) Play with your kids. Simple right? Not as easy as you might think. I've noticed that not many parents actually get on the floor and play with their kids, past the age of 2. I know.....playing with barbies for the 9th time that day, is not fun....I get it. The point is, your kids, even at 6, 9, or 12, want a friend in their parents. They should have that. I make sure my kids know that I am their parent and not their best friend, but I also make sure they know I enjoy playing with them, and that I like the person they are. I certainly can make more of an effort to play with all of my kids, we all choose resting over playing with our kids sometimes, and that's ok.....SOMETIMES!

#6) Don't buy the latest, greatest name brand outfits. I mean, do it if you must, but MY advice would be to save your money. I'm raising four kids, I know just as well as anyone that kids are hard on their clothing. Save the money and buy yourself something for a change! :)

#7) Set a schedule and stick to it. Your kids will thrive from it and you will be happy you put them on a schedule one day! I had Nicholas on a schedule in a matter of a week or two, so when Laura came along it was just natural to set a schedule for her. I remember Nick not being too thrilled with a schedule for a while there. He didn't like feeling like there was a set task that had to be accomplished by this specific hour. He took it TOO seriously. I take it pretty seriously but things don't have to happen on the minute. We have lunch between 11:45 and 12, dinner is at 5, bath at 6:30, and bed at 7:30. Most of this happens within 15 minutes of these times. I'm cool with that. I just know from experience that kids do like having a schedule set. They like to know what to expect, and I do too. Try it, you might thank me :)

#8) Get a pet. I know....ANOTHER mouth to feed? Yes! It's good for kids to have something that they can help take care of. Make it part of their routine to help feed and pick up after the animal. If you have really young children, I still think it's a good idea to introduce a pet into the family. Babies watch what we do allll day, and soon will be helping out with the pets, because they think its fun.

#9) Be strict, but not too strict with what they see on Tv. Yes, I said tv.....let them watch it. IT'S OK!!! Now, I will fully admit, I need to take my own advice. I am VERY strict with what they see. I don't have cartoons on pretty much ever. Usually I just put on a movie, that I know won't scare them, and is appropriate. I let Laura choose from a few things to watch on the just for kids section of NETFLIX when she wakes up in the morning. Nicholas is allowed to watch more than the little kids, but even with him, I have a hard time letting him watch a lot. I know, I'm sheltering them.....I can't help it. I'm afraid they will learn too much, too soon.

#10) Love not only your kids, but your husband. Don't forget about him or push him to the side. He is who you have chosen to go through this life with, and you should make him feel important even when your life feels full of children. Leading me to number 11.

#11) LOVE YOURSELF. Your husband and kids take up what feels like all of your life, but don't let yourself disappear. Your husband should make YOU feel important too. Exercise, eat smart, and enjoy the ice cream every once in a while too. It's ok to do that :) You deserve to be happy!

These are some wise words I'm sharing with you all. Most of you probably already follow these, and some of you probably have some great advice to share with me, I'd love to hear it!!

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