Today’s guest blog post is my favorite guest post ever! Mostly because it’s written by my own mama, the best mom in the universe (that’s a fact). She has been there for me and my sister from day one and, even though she worked full-time, I never once felt like I didn’t have enough time with her. She taught me what it looked like to follow your own dreams while being the best mom possible.
If I can be half the mother that she is, my kids will be in good shape. I asked her to pull together three tips for each stage of parenthood, and this is what she sent me. The tips for being a grandparent are my current favorite. I also love all the photos she sent of us together for each stage!
Take it away, mom…
- Forget about housework for the first few months. You have two jobs only right now: (1) Get to know and love your baby and (2) Help yourself recover physically and emotionally from pregnancy and childbirth.
- Mimic the womb: swaddle, shush, swinging, sucking. Read The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp.
- Drink a lot of water, get some fresh air daily, and sleep when the baby sleeps.
- Encourage communication. Remind her to use sign language or words to express her feelings.
- Offer choices, when appropriate. Your child wants to be independent, so let him pick a pair of pajamas or a bedtime book.
- Get her to pay attention by saying “Look at my face” or “Listen to my words.”
Grade School Children
Love my sleeves in this pic and my buck teeth pre-braces!
- Praise good behavior. This is more effective in the long run than scolding about bad behavior. Use a behavior sticker chart.
- Tell your child what to do, not what not to do. “Put the dress-up clothes back in the box” is better than “Clean up your mess.”
- Read to your child daily.
- Read Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Cheryl and Me to the Mall? by Dr. Anthony Wolf before they turn 12 and start rolling their eyes at you.
- Institute regularly scheduled family meetings. Set ground rules like one person talks at a time with no interruptions and only positive feedback is allowed.
- Schedule regular unplugged time to be with family. Cook, walk, bike, etc. Prioritize eating meals together, if possible. It’s a good way to bond, talk, and keep in touch.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Think of yourself as a sounding board, not an advisor. Listen more than you talk. Advise only when solicited.
- Do things you love together. Find a common ground. Sharing an activity will lead to increased intimacy.
- Respect their choices as you would with any adult. Speak with them as you would with other adults.
- Follow the new parents’ rules, even if you think you know better. Respect and trust the parents and let them make their own mistakes.
- Think of yourself as their assistant, not as the Queen Mother. Ask what they want and need. Maybe it’s folding the laundry or maybe it’s watching the baby so the mom can take a nap.
- Provide positive feedback. Even the most well-prepared new parents may feel insecure and could use a little confidence building.