So seeing as this blog is maybe supposed to be about parenting (given its title) I thought I’d give you some tips on the few things I’ve picked up over the past five years of being a mom/mum:
1.Learn how to install the car seat – yourself.
I don’t care if you are a single mommy/mummy or have an always-there husband and whole houseful of helpful relatives living right next door, learn to install the car seat – yourself. It will come up. Car seats will need to be transferred into rentals/loaners/your boss’s bmw and the situation will be thrust upon you when you least expect it. The day your husband’s been called away urgently to business in Peru, your kid has a fever of 102 and you have to get him to a pediatric appointment – that’s the day your car will conk out and you’ll have to get a loaner and then…you’ll have to install the car seats. It’s not hard. It’s just important to learn how to do it before you need to know how to do it.
2.Make some mommy friends.
This is not for the purposes of getting parental advice. That’s what the Internet is for. Actually the worst thing you can do if you want to keep hold of your mommy friends is invite them along to your own personal monologue of “All the wonderful ways I did it.” (I ironically note that that is exactly what I am doing in this blog posting.) The reason you need mommy friends is so you can complain to someone who really gets it – over a glass of wine.
3.Wear flat shoes.
Wear them every time you leave your house if you know your children will be coming with you. No heel, not even a kitten heel or a low wedge. None. Any elevation at all is to directly ask for trouble. As a mother you will be required to sprint, squat, pivot ,lunge, leap – trainers are the only rational footwear option. Alternatively buy some cute sandals.
4.Be or don’t be a Helicopter Parent.
Know that you will never get the helicopter/non-helicopter level right in the eyes of society. The minute you shout out ‘careful’ when your daughter looks like she’s about to dive head first off the top of the slide is the minute someone rolls their eyes and makes it clear that you’re being ‘repressive.’ The minute you turn back is the second they fall off the top of the climbing frame.
5.I’m not saying you can’t dress cute. Just not right now.
Give up on keeping your own clothes clean. Wear things that you don’t mind getting stained with bright red pasta sauce, covered in chalk dust or dirt patches. Steer away from pale pants. Leave all clothes that cost more than $60 in the closet.
6.Consider wearing ear plugs – all of the time.
I’ve been driven to this on the occasional weekend. BB sometimes gets frustrated, wondering why I’m suddenly not responding to a thing he says but aside from that – it’s golden times.
7.Try not to get too hung up on the gender thing.
I like equality. And I don’t want Mini to be held back from achieving anything in her life just because she’s female. According to the Parental Internet apparently one of the most important ways I’m to make sure she’s not being Repressed from Birth by Men, is via her selection of toys. If I let her dress up as Snow White, I’m told, it’s a sure thing that she will never want to join the Maths and Science Academy. Bummer. Well. As Mrs. Barlow always liked to say: Everything in moderation. The fact that Mini runs towards everything pink in the toy store and rams all three of her baby dolls in her toy pram and insists on taking them everywhere does not mean she’s doomed to a life in the typing pool. She also loves to play with trains and cars; she loves Legos and piles a mean stack of bricks. Sometimes Finn loves to play with Mini’s dolls and dress them up too. I think the key to dealing with this gender stuff is to introduce your kids to a good mixture of things. Unless you are snatching dolls away from your boy because it’s not manly or refusing to purchase your daughter a robotic construction kit because God knows where that might lead – it’s all good.
8.Create firm boundaries and reinforce them.
This is the most grueling one of all and one that BB and I learned the hard way. Finn likes to test the rules again, and again and again and again. If we yield and let him have iPad time when it’s not iPad time JUST ONCE, he knows he’s broken us and we’ll have to start all over again from scratch. Maybe some kids are fine with inconsistency; however I’m yet to meet one of them. In general, they will look out for a weak moment (usually after a glass of Chardonnay on a Thursday evening after a 12-hour work day) and move in for the attack. Stay strong. Someone somewhere is making a medal for you. You might not get it till you cross over to the other side – oh well.
9.Do all of your shopping online.
All of it. Everything. I’m even talking toothpaste. Not only will you save time, you won’t have to buy your kids extra toys when you go to Target and they start whining. Also you won’t have people at the store judging you because your kids are whining – bonus.
10.Take a million pictures and write down each and every hilarious thing they say.
I’m repeatedly told that this childhood thing all goes by very quickly and one day I’ll be left wrinkly and old and sitting in the rocking chair on the front porch with nothing but my iPhone-of-the-future to remind me of this time.
For now it seems like time is passing at exactly the right speed it’s supposed to.