I have so many questions about parenting and being a wife now that we have two small children, and I am always looking for guidance. Sometimes I feel like we’re in a fog, and just in constant survival mode. And you may remember a few weeks ago I talked about experiencing Postpartum Depression this time around. But this week I had the pleasure of attending an experienced mom panel with my local church mom group, and it was so insightful I wanted to share with you! Of course I took copious notes, so I figured I’d outline them here for you and share the wisdom of these amazing ladies.
First, we discussed how important it is to keep the foundation you’ve built with your partner. You two are the rock that has created this family, and you have to keep this relationship a priority! I asked about this because we struggle with some resentment occasionally. It may seem to me like my husband gets to leave the house every day and go to work, so I think it’s a vacation (news flash, it’s not). He may think I get to stay at home in my pj’s every day if I want and that must be amazing (news flash, it’s not…but actually sometimes it is awesome to stay in my pajamas- not gonna lie). This can create a “who has it worse” situation, which is not healthy, and not productive!
- Pray to love him more every day. (This is such wonderful advice, because in the midst of parenting, you may develop resentment and irritation)
- Recognize that you are both doing a job. You may stay at home or work, or both. All of which are difficult places to be as a mom.
- Communicate- talk about what is stressing you out, but also talk about your hopes and dreams, don’t let those slide!
- My husband and I always dream together about remodeling the house, or opening a diner together.
- Set a bedtime for the kids so you can have some time together
- Pray together and for each other
- Recognize your husband’s contributions to your family
- Go on dates, either out or at home together
- Take a moment and enjoy each other with your children. While you’re driving, or across the aisle at Target, look at each other and remember why you love each other.
- Appreciate and recognize your partner’s efforts and strengths as a parent!
On Raising Children
- Remember that everything you do is making them who they are.
- They’re always watching and modeling- how you communicate, treat others, deal with conflict, demonstrating patience and gratitude, etc…
- Ask your kids to think about what they’re thinking about and be metacognitive and reflective on their actions.
- Simplify and Clear the Calendar. Kids remember the little moments!
- Play games with them
- Unplug and enjoy the moment!
- Help kids channel their energy and aggression into other activities (great advice for toddlers)
- Sibling relationships will happen naturally by spending time together, it doesn’t have to be forced
- Individual time with kids is important, but should happen when necessary, so be aware of their needs
- Take one of the kids to the store, or out with you, it doesn’t always have to be a big production
- Have a “Kid of the Week” and let them pick their seat in the car, choose dinners, etc… and switch off each week
- Kids don’t need technology. Turn it off, turn off the wi-fi, or invest in a system like the Disney Circle, which allows you to set filters, time limits, and track usage. We just purchased the Kindle Fire for Kids which limits free time, or prevents kids from using games and videos until they reach a certain amount of time on educational activities.
- Routine is SO important.
- I think if you take one thing from this post, it’s this. We’ve been putting our toddler to bed at 7pm since she was 6 months old and she’s slept through the night since then, with the occasional wake ups when she’s not feeling well or teething. It’s SO IMPORTANT! Hope I made myself clear there. So important.
- Keep them alive and fed!
- Find friendships and support you can count on!
- For me it’s my best friends, my mom, my church mom group, and my virtual moms group from when I was pregnant with Gracie. These women, some of whom I’ve never met in real life, have become great friends of mine, and are rocks and confidants I can always go to.
- Be kind to yourself- don’t beat yourself up for the little things, like an untidy house, or being human!
- You don’t have to be Pinterest perfect
- You’re a mom. It’s the hardest, greatest, and most rewarding job there is!
- Remember you are God’s beloved daughter, and every day you are blessed with a fresh start to be better
- My favorite Catholic author, Matthew Kelly, always says that every day you should strive to “Be the best version of yourself”
- Make this your mantra for a week. It helps I promise!
- Check out his book, Resisting Happiness, and any of his other books. They are super motivational!
- Your job is to help get your spouse and children to heaven
- Start praying now for their future spouses (I loved this advice!)
- Keep a routine of family prayer
- Make Church/Mass a non negotiable
- Put a priority on your Faith and stick to it. Recognize the seasons (Advent, Lent, Holy Days, etc..)
- Don’t get discouraged, kids all have moments where they aren’t into it.
- Luckily, our toddler loves church, but probably for the wrong reasons right now. They have donuts after mass, so she gets really excited as we walk up and starts yelling “Doonuuu?” Whatever works at this age, lol!
The most common reminder of the entire evening was to enjoy the moment, because it goes fast. Sounds cliche, but is seriously so true. As I’m prepping for Grace’s second birthday party, I’m wondering how in the heck we’re already celebrating a second birthday, and with another baby in tow! What? Like I blinked and I have a toddler and now a newborn. Enjoy the crazy ride!