My first two babies were born in the mid-eighties, with the first one being a bit of a surprise and the second one born 2.5 years later.
I clearly remember after the first birth being in the lift en route to my room with my newborn, husband and midwife and talking about having number two! The midwife was astounded to hear my enthusiasm as the birth was very long, and completely natural. Lamaze was popular back them!
The early years were wonderful, hard and challenging. My family were 150 km away and ‘new parent’ groups were unheard of. My only support was via phone to my mum, or the visits to my local Health Centre, now Maternal and Child Health. Some days were really long, and although focused on my children, I still had the need to have ‘me time’.
“I get another turn…wisdom is a wonderful thing”
Fast-forward to 2007, with the first born already left the nest and the second an independent teen, my maternal instinct was in overdrive. After years of trying for baby number three (yet I had been adamant that two were enough), we welcomed another son with a gap of 21 years between baby two and three.
Oh, what joy! We were over the moon and despite the pregnancy from hell, feeding and sleeping issues, I realised a way down the track that I was actually a multi-generation mum that had evolved with the times, taken on new parenting trends and could reflect on what did and didn’t work while parenting the first two. Yes, I am a proud multi-generational mum!
“Have you commented to your parents that they let the grandkids do things that you were never allowed to do?”
Now mum to Mr. 9, the time is flying by in that all too familiar way, and ‘Grandy’ to Miss 5, I find myself wanting to share some wisdom with younger mums. Hey let’s make parenting as positive and joyful as possible.
So here are my 15 parenting hacks to make life easier, to be aligned with best practice mental health and most importantly, cherish your little ones childhood. Some hacks have taken me a while to discover, others have simply evolved from time and experience and a will to do it better.
1. Don’t encourage independence too early, soon you will be wishing your big one was still a little one!
2. It’s definitely OK to tell your child you over reacted and are open for compromise and discussion. You don’t have to always be ‘the boss’. A simple hug goes a long way!
3. Don’t agree with others when your heart disagrees. Trust yourself and seek support that aligns with you!
4. True friends should never presume to ‘parent’ your child. It oversteps the friendship boundary.
5. Never boil peas. Simply pour boiling water over them and let them defrost and heat up.
6. Discover how many things regrow from waste. Spring onion, leek, lettuce, tomato seed just to name a few!
7. Get a wok, super fast, easy and nutritious cooking. A real time saver and less washing up!
8. Manage your screaming, overwhelmed toddler having a public meltdown with a big cuddle.
9. Don’t stress at meal times. It’s OK for kids to not want to finish everything on the plate. If it stresses you out, simply feed smaller portions.
10. Punishment creates disharmony. Psychologically damaging punishment is a negative action and a bully tactic. Communication, setting boundaries, cause and effect are better options.
11. Understand that your child is not a little adult. They cannot think, react, understand, negotiate or reason like an adult. What they do brilliantly is mimic your actions and reactions!
12. Screaming at your kids is a total waste of energy. Put yourself in their shoes, would you like to be screamed at?
13. Time-out only teaches that isolation is good. Isolation is what we never want in a stress situation.
14. Your children are small for such a short time. Enjoy the moment!
Do you have any awesome parenting tips to add to this list? Share with us below.
Image source Shutterstock.