It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love. ~Nicholas Sparks
Is that not the truth? Nicholas Sparks pretty much sums up parenting for me. I’ve never loved a little person as much as I love my children. It’s such an intense and overwhelming feeling. I find myself lately just wanting to freeze time. I am forever grateful to be a mother; thanks God.
Lukey is currently singing from the top of his lungs the theme song of PJ Mask… I didn’t even realize that he knew all of the characters let alone the opening song! Lys is in the middle of writing a play? Or perhaps a movie script. That child of mine is very deep. Zachary has kept me on my toes with my GoodReads book reading challenge when he’s not playing xbox or a game on his dad’s computer. I’m pretty sure he started and finished the entire collection of Harry Potter this summer. Summer isn’t even over yet. Addy is my sweetie always leaving me words of affirmation throughout the house. She has the easiest time expressing herself and I really love that. Can we just agree she can never grow up?
How to Make Parenting NOT the Hardest thing EVER!
I have by no stretch arrived at being a parent. Over the years I’ve found little things that have helped me find balance in our home. Some days my house is anything but balanced and peaceful. With 4 children ranging in age 3-12 you can imagine our home can be a bit chaotic. Below are 10 of my best discoveries from over the years. Parenting is hard but it doesn’t have to be the hardest thing ever. Oh there will definitely be days and moments for sure but, here’s a couple little nuggets I hope will help you along your journey.
Stop comparing your children to your friends children, your sisters kids, the terrible neighbor kid… Each child is unique and has their own little quirks. We all have different rules and expectations that we place on our children. There’s no comparing. Let’s face it all kids have “their moment” even the good ones.
Enjoy the gift that your children are! God created them for YOU! He knew that YOU were totally capable of handling your children. Love them, lead them and enjoy the journey of being their mom/dad. It can be tough work to be a parent but, there’s a certain amount of peace in knowing that God handpicked our children for us. You’ve got this momma.
Embrace the Mess. Kids are messy. Wait, what? Your’s isn’t… lies. All kids are messy. You hear this a lot I know. I spent many days trying to maintain a tidy home at the expense of a short temper (mommy just cleaned that!) and a frazzled mom.*
MOM HACK – Recently I discovered what I call the “time out game.” During the time out game everyone has to stop what they are doing to clean up. It never seems like a good time to call time out only wait, I’m mommy so it’s the perfect time. It’s amazing how fast kids will clean up when they want to get back to what they are doing. Honestly I call time out a few times during the day especially when I feel like the “mess” is out of control and it’s been my saving grace.
*Don’t forget to have fun! Create LEGO villages with all the DUPLO animals. Search all the bins and find ALL the dinosaurs. Enjoy those toys that our children HAD to have. After all, how many dinosaurs does a 3 year old little boy have to have?
Spend time baking in the kitchen with the kids. What started as mommy doing most of the things has become me supervising to make sure the kids are taking turns with ingredients and working nicely together. I never thought we would get to this stage but, the look of satisfaction on their little faces when they icing a cake is just priceless.
Crank up the music! Impromptu dance parties always make things better. Ok maybe it’s the combination of dance parties, singing at the top of your lungs and having all the music at our fingertips that makes dance parties awesome! Talk about a stress reliever.
Momma needs a break too… Send them outside to play. Obviously their safety is important I’m not saying not watch them. And of course this recommendation is based on age. Pull up a chair and sit back and watch your child play. Sometimes I just don’t want to play, I just want to drink my coffee and watch my children play. Some days I’m surprised at just how nicely my children actually play together (haha). It’s pretty cool to watch the different types of play across the kids age groups. I read an article recently about children playing outside and it essentially said, mom’s need a break and playing outside is free. That was all the permission I needed!
*Sometimes it’s too hot outside I totally get that. I am not a fan of roasting in the heat. Some days the kids play a little too much xbox, watch a little too much tv or youtube but, hey mom’s got to keep her sanity. Do what works for you.
Get outside and put your phone down. This is a big one. I’m guilty of always having my phone to take pictures but, there’s something to be said about true quality time. Find a balance; it might look different than it does for me. This sometimes is easier said than done. When I’m outside I’m away from my inside responsibilities that are endless. Sometimes I just want to sit down and browse pinterest mindlessly. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Wind down time is a favorite time of mine. Since it’s summer we’ve gotten away from it but it will be the first thing I re-implement as school starts up. Depending on the day it’s anywhere between 30-45 minutes before bedtime when my children pick up a book and read or color. Sometimes I let them on their kindles but, I try to not let the kids go on their devices when school is in session. As my children cycle through the shower/bath they head to their room for quite time. I LOVE this time. Usually I can be found on my bed reading my book with a cup of hot coffee. We all win!
Practicing Grace… ESPECIALLY with our children. The funny thing about children is they are human beings and they too have good days and bad days. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that some days kids will just act up. There are many occasions when I look at my kids and think what in the world is happening? I lose sight of the big picture that children aren’t always going to be well behaved. Sometimes they need to hit the reset button maybe in time out, in their room with a book or maybe even better yet on the couch with mom. I’m trying to get better at this but, I’ve been working hard at giving my children grace when they mess up whether its bad behavior, teasing a sibling or being disobedient. Because no person big or small is perfect, practicing grace is always a good option.
Practice Gratitude because it seriously changes things. Maintain a gratitude journal or even a note on your phone. Each and every day is a true gift from God. I’ve found that when I wakeup in the morning if I start my day off with a grateful heart the tone for my day is set. Before I even put my foot on the floor in the morning I’m thanking God for another day. Thanking God for my husband and children. Expressing gratitude for sometimes silly things like the sweet kisses my baby boy just gave me that woke me up before my alarm or maybe the 15 minutes of extra sleep. Gratitude is a game changer.