Archives for July 2013

Correct for Attitude: A Tip

It can be so easy to fall into the trap of correcting our kids’ outward signs of disobedience while ignoring attitude. We often focus on their actions without paying attention to what’s going on in their little hearts. I think attitude is just as important as actions, if not more so. By the same token, we may correct our kids for the words they speak but not correct facial expressions. Attitude is attitude. Whichever way our kids reveal their attitudes to us, our job as parents is to get to their little hearts and make sure they’re in the right place.

Here’s a tip on figuring out whether to correct for attitude, especially those little facial expressions that often go by unnoticed. The next time you see your child with a not-so-happy expression on her face, picture a little comic strip thought bubble over her head and fill in the words. Imagine what she would be saying if she were talking. And if she were saying those words, would you correct her?

Here are a couple examples:

  • Expression: Eye roll
  • Thought bubble: That’s so stupid.

  • Expression: Furrowed brow and tight lips
  • Thought bubble: I’m so angry I could hurt someone.

  • Expression: Lifted chin while looking away
  • Thought bubble: I’m better than you.

You would certainly correct if your child spoke these words, right? And aren’t these words an accurate expression of the attitude you see on her face? Again, attitude is attitude. Correct if it needs correction.

Now, perhaps assigning words to her expressions isn’t entirely fair. So you might not correct as harshly as you might if she actually spoke them. Nonetheless, the point is understanding what’s going on in her heart. If this little exercise helps you get a better feel for her attitude, give it a try. Keep in mind that we cannot forget attitude when correcting our kids. Correct for actions, speech, facial expressions, and any other expression of attitude, always making sure the child’s heart is in the right place.

Babywise Week: When Family Doesn’t Support Babywise

It’s Babywise Blog Network Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

· Monday: Maureen Monfore, Childwise Chat
· Tuesday: Valerie Plowman, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
· Wednesday: Bethany Lynch, The Graceful Mom
· Thursday: Rachel Norman, A Mother Far From Home
· Friday: Emily Parker, Journey of Parenthood

Today we hear from Emily from Journey of Parenthood. She talks about what to do when our family members don’t support Babywise scheduling. She offers some great advice as to how to handle the situation including:

  • Have your husband speak up if it’s his parents who don’t agree
  • Make accommodations like pumping a bottle to give family members time with the baby
  • Stick to your guns and don’t doubt yourself

I can sympathize with Emily’s experience. My sister had her three kids before I had my first. She and I are very different parents. She was a baby-wearing, co-sleeping mom. I read Babywise before William was born and knew that it resonated with me. He threw me for a loop though, and his colic required that I be much more of an attachment parent. As soon as the colic (and dairy) were gone, I immediately started implementing Babywise and was much happier for it.

So it took some adjusting for my family to accept my new ways. There were still times when they could offer helpful advice and take my kids off my hands when I needed a break. Even though Babywise wasn’t smooth sailing with William (nothing ever is with that child), I think they did ultimately come around to understand why I had him on a schedule.

Back to Emily’s post, she sums it up nicely with this comment:

“If you’re dealing with Babywise nay-sayers in your life keep doing what you’re doing. Remember that it’s your baby. As people offer up their own advice (which is inevitable!) let them know you appreciate it and will consider it and then do what YOU think is best. It can be hard when you don’t feel like others support your decisions as a parent, but I assure you that they will come around and will probably end up being Babywise cheerleaders themselves.”

Check out Emily’s blog to see the post in its entirety.

Babywise Week: Finding Time in the Everyday

It’s Babywise Blog Network Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

· Monday: Maureen Monfore, Childwise Chat
· Tuesday: Valerie Plowman, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
· Wednesday: Bethany Lynch, The Graceful Mom
· Thursday: Rachel Norman, A Mother Far From Home
· Friday: Emily Parker, Journey of Parenthood

Today’s featured post is from Rachel from A Mother Far From Home. I love this post, and Rachel’s blog! Rachel does a great job expressing a little personality in her posts. In today’s post, Rachel talks about finding time to yourself in everyday life. Can you see a theme emerging this week? On Monday, I talked about the importance of finding time for yourself. Valerie and Bethany talked about hiring sitters. But we can’t always find time for ourselves out of the home. Rachel offers four tips for carving out some time for ourselves in everyday life:

1. Schedule it in

2. Find organized activity groups

3. Learn how to lock doors

4. Don’t lose time to the “black hole”

I love this last idea because it’s so true! It’s so tempting to feel like you deserve some time to relax in front of the TV or computer, but these things don’t always leave us feeling refreshed and ready to take on the afternoon or evening with our kids. Here’s what she says:

“By black hole I mean things that may lead you to say ‘I just sat down and three hours have gone by for nothing.’ For me these things revolve around media. Facebook, Pinterest, and my decorating or homesteading blogs can suck up a large amount of time and, while I enjoy them for what they are, they do not help me relax. They help me escape and then, when I’m finished, I don’t feel refreshed.”

I think this speaks to the whole point of carving out time for ourselves. We want to recharge our batteries so we can be better moms to our kids, not simply find an excuse to be lazy.

Babywise Week: Babywise-friendly Babysitters

It’s Babywise Blog Network Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

· Monday: Maureen Monfore, Childwise Chat
· Tuesday: Valerie Plowman, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
· Wednesday: Bethany Lynch, The Graceful Mom
· Thursday: Rachel Norman, A Mother Far From Home
· Friday: Emily Parker, Journey of Parenthood

Today we hear from Bethany from The Graceful Mom. In her post (see her blog for the entire post), Bethany offers some tips for finding a sitter who is “Babywise friendly.” Bethany mentions the same points that I mentioned on Monday like how important it can be to take time to yourself, for the sake of the child if not for yourself. I agree with her that when we do have a chance to get away, finding a Babywise-friendly sitter can be invaluable. It’s not always possible to find a sitter who is experienced with the book and its methods. But as I mentioned yesterday, I’m so lucky that a mom in my neighborhood’s babysitting co-op is a Babywise mom, so she knows all about it. Plus, she’s an experienced mom, not a teenager.

But we can’t always find sitters who are familiar with Babywise. In this case, I like what Bethany says here:

“Leave a copy of Babywise laying out. I have had a few sitters actually open it up while the kids are napping and they almost always remark on the good ideas in it.”

Such a good idea! I might do the same with Childwise the next time I hire a sitter!

 

Babywise Week: Family Babysitters

It’s Babywise Blog Network Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

· Monday: Maureen Monfore, Childwise Chat
· Tuesday: Valerie Plowman, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
· Wednesday: Bethany Lynch, The Graceful Mom
· Thursday: Rachel Norman, A Mother Far From Home
· Friday: Emily Parker, Journey of Parenthood

Today we hear from Valerie from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. She talks about all the various things we might want to think about when we ask family members to watch our kids. My closest family member, my mom, lives two hours away, so I have no experience in the matter. But I think Valerie’s advice is helpful whether it’s a family member, friend, or hired sitter.

I’m lucky enough that my neighborhood has a babysitting co-op, so I don’t have to pay for a sitter every time I go out or have a meeting. We exchange points for babysitting. It’s wonderful. There’s one point from Valerie’s post that resonates with me when I ask co-op members to watch my kids. It’s this:

“Make this experience as easy as possible for your family member. They are doing you a favor, so make it simple for them. Just think through the routine and what they will need to do while you are gone.”

It’s important to strike a balance between providing the information that will help the sitter, yet not provide so much that we make things more demanding and difficult on the sitter. I watched a friend’s kids the other night, and I was so lucky that she was a Babywise mom! I knew that the baby had been fed and was supposed to be in bed, but she woke up crying. I knew from that information that she was gassy, so I helped her through it and put her back to bed. As with all Babywise babies, the cry wasn’t a guessing game!

Babywise Week: Be a Little Selfish

It’s Babywise Blog Network Week again! All week, we’ll be featuring blog posts from other Babywise-friendly blogs. The schedule is as follows:

· Monday: Maureen Monfore, Childwise Chat
· Tuesday: Valerie Plowman, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
· Wednesday: Bethany Lynch, The Graceful Mom
· Thursday: Rachel Norman, A Mother Far From Home
· Friday: Emily Parker, Journey of Parenthood

Go ahead, think only of yourself every now and then. It’s okay. In fact, it’s good for your child. I’m not saying that you should ignore your child and have him fend for himself. Odds are, if you’re reading a parenting blog, you’re not the type to neglect your child. It’s likely you can’t even imagine a parent who neglects their child. I was that way for a while. I’d hear stories of completely selfish moms, like one mom I know of who just tells her kids to go to bed without reading or tucking them in. I was aghast!

But I digress. The point of this post is that if you are the type to build your life around your children, it’s important to take some time for yourself. Now I’m not going to tell you to nap every time your baby naps. That’s just unrealistic. The dishes and laundry have to get done at some point. But do take some time away from motherhood. Even if you’re still physically with your children (it’s hard to get away sometimes), let your thoughts wander. Think about your own dreams and aspirations. Think about whatever it is that excites you.

If you’re not sure what excites you — as a person, not a mom — then it might be an indication that you’ve been mired in mommyhood a little too long. We need to keep growing as people because some day, our kids will leave the nest. It scares me to think about it, but my oldest is almost 9. That’s half-way to 18! Anyway, spend some time pondering whatever you think might help you grow as a person. Take a cooking class. Join a book club. Learn photography. Volunteer for a cause you believe in. Whatever it is, find something that will help you grow and get out of mommy mode for a while.

At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that being selfish can be good for your child. The Ezzos warn us being too child-centered. Our children need us to not build our lives around them. The oft-uttered phrase in Ezzo circles is “the child is a welcome member of the family, but not the center of it.” To avoid raising selfish children, we need to be a little selfish ourselves. Our kids need to see that we have lives that don’t include our kids. We weren’t born to wipe noses, pick up toys, and taxi our children around town. We stand on our own two feet and don’t need our children to fulfill us — or at least that’s how it should be.

I know how easy it can be to build a life that’s centered around the children. I couldn’t wait to be a mom. The corporate life wasn’t thrilling me. In fact, it was exhausting me. And I was so ready to move on to the next phase of my life. But I had to wait. As it happens, I got the mommy bug when my husband was in flight school. He wasn’t thrilled about having a child during such a rigorous program. So I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, he was ready, and I quit my job! It’s a good thing, too, because William was so difficult (colicky, allergies, speech delay, etc.) that I can’t imagine his needs being met in a daycare.

But you can imagine that after having waited and changing my life so drastically, I did build my life around my child. Ultimately, when I learned more about child-centered parenting, I realized that I needed an outlet. I needed to escape from mommyhood every now and then. So I shifted my focus a bit and started to build my freelance copywriting business. It was, and still is, the perfect mix. I get to be a mom, and they get to see that I have a life that doesn’t include wiping noses.

If you’re a Babywise mom, you’re probably a planner. So take the time to plan out your escape from mommyhood. Find the catalog to the local community college to see what classes might excite you. Go to the local bookstore or library to find out about book clubs. Figure out what cause it is that you believe in most (animals, sick children, homeless, elderly), and find out how to volunteer. Whatever it is, make a plan to find your hobby and schedule it into your life.

Don’t Forget the Good

A friend recently reminded me how important it is to speak up to our children about their good qualities. It’s our job as parents to right their wrongs and correct them when something goes awry. But when we get caught up this job of correcting our kids, we often neglect the good. If our days are spent calling out the bad, it begins to affect the self-esteem. Now, I’m not a big fan of this term. Often, permissive parents are guided by a fear of damaging the self-esteem. But that’s not to say that we should ignore it completely.

There are times in my life when I’ve been praised more than I’ve been reprimanded. In fact, I had a boss once who was always so good at praising me. Ten years later, I still remember some of the wonderful things he said about me. That praise made me feel good, and it was very motivating. It gave me a reason to please!

Let’s think this idea through more completely. Which statement do you think will motivate your child to do well?

  1. Don’t touch that. You’ll mess it up.
  2. You’re doing such a nice job keeping your hands to yourself.
  1. Stop whining. It’s only a little scrape.
  2. I know you’re upset, but you’re being so brave by not crying.
  1. Hurry up and brush your teeth. Move faster!
  2. You’re doing a such a careful job brushing your teeth.
  1. Be careful! You’re going to spill that juice!
  2. Good job being independent enough to pour your own juice. Let me show you how to clean up after yourself.

When my friend mentioned this idea to me, she suggested that our kids will start to believe in all the negative words we spout out at them. If all we say are things like “don’t touch that,” “move faster,” and “stop whining” they will start to think they are destructive, slow cry babies. If we replace those words with “nice job,” “brave,” and “independent,” those words will stick with them. They will believe they are good, brave, and independent.

My friend said to do this even when things aren’t going quite right. The example she gave was when her son got mad and yelled at his sister. My friend could still praise her son for using only his words, not his hands, and not swearing. True, he could have walked away before getting angry, but it could also have been a lot worse.

If you’re not in the habit of offering praise, think of ways to remind yourself. Perhaps set a timer so you say something good once an hour. Or put up a note in your kitchen to remind yourself. Remember to always look for the good, even in bad situations.