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!

Finding Support

Source: blog.timesunion.com

By Bethany Lynch, www.TheGracefulMom.com

No matter what parenting philosophy you choose or whether you work full time, part time, or stay at home, you need support as a mom. You need other women that can identify with who you are and what you do. You need a good foundation in your marriage and other couples to identify with, but there is just something about that friend or confidant that truly understands the core of what you believe.

There are a few things that I think will make your quest for these special ladies a little easier. True friendships usually take years to grow, but support systems are great because they can often be instant. Use caution in just jumping in to groups you identify with just because you identify with them. By taking these simple steps it is possible to form a deep and broad foundation when you need encouragement, inspiration, advice, or listening ears and eyes.

The first step is to look for several options or ways to find support. Be broad and be open. For me, I loved the Babywise series and identified with the goals immediately. However, I was completely lost as to how to troubleshoot when things weren’t perfect (can you say anxious first-time, high-strung mom?!) and where to find more information on implementing the broad ideas I read about. I actually “Googled” pro-Babywise and came across Valerie’s blog and found links to other forums. Some were easier for me to navigate or follow than others, but through one of those forums I met one of my dearest best friends. We are in very different roles. She works hard in the home and I work full time outside of my home. She’s preparing to homeschool and I had to find a new nanny recently, but we have kids of similar ages and very similar goals. We’ve made special plans to visit each other and have stayed in frequent touch for 5 years all because of a small forum.

Next, surround yourself with positive, similar women. Look for women older and younger and the same age, but make sure you choose wisely! It is so tempting to identify and associate with women that can relate to your hardships, but often this spirals down into venting, complaining, and occasionally even bashing. We easily jump onto the bandwagon when it is something we are passionate about, and while it is good to have strong beliefs, it is extremely worthwhile to hold to those beliefs with integrity. It not only sets a good example for your children but it sets a good example for people that don’t even agree with you. You are much more likely to find people that are supportive and encouraging even though you may not see eye to eye if you refuse to join in on criticizing others. I know women that can talk about child rearing, religion, schooling, healthcare, and all leave with a smile but I also know women that are so passionate about Babywise that you cannot even have a fair conversation about any other method.

I also believe that you have to actively find ways to support other women. You need to be a friend and encourager to others that have gone through similar hardships. You need to make an effort to inspire other moms to come together in support and community. It doesn’t have to entail starting a blog or a new forum. It can be as simple as asking someone to get coffee or as small as taking a meal to a new mom. I do know that you cannot always wait for someone else to step up, and you might end up being even more blessed than the person you sought out.

It’s is a cool, fascinating era when one can be part of a network of similar bloggers. I have met some absolutely amazing women through my blog and this network. Women that exist to speak positive, encouraging words. Women that support you whether you have a newborn or school age children, whether you have children with sensory disorders or severe allergies or no health issues. So thank you for being part of my support system!

Babywise Week: Teaching Life Skills

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: Valerie Plowman, Chronicles of a Babywise Mom
· Tuesday: Maureen Monfore, Childwise Chat
· Wednesday: Bethany Lynch, The Graceful Mom
· Thursday: Emily Parker, Journey of Parenthood
· Friday: Surprise guest blogger

We kick off Babywise Blog Network Week with a wonderful post from Valerie about teaching our children those important life skills. She features a precious picture of her oldest at three years old pushing a vacuum. Valerie’s post offers a detailed explanation as to why it is our responsibility to teach our children important life skills and how to do so. For a time, it does take more work to teach a child to sweep the floor than to simply do it ourselves. But the goal is not having a clean floor. The goal is having a child who knows how to sweep. And as our kids learn these skills, it’s all about practice. Valerie reminds us that our kids need to practice their chores just as they do to learn to play an instrument, a sport, or any other activity that doesn’t come naturally.

“Your child is not going to learn how to cook and clean just because it happens in your home any more than your child will learn to read just because you have books in your home.” ~Valerie Plowman

This is my favorite quote from Valerie’s post. Its a great analogy!

To read her post in its entirety, head on over to Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. And check in here all week to see what the other Babywise bloggers have in store for us!

Daddy Is Not a Babysitter

Source: theberry.com

By Hank Osborne, DaddyLife.net

I often hear dads say things like, “I have to babysit tonight.” Sometimes mom may even ask dad to babysit the kids while she goes out to a meeting or simply has a night away with friends. I get the concept in theory, but the general definition and the undertones that come with putting with words “dad” and “babysit” in the same sentence just don’t seem right.

First let’s start with the generally accepted definition of the word “babysit.” You can use your favorite search engine to verify, but in general the term babysit means to care for kids during the absence of the parents. Therefore that means that the person performing the duty is not a parent of the children being cared for. And based on a note from Merriam-Webster the term has only been around for about 60 years.

The reason I take issue with the term babysit to refer to the time that dads spend alone with their kids is that, in my opinion, this degrades and diminishes dad’s authority as an equal parent. I know that all dads are not as equally involved in parenting. Some dads are mostly uninvolved. I know guys who have multiple kids and they can count the number of diapers they have changed in their life on their fingers. Some of them even take pride in this, but I hope that is not the case in your home. Some dads may not be affected by being called a babysitter and may even use the term freely as very active dads. However others, like me, may take offense to it. So yes, it is a pet peeve for me. It may also be a pet peeve for the dad in you house. If you are a mom reading this, please check to make sure this term does not bother your husband if you are characterized by using it.

If you are a dad reading this, then you need to make sure you function more like a parent than a sitter. A good gauge of this is to observe how your kids act when you are home alone with them, as opposed to when you and your wife are both at home during the same time of the day. For instance, if your kids turn into different people as soon as mom leaves the house, then you are probably seen as more of a sitter than a fully engaged parent. You need to know enough about your kids’ routine to be able to take over and run things solo at a moment’s notice.

Even though there are a number of circumstances that can put you in a position as the primary care giver unexpectedly, I recommend that you do it on purpose once in a while. I’ve talked about it before when I reminded you that Dads Are Parents Too. This is Valentine’s Day and it is a good time to give mom a little note that says, “ONE FREE NIGHT (or weekend) OUT WITHOUT THE KIDS. Redeem at any time.” The note will go nice with those flowers! ;-)

Hank Osborne is a blogger/podcaster encouraging parents to rise above the level of mediocrity. He is the geek dad of 5 (one still snug in the womb). Hank and his wife coach parents on Internet safety and homeschooling.

Picky Eaters

William eating sushi

William eating sushi

Do you have a picky eater? If you’re unsure, you don’t. Those of us who have picky eaters cannot deny that we do. There’s no question. Raising a picky eater is no easy task. But as with many things in parenting, it comes down to training.

Lucas is my picky eater. William is decidedly not a picky eater. At the right are a couple pictures of William eating food that many picky eaters wouldn’t even consider touching (sushi and steak salad). I’m thankful that he’s not picky because he’s my child who has the most food issues. He has a slew of food intolerances and blood sugar instability that might be diagnosed as hypoglycemia. With his restrictions, he cannot live on pasta and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches like many picky eaters do.

William eating steak salad

William eating steak salad

I’m lucky that my youngest is my picky eater. William has taught me that kids can eat a wide variety of foods. I was a picky eater as a kid, and my mom would typically make me new food when I refused to eat. So I’m sure if my oldest was a picky eater, I would have done the same. But after seeing William eat everything from broccoli to lentil soup, I knew that Lucas was perfectly capable of eating these foods, too.

I remember when Lucas was still sitting in a high chair, I always made it a point to put a green vegetable on his tray. At first, I didn’t ask him to eat it. I just wanted him to see it. Most days, he would move it away and put it in the tray’s cup holder. He wasn’t shy about the fact that he had no intentions of eating it. But I kept putting it there, day after day. Whatever green veggie we were eating, I put one small piece on his tray. We ate spinach salad quite a bit back then, so I usually put one small leaf. Well, my plan worked. After time, he decided that it wasn’t so scary after all. He eventually started taking small bites, and years later, he’s now to the point where he’ll happily eat a whole serving of green vegetables.

Some might say that given this experience Lucas isn’t truly a picky eater. I do believe that picky eaters are born, not made. I recognized this the first time Lucas would take in a bite of a casserole and filter out the meat so he could spit it out. But I also believe that parents have the power to change their kids’ picky eating habits. We don’t need to simply throw up our hands and say there’s nothing we can do.

There’s also something to be said about food intolerances and picky eating. Typically, when we have a food intolerance, we tend to crave that food. So if a child doesn’t tolerate wheat, she may want to eat nothing but pasta and bread. It sounds counterintuitive, but when we don’t tolerate a food, it creates an opiate effect in the brain. It’s a drug! If a child eats a food that doesn’t feed that opiate craving, they want nothing to do with it. They will get to the point where they’ll eat nothing but the foods they crave. I’ve had a few friends who I’ve described this to, and a couple were completely fearful of the idea of eliminating the food the child craves. They said that the child would eat nothing! Kids are smart. They won’t starve themselves. I have one friend who heard my advice, and after eliminating wheat, her daughter got so healthy and made great strides in social and physical development.

The other reason I believe that parents can change their picky eaters is that many kids often decide to stop being so picky because they see that their siblings eat well. I have a friend whose oldest is a picky eater. After little sister came along and showed her brother that she could eat well and there was nothing scary about it, he got better.

If you have a picky eater, I have a few words of advice:

1) Your first goal should be to not make special food. Always feed the child something you know he will like (e.g., plain rice along with the chicken he doesn’t like), but never make a new meal. The child should eat what the family eats. With the one food you know he will eat, he won’t starve.

2) Eat together as a family. If he sees that everyone he knows and loves eats this food, he’ll be more inclined to eat.

3) With foods that the child finds particularly distasteful, simply put them on his plate day after day, but don’t require him to eat. Encourage him, but don’t require him.

4) Limit the child’s liquid intake before a meal. Lucas used to fill up on milk or water to avoid having to eat what we were serving.

5) Use dips to your advantage. Kids like to dip, and if ketchup helps cover up the taste, so be it. Let him.

6) While you’re working on his picky habits, talk to his doctor about nutrients. Find out if you need to supplement calcium or any other vitamin.

7) Don’t tell other people, within the child’s earshot, that he’s a picky eater. The more you validate it, the more he’ll live up to the label. Convince him that he’s capable of eating any food.

So trust that all hope is not lost with picky eaters. Train your child to eat well in the same way that you would teach him to read. Take it slowly and be patient. Every child is capable of breaking habits, which is exactly what picky eating is. Help him overcome his picky eating ways, and he’ll thank you for it when he’s an adult.

I’d love to hear from you if you have a picky eater. Have you found any other tactics that work?

Desperate Times

Source: naturallysavvy.com

Sometimes desperate times do call for desperate measures. No matter how much we may understand that threatening and repeating tactics will ultimately fail, there are times when we resort to these measures. And that’s ok.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the idea that parenting is the most important job we will ever do. When we realize that we truly do have the power to shape our children, it’s easy to set super-high expectations for ourselves. When things go wrong, it’s not pretty. Forgiveness — from ourselves and other moms — doesn’t come easily.

That’s what makes parenting so hard. Yes, it’s an important job. And yes, women are highly critical of each other. While I’d love to ask moms to go a little easier on each other, the least we can do is forgive ourselves.

And the truth of the matter is that sometimes counting to three really works. Sometimes bribing our kids works. And sometimes it’s on the fourth time that we repeat an instruction that we get obedience. If the day has gone horribly wrong, and in the middle of cooking dinner, you realize you’re out of the most critical ingredient, it may be one of those times that you need to bribe the children to obey during a quick trip to the store. It’s better to bribe and maintain emotional stability than to run the risk of being sent over the edge by a child running wild in the produce section.

Besides, there’s a difference between knowing and doing. We may intellectually know how we want to train our children and what behaviors we expect of them, but actually implementing these parenting ideas consistently is a different endeavor entirely. Again, that’s ok.

There’s one crucial thing to remember about this: don’t do it often. Sometimes we need to call upon our most desperate measures, but the other 98% of the time, we need to diligently train our kids in the behaviors and attitudes we expect. If your attempts to train go horribly wrong, it’s probably a clue that you’re using desperate measures a little too often.

But before you even think about criticizing yourself for this, remember that you deserve to be forgiven. You are your harshest critic, so go easy on yourself every now and then.

Find Your Inner Cheerleader

Source: fancydressball.co.uk

I’m amazingly fortunate to have a friend who is traveling the homeschooling journey with me. Her kids are slightly older than mine. All four went to the same school together last year. As luck would have it, before the school year was over last year, I took Lucas to a birthday party and overheard another friend say that Missy* was going to homeschool her kids. If there was ever a purpose for those crazy birthday parties, this was it.

I bring this up because Missy is an amazing cheerleader for her kids. She is so excited to be homeschooling her kids, and her excitement is infectious, both to her kids and me! While I’m rethinking my decision to homeschool, she plans to homeschool her kids the whole way through. She loves every minute of it. I think her attitude towards homeschooling completely sets the tone for their days. She is the ultimate cheerleader.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am no cheerleader. I’m a glass-half-empty kind of girl. But recognizing my weakness is the first step to changing it, right? When I face an obstacle with my kids — whether it’s related to school or some behavioral issue — I now ask myself, What would Missy say?

Last night, William was almost done with his math books (yay!) but he had to make a few corrections before we could call it done. After therapy and a quick trip to the mall, we came home and sat down to finish. After he redid a few incorrectly on his own, I realized that I needed to sit down with him and help him through. It was late, we hadn’t eaten dinner, our routine was completely off, there were quite a few corrections to be made, we had a difficult morning, Lucas was off playing, and I wasn’t going to let him go to bed until it was done. It had disaster written all over it. I’m happy to say that with Missy sitting on my shoulder (figuratively, of course), I cheered him through it!

At every turn, I had to stop myself from spouting out something negative and defeating. I then mustered up the most positive thing I could say. I uttered “You can do this!” quite a bit, and while I was going for variety, the repetition didn’t hurt. We even laughed together at some of his crazy incorrect answers. We were in it together, and he got it done!

So if you are struggling with a particular issue with your child — whether it’s a behavioral issue, a difficult chore, homework or anything else — find your inner cheerleader. I once read a quote that said something like, “Who came up with the idea that making our kids feel bad about themselves (through discipline or derision) would make them change their behavior?” It’s so true! If we want them to improve, we need to make them feel good about themselves.

Here are a few negative phrases I’m sure I’ve uttered at some point and their cheerleader alternatives:

1) You’re 5 years old. You should know better. –> You’re such a big boy. I had no idea you were so smart.

2) Come on. You know this. Why can’t you do it? –> You can do this! I believe in you!

3) Please try folding laundry. You may not do it perfectly, but that’s ok. –> I had no idea you were so good at folding laundry! That was really hard! (Refold after the child has gone to bed.)

4) Did you really think that snatching that toy from your brother was a good choice? Really? –> I know you like that toy, and it can be so tempting to take the things you want. But I think your brother would feel better if you asked first. Do you agree? Let’s give it back and find another toy like that one.

5) You were good at riding your bike last time. What happened? Try harder! –> I see your bike-riding skills are a little rusty. That’s okay. It happens to me, too. Let’s keep going and it will get easier.

6) I see you got a good grade on your spelling test. Good. That’s as it should be. –> Wow! You got such a good grade on your spelling test! Let’s put it up on the fridge so Daddy sees it when he gets home!

Try to step outside yourself to listen to how you speak to your child. Honestly evaluate whether you are defeating or lifting up your child. If it’s the former, make it a point to work on it and stop yourself before you utter another negative phrase. Our kids want to please us. Let’s encourage them by making them feel good about doing so.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent. :)