What’s the best parenting advice someone gave you? Perhaps you read a book or heard someone speak on the subject and it gave you a fresh perspective.
As a mother of three, I will be the first to admit I need revolving doses of fresh perspective. After all, my role keeps shifting gears as my children grow. What it takes to care for my six-year-old differs significantly from the care I give my newborn.
That’s why I asked several moms from all walks of life to share their favorite parenting advice here. Not only do they wear the hat of “parent,” but they are also professional communicators who’ve written regularly on this subject in blog or book form.
I fully believe it takes a village to raise a child. Sometimes that means having conversations like this. It means taking the time to share (and to receive) wisdom and experience with one another. The parenting advice below will give you a chance to do just that.
Dolores Smyth writes:
“My advice for new parents is to take a week at least after the baby is born to connect as a family unit at home, meaning that visits from anyone who does not live in the home or help to take care of the baby should be limited, if not put off completely, until the ‘Family Unit Bonding’ week is over.
When I had my first child, my husband and I were overwhelmed by how many back-to-back, unannounced visitors we had during a time when were were sleep-deprived and our home and appearance were in disarray. We made sure to take family bonding time when our second and third were born, and wished we had known to do that with our first.”
“When you are grocery shopping or making your Target run, find a parking spot closest to the cart rack, not the door. When you have one (or more) kids, the last thing you want to do is try and push your cart all the way across the parking lot to return it. This was especially helpful when I added my second child to the mix!”
“This is, hands down, one of the best tips I received from my mother-in-law: Starting when your baby is a newborn, play the same song at bedtime every night (ours was Brahms lullaby on the baby monitor). After a little while, baby starts to associate that song with sleep and/or being calm.
When my daughter was older and standing up in her crib at night, as soon as I would turn on Brahms lullaby, she would lay down. If she was fussy in public, it would help calm her down.
Now that she is almost three, she knows the whole melody and knows it's her bedtime song, so we hum it together right before bed and it's her cue to go to sleep.”
“It's so easy to let worry and fear take over when you become a mom. What if she falls climbing that tree? What if she gets bullied at school? What if, what if, what if.
I battle these fears (and dozens more) everyday, but I've learned that holding onto my fear is never the answer. Indulging in my fearful thoughts does nothing but rob me of my joy.
Being a mom doesn't mean being a slave to fear. And for that, I am so thankful.
“Take time. Make time. Don't worry so much about a spotless house. Play more. Laugh more. Don't try to fix everything for your kids. Hug more, no matter what their ages. Sing and dance more. Let them get dirty more.”
In my experience, parenting takes a boatload of work. However, it’s also one of the most precious gifts I’ve ever been given. That intense juxtaposition splashes life with new dynamics all the time, and we, as parents, get a front row seat. Some days, I feel like a warrior. Other days, I know I’m out of my depth. Thank goodness for others who can speak into a parent’s life and lift us up. Please share these tips with anyone in your life who would feel encouraged by reading them.
Lest you think we’ve overlooked the role of the father, stay tuned! We will feature parenting advice from dads in an upcoming article.
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