Five years in and I feel like an expert! Ha! Who am I kidding?! Every day, Neveah says something to me that either nearly makes me choke on my drink or my jaw hits the floor because of her clap backs. Trust me, I have been burnt far too many times by her cheekiness and her level of intellect. Despite that, there are things that I realised or learnt about myself after surviving 1/2 a decade in the parenting game, I figured I’d be brazen and share some of the things parenting has taught me. Yes, I know I might be overplaying my hand but I know they’ll be useful. Promise.🤣
Patience is Key: I know, I know- this is thrown around a lot when it comes to parenting, but personally, I found this to be one of the pillars that worked. Trust me I get it, it’s not something you can do all the time unless you’re a yogi or have nerves of steel. Children can be testing at the best of times, but I realised early on that my daughter was merely trying to test boundaries and it was up to me to explain to her and reinforce what I wanted out of her. At the same time, we have to accept that they are little and aren’t evil in nature, they are merely trying to figure out their place in the world. Knowing when you need to take a break or take a few deep, deep breaths is the key. It’s all a process so, look at it as such.
Showing Vulnerability is Important: I know, I know, we’re parents, we’re supposed to be the leaders, the ones setting an example, but that never meant we needed to be “perfect”- we didn’t stop being human the second we became a parent. One of the things I learnt early on is that my daughter needed to see me as real as possible, within context- I didn’t want to build a wall between her and me, making her believe that she couldn’t come to me with her thoughts and feelings, because I was unrelatable. I want her to feel comfortable to broach ANY subject with me, especially because I could possibly help her avoid some of the same pitfalls I encountered. Sharing lessons and experiences helps us to bond, but also allows her to see that I lived, survived and had stories to tell and well…had a life before she came along.🤣 In all seriousness, as part of my daughter’s bedtime routine, I read her a book, we watch a mommy approved music video and then we talk about anything she’d like to talk about for a few minutes. These are the moments when surprisingly have very deep and thought-provoking conversations. It’s also when you realise just how much goes on in their little minds.💕
Connect With Your Inner Child: Life can be hard and we have so many responsibilities, I KNOW, but at the same time, it will not kill you to have fun with your kids. These are memories which do not cost a thing and will literally leave a lasting mark on them for LIFE! I can still remember the Friday game nights we used to have as kids and the Sundays we spent sitting at the table together doing homework as a group. So, get down on the floor and build that pillow fort, colour with them, make up stories together; it really is important, but also it will definitely serve as a distraction from adulting and Lord knows we need that!
Follow Through on the Endless Threats: If you’re like me, you spend 80% of your day making threats in order for them to do anything! At some point, you will need to follow through on the threats you make, in order for them to understand just how serious you really are! My daughter hates getting in trouble, the very thought of it gets her upset- which works in my favour, but every once in a while I have to actually punish her even if she is upset or cries her sad tears. Those are the worst because it pulls at my heartstrings- I don’t like a sad kid, but it also allows them to ponder their actions and in the end, taking time to think things over can’t be a bad thing; plus bonus, you get a break!
Give That Extra Cuddle: My daughter has a tendency to stall when it comes to bedtime, she could be speedy all day, then the second you tell her to get ready for bedtime…her clock S…L…O…W…S down. I know her tactics because she will try the sitting on the toilet extra long, brush every individual tooth and just as I kiss her goodnight she will ask for an extra kiss or cuddle. That’s after her 5 kisses, 5 cuddles, 5 snuggles and 5 nuzzles (1 for every year of her life) and sometimes it’s easy to snap at her and say stop wasting time its bed time! But, I usually check myself before I get there because when I take a step back and look at it from another viewpoint, she will not be this small forever, and in a few years, I will be looking back wishing I had hugged her just that bit longer. At the end of the day, there is always time. Take it, life is far too short!