It has been such a year for us. As I am starting to think about what we’ve done in 2014 as a family, it brought up a lot with parenting and I wanted to write what I’ve learned down. I thought about doing a video, but I feel like I would be too emotional talking about everything and admitting mistakes and all that other jazz, so here I am.
The pic below is of my kids at their Christmas concert on Wednesday, 12/17. Aren’t they cute? Surely I’m not biased ;). I am just so grateful for the amazing little people they are becoming.
Sorry about the eyes – it was on my phone and quite frankly, I was too tired and lazy to fix it. Red eyes or not, they’re still adorable and I’m still so proud!
Let me go into the parenting lessons that I’ve learned this year. I’m sure I could easily name 45 but I gave myself 30 seconds to write down what came to mind and these are the ones that did. So now I get to elaborate on each one below.
6 Parenting Lessons I’ve Learned And Will Improve On In 2015
Put The Phone Down
I love being connected and I love that I can see what my besties are doing and snap chat with a friend who I get to see twice a year and see her every day, but being present virtually is not being present in real life. Chad and I are vowing that after 4pm on Fridays (unless we are taking pictures) that our phones get put away. I suppose we don’t even need it for pictures. I just bought an awesome camera that I could use to document us.
We are going to focus n being present with our family and making memories. I think on Saturdays as long as we are together we can put our phones away too. I’ll update you on this one in a couple of months.
Discipline Less, Laugh More
I noticed myself impatient a lot this year. Kids, by nature, are exploratory. They love getting into things and when my children explored sometimes I was just frustrated that I had to stop doing what I was doing. Instead, I should have explained why they don’t mess with things or whatever I was telling them no to. I was too busy focused on getting things done. Not any more.
I want to say “no” less and laugh more. Kids look at being at home as their safe place and I want to give them that space to explore and ask questions and to just feel comfortable to come to me with anything. I know that my mom wasn’t comfortable with certain questions I asked her growing up and she shut down. I want to be the opposite and allow my kids to ask me anything, no matter how uncomfortable it is.
Bedtime is Not The Devil
It feels like it. My daughter HATES going to bed when it is actually bed time. She comes up with excuse after excuse (and she’s pretty good at new excuses – I mean, who else has a doll that punches them in the chin? Only mine, right?) and one night, I just laid in there with her and she just talked. She honestly just wanted to tell me about her day. I know it is a stall tactic (sounds like an FBI mission, doesn’t it?), but it was really sweet to hear her talk to me about her and what she did and to understand how her brain thinks.
I’ll admit at bedtime, I’m just ready for the kids to go to bed and for me to get out my computer, my shows or Christmas movies, and relax. Maybe instead of fighting the 1231223 why she can’t go to bed, I’ll try letting her talk it out for a little bit.
Get Out Of The House More
I’m not a person who likes going out of the house. Ok, I like going out of the house if Chad and I are doing a date night or going somewhere with friends. This year, I got out of the way more than I thought I would. This summer, every night we got home from daycare we played outside. We even took the kids camping and they absolutely loved it! They had such a good time. Even now, Chad is taking the kids for a walk in the mornings at least once a week, even thought its cold.
Create A Better Community
When I was growing up, before my parents became Jehovah’s Witnesses, every Friday or Saturday night we would go to my aunt’s house. My parents, aunts and uncles would cook, dance and drink and I’d play at the playground right behind my aunt’s house with my cousins and the other neighborhood kids.
Everyone knew everyone and there was just a sense of community. I remember helping the neighbor taking groceries out of their car and putting them in their house. It was just a fantastic feeling. Even though we don’t have a lot of kids in our neighborhood. Chad and I both have a lot of friends have that kids, so I want to do more play dates and create that close community and sense of safety/family for our kids.
Get Down On Their Level
I would see how my son would look at me when he was looking up at me and for some reason it just didn’t sit right with me. Instead of disciplining and talking about serious things from my height, I would get down to his level so I could be eye level with him (and my daughter too). I found “hovering” over my kids didn’t make them feel good, it makes them feel small and I don’t want to raise children who “feel small.” Maybe it is just my perception, maybe not.
I just know for me, I feel like I am doing better parenting when I get down on eye level with them and explain whatever I need to explain to them.
So those are my lessons I’ve learned and what I want to do more of in 2015. Are there any big takeaways you have from 2014 with your parenting/family life?