10 Things Parents Should Do

 

1. Educate yourself– read books, read *reputable* websites, get various opinions, talk to your doctors

2. Don’t always trust your doctor– blindly, that is- sort of goes back to the whole educating yourself thing- YOU are you child’s best advocate

3. Trust your gut– even though sometimes it will tell you the exact opposite of every other member of your family- these are YOUR choices to make

4. Own your choices– no matter what it is you decide to do, if you’ve educated yourself and analyzed your situation enough to trust your gut to make a decision, what more can you do? Own it. It’s the BEST YOU CAN DO.

5. Don’t let other’s choices make you feel any less or more of a mother– THIS. IS. HARD. To be honest, I struggle with this one every day- on both sides. Β Just remember you are doing the BEST YOU CAN DO and so are they… hopefully… but that’s really none of your business… unless they leave the kid in the car with a 10 lb bag of crack and a rabid dog… then intervene because that is some shitty parenting and I encourage you to judge, judge, judge.

6. Cut yourself some slack– I’m serious. This is another one I struggle with a lot. Caring for another, smaller human doesn’t make us superhuman. We are allowed to feel tired, sick, annoyed, stressed. We are allowed to let all the balls drop, to just sit on the couch while the house is falling apart around us, children jumping off of couches with sharp-ish objects in their hands, dirty dishes piled to the sky in the kitchen, small animal sized dust balls blowing across the floor, and not GIVE A DAMN.

I challenge any one of you with a kid over the age of 18 months to tell me this has not been a scene from your life at some point or another. It happens to ALL OF US at some point. Yes, even that perky, put together, pearl-wearing mom who’s always perfectly pressed for the play date, it happens to her, too.

7. Allow yourself to change– So you did your research and you owned your choices and now you’re not so sure about them? You know what? No big deal. So staying at home didn’t work out and you want to go back to work? Fine! So you thought you’d never, ever, ever let your kids watch TV, but now it’s the only way to get 15 minutes of peace? That’s okay! Parenthood is all about being flexible and eating all those words that started with “I will never…”

8. Stick to your guns– Sometimes you think you need to cave on something you felt so passionately about, but doing so would compromise your values and the example you want to set for your children. Another confusing one, I know, because while parenthood is all about being flexible, it’s also about knowing which battles are worth the big fight and then fighting them.

9. Don’t box yourself in– You don’t have to be any “type” of parent. You don’t have to abide by every rule in any book. You should always make the choices that work for you and your family, even if, in this world that loves to put groups of people in uniform boxes, those choices seem to contradict each other.

I’ve always considered myself a bit of a hybrid parent, and for a long while it kind of bothered me. Was I an Attachment Parent? Was I a Modern Parent? Was I a Traditional Parent? Why did I have to be any one of them? I was just… me… just doing what felt right, and while I can associate with a lot of different “types” of parents, I don’t feel the need to wholly belong to just one.

10. Love your children– If every choice you make is with the love you have for your children in mind, how can you go wrong? Just love them in the best way you know how, and try to get better at it every day. Know that there will be some days that are harder than others and be OKAY Β with that.

None of those had anything to do with the manner in which you transport your baby around or what you use to collect their poop. Make the educated choices that feel right to you, own them, allow yourself to change your mind and just roll with it. I think that’s what it all boils down to.

I wrote this list within a post nearly 2 years ago, in response to an article that was circulating at the time. I found it in my archives last night and thought this list deserved a re-post. If anything, it was a good reminder for myself.

  • Elizabeth - Umm…#6. Happening in my house right.this.minute… and I have SOOO much to do. Blah. Thanks for making that I’m not awful for allowing it to continue.ReplyCancel

    • Elizabeth - Should read… Thanks for making me feel that I’m not awful for allowing it to continue. Had to remove semi-sharp object from toddlers hands in the middle of responding. πŸ˜‰ReplyCancel

  • Rachel @ The House of Burks - This is a great list. #4 is my mantra. I don’t care what decisions a parent makes for their child as long as the child is fed and clothed and cared for and loved. Make a choice with confidence and WORK IT. I breastfeed past a year despite the side-eyes I get. My child, my choice, I OWN IT, so back off.ReplyCancel

  • NaNa - This pot reminded me if something I learned very early as a parent. “you have to pick your battles to win the war “. Not saying that parenting is always a war but there were days that I looked in the mirror and told myself this a few times while deciding on if whatever had me unnerved at the moment was a battle worth fighting or if I could let it go and deal with whatever it was without a fight when things were not so on edgeReplyCancel

    • NaNa - I should not type comments on my phone. I meant to say this postReplyCancel

  • Myndee - I’m glad you posted that you had written this already, because while I was nodding along, I kept thinking “Didn’t she write something similar before?”ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I love that you’ve been reading long enough to recognize it.ReplyCancel

  • Suchada @ Mama Eve - I thought I would hate this list (always wary of “parents must do …. ” anything, but I loved it. You hit the nail on the head. So glad you dug it out of the archives!ReplyCancel

    • Jill - So glad you liked it! I’m always wary of writing things that people “must” do.ReplyCancel

  • Maggie S. - Yeah, baby.

    This gig is not for weenies.ReplyCancel

  • Beth Wankel - *stands up and applauds*.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Ritchie - Love this! And the hybrid parent comment was great, reminded me on how I am a flexible schedule-type that adapts as needed by what works, or better yet, what does NOT work πŸ™‚ Learning every day.ReplyCancel

  • Diane Spagnolia Baptista - Love it! I read what you post and it feels like you can read my mind, and you always make me feel better! Thank you for that!ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - So true! This list is a great reminder for all of us … not just as parents, I think it works for pretty much every aspect of our lives.ReplyCancel

  • Family Food and Travel - Perfect. Really really perfect. Thank you for this fantastic post πŸ™‚ReplyCancel

  • Observacious - I so rarely wholeheartedly agree with a parenting advice post. This is a definite exception. Great list!ReplyCancel

  • Liz Casper - Number 10 is the most important. It encompasses all the others. Nice list, thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • On Guilt | highdivingboard - […] Linked are three unrelated posts that were all very helpful in helping me pull my thoughts in to some for of order. Β  Meghan about not being guilty.Β  Liz on staying at home with her son.Β  Jill about making parenting less stressful. […]ReplyCancel

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