|Lots of things have changed as my kids get older compared to my ideas of how things would be when I was new to motherhood but in the end, the thing that stays the same is how much I love these guys!|
When I had my first child (and even before), I had a very clear idea of how I wanted to parent. You name the topic and I most likely had a strong opinion: screen time, sugar, cloth diapers vs. regular, breast feeding, child birth, organic foods, potty training, sleep training, etc. I wasn't critical of how others chose to do things with THEIR kids but I was opinionated about how I wanted to do things with MY kids. I pushed my first born out and was ready to rock it from day one! And I was convinced I'd carry on with my approaches with all of my kids. Even with the youngest. Wow. Oh, how funny this is to me now that I am a mother of three. Going on almost ten years later with two girls (9 and 7) and a boy (5), and I can see that no matter how good my intentions were, things just change for us as parents as we have more kids and the reality of parenthood and childhood sets in. My son (third child) is proof of this. With the third child, we've just become a little more...relaxed about things. Ok, relaxed isn't the right word because I'm far from relaxed most days. We've become tired. Adapted to a more balanced approach to parenting. Realized that our kids won't die if we slack on a few things. In fact, they are alive and thriving without fried brains DESPITE the sugar, screen time, disposable diapers, drinking out of plastic cups that may or may not be BPA free, and the fact that they went a few days without eating anything green.
Even though I had a whole bag full of intentions, expectations, and opinions at the start of parenthood, it all went a little differently with each of my kids. One situation that was different with the other kids compared to my firstborn:
Potty Training (and the use of Sugar and Bribery to make things happen!)
All my kids have been potty trained at relatively early ages (nope, this doesn't make me a better mom). Potty training and sleeping on their own were things I was all about having implemented earlier rather than later. Having wood floors where they could run around without diapers helped with this. Oh, and lots of toilet breaks for a read aloud was nice too. Increase the number of visits to the toilet within the hour and eventually, they are bound to have to pee. Once they see that they did it in the potty and experience the celebration that follows, they usually want to do it again! Now, what constitutes a "potty celebration"? This was different for each of my kids.
I potty trained my first born with raisins and joyful claps of encouragement.
Yes, raisins. These were her candy! She knew of nothing else. No older siblings to offer her candy or friends at school handing out party bags with smarties and giving extras to the little brothers and sisters. Raisins were a TREAT! [now she won't touch them] Every time she would pee in the potty, she got a few raisins and a potty dance. This was awesome for all of us! She was potty trained and we stuck to our no sugar first-time parent convictions. Win win.
Fast forward to the second and third child. At this point, my oldest had not only discovered the incredible joy of SUGAR, she asked for it daily. And she was crafty with the ways she went about getting it. Forget having to potty train our second daughter...our oldest did it for us. Her thinking: If I get my sister to use the potty, I can offer her some chocolate and then of course Mom will have to give me some too! It was a potty training extravaganza! She asked little sissy many times a day if she wanted to go to the bathroom to sit on the toilet, drew up posters to put in the hallway that had pictures of toilets next to an equal sign that had candy on the other side (advertisement), and made it her personal job to make sure her sister thought big girl panties were the coolest thing ever! "Mom will give you some candy if you try to pee!" she'd say. At this point, I'm pretty sure they only got a few small pieces of chocolate but it was still CANDY!
By the time my son was ready to be potty trained, I might have been giving them all a whole candy bar if he just peed on a tree in the backyard. But I don't remember that much because those memories are all kind of blurry.
|Here's one reason why potty training my son was a blur. It was never just an easy trip to the toilet. Heck, even I was ready for a candy bar after this toilet break.|
|This little guy. Love him. Full of everything spunk. Being his mother has changed much for me with regards to how I THOUGHT I'd approach parenting.|
Last night at the dinner table after a late night of running kids around to indoor soccer and gymnastics practices and trying to cross everything off the list for the holidays, I just laughed to myself at how different things have become with our kids compared to the ideas we had of how things were going to be. For one, I never believed all those stories that boys were so different from girls. I kind of knew this as a teacher but it isn't the same until you're actually raising boys AND girls and see the differences for yourself. Motherhood over the years has been humbling and enlightening. I admit, I feel crazy A LOT. I doubt myself often. And parenting guilt shows its ugly face more than I'd like. But, I also know deep down that Good Enough is better than driving myself crazy trying to do everything the way I thought I was supposed to. Now, I choose my battles more. Let things slide. And know in the end, my kids will likely turn out just fine! The most important thing is that I'm loving, believing in, and being an advocate for my kids and that they KNOW this through my words and actions. The rest is icing on the parenthood/childhood cake!
- What are some things that have changed for you as a parent over the years?
- Did you do and think differently with your firstborn compared to your other kids?
- What is one specific thing that was different with your firstborn compared to your other kids?
- Giving my kids healthy foods to eat is one topic I've kept the same opinion on. My approach is different and I choose my battles OFTEN when it comes to food/sugar, but I still try to help my kids eat healthy. I wrote on this on Run with Me Kids today and I'd really love your comments on the post if you'd be willing to share: What are some of your tips for helping your kids eat healthier foods? (You can share that here and/or on the link to the Run with Me Kids post.)