I was just recently asked by a friend who’s a fairly new mom in a moment of her frustration with her toddler, how on earth I managed three kids when one alone is enough to drive a mother crazy. Well, firstly I admitted that I’m pretty sure I have become some sort of crazy, and that as the Persian saying goes آب كه از سر گذشت، چه يك وجب چه صد وجب aab keh az sar gozasht, cheh yek vajab cheh sad vajab , meaning that once you’re drowning, what difference does it make how much water you’re under? As you may have already noticed, I resort to humor and I’ve learned that you just have to learn to be able to laugh it out and laugh at yourself sometimes.
In response to my friend’s request, here are Persian Momma’s top 10 parenting tips that I’ve learned along the way and wish I was told and reminded of more often:
- Remember that everything with your new baby/child is transient. If they are a bad sleeper now, I can guarantee there will be a day when you will have to nag them awake. Think school days, snoozing alarm clocks, etc. If they are not good eaters now, there will come a day when you have to hide food from them, if they are clingy now, there will be a day when you will be yearning for them to call your name. So cherish the moments for what they are and remember that it will not always be like this.
- Time-outs work! They have been a Godsend and actually allow me, the hotheaded momma, to calm down before I react to my child’s action. Really I look at it more so as a time-out for me. But it also allows your child a moment to think about what they have done.Some time out pointers:
- 1 minute of time-out for every year (1 year-old has 1 minute of time-out, 2 year olds 2 minutes, etc.)
- Set a timer (I use my oven timer) so your child is not sitting in time-out for more than they should. It also helps your child understand time better.
- After the timer has beeped, I also made my toddlers count to 10 (this was a tricky way I got them to learn their counting 😉
- Come down to your child’s level and ask them if they know why they were in time-out. Make sure you explain why what they did should not be done.
- Always end your time-out with a hug and a reinforcement of how much you love your child. I don’t think you can ever tell them enough times how much you love them. Feeling loved gives a sense of security.
- Remember that your child is not doing the “naughty” things to spite you but it is how they learn about their environment and boundaries.
- Be consistent in your parenting and if there are two parents in the household, make sure both parents are on the same page and use the same discipline techniques.
- I find that the most frustration with my kids comes at times when I am trying to do something for myself (write an email, make a phone call, tidy up, etc.). I am learning to time these things during nap times and bedtime so I can actually get them done and not become a raging lunatic TRYING to get them done while meeting my children’s constant demands.
- Have fun with your kid(s). Do something you both enjoy, like singing, dancing, play dates, reading, etc. Remember that these little children have opened up the door for you to once again revisit childhood and innocence! So dance like nobody’s watching, act goofy, and have a good time!
- Get some fresh air. Being cooped up in the house is not healthy for you or your child.
- Exercise! I cannot tell you how much the gym has helped me become a happier and stronger mom. If you can’t go to a gym, or there isn’t a gym with a daycare option, try going for a walk with your baby/child outside or at a mall. Just avoid walking by Cinnabon and the food court at the mall. It totally defeats the purpose of the walk 😉 Or just do some stretching, yoga, or dance at home. It will keep your child entertained as well and wondering just how weird mommy can get.
- Learn your own triggers. My 3 big personal triggers are a messy house, lack of sleep, and lack of exercise. Find your own and find a way to handle it so you are not taking your frustrations out on your kid(s).
- Have a routine/schedule. This will only prevent the meltdown that comes with your child being too tired, over stimulated, and hungry (a lethal combination, that you should NOT allow to happen if you don’t want to end up on the 5 O’Clock news channel)
And lastly, I will leave you with my motherly advice of don’t be so hard on yourself. We are all doing our best as parents and have the same goal in mind. Parenting, as one of my friends once told me is not for the faint of heart. I’ve learned not to judge other people’s parenting. Different folks, different strokes. Do what works for you, and your family and don’t let anybody get you down!