I recently was reading an article in Parents Magazine entitled, "39 Things Every Mom Should Know" by Kacy Faulconer. (Ok, I'll admit, Ryan and I sort of hate the titles of magazine articles, usually because they involve numbers and then something you just have to know - but to make it more intriguing, it's usually phrased something silly like, "15 Things Your Doctor Won't Tell You." And Ryan enjoys reading them in his most dramatic announcer voice, usually followed by a dum dum dum....) Well her opening advice spoke to me: "Here's something very specific to enjoy about your little kids: They don't know what you're actually up to - so savor it while it lasts. When they get older they notice when you burn food or fall asleep at the school play. But with a toddler you can eat frosting out of a can while watching Blue's Clues and the kid will never bat an eye - or judge you for it." (I'm a first hand witness of this - they never comment on how many chocolate covered raisins I eat or how fast that bag of M&Ms went, ahem, husband?) Anyhow, I thought I'd pass a few of them on.
1. Do your chores while kids are awake. Using up naptime to wash dishes or clean the bathroom is truly soul-crushing. (This was the first one to really perk my interest and make me realize this woman thinks a lot like I do.)
2. Don't make birthday parties a huge deal.
3. If the kids are awake, bite the bullet and be awake yourself. You'll waste so many hours trying futilely to extend early-morning snoozes that it's not worth it. If you are sick, pregnant, or it's the middle of the night, ignore this advice. (Ooooh, I have a hard time with this one!)
4. Just throw away the poopy underwear.
5. Don't beat yourself up if you have to use a bribe.
6. Buy cheap shoes when kids are little. Feet grow faster than you think. (Thank you for making me feel justified.)
7. Embrace their quirks. (I don't know, Phoenix really has an obsession with sticking his finger up my nostrils. This usually occurs after he bites my toes and then works his way biting up my leg until he's in my lap and can reach my nose. That may be one I have a hard time embracing.)
8. Know this: That stain won't come out. And it's ok. The sooner you accept this, the better.
9. Answer this question: What is the worst thing that can happen if your kids sleep in their clothes?
10. I know you are supposed to use natural consequences to punish bad behavior, but sometimes it's hard to think of natural consequences. In these cases try threatening your kids with clipping their toenails or some other activity they dread. I've had great success with this one, but you must find your own.
11. I can't stress this enough: Use duvet covers on your comforters and forget about a top sheet. Not only will you thank me for this advice, but your kids will thank me as well when they are learning to make their bed.
12. Do not allow the word wienies in your home.
13. It's fine to brag about yourself to your kids. (I think I will take her up on this one. Mom's never get praised for all their thankless duties, so somebody should do it, right? Besides, maybe it will instill in their minds the fact that I am soooo amazing.)
14. Just say "No" to any toy or doll that comes with packets that have to be mixed with water.
15. Teach them to like cool music. Why suffer through The Wiggles when you could be enjoying Wilco or counting along with Feist? (I'll admit, we fell prey to this one. We used to make so much fun of my sister when we had to listen to that cheesy stuff in her car, but guess what? It keeps the kids entertained much better than my music, plus it's pretty cute to hear them singing every word to all the nursery rhymes. I try to be balanced though -I get a good laugh hearing Cash singing about the "Boom boom power.")
Those were some of my favorites. Anything that simplifies my life and helps me when in survival mode I'm all for. Like bagging individual sippy cups. That decision alone has saved me endless amounts of effort. Do you know how many millions of times a day I'd be nagging, "No that's not yours!" Besides the pain of taking three sippy cups everywhere. We lose so many of those darn things, half the time I don't even have three left. If one gets sick, they're just all going to get it. I remember reading twin books where the moms said they color-coded everything. One twin got cups, sliverware, etc, all in one color and the other got a different color. Really? Did your kids agree to that? Another is definitely living by the 10 second rule. (Or as is more common in our house: if-you-find-it-before-I-can-clean-it-up-go-for-it-rule). Lots of times I think they're really excited by finding leftover food treasures on the ground hours later! :) Anyway, I'll have to try some of her advice that I hadn't thought of yet!