Now that I'm a mom of two, I see how incredibly hard it is to balance both children. While as a young adult I held grudges against my parents for the things they did or didn't do with me; now, as a parent, I see how incredibly difficult it is to parent, day after day. It's easy to lose patience, not to do everything right, and to look back on a situation and realize how I could've handled it better. So, now I see that my parents, like most parents, were doing the best they could, and actually, they did a pretty good job. However, with that in mind, they made a few choices that I'm trying not to repeat.
1. Yelling. Okay, so I've already yelled at my toddler a few times, especially in my first stressful weeks as a new mom of two. But I'm trying really hard to change that behavior, to keep myself calm, or to speak in a louder, stern voice, without yelling. Yelling only teaches my son that when he gets angry, he should yell, too.
2. Fighting in front of the kids. This one is oh-so-hard. My husband and I argue at times about the little things; how long should the toddler be in time-out, how do we deal with our little one when he doesn't want to eat what was cooked for dinner. I'm usually the one who escalates the argument in front of the kids, even though I know it's the wrong thing to do. But my impulsive-solve-it-right-now personality hates to wait until after bedtime to resolve an issue that in my mind, needs to be dealt with now.
3. Allowing my kids to be themselves, even when it's difficult or embarrassing. My son can be over-dramatic. (He gets that from me.) If you knock over his tower before he's ready, or help him down from the car when he wants to get out himself, he has a tendency to freak out. While it'd be nice if he approached certain situations calmly, I know that telling him to stop acting in an over-dramatic way won't solve anything. Instead, I try to explain that he can tell me why he's upset instead of crying, and we can resolve it together.
4. Making time for family. As kids, we "got off the hook" for many extended family functions. It was too far a drive, it wasn't that important, etc. On the other hand, my husband says that his family always made family events a priority, and they attended as many as they could. My husband even had all four grandparents live with him for a few years. I've learned a lot from him. Family is everything; I want to make the time.
5. As I said, my parents were pretty awesome. I could only think of four. So number five is one that I want to replicate: Prioritizing sibling relationships. My parents did an amazing job with this one. My children are babies, but I still tell my son that his sister is his best friend, and I give them many opportunities during the day to play together. My brother and I are in our thirties, and although we are different, we're still super close. My parents made sure that we always spent time together, supported each other, and included each other in milestones. It was one of their best parenting techniques. I hope my kids know how lucky they are to have each other, and always, no matter how far the distance is that separates them, make time for each other's lives.
Sarahlynne loves writing for Shine as a Parenting Guru. She's also the co-creator of merelymothers.com, a motherhood website that discusses all things parenting, from philosophies to fashion and everything in between!