Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Being "Good Enough"

I loved reading this article.  There is something special about accepting yourself and your children as "good enough".  In fact, the act of this acceptance actually makes you a better parent!  Letting go of "perfection" allows us to focus on the really important things... which are always simple

 I hope you enjoy this article from SW Parents as much I as did.

"Sometimes – and the dark, cold, cooped-up days of January are just such times – it seems that we can’t get this parenting thing right. Our kids fight us and each other, they defy our orders and all logic, and they seem to be moving backwards as much as moving ahead.
At times like these, it’s helpful to imagine what it takes to be “good enough.” Not spectacular. Not amazing. Just good enough.
The human race has been around for a long, long time and most people have turned out okay. This should be a clue that being “good enough” as a parent isn’t all that complicated. And it’s not. Study after study after study has shown that to become capable, competent, well-adjusted citizens, most children need just a few simple things.
Kids need to know they’re loved and appreciated. This isn’t very difficult to do, but often we forget how important this is. Stop and tell your children that you love them dearly, at least once every day.
Kids need to know you have confidence in them. Here again, it’s easy to try to make our kids perfect instead of recognizing that they’re a work-in-progress. Actually, we’re all a work-in-progress. We all make mistakes and have to redo things. Let your children know that you know they will eventually succeed.
Kids need to know that you’re there to help. You may not have all the answers. In fact, it’s certain that you don’t. But you do have your children’s best interests at heart and no matter what trouble they get into you’re there to lend a hand. Children need to know this with certainty. Do yours?
Kids need to know that there’s always a solution. Children who have a positive attitude and are resilient in the face of setbacks do better in school and grow up to do better in life. Being resourceful and persistent are skills every child needs, and they learn them from you.
There. That’s not too hard. Being “good enough” as a parent has nothing to do with what are sometimes called “the advantages” of life. It’s not about things that money can buy. It’s about the things money can’t buy. Being good enough involves trying to make a real emotional connection with your children without expecting them – or expecting you – to be perfect.
Actions speak louder than words. Acting “good enough” is good enough."  - Dr. Patricia Nan Andersion

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Traveling with Little Ones

We just got back from a LONG trip.  I'm talking 27 days long, with 5 trips to Disneyworld, 4 different states, 3 flights across the country, 2 road trips, 1 night in a hotel, and ZERO nights of good sleep.  And I have two little kids!  Believe me when I say it feels so good to be home.  We had a wonderful time, but there are some things I wish I had done differently to make my life a little easier.

Emily's Tricks for Easy Traveling:

1.  Portable DVD player (or something similar) - I can't tell you how many times this $50 "toy" saved us.  It made the time go by faster during every flight and road trip since my two-year-old was occupied and happy.  I'm not saying she spent 10 hours a day watching movies!  It just helped us avoid some of those ultra stressful moments that naturally occur when traveling :)  I recommend a portable DVD player rather than a tablet because they are sturdier, cheaper, and less important if broken.

2.  Pack LIGHT -- I thought I was packing light this time, but in all honesty, I would have packed HALF as much if I were to do it again.  Here is my recommendation:  fill up half of your suitcase with clothes and the rest with other necessities (toiletries, diapers, blanket, toys, books, curling iron, gifts, whatever).  Only pack enough clothes for 1 week at most (for mom: 5 shirts, 2 pants, a dress, some PJs and 2 pairs of shoes.  for kids: 5 outfits and some PJs) and PLAN on doing laundry frequently.  For me it is much easier to have less STUFF and do laundry often than to have lots of STUFF and have to worry about keeping track of everything.  Less is more.  You don't need every sweater in your closet.  You don't need every bow your daughter owns.  Only bring your very favorites :).

When flying somewhere for Christmas, I recommend packing a small suitcase (carry on) inside a big suitcase (checked bag).  That way you have space to bring home your gifts without spending extra money!

3.  Dry Shampoo -- Look it up.  It's cheap and it's awesome.  Look fresh without spending the time to wash and blow-dry!

4.  Daily Facial Wipes -- Also awesome.  I love these.

5.  Easy-Squeeze Apple Sauce -- Perfect for little kids.  No spoon, no spills, happy healthy kids.  It's a win.

Other tips... wear slip-on shoes to the airport, bring 1 toy per child on the airplane, eat light snacks that will keep you feeling good, and keep your camera close-by to capture those hilarious moments when everything falls apart.

Emily's Traveling DON'Ts:

1.  Don't bring anything on the airplane that you can't quickly stash inside your diaper bag.
2.  Don't leave your house dirty.  You will feel so much better when you come back to a clean house.
3.  Don't forget your two-year-old's socks and shoes on your road trip to snowy Utah.  Like I did.
4.  Don't freak out when everything falls apart.  Because it will.  Just decide to make it a happy family memory (if you can!)

Any other traveling tips?  How did you make it through the busy holiday season in one piece?  

Saturday, 5 January 2013

New Year's Resolutions for Parents

Yes, more awesome articles from SW Parents.

I like this one because it helps keep our goals as parents in perspective.  It is so easy to get overwhelmed by all the "good" resolutions we mothers make year after year -- cook more healthy/delicious dinners, read more to my kids, spend less money, read my scriptures and write in my journal every day, lose weight/exercise, clean out the closets/drawers/garage, finish all my sewing/house projects, learn a new skill, drink more water, be a better visiting teacher, magnify my calling, attend book group/cooking group/exercise group more often, etc etc etc... we could make a new goal for every day of the year.  (And most of us do make new goals every day!)  I don't think our kids will remember whether or not we kept our New Year's Resolutions every year.  I think they will remember that you were there for them, day in and day out, during their entire life.  As long as we are keeping that one goal, you can give yourself a pat on the back.

Making goals is good.  But getting down on yourself for not achieving every single goal is not good.  The important thing in life is progress.  It can be very difficult to see your own progress, so it's easy to be disappointed in yourself about not accomplishing your many goals.  The good thing is that Jesus Christ is patient with us, so we should be patient with ourselves too :).  He doesn't expect us to be perfect.  In fact, our weaknesses play an important role in our lives.  (Don't you think He could have made us perfect in the first place if He wanted us that way?)

This article is also very good.  It has some simple goals that can make a big difference.  (little work + big difference = efficiency.  I'm all about efficiency, people!)

So hug your kids, hug yourself, and have a Happy and Productive New Year, everybody!