When I Gave Up On Perfect Parenting

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Let’s be honest – every parent wants to be perfect. It starts out with blind confidence before you have children: “I’ll never let my kid scream like that in public.” “My kids will sit still when we go out to eat at a restaurant.” “What are those parents thinking?!”

When you’re pregnant, you’re confident you will be the best parent in the world. No caffeine or deli meat for you! It all starts inside the womb, and this baby is off to a great future.

And then, when that bundle of joy is placed into your arms for the first time. How could you do anything but give 100% to protect and nurture this perfect little one every second of every day for the rest of your life?

And then reality sets in.

You start to realize the baby cries all day and night. She wants to be fed. And fed. And fed. He needs a clean diaper ten times a day. You are sleep-deprived, physically exhausted and haven’t showered in three days. The dream of perfect parenting is shattered.

But once you give up on perfect parenthood, something better sinks in: real life. There are moments you want to pull your hair out. Moments you want to (and do) break down in tears. Moments you can’t stand your spouse and everything he’s doing wrong. But there are also moments of unsurpassable joy: the first smile. The first “I love you.” The first scribbles on paper that are made out of love just for you.

Parenting isn’t perfect. It’s messy, smelly, mentally exhausting and physically draining. There will be great frustration, but I promise you, there will also be pure happiness. For every time your baby pees on you, there will be a private, loving snuggle. For every time your toddler runs away in the grocery store, there will be a time his hand grabs onto yours without you asking. For every time your husband forgets to do the dishes, there will be a time the two of you break down in giggles together at the craziness of your lives.

It’s only once you let go of perfection that you can appreciate how perfect real life can be.

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When I’m a Grandma

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Grandparents are the best! They supply their grandkids with unconditional love, and they’re always willing to lend a helping hand when parents are in a jam. I am truly grateful for everything they do.

Someday, I hope to become a grandma myself and love a little bundle of joy in a new and special way. When I do enter grandparenthood, there are a few things I hope I don’t forget:

Every Diaper Counts
A new parent probably changes 10-12 diapers every day. It may not seem like a big deal for a grandparent to handle one of those changes, but it is. During those blissful three minutes, parents get a chance to sit, maybe close their eyes and relax. Every diaper a grandparent changes is much appreciated.

Parents Are Sensitive
Even the most well-meaning comments can send a sensitive parent into a tailspin of self-doubt. Especially in the early years, when parents are sleep deprived and unsure of just about everything. If a grandparent compliments a cute outfit, a parent can turn that into a pointed comment about how they’re paying too much for clothes. It may not make sense, but it’s real nonetheless. When I’m a grandma, I will remember to tread carefully on touchy topics.

Slow Down on Sugar
Somehow grandparents seem to forget the rules they set when they were parents when it comes to sugar. I think it has to do with that big smile looking up at them when they hand over a cookie or piece of candy. I can’t say I blame them – it is a great joy to see that toothy grin on their faces. However, grandparents are long gone when it’s time to put that sugar-filled kid down for a nap. They don’t see the other side after giving a 3-year-old a full box of Oreos: the sugar rush and the bedtime meltdown.

Not Every Holiday Requires Gifts
Again, this stems from grandparents’ desire to seize every opportunity spoil their grandkids. They will use any excuse to give gifts, but kids don’t need every toy they see at the store. Birthdays and Christmas are exceptions, not the norm. Kids don’t need gifts on Presidents’ Day, St. Patrick’s Day and the Fourth of July. If I can’t suppress the urge to buy my grandkids gifts on these holidays, I’ll stick with a book to teach them about the history of the holiday.

No Means No
Once the kids get a little bigger, I understand the impulse to ask for another grandkid to love and spoil. But this is as decision only parents get to make. No means no!

 

Pi Day Activities

Pi Day is a lot less delicious and a lot more educational than it sounds! March 14th (3.14) celebrates the mathematical term Pi (3.14159). I talked with FOX9 about some Pi Day activities that will introduce kids to mathematical concepts and get them excited about learning! Click here to watch the interview. 

Click below to learn more about each project!

Circle Collages
Pi Patterns
Pie Baking Contest
Pi Skyline
Fraction Circles
Little Einsteins

What I Wish I Knew Before Having a Baby

Pregnancy: The time in your life when friends, family and strangers feel the need to offer unsolicited advice. But what they say isn’t always what they mean…

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What they tell you: Prepare for sleepless nights
What it really means: Your bed will be as elusive as a 90 degree day in January. You will learn to survive on quick naps anytime, anywhere. 15 minutes in a rocking chair will power you through the next 24 hours. People will ask, “How do you do it?” And your answer will be, “Because I don’t have a choice.”

What they tell you: Babies like to be held.
What it really means: You will become a master at doing things one-handed. Cooking, cleaning, typing, even bathroom trips, can all be done with a baby in one arm. Get used to it. You’ll get your left arm back in four years. Consider this muscle-building and a reason to skip the gym guilt-free.

What they tell you: You won’t go out as much.
What it really means: Netflix, Hulu and/or your DVR will become your best friend. You will get caught up on every reality show, soap opera or crime scene drama – whatever is your choice. “Going out” now means Target runs and grocery store trips. And trust me, you’ll look forward to getting away!

What they tell you: It goes by quickly.
What it really means:  Your days and nights will become a strange blur of time. There will be minutes that feel like years, and hours that seem to pass by in seconds. You will stop trusting your clock and your calendar because there’s just no way they can be correct. But they are, so do your best to savor every moment you can. Kids grow up fast – you won’t know when you’re changing your last diaper, kissing your last boo-boo or singing your last lullaby until it’s too late.

What they tell you: It’s worth it.
What they really mean: It’s completely worth it. Every sleep-deprived moment.