How Do You Teach Your Children to Listen…to Themselves?

Often we are concerned about whether or not our children are listening to us, their teachers or any other authority figure. Listening is an important skill. However, while it’s important to learn listen to others, it’s also important to learn listen to ourselves. How do you teach that?

While one daughter was at an afterschool activity, I was waiting with my other daughter.   The activity was taking longer than I expected and she was doing a really good job waiting and getting her homework done. I told her that when she got her homework done she could pick something from the snack machine. We usually don’t do this, so this was a special treat.

After getting her homework done we went over to the snack machine. She very quickly was overwhelmed with all the choices. She picked about 10 things that she thought she would like. To help her make her choice (and so we weren’t there all day), I told her to turn around from the machine and close her eyes. I told her to think about what she might want and see what popped into her head. This time only 2 things popped into her head. She was then able to pick one.

Sometimes we can be so overwhelmed with what we see as choices that we lose touch with ourselves and what we really want. So it’s always important to stop, take a break from distractions and check in with ourselves. What I taught her was an intuitive way of decision making. We often learn about logical processes ( such as pro/con etc) in decision making. Intuitive and gut feelings can be helpful too. In fact, while this simple technique can be used for making simple choices, it can also be used when feeling peer pressure. That is one of the most important times to listen to ourselves.

 

If I were writing a story then the story would probably end here. But life isn’t a story is it? It just keeps going and so did our learning for that moment. Learning to listen to ourselves was only lesson number one.

My daughter sat eating her treat for a little bit. She then said, “Mommy, sometimes my mind plays tricks on me.” Of course I asked her what she meant by that. She proceeded to say, “Sometimes it makes me think I want something but I really want something else.” She clarified, after eating her treat, that what she really wanted was the other option. Which led us to two more lessons in life:

Lesson number two- It’s sometimes really hard to figure out what you really want.

Of course I also discussed with her…

Lesson number three- Sometimes we need to learn to appreciate what we have and not keep focusing on missing what we don’t have.

Who says you can’t get anything healthy from a snack machine? How about some healthy perspectives and conversations?

How do you teach your child to listen to themselves?

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What Am I Going To Be When I Grow Up?!

 

 

Photo by Bob Packert

Photo by Bob Packert

I’m just now catching on that as a mother your identity shifts every few years.  You are not just a mother, you are a mother of a newborn, or a mother of toddlers, a mother of school kids, a mother of teenagers…and so on and so on!  I can see that as they grow, I’ll need to evolve with the kids various stages, and maybe I’ll be prepared by the time I hit the High school, college and empty nest stages……(o.k, bringing that up puts me in a full fledged panic, but I digress).    That said, I have been eagerly anticipating my current stage of motherhood, finally getting all my kids in school for a full day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my children from the depths of my heart, but come on ladies, if you have small kids at home, you are flat out lying if you tell me you haven’t fantasized about this moment too.  So now I have time to ponder the yawning question of    “What do I want to be when I grow up!?!”   I know, as a married mother of four in her mid-forties, I kind of am grown up.  I also know that I am not the only one out there with an inner 21 year old, who looks around baffled some days thinking  ”and who thought it was a good idea to give all of this responsibility to me exactly?!”.  Despite that delusional youthful inner being, I do seem to find myself with all evidence pointing to truly, and actually being an adult!  I suppose the lines that have taken up permanent residence on my face are Nature’s gentle reminder of such.  So here I am, a mature woman, almost thirteen years out of the work force, with finally some time to start thinking about what I’d like to be (along with wife and mother).   I allowed myself the savor the first half of the year, to see what it really felt like to have time to myself again.  I found the need to re-learn time management in the paradigm of my new schedule, so that I could efficiently balance that new found freedom with accomplishing the day’s practical tasks.

Entering the second half of the school year, I now feel it is time to start figuring out what to do for a job.  There are a few parameters.   Namely the aforementioned kids who need shuttling around in the afternoons, and said husband with primary career of varied schedule. Whatever it is I do, has to take place between the hours of 8:30am and 2:00pm.

Some of the author's "passions"

That pretty much rules out my previous work in Film Production and renders my Masters degree in Ethnographic filmmaking as obsolete. (a documentary on the anthropology of childrearing in the suburbs, I’m sure would fascinate the masses) So of course I’ve been reading a lot of Oprah and More magazine lately, and taking those quizzes to “find my passion”.    (Off the bat, I’d just say, my husband, eating and drinking, travel, reading, skiing, movies…..)But I don’t think that’s what they mean.  These magazines are full of women who turn their passion into fulfilling moneymaking careers!  They are so inspirational, and yet that whatever it is going to be for me thing seems just beyond my cognitive grasp.

Photo by Bob Packert

Photo by Bob Packert

Some of the tips the articles I’ve read advise things like; Figure out what you love to do.  Think of something you loved to do as a kid.  Look around your house and write down the things that point to a certain passion, such as books, art,travel, or antique collection. Once you figure out what you would love to be doing, research ways to make money on it.  My Google search for “how to make money shopping” turned up at least seven legitimate ideas for how to do so.  Other tactics include writing lists of the things you are good at, the things you would do if you were sure not to fail, and all the things that make you happy.   Now cross reference your lists to formulate a plan.

Documama's logo

The things I tore out of magazines (this is a great method for formulating your decorating style as well) were all articles on socialpreneurs such as Lauren Lauren and her FEED bags, Tom’s shoes, and Alex & Ani Charity by design bracelets.  My role models were real life moms who have found careers where they are making a difference globally, such as Navyn Salem and her Edesia factory that produces global nutritional solutions.  I realized whatever it is I end up doing; I would like it to have a positive impact, not just a financial reward.  I get things moving, I created a blog www.documama.org to be able to explore my passions for travel, food, family, and global issues in one place.  Figuring out what I am going to be when I grow up is clearly a process, and a work in progress, and as a Mom, I have a feeling that just when I get this part all figured out….it will be just in time for another Maternal identity shift!

 

 

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Rediscovering Me

The summer is over and school is back in session for my children. Their school break was a whirlwind of vacations, summer camp and classes, with very little down time. To say I was anxious for the school year to begin is a major understatement. Add to that the extra several days that Tropical Storm Irene brought us and it was clear from both my children’s and my perspectives that school needed to start. When the day finally arrived, I packed the oldest three on the bus for their full days of school with smiles all around. I then settled down with the youngest of my brood, who is only three, for what she endearingly calls ‘Mommy school’. No rest for the weary, as the old saying goes. At least I was only going in one direction instead of four.
Then I got the game-changing email. My dear sweet three-year old was accepted into Playschool! Our town runs an absolutely incredible program though the high school in which they run a model preschool for the students interested in child development. One of my other children was lucky enough to be able to participate as well, so I knew what an opportunity this was. So now I anxiously prepared my youngest for school. New backpack, new lunchbox, new folder, new crayon box. She was good to go, and more then eager to kiss Mommy good-bye and walk off with her friends. I have to admit, as I left my three-year-old ‘baby’ at school I did get choked up. Another milestone. Another era over.
I went home that day and sat on the sofa, and then it hit me. I had the next precious ninety minutes all to myself. I could not tell you the last time I actually could plan to have time with no direct responsibility for any of my children. What would I do? There is always a long chore list in my house…laundry, cleaning, cooking, preparing for this or that. I sat there for about ten minutes trying to decide which chore to pick. I got to thinking. I had ninety minutes for me. What did that mean? Somewhere amid the science homework and soccer games and ballet classes, I lost sight of what I could spend my ‘me’ time on. I love my children, but the role of Mommy almost always comes first. Now, I was thinking about what I craved, needed, wanted to do. I thought of A Mom Knows Best…all the contributors have something exciting to offer you as readers, but also me as a fellow contributor. I am still sporting mommy jeans and sweats, yet I read with excitement Carrie Humphreys’ awesome fashion tips. I love a glass of wine now and then, yet I know nothing about it. Jessica Granatiero and her amazing shop, The Savory Grape, are always hosting tastings and informational get-togethers. Why haven’t I attended? Carla Izzard lives in the same town as I do, and we both share an interest in running, yet I couldn’t tell you the last time I slipped into my running shoes and hit the road. Maureen Umehara always has such wonderfully supportive and thought- provoking comments. I decided right then and there, when Cait was at school, I was going to take those precious few hours a week and work on me, rediscovering the me that is not the mom, the nurse, the educator, the volunteer…but the me that is a person with lots of ideas and dreams. And where better to look for guidance and help then the amazing group of ladies that contribute to this website. Each week I will be looking to work on something about me that needs looking at…and asking for the input of these amazing women. Won’t you join me? Look inside yourself and take a look at who you are, and who you want to be. I am sure the ride will be bumpy, with lots of twists and turns. The destination is a better me, a better us. I know the trip will be worth it.

Do you have a personal or professional goal you’ve been working toward?

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Living Through your Kids

I had the most fun last Saturday than I have had in a while.  And get this, the fun was not wine-induced, nor was it with my friends, nor was it on a romantic date night with my man. It was at my little guys’ flag football game. Let me just say that if you have not yet entered the foray of watching youth sports, especially when it involves your own kids, you are in for a treat. There are kids cracking up and misbehaving, kids running the wrong way, high- fiving and back-slapping, kids doing the end-zone boogie, and kids who are standing in the middle of the field during a play having absolutely no idea what to do.

This is not our first season, but it is the first time both kids were excited for weeks beforehand, and it is the first time they both had great games on the same day. The league we are in emphasizes nine core principles, one each week. Some of these include responsibility, teamwork, sportsmanship, etc. The coaches highlight these traits during the week and, at the end of the game, the kids vote on which player they think best demonstrated the core characteristic. I like this and I really think it speaks to the integrity of the program.

My youngest pulled lots of flags, ran hard, and on the second to last play of the game, ran for a touchdown. I looked behind me where my older boy was practicing and saw him cheer for his little brother’s play. I then watched as my little redhead ran through the parent tunnel and gave me a special high five and a hug. He was so proud to finally be able to share in his own accomplishments, not under the shadow of big brother. Next up was my older son’s game. He is at an age where he is really into it. As the time grew closer to his game, I noticed his face changing, growing more serene and steady. I saw his steely focus and thought, “Wait a second, that looks familiar….he is getting his game face on!” Normally, he is the first one to crack a joke and have a giggle, but as the clock ticked down there was none of that. He looked up to find where I was sitting and I gave him the “thumbs up.” Game on, peeps.

He ran for two touchdowns and threw for one. He huslted and brought it, every play. He also pulled lots of flags and deflected a few passes. I wanted to jump out of my chair and run down to the field, grab him in my arms and swing him around. Somehow, I restrained myself and just gave him a smile and a thumbs up. It was HARD not to wig out, purely out of joy and excitement for him. I was a proud mama.  You know what made me the most proud though? When I saw my youngest hand back the flag he pulled to its owner, when I saw my oldest pause and crouch down in concern for a fallen teammate, when I saw them both listening to their coaches and cheering on their teammates for plays well made. That’s the good stuff.

But here’s the thing, be it touchdowns or the drums, a well-written essay, or getting into a great college,  I want my kids to have their own spotlight, without me trying to share it or in any way take credit for it. I want them to bask and sit and bathe in what they have done–and when and if they want me to share it, they can bring me in….but I always want to remember that it is about them. I lived and am living my life; I got to make the choices (right or wrong) that seemed right for me at the time, and I want them to follow suit. It’s tricky stuff, letting them make mistakes and learning from them, or letting them make decisions that I don’t necessarily want them to make because it isn’t what I want for them. I do know, though, that I must let them do these things if I want their love and respect forever. If they trust that I truly want for them what they do, and what makes their hearts shine, then I believe they will seek my advice and wisdom (if I have any) when they need it.

Those touchdowns though; inside I was screaming and jumping and acting like a maniac. Just saying.

My 5 Favorite Activities I Do with My Kids!

With the hectic schedules most of us lead, it’s nice to find some quality time with the kids for at least a few minutes a day.  You can be around your kids all day, but sometimes that day can fly by without doing anything meaningful with them.  Research has shown that spending quality time helps in the maturation and social-emotional development of children.  It helps them feel bonded with and attached to the family as an important member with something to contribute.  Quality time builds a child’s self-esteem and confidence in things they do.  Here are my five favorite things I do with my kids to spend quality time with them:

1. Night Talks

Snuggling with the kids at night and finding out about their day for about 10-15  minutes can be a meaningful and very much a learning experience for parents.  I’ve had the most open and honest talks with my kids during this time.  I learn so much about who they are.  I try and do it about twice a week!  The kids love “snuggle time!”

 

2. Reading with the Kids

Many parents do this already!  You should read to your kids, or with your kids, every night.  This is a nice meaningful time with kids, and it is also an important time for them in their education.  It’s a nice bonding time as well.

 

3. Playing with the Kids

It’s important to play with your kids!  As young kids, they need the modeling of how to play, how to be creative/imaginative, and how to interact appropriately in play.  Kids also love it when you get silly and just “be a kid” with them once in a while too!  Have fun with it!  It will bring you closer to your kids!

 

4. Going to Shows with Kids

I love going to shows with my kids.  It’s nice for them to learn to sit and watch a live show and to enjoy it.  We usually talk about it beforehand so they know what is going to happen, and even what kind of music might be sung.  We’ve been to quite a few together, and they ALWAYS love this quality time with us!  Sometimes we go on Mother-Daughter dates to shows.  Go Diego Go Live was probably one of the best we’ve been to!  And yes, dates with the kids is important, especially when you have more than one child.  It gives one kid at a time their “special time” with mom or dad!

 

5. Dinnertime Roundtable

While growing up, this is the quality time I remember having with my family.  Whether at a restaurant or at home, sitting at the table together for meals creates a nice setting for talking and finding out what everyone is thinking and doing.  It’s so easy these days to want to just take your meal to the computer or TV, but you’re missing out on some quality talk and share time with your family if you do that.

 

Overall, it is just important to be engaged with your kids, listen to them fully (making eye contact), and make them feel important.  You can’t have quality time ALL the time, but you can make a point to try to make time for it throughout the week.  An hour here, and an hour there!  The kids will appreciate it, learn from it, and feel more bonded to you and confident as individuals.  It will also be meaningful for you and help you keep good memories with your kids to treasure.

* How do you make time in your busy schedule for quality time with the kids?

Kristin Wheeler

Klout: What Is It and How Do You Give +K to Others?

Klout +KI found myself asking this very same question, not long ago, to my good friend Joanna who writes as a contributor to aMomKnowsBest, but also has her own very popular blog Baby Gators Den.  I already knew what Klout what, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to give others +K.  Joanna is pretty hip on such matters, so I knew she would be able to lead me in the right direction.  I’ve since had probably a dozen people ask me how to give +K to others, and what exactly it means…so I thought it was time for a little tutorial.

According to its website, your Klout score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.  I actually have two Klout scores, one associated with each twitter handle: AlliAlexander, which I use for primarily news/media/TV related tweets and aMomKnowsBest, which is everything mom (though there is plenty crossover!).  My Klout on aMomKnowsBest  is 61 and I’m seen as influential on parenting, moms & blogging.  My Klout on AlliAlexander is 48 and I’m influential on Rhode Island, media & moms.

Now to +K.  If someone on Klout, or twitter, has recently influenced you on a topic…the neighborly thing to do is to give them +K.  How do you do it?  Easy peasy.  Log in to Klout.  Type that person’s twitter handle in the search bar, see the topics they are influential in and click on the +K button of the topic you want to give them +K about.

What do you think of Klout’s new +K tool?  Have you tried it yet?

A Geek’s Dream Baby Monitor: WiFi Baby 3G

I have been a computer/technology geek since I laid eyes on my first computer at 4 years old, an Apple IIC. Since then I have always looked for the latest and greatest technology. When I was pregnant with Jackson 2 years ago, I was greatly disappointed with the video baby monitor market. I wanted a baby monitor that I could securely see my son on my iPhone and laptop at home and while away from home. Back then, there was nothing like that available.

While debating what monitor to buy for our baby girl due in October, I found exactly what I dreamed of 2 years ago, Wifi Baby 3G. Wifi Baby 3G is a video baby monitor that streams interference-free video and audio to a Mac, PC, iPhone or iPad. One great feature of Wifi Baby 3G is that the stand-alone camera doesn’t need a physical connection to your router, it connects wirelessly with your home WiFi network.

 

It was easy to connect to our secure home WiFi network and took me about 15 minutes. The box came with easy, clear directions and additional links to their web site for more help. One thing I LOVE about this company is their quick, friendly customer service. Any email questions I had were promptly answered by the customer service rep I had been touch with, Devin. Although this monitor is a geek’s dream, I promise even those that aren’t geeks like myself can set up the WiFi Baby 3G, especially with a support team readily available.

 

WiFi Baby 3G is a family-owned company based out of Florida who invented Wifi Baby because they couldn’t find a secure, quality monitor to monitor their son at home and away from home. Exactly what I couldn’t find 2 years ago but unfortunately I’m not an inventor- thank goodness they are because WiFi Baby 3G has met all of my baby monitoring-needs!

 

One feature that is available for a small, one-time fee is external viewing, which means my husband can check in from work on my son’s nap time or my Mom in Florida can even check in on her iPhone. The set up for external viewing is slightly trickier, so the small fee covers a remote session with their awesome Tech Support team. The person who helped me was Ryan and had us up and running in 20 minutes.

 

In order to use WiFi Baby 3G on your iPhone or iPad, you need to download the WiFi Baby HD app from the iTunes store for a one-time fee of $8.99. If you have additional cameras you can view all of them with the Baby Monitor HD app which is only a dollar more. Since my husband and I are all on the same iTunes account, I downloaded the app on both iPhones and iPads for only $8.99 total. Totally worth it! Since the monitor uses my secure WiFi network to stream to our computer or iPhone/iPad, I don’t worry about anyone creeping through the neighborhood scanning traditional analog video baby monitor channels and seeing my babies.

 

Even at night time, the video is crystal clear!

 

Another great feature of the Wifi Baby 3G monitor is that when my kids are bigger and don’t need monitoring in their rooms, I plan on putting it in the kids’ play room (a.k.a. the basement) so I if I have to be upstairs for something I can quickly check in on them with my iPhone, iPad or MacBook. You can also use the monitor for home security once your babies are past the monitoring age. I know I won’t be able to do that with my older, non-WiFi Baby 3G monitor.

 

The only downside I could find with this monitor is that it might be difficult to travel with, but whenever we travel I don’t need a monitor anyway. Our son has always stayed in our room with us or close by so I wouldn’t take a monitor, but I know some people like to take their monitors with them.

 

I highly recommend WiFi Baby 3G to any parent who wants  a secure, high-tech system to watch their babies. Not only will this system serve parents well while their children are infants, but it can also be used as a nanny cam or home security for years to come.

 

You can buy the Wifi Baby 3G Video Monitor from their web store for $279, even less than a traditional video baby monitor that doesn’t have half the features WiFi Baby 3G has. Check them out at WiFiBaby.net or on their Facebook Page to find out more about this great monitor.

 

*The fine print: I wasn’t paid or compensated in any way to review the WiFi Baby 3G monitor or the Wifi Baby HD app. Actually, I put a {refundable} deposit down in order to review it but I will most certainly be keeping the WiFi Baby in our house because we love it! As always, my opinions are entirely my own: honest and unbiased.

 

How being a parent has made me eat my own words

Total "Binkieholic"

Before I had my son, I swore that my child wouldn’t eat McDonalds or chicken nuggets. The child would eat whatever my husband and I would eat. Picky eaters wouldn’t exist in my house.

Before I was a Mom, I would never have a “crusty” kid at the mall or in public.

Before my son was born, I would never allow a toddler to have a binky.

Now that I’m a parent of an 18 month old, I  know to never say never. ESPECIALLY about parenting.

Little did I know, I would be blessed with a wonderful, smart little boy who does not eat. I’ve written many posts before about how my son was diagnosed “failure to thrive” and we’ve been going to Hasbro Children’s Hospital to figure out ways to get him to have an appetite and just eat. If my son would eat McDonald’s, I would be at that drive thru buying a Happy Meal every meal. When you have a child who has no appetite, you’d be willing to feed him whatever it takes at every meal to get him the required nutrition to grow and thrive.

Until I had a toddler, I had no idea how hard it is to keep him “crust-free.” The crust just happens. Sometimes it is not worth the battle to get the crusted on boogies off his nose during cold season. So please don’t judge me when I run into the market with a crusty-nosed kid to grab some dinner. I have to pick my battles as a toddler Mom.

I’ve also written about our battle with the binky before. The battle is still going on in our house. It seems that every time we are ready for the 3-4 days of torture, something happens: sickness, family emergency, you name it. I know, those are just excuses. We are not ready to give up the binky in our house. It’s a crutch for us all and when I have the crusty nosed toddler on a shopping trip, it is simply much more enjoyable if he has the binky with him. Honestly, I don’t know when the time is going to be right. We will be moving twice in the next 4 months, then we have a baby coming in October. At this point it seems like my dear son will be going to college with a binky. Oh well.

In my short 18 months of parenthood, I’ve learned many things. The most important is to never say never. I’ve also learned to not judge other people’s parenting, because who knows what they are going through and why that 5 year old has a binky in his mouth at the store. After all, that could easily be my crusty kid with a binky in his mouth in no time. People do what they need to do and I believe the majority of parents try to be the best parents they can be.

 

How has being a parent changed your outlook?


Motherhood and identity

photo by Bob Packert

I stood in my gown frozen by the moment that had just passed, the room around me buzzed with beautifully dressed people.  I was at a Hospital gala event with my husband, in the middle of his first year of residency training.  Having just had our first child, I was stuffed like a sausage into my dress, so my confidence was far from its peak to begin with. The conversation had begun innocuously enough, with an introduction, and cordial small talk.  She was a fellow physician who worked with my husband.  A moment before she had innocently asked, “So what do you do?”  For the first time ever the words “I am a staying home with our new baby” would cross my lips, and I will never forget their immediate effect.  I had answered with pride, still excited at becoming a new mother.   Her reaction stunned me as the smile on her face faded, her eyes glazed, and subtly searched the room for an escape.   She excused herself with a polite, “oh, well, it was nice to meet you.” and moved on.  As I watched her walk away, the strangest thing happened, an internal voice shouted after her.” Wait! But I used to work on Hollywood movies! I have travelled all around the world! I’m a Scuba Diver! I really am an interesting person!!”  I was shocked by my internal reaction.  What was that!? What was the sudden plea for validity that sprang into motion?!  My whole life I had wanted nothing more than to become a mother, and was thrilled that I was able to stay home with my baby.   If this was what I had wanted so badly for myself, why was that external validation suddenly so important to me?

After that evening, I became interested in the identity shift that takes place when a woman first becomes a mother.  Whether she works, stays home, or does both part time, I believe in no judgment, there is no right or wrong.  It is such a personal, case-by-case decision; there is only what is right for each individual. In the end, women need to do what makes them the best mother, and what is best for their family, in any permutation.  Personally, although I had always wanted to be a stay at home mother, I loved my job, so when the time came I had tried to stay on part time.  I quickly figured out that after what I would pay for child care, I would take home about $100.00 a month, and in the end it did not make sense.  There is much ado about the effect of retirement on men, and how it impacts their identity.  I believe women who leave careers behind to stay home with their kids go through a similar identity shift.  Mothers who go back to work have to deal with a new paradigm as well.  I have been quizzing women, testing a theory since that night.  I wonder how much of what a woman’s mother did in the last generation, may dictate the daughter’s decision when she becomes a mother herself.  My own mother was a career woman with a Ph.D., as amazing as she was both as a woman, and mother, as a latch key kid, I idolized my neighbor who was home with her kids.  I know that is where the strong desire for me to stay home with my own kids came from.  I have a friend with the opposite experience, she decided she never wanted to be a domestic servant, and be in a position of financial dependency, as she viewed the situation of her stay at home mother.  Today she is a successful career woman, with a family.    I would love to hear your own experiences with this issue, and how they may relate to your own mother’s experience.

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Parenting Roadblocks

What do you do when you have a well-meaning grandparent, aunt, sister, best friend, neighbor – you get the idea – who doesn’t necessarily agree with your parenting choices? Tread lightly, but stand strong.
There is something about a pregnant belly that attracts comments. Everyone knows everything about parenting, and their way is always best. This can put new parents in a very awkward position. As if the struggle to maintain basic hygiene in the beginning isn’t enough, many newly minted moms and dads find themselves defending their parenting choices. And often it is a battle with those they love the most.
When it comes to explaining your parenting choices to your own parents, the dynamic is interesting to say the least. They are usually more than ready to remind you that, “I raised you and you turned out ok.” Well, that is a tough one to argue. Today is not the parenting environment of 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Your intent is never to insult the choices your parents made. It is, though, your turn now. You need to stand up for yourself and claim this child (or children) for your own. Difficult, but necessary.
One suggestion that repeats itself through many aspects of parenting (and will find its way into many of my posts) is being proactive. In many of the parenting classes I teach at Women & Infants , I assign homework. You read right…homework. The homework is,  while you are still pregnant, have conversations–many of them–with your partner, friends, parents about the way you would like to raise your child.  Most importantly, explain the reason behind those decisions.  You might be surprised that you and your partner may not agree on some things. Are you going to use a binky? Do you let the baby fall asleep in the swing? Are you really going to take the baby for a drive to settle him/her down? Small things can make a big difference. I am here to tell you, too, that what seems like a small thing when you are sitting calmly will be a huge thing when you are sleep deprived and in the heat of the moment. Huge. By pre-planning, you can make reasonable decisions. Keep in mind, though, that flexibility is also key to your success.
So just how can you contend with well meaning people who don’t agree with you? It may be difficult, but it is in the best interest of your child, and your sanity, to take a stand. Politely, but firmly, share your parenting vision and ask for the opportunity to take the chance. It may be one of the hardest parenting tasks that you will face. You alone know what is best for your child. That is not to say that the people around you , your ‘village’ should be ignored. They can be a major source of information and help, if not just a sounding board for your thoughts. Honestly, it is honesty that is the skill that will serve you best.

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