3 Parenting Facts I Wish I’d Known

Today on the blog I have a guest post from Reese Jones who is sharing the things she wished that she’d known before becoming a parent.  Hindsight is a bit of a pain, and I’m sure there is always things that we are learning about being a parent.
We all need a helping hand, and first-time parents might benefit from these pieces of advice.448445182_cde2ac0c12_z
(Image Credit: Leonid Mamchenkov via Flickr Creative Commons)

Parenting can be an extremely harrowing experience, and at times, the combined stresses of maintaining a household and making sure that the kids are eating right, getting their homework done, and of course growing into great people, can be quite overwhelming. On some days, we wish that we could take a break from it all, but parenting is a 24/7 job, and we very seldom get the chance to take a break.

But there are some small things you can do to help manage the stress, and make all the duties of motherhood much more tolerable, and in fact, by following these tips, you’ll likely not just make the task of managing a household easier, but also help your kids grow into better people.

1. Don’t Stress Over the Little Things
Every mother has the instinct to give her children nothing but the best things in life, but sometimes, we can get bogged down by the details. This is especially true when our kids start asking the tough questions, and when it comes down to it, sometimes, they younger they are, the fewer details they need to know. Take going to the dentist for example: LA Parent recommends keeping explanations simple, as going into details of what they’re going to the dentist for could only lead to more questions and hesitation on their part. It’s best to stick to the essentials, while remaining honest as to what to expect. And when it comes to making some decisions for our kids, remember that you aren’t alone. In fact…

2. Let the Kids Take the Reins Every Now and Then
If you want your children to grow up into responsible members of society, it’s important to start giving them a bit more control over decisions that affect their lives early on. Being presented with this responsibility helps them build character and learn that the things they do have consequences, and it also shows them that you trust them. In the same way, we can also learn a lot from our kids by giving them the chance to make decisions for themselves sometimes. As a blog post on Tootsa explains, “As the adults in the equation, it is important for us to remember just how much influence our decisions have. So, next time we are buying a toy, or suggesting an activity for the girls in our lives,” we need to make sure that we’re not limiting our kids’ options, and instead encouraging them to be themselves.

3. Take Comfort in Knowing There are Things You Just Can’t Do
Nobody will blame you for wanting to do everything for your children, knowing full well that a time will come when you just can’t be there for them. As they grow older, it’s easy to feel like they’re slipping away from you, and as concerned parents, the natural reaction is to hold on to them tighter and to gear them towards what you know is the right path. Unfortunately, this results in helicopter parents – parents who hover over everything their kids do – and insurmountable amounts of parental anxiety.

The trick is to just accept that there are many things that you can’t do, and that you can’t be there to keep your children from falling down and scraping a knee or from accidentally making a mess of themselves at recess. Instead of falling down the path of the helicopter parent, Time Magazine recommends being a “helium parent”: “We should hold on to our children as a child holds on to a balloon. Let them rise, float on their own, but keep a grasp on the string. In time we will need to release our grip, but in the meantime, instead of hovering from above, we should be holding lightly from below. Think of it as parental string theory.”

There are many ways to help reduce parental anxiety, and most of the time, it’s just a matter of grounding yourself and accepting your own limits, and learning to reach out to others for help where you think you need it.

What other tips do you have for first-time parents?

Reese-small“The guest author, Reese Jones, is a mom of two kids and an ed-tech blogger. Writing about education, innovation, and technology is her way of venting out her unspoken thoughts. You can reach her via twitter @r_am_jones or email reese.am.jones@gmail.com.”

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