People nor books give you the microscopic honesty you need as a new parent and that's for your own protection! There's no magical pixie dust or cupcake glitter that can really prepare you for some of the parenting experiences you will have. Sure, people gave me tons of advice in the beginning and there's no lack of it now. I became an expert at diaper bag must-haves and packing extra clothing for the poopiest of poopers. Some things have truly taken me by surprise, leaving me dazed and "loopy." However, as a mom of two now, I've learned a bit about holding on to my daily morsel of sanity.
Parents are always on the go and busy with something- running errands, cleaning, attending appointments, etc. I'm no different. Here are a few tricks I've stored up my tattered sleeve to survive it all. Maybe you'll find them useful as well.
1. When possible, arise a little earlier than everyone else. Give yourself time to realize your own existence, marinate in the silence, and enjoy at least two sips of your favorite morning beverage before the circus act begins. Coffee drinkers (like me) know that one cup will often be warmed 30 times before final consumption!
2. No matter what time of the day it is, make sure that everyone eats heartily before leaving home; Including YOU! I don't care if your kid has a transparent stomach and it's at maximum capacity! I guarantee that same child will drive you insane saying "I'm hungry" as soon as you drive passed a golden arch or reach your no-food-available destination. Any seasoned parent will tell you the same.
3. More than one kid in tow? If so, be sure that what you pack for one, you pack for the other... and then some! Having "enough" isn't enough. PACK EXTRA! My girls have a six year age difference. Anything the oldest gets, the youngest wants! When the youngest graces us by taking a nap, the oldest then wants what she couldn't have when her sister was awake! It's just a sibling thing. Get used to it.
4. Ignore the stares and pack enough "Lord have mercy" to get you back home. Regardless of your parenting style and preparation tactics, meltdowns will happen. Your children will at some point display total nonsense in public! Even the most patient of parents (myself included) have lost it in such moments. As you become more experienced, the embarrassment won't sting so bad. The judgmental stares of onlookers won't make you cringe and panic so easily.You'll learn to ignore them and do what you need to do to survive the moment.
I've learned many tips and tricks during my (almost) decade of parenting but there's not enough space to type them all. Besides, I need my remaining brain cells to get me through the rest of today. My one year old is prepping for her circus act by stomping her feet, whining, and tugging on my shirt as I type this! The same little beauty recently had a major meltdown in a store. It was so bad that she vomited on the sidewalk (from excessive crying) as soon as we stepped outside of that store. Yep. Sure did!
I looked no one in the eye, kept "Lord have mercy" on mental repeat, and walked off with my head held high, although I was livid inside. That's the kind of public nonsense I mentioned before. Remember that? Hopefully, my parenting experience makes you feel better about your own and my tricks/tips will somehow be useful in your life.
All people and parents are different. What works for one family doesn't always work for another. And none of us know everything although some of us think we do. *GASP* Just do your best and let experience teach you the rest!
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.