sarah's motherhood tips


Mothering advice: 

 ~ Once, when my girls were 5 months and 18 months old (and, needless to say, I was barely keeping my head above water) my mom told me simply: “Raising a child is like digging the Grand Canyon.” Those words sank deep that day, and they’ve echoed in my heart ever since. The Grand Canyon— so vast and such a wonder— felt like a very apt analogy indeed. One shovelful at a time. One push on the swing, story told, dinner served, worry calmed at a time. (Keeping the Grand Canyon in mind helps when both overwhelm and/or monotony set in.)

~ Kids aren’t programmed to hurry; developmentally speaking, they have limited understanding/capacity for rushing. Honoring this reality helps quell my frustration when they don’t keep up with me. I remind myself “My kid isn’t dawdling, they’re just taking things at a kid’s pace.” (This can feel painfully slow compared to our adult rhythms, but it’s not their fault). For people always running late (ahem, yours truly) it’s helpful to reframe and instead of trying to change my child’s behavior — “hurry up!” — I try to change my own (ie start getting ready 15 minutes sooner than I think I need to). 

~ Wash hands a ton. Every time you come home from an outing: School, the park, church, the grocery store; plus after going to the bathroom. It’s tedious to hoist a little one to the sink, but if you start young they will develop the habit and do it themselves from a young age. 

~ My sister changed my life when she said in a casual conversation, “well, raising your kids is your number one job.” She was saying it to help me not worry about dropping the ball on one of my other responsibilities, but it struck me as a fundamental truth and it has shaped my priorities, attitude, and behavior ever since. I worry less about how much we’re getting done and more about how well I am mothering them through the task at hand. Getting the dishwasher emptied isn’t the priority, helping my child develop work ethic (and maintaining a peaceful relationship with her in the process) is. Again, I think about this quote every. single. day. and it shapes my parenting in a major way. 

~Read!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read read read read read to your kids. Don't worry about getting them to learn how to read, just focus on cultivating their love of reading with stories of all kinds. There are books and blogs and podcasts bursting with reasons why reading is so massively valuable and nourishing, so I won't get into it here. Just do it! (Also, the public library system is one of America's top 10 best features, don't sleep on it!) 

~One of THE BEST, most succinct pieces of parenting advice that I apply literally every day is, again, from my mom. “Parenting is the art of distraction.” So much of dealing with tough emotions (fear, disappointment, anger, physical pain, etc) can be handled swiftly and effectively by redirecting their attention to something that makes the happy, curious, excited, and/ or soothed. (Tip: Preemptively distracting away from things that will lead to meltdowns is just as good if not better than distraction as a remedy!)