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Balance, Books and Being a Better Mom

I’m a book lover. I love reading to escape, reading to learn, even reading to keep up to date on who’s dating who in Hollywood.

Recently moving to full-time work, I don’t have as much time to sit and read as I used to. I’ve also been feeling a lot of guilt because I am not always able to completely disconnect from work when my kids are around so I decided to utilize my love of reading to check out some parenting help books.  My job also involves a lot of driving around so I figured why not utilize our local library and check out some audiobooks.

I went through a few before I found one that really resonated with me. I’m a firm believer in recognizing that we can’t do too many things at one time, and taking snippets of wisdom from the plethora of parenting literature out there is the best way to approach this stuff. We all parent differently and what works for one family may not work for another, this is why taking pieces works for me. I talked to friends about it after, the pieces I took from it and even they were intrigued.

The book I ended up really hungry to press play on is called Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Dr. Laura Markham. At the beginning, she talks a lot about connection. How having a good one with your kids at an early age can really help when those later years come – when you have less influence on them because peers, the world, all that influence starts taking shape in their lives. I think I honed in on this because I feel like that’s something that I missed out on in my childhood and I really felt like I was lacking in giving to my kids with all the other “STUFF” getting in the way.

I picked up on 3 things she suggested doing that sounded like things that would help me, and I stopped listening to the audiobook at that point. Because I can’t do a bunch of things at once, I just need to apply a few things, then go back to it.

  1. Quitting Yelling – her suggestion might not be something all parents would be willing to do. You give a bit of control over to your kids but honestly, I really wanted to see if it worked because I was tired of being that mom. It’s a sticker chart. For the parent. Every day you don’t yell, your kids put a sticker on that day. Crazy thing is, it worked. I’ve got a month and a half worth of stickers to prove it so far. Who knew I was motivated by that? I have come close to yelling and honestly, it’s the fact that I am on a yell-free streak that I don’t want to break.
  2. 15 min – 15 minutes, with an alarm of uninterrupted time focused on one child, at least, daily. Now I applied this to work days only. Each of my kids get their one on one15 min with me, one day I chose what we do, the next day they chose. We set an alarm, I ignore my phone and we do something. One day it’s reading a book, the next day it’s painting nails. Of course on the weekend I just try to spend as much quality time with them as possible, no time limit, but with my afternoons working from home with my son, taking that 15 min break to focus on him has been really good. Some people might think this is silly, some people this time comes naturally to. I’m not one of those people so this helped me.
  3. Bedtime snuggles -I used to not want my kids to get used to me laying down with them. They’ll need me to fall asleep and what about the nights I’m not home? My husband even expressed his concern about my starting a dependency but I’ve set some clear expectations for them and it’s working. They know if mama’s not home we don’t get snuggles that night. They know it’s 5 minutes and they know it’s an open forum. Things come up from the day that they hadn’t told me, even though I’d asked about their day. And I just keep thinking those days will come pretty quickly when they’ll say they’re “too big” for bedtime snuggles so you know what, I’ll take them.

As I said, I didn’t finish the book yet. I actually had to return it to the library but I’m on the list again to finish it up. I needed to apply these things first before adding more on my pile.

Do you enjoy parenting books? Have you ever read anything that really resonated with you? As a mom struggling to find balance with recent changes in my world, I’d love to hear your recommendations, tips or advice.

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