This morning while I was driving with my youngest daughter, she and I were talking about new ideas for this blog. She has some young friends who are now mothers. Her idea, and that of the young women she has spoken to, is to have some of these posts be of the problem solving or helpful idea mode. Maybe, for those of you who live in Chicago, the Lou Manfredini of parenting
I have been thinking about this of and on today and am honored, in the sense that people think I may be able to offer sound advice! A lot of the posts I have written are more anecdotal and after the fact. Maybe here, I can try to head things off at the pass... like today on getting some questions from my oldest daughter. She has a toddler.
Many of you know, I like to share stories that are real, from my family and from experiences that I have either had or witnessed. I guess my thought is that observation can be relevant, and that having already been there, it may help to get some ideas and strategies before hand.
Having said all of that, I do want to always add the disclaimer that all of this, is my opinion. I will say that Bill and I have some sort of reasonable track record, given that our kids are competent, effective and functioning adults.
Yesterday I received a phone call about what to do with an 18 month old who is just trying to figure out how to talk and get his needs met and is also periodically demanding. I thought for a few minutes and then just fired away.
I am a long way removed from the 18 month old! Yet, I do know that most kids have a spiraling development process. Just when you think you have things figured out, they change. There are periods of calm, and periods of evolution and change. No one stays static, and kids are the same. I read a good development book when I was a young Mom by Ames and Ilg. I tried to find a copy for my daughter, but because that was 30 years ago, it is out of print. The premise was that kids have 6 good months, where they feel calm and comfortable in their own skin, and then 6 months of change and development. Time to shift, evolve and reach that next developmental milestone. Yes, it is true. Just when you think you have things figured out, they change. Maybe that is the whole plan. The chance to understand that life is a constant state of change.
I shared with my daughter that little kids can not truly tell you what they need, and they can't really function too independently until maybe they are 2-3. Most two year olds still need a lot of supervision and direct play, and then by the time kids are 3, they can spend more time independently playing and occupying themselves. Young children truly do need you A LOT! Of course, some personalities require less, and each child is different.
To that end, although it can be frustrating at times because parents have a lot to do, try hard to savor and enjoy and do your stuff when the kids are napping. Oh, and it truly is O.K. to use the "evil TV". Some good kids TV is out there, and you do not have to be a saint. Sesame Street has won lots and lots of awards!
So, relax, trust yourself and enjoy as best you can. Play, spend time, and also set boundaries. Being a good parent does not mean you have to sacrifice all that you want to do. It just means having to balance and be flexible.
Until next time,
Lou... oh, I mean Pam