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Am I a good parent? I ask myself that question almost constantly. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately mulling over what makes a good parent? More importantly, what constitutes bad parenting? I just can’t can’t seem to get away from it. No matter the issue, I want confirmation that I am doing it right..not wrong. I want to be the cool mom who gives all the great parenting tips because I have my collective parenting shit together but I AM NOT!

parenting, bad parenting, good parents

Good Parent?

My parenting skills are not without there purpose. I’ve learned a few things over the years. My girls have thus far survived pregnancy unscathed, toddlerhood without too many gaping holes and moved steadily into the part of full blown preschoolers. But here is where it’s getting tricky. This is where I am seeing the glimmer of therapy to come in their little eyes.

Ok, so maybe I am a little phobic about bugs. Jeez, can I help it that it freaks me the holy hell out if my freckles move and I need to instantly disrobe and hit the showers or have a complete undercover panic attack? I try not to share this seedy underbelly of life with my girls but I’m pretty sure that they can see the ‘EEK” in my eyes. I mean, it’s pretty much palpable! Maybe this is why Bella has decided to take a pass on the swingset this morning. I hope not.

parenting

Perhaps, it’s not the best technique of parenting when I am trying to get the house cleaned, emails answered, blog post written save the world and I leave the girls in front of  Yo Gabba Gabba, Tarzan, Family Guy ( I jest, I jest) PBS for an extended amount of time. It’s not everyday and it’s not always but it happens. Just like chicken nuggets and cereal for dinner have happened. Or like forgetting dress down day at school? Permission slips? Homework? Does this make me a bad parent?

 

I know it’s not exemplary. I wouldn’t write a book about parenting and suggest that people leave kids in front of the obesity tube. But for all the phobias, idiosyncrasies they have picked up even a bit of snarkilicious attitude they know one thing for certain…we love them. We unconditionally, every second of every day, no matter the weather or our mood or how many daunting tasks we have on our plate…We love them. We tell them! We hug them, kiss them.We show them. True, I have them sitting at the table next to me working on spelling as I am typing this. Not as hands on as I could be at this moment but we’ll do manis and pedis and have some Mommy/Daughter time before dinner. Is this bad parenting? Or is it realistic parenting?

What do you think makes a good parent? What qualifies as bad parenting? What is your finest parenting moment? Worst? I want to know…

Who makes the good parent rulebook?

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Parenting, unsolicited advice, I can parent my own kids

How to parenting advice ~ Parenting without unsolicited advice or intervention is something that I am happy to do. I love my kids. I had them because I wanted to be a parent. I don’t need anyone else, no matter how well meaning their intentions may be, stepping in and grabbing the parenting reins. We all get our fair share of “how to parenting advice”, sometimes by people are not even parents,but how many of us had had someone actually step in and flex their how to parenting muscles?

how to Parenting, unsolicited advice, I can parent my own kids, children,moms

Kindly STFU, I can parent my own kids. NO how to parenting intervention needed

We are in a situation where we are currently living with the Big Guy’s parents. It is very generous that they allow us to live in their house while our house is on the market. It really is and I truly appreciate the sacrifice they are making. We tried the whole commuter marriage for two years and Sunday’s just became too much to bear. But lately I see the lines becoming blurred. It’s slowly but surely evolving into a too many cooks in the kitchen scenario.

I’ve noticed my MIL raising her voice a little more at my kids lately. She’s taken it upon herself to tell a 4 and 6 year old that they need to help out around the house more. What? 4 and 6, people not 14 and 16. They already set the table, help load the dishwasher and feed the dog. This seems like a lot to me, aside from picking up their toys. After a particularly aggressive conversation between her and the girls my husband stepped in and reminded her of their ages. She responded ,”Well, I just thought I’d teach them some responsibility.” Is she implying that we do not discipline them or are too permissive in our parenting?

How to parenting interventions are Most always Unwanted

I can feel the judging eyes and impatient stares when the children misbehave. I feel like my every parenting move is under scrutiny. How do I stop this? I ‘ve tried the firm yet gentle approach but my efforts seems to go unnoticed.

Sitting at the dinner table the other night, I watched in muted shock as she scolded my children for not eating everything on their plate. I am trying to teach them to eat until they are full and then stop. I have rules that they have to eat certain amounts of fruit, vegetables and milk. They are never obligated to finish carbs. In fact, I prefer they not. But she stepped in and reprimanded them for NOT eating the 3 helpings of carbs in its entirety.

I feel like my hands are tied because of the situation we are in and I really prefer not to be homeless. How do you tell your MIL that her, assumed, well meaning how to parenting interventions are stepping on your parenting toes? I know she loves them and she’s a good parent, after all, she did raise the Big Guy and he’s pretty freaking amazing. But these are our children and we are the only authoritative figures that should be parenting our children. I appreciate wise how to parenting tips from someone who’s been there already but I feel we can parent effectively all on our own.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she is doing this to be nasty or undermine our parenting or even intentionally. I just think she thinks she is doing what is best. She’s a fixer. If there’s a perceived problem she fixes it. I am more concerned with the effect that it is having on the girls. They are getting confused about who is in charge. My 4 year old told me the other day that is was Grandma’s house and she makes the rules. Which we all know is true except for when you live at Grandma’s house. In any case, Mommy and Daddy always have supreme reign over the children. Even worse, I am afraid that going from being the visiting, doting Grandmother who loves to spend time with them to the Grandma who they see every day and she reprimands and has no patience for them may hurt the relationship between her and our girls.

Am I looking a parent resource gift horse in the mouth or am I right in feeling like my parenting skills are being questioned? We all know how hard it is to parent in the first place, try doing it with your every parenting move being under a microscope. Has this ever happened to you? Has a parent or well intentioned family member or friend stepped in and parented on your behalf, without your permission? What did you do? How would you handle this sticky how to parenting situation?

No how to parenting assistance needed

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spanking, child abuse, sad child

Do you believe in spanking your child as a disciplining technique? Do you spank your kids? I’ve threatened it lots of times. I may have even tapped my daughter’s tush once or twice but it just never felt right. It felt wrong. I’ve written about whether or not you should spank your kids many different times on various different outlets and my opinion has always been that you probably shouldn’t spank your kid but it’s YOUR kid so it’s really up to you. Parenting is a touchy subject and I remember how pissed off people got when I said that cry it out was like abuse. I never truly wanted to offend anyone’s parenting technique; not on purpose. The other day a photo appeared in my FB tread and it’s been sitting with me and bothering me ever since.

spanking , child abuse, bad parenting

Deep down, I think that if you are spanking your child you are a jerk.

You either don’t know how or don’t want to use your words. You’d prefer to get angry, get frustrated and hit rather than dealing with bad behavior and sorting it out. Hey, I get it. I do. I have moments when I would love to spank my girls. Sometimes they behave really badly. They talk back and they don’t listen and sometimes I am just too damn tired to argue and grabbing a belt or a switch would make that all disappear. One good, swift smack would probably stop them out of pure shock and awe.

But as a child who used to get hit often, as in it was the primary source of discipline, I can tell you that your child will fear you. They will not respect you and they will avoid being caught doing bad behavior and lie if they are caught. It is not a deterrent to stop bad behavior. It is a deterrent to being honest with you. Your child will learn to fear you and hate the feeling of fear. Your child will be afraid of you. Your child will not trust you. And you can spin it anyway you like, spanking is not going to get the result you want. It will not teach discipline and promote good behavior, it will make your child afraid to get caught doing something wrong and there is a difference.

If you’re spanking your child for biting their sibling, what kind of sick and twisted, ass backwards message are you sending?

Don’t bite your brother but it’s okay for me to hit you. So, I am here to recant any wishy-washiness that I may have ever led you to believe that I have on the subject of spanking. It is never all right. It is always wrong and if you spank your child, you are most certainly not disciplining them in any meaningful way.

You are teaching them that physical attacks are okay to deal with your anger. You are teaching them that they can’t trust you. You are teaching them that you are mean and angry, that they should fear…not respect you. By spanking your children, you are undermining your own authority. So don’t spank your child. Love your child. Discipline your child when you are calm and thinking clearly because responding to bad behavior when you are angry only leads to bad choices that will inevitably damage your relationship with your child.

Think back to when you were a child, if you were spanked, was the feeling you felt when being spanked fear or respect? I know for me, when I was spanked, it was fear 100% of the time. Not once did I think to myself, wow, I respect my parents so much for sticking to their guns and punishing me with physical pain.

Do you think spanking is an effective form of discipline?

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discipline, exercise, parenting, how to change bad behavior with exercise

I found the cure to all bad habits and I can tell you the secret of how to change bad behavior with exercise! Nope, it has nothing to do with exerting yourself and distracting yourself. It has nothing to do with feeling better about yourself or being a better person. It’s much simpler than that and I promise you, it works. I am living proof. You can change bad behavior with exercise and achieve parenting level master status. It is discipline in the best way possible.

We all have bad habits. It’s the truth. I try to be a good example for my daughters. We want our children to grow up to be upstanding citizens of the world. We want them to go out into the world and be so fierce and fearless that they impress everyone they meet. We don’t want them to be jerks. One of my life goals is for people to meet my children throughout their life and be like, “Damn, that is one bada** woman!” At the same time, I want them to be like, “What a lady she is.” That’s my mom getting in my head.

I want my daughters to be the perfect lovechild of Audrey Hepburn, Maya Angelou and Lady Gaga. I want them to be fierce, caring and relentless in their pursuit of good and happiness. That’s what I’m going for but I want them to use their words. I want their words to be the vehicle that can gain them entry into any conversation in the world. I want their brains to be their sexiest body part.

I want them to be giving, loving and embrace life and love and people. I want them to live out loud with no walls or prejudices. I want them to fully appreciate the world they live in without fear or self-doubt. I think I am succeeding, or at least on trajectory with this path, with the exception of one small kink…using their words.

This is where it happens, this is what prompted me to figure out how to change bad behavior with exercise.

Yes, embarrassing as it is, I (the writer) have failed my children in the example of using their words.  You see, I know a lot of words. I know all of the words. I am in love with the words. But sometimes, I am a lazy word user and I resort to profanity. GASP! I know shocking. Well, not really. Not if you’re a long time follower of me. I’ve been trying a lot harder to stop with the lazy words because I don’t want my girls to use all the lazy words. So, I made a decision and it is kind of shocking how well it has worked.

This is how to change bad behavior with exercise.

It’s actually very simple. I implemented a rule a few weeks ago that if you (collective you, as in my family) curse, that is an automatic 50 crunches and if you bicker and yell, that is an automatic 200 pushups and so began the hardest few days of my life. Just kidding, I’ve lived through a lot of hard stuff. I was not going to be broken by crunches and yet, 400 crunches in one day…it was pretty rough but it worked almost immediately. Who knew you could change bad behavior with exercise?

The thing that I’ve learned is that no amount of grounding, taking away of friends, tech or play dates will work to curb my children’s bad behavior. They respond much more astutely to positive reinforcement. I’m not surprised because I am the same way.  I’d prefer to get a reward at the end of hard work than to not get punished. I learned when I was pretty young that I preferred to do what I wanted and suffer the consequences, that’s just how I work and unfortunately, I think I passed that strong will along to my daughters.

However, apparently, none of us love doing crunches. In fact, we despise them. Now, these were not your average run of the mill sit ups. These were those blasted ballet/ floor barre/ physical therapy ones meant to target your lower abdomen. No one works their lower abdomen. It’s not natural and it HURTS!

3 days is how long it took to cure me of my cursing habit. 2 days is all that it took for the girls to never want to use any sort of lazy word ever again. You see apparently, our lazy words are not worth getting off our lazy butts and doing 400 crunches. And the bickering, well, my girls hate push ups even more than crunches. Bickering has been at an all-time low. I can feel my sanity returning. It’s all fun and games until someone has to do exercise.

You see, I’m a die hard, forgiveness over permission gal but I had to be the example and so crunch away I did. I’m still doing 150 every day, just in case I stub my toe or something and need that sweet release plus, I could definitely live without a FUPA. It’s so simple to change bad behavior with exercise. Why did I never think of this before?

I’ve also realized that crunches can probably cure just about any bad habit we have. Think about it. You want to gamble, each bet is 100 crunches. You want to drink, each cocktail is 100 crunches. Want to eat that whole sleeve of Oreos? That will be 50 crunches per cookie, thank you. I’m pretty sure most of us would think twice before doing that again because I don’t know about you but a swear word is not worth 400 crunches and there are no cookies worth 50 crunches. Then again, at the very least, I’d be a heathen with great abs!

Would you have ever thought it was possible to change bad behavior with exercise?

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parenting

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parenting

akanemd

Parenting Techniques are like assholes..everyone has one!

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parenting an angry child, abandonment issues

Since the commuter marriage fiasco of 2010-2011, there has been some definite backlash. The biggest backlash can be seen on a daily basis with my 4-year-old, Gabi. She’s one of those children who does everything in a big way. She loves in a big way, plays in a big way, feels every single emotion in a really impactful way. She also hurts in a very big way and I have found myself in the undesirable position of parenting an angry child.

Parenting an angry child is hard.

Gabi’s always been high strung and easily frustrated. Since being apart from her the Big Guy for 2 years at the ripe old ages of 2-4, she’s developed some attachment issues. I made the decision to stay in our home with the girls after the Big Guy lost his job, and found another one across the country. We all followed to be together. Within 7 months, we were downsized just as we were putting down new roots. We stiff upper lipped it and thanked God we were all together.

READ ALSO: If you want respect from your toddler, you have to respect them too

Out of a need to support his family, the Big Guy took the first job that he found, which was a 4-hour drive from our home and was a contract position. For those not familiar, contracting is like freelancing without an exact expiration date and after the recent relo and uproot we wanted the girls to have stability. We made the hardest choice of our married and parenting life thus far; we decided, for the sake of the girls, that I would reside in our home with our girls and the Big Guy would come home every weekend. This was not an easy decision and was hard on every one of us. It was almost unbearable.

Parenting an angry child is heartbreaking.

To anyone who’s never done this, let me assure you that it’s much harder than it sounds or you can imagine. We bit off more than we could chew. To say it was trying is the understatement of the year (of the 2 years). I may have given the girls a “home” but in the process robbed them of the attachment of their father.

This past August we uprooted from the only true home the girls have ever known so that we could all be together and moved in with our in-laws (that’s an entirely different post). The home we left behind is the home where Bella had every first from 5 months on and the very home where Gabi was conceived, born and raised for the past four years. It was just getting to be too hard on all of us; the children, the marriage and boundaries and relationships were getting blurred.

READ ALSO: Realizing that Maybe You’re doing Parenting Wrong

Both girls have abandonment issues now. Worse yet, Gabi is a very angry child due to the hurt and attachment issues she experienced at such a young age. I feel like the world’s shittiest mother when she’s screaming that she hates me and tells me that I don’t love her because she has been wounded in this process. I pray not irrevocably damaged. Her pain and frustration are audible but sometimes it’s hard to not get angry in response.

I love her so much but parenting an angry child who constantly gets frustrated and goes directly to ” I hate you”, “You’re the worst Mom in the world”, ” You don’t love me do you?”  is hard, especially the latter. Hearing “You don’t love me do you?” through tears and anger, cuts me to my quick and breaks my heart while simultaneously stirring feelings of anger. I try to reassure her, but it is met with a barrage of insults and disbelief.

Logic tells me that I need to listen and respond in an affirming way to let her know that she is safe and we will never leave her. It breaks my heart to know how badly I’ve hurt her simply by doing what I thought was best. Parenting is not an exact science but when parenting an angry child there is an even smaller margin of error.

READ ALSO: My Daughter thinks I’m Ugly

I’m trying to educate myself about how to do this parenting an angry child business appropriately without causing further damage and understanding what she needs. I am trying to learn to respond and react appropriately. Remembering to set boundaries on her behavior without belittling her feelings. Even if the chance of abandonment is never going to happen, she needs to know and feel secure that there is nothing she could ever do to make us leave. More importantly, the separation was not because of anything she did or was the cause of.

I need her to understand that we recognize her feelings. We need to help her recognize her primary feelings before it gets to the secondary feeling of anger. For angry children, anger is almost never the initial reaction to a situation. It is usually preceded for a split second by embarrassment, sadness, fear, hurt, disappointment or worry. I need to catch that moment and let her know that I recognize THAT feeling and that it’s okay to feel that way. I need to let Gabs know that I understand that she is feeling that way and that it is perfectly normal. Assure her that there is no blame. I need to love her, even when she is trying to push me away. I need her to know that our parent-child relationship is unbreakable.

Parenting an Angry Child will Heal her Wounds

It’s a long road ahead but I will do whatever is necessary to repair this wound and soothe my angry child. Do you have an angry child? What are some techniques you use to move past the anger when parenting an angry child? How do you validate without frustrating your angry child or getting angry yourself? How does this work with other siblings? Being that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, does this cause other issues with the more adjusted children? How do you go about parenting an angry child?

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Perfect Parenting~Perfect Bullshit I know all of us try,to our best capabilities,  to be the best parent we can be. We want others to look at us and say “Wow! That Mom really has her shit together!” More importantly, we need to feel that our kids know that we are doing everything right. We want to do our best for them.I know I try my hardest to achieve a certain level of parenting proficiency.I’ve always been a perfectionist,so parenting was also approached with perfection as the ultimate goal. Perfect children? Perfect Mommy? Perfectly simple? Perfectly happy? That was the part that I hadn’t figured out yet.

www.motherhoodthetruth.com

Here I am, 6 years later with 2 gorgeous daughters who I think are absolutely perfect, to me. I, on the other hand, am not. I’ve been known to lose my temper and yell. I know, shocking right? I’ve found myself at a loss, stranded in a room completely overwhelmed with no direction and these two perfect beings tap dancing an Irish jig all over my very last nerve. These moments make me feel like the most unqualified parent in the world. After all, what kind of mom doesn’t think her kids are sunshine and rainbows all day, every day? Probably more than would like to admit it , that’s who.

www.motherhoodthetruth.com,perfect parenting~perfect bullshit

Then it hit me.Parenting is not what I am unqualified for. I am unqualified to try and parent by stringent, ridiculous parenting standards. My girls need me to be a Mommy to them.I’m not getting a grade. There’s not some secret Mommy board of directors who is keeping an ever knowing, all seeing big brother eye on my every move to validate whether or not I follow the approved guidelines. It’s the girls, myself and what works for us.

I know there is most certainly others judging me when my 3 year old has a complete meltdown on Sunday nights over which panties she wears and I give in. But they don’t realize that her Daddy has left every single Sunday night for the past year and she has a hard time dealing with it, she is only 3. She’s sad and panties are not the problem,they are a symptom. Missing her daddy is the real issue but looking from the outside. How could you know?

When my 5 year old had such a difficult time at the beginning of the school year because she had no friends and cried about it for weeks, people looked at me like I was a moron for letting her get so worked up about something so inconsequential. What they didn’t know is that we had to relocate last year and she had to leave behind her school and all of her friends half way across the country.And that was the second time in a years time. I let her overreact about the situation this year because she needed to feel her feelings. It was my job to let her feel them, no judgment and try and help her move through them.She’s thriving now but anyone looking from the outside looking in would have thought I was raising drama queens.


The day that I popped off at the girls for asking me to go to the park for the 37th time and my friend looked at me like I was monster, it hurt and was an embarrassing moment in my Mommy history. What she didn’t know was that it was the 37th time they had asked, I had already told them no because they were misbehaving and they had been at that park yesterday for 2 hours.Not to mention, I parent alone 5 days a week and if you’ve never had to do this you can’t understand how difficult it really is.No one knows these things if they are not told.

www.motherhoodthetruth.com,perfect parenting~perfect bullshit

Bottom line, my job is to be a good parent to my girls. For me, being a good parent means loving my girls unconditionally, supporting them in their endeavors, raising them with values and manners and doing my best to let them know the real me. I want them to look back on their childhood and know “My parents loved me”, they nourished my soul, my mind and my body. I don’t want to hide the real me from them.I don’t want them to hide who they are from me. There is no such thing as perfect parenting, that is perfect nonsense. We need to strive for parenting in a way that is perfect for our own children, whatever that may be.

www.motherhoodthetruth.com,perfect parenting~perfect bullshit

What is your perfect parenting style? What parenting “guideline” do you feel is completely obsolete in your parenting world? What parenting technique would you never use? Which parenting technique would you be lost without?

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The Truth about Parenting Teenagers from a Teen Mom, teen mom, parenting teenagers, parenting teenage girls, raising teens

Ok folks, this is not a drill. We are in full teen mom mode. We’re over here parenting teenage girls. Well, a champion eye roller tween with cramps and a newly minted 14-year-old so the end is nigh and all of that, I suppose. At least that is what the world would have you believe about parenting teenagers but it’s a lie.

Obviously, no teen parenting experience is the same just like no birth or the first day of kindergarten is the same. I feel like maybe I should knock on some wood before I type this post. You know how fate likes to make fools of us all. But, dare I say, I kind of love parenting my tween and teenage girls possibly even more than when they were toddlers.

I’m in that point of parenting where I have to be the adult. Yep, either I act like an adult or this train derails. Now, I’m not saying that means that I need to go hard and fast on the discipline. Doing that would only make that train jump the tracks. Believe me, I’m talking from experience. No, I’m playing the long game, as I have since they were toddlers, and I’m following my gut. That’s the real trick to winning the parenting teens game. No matter how hard they push you away, if your gut tells you something, listen. Your mama and papa instincts are smarter than you are.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls Pt. 1

Sometimes, it’s hard looking at an overgrown child with their own thoughts and beliefs and not giving them what they want. Teens like their space. They value friendships above all else. I know this from being a teen myself. Now, that I am a teen mom, I am trying to keep all of this in mind. I listen, even when I find it mundane or infuriatingly contradictory because we need to hear what our teenage girls and boys are saying to us. They really aren’t much different from their toddler selves in terms of what they need from us. They need love, compassion, guidance and understanding not a punishing dictator, even if we do know better. Like my mother always told me, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

Keep in mind that your teenage son or teen daughter is still that beautiful little human being that they laid on your chest and you brought home from the hospital. That tiny, helpless human being that you loved more than life itself is still right there inside of the angry kid, bickering with her sister and talking back to you. Remember when your teen was a baby and he cried out in frustration because he couldn’t communicate his needs to you and you had to use your mom superpowers and figure it out? It’s the exact same thing. They need you, the world is new and scary again, and they don’t know how to tell you or ask you for what they need.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls Pt. 2

The thing is society has played a cruel joke on all of us. They’ve falsely made us all believe that once our kids are a certain age/size that they are capable of doing almost everything. We expect them to behave accordingly. This, in turn, makes our children believe that when they are a certain age/size they are expected to know everything. Secret: They don’t know and how can they? We’re not done raising them. They still need all of our unconditional love, understanding, patience, guidance and compassion; probably now more than ever.

I liken it to when my girls were little. They were always off the charts, size wise, so people always expected them to be further ahead in their developmental skills. I distinctly remember one occasion when Bella was just over one (she was easily the size of a 3 or 4-year-old) and we were in the grocery store and Bella was talking baby talk to me and an older woman came up to us and very condemningly said, “Shouldn’t she be “using her words”?” I nearly swallowed my tongue but managed not to hit the woman and squeak out, “She is using her words. She’s one.” I knew from that moment on that I would spend my parenting tenure being my child’s advocate and to do that, I needed to communicate with my children openly and honestly to really know what they needed from me.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls Pt. 3

I’ll be honest, parenting a teenager is not that different from parenting a toddler. The key is paying attention (even when they make it difficult), giving them grace and space when they need it (not always when they want it) and as angry as they can make you, remember growing up is hard on them too. They are afraid and feeling like they’ve lost their place in the world. Everything they knew up to this point is changing, including their own bodies and minds. Give them wings to fly but be there to catch them when they start to crash and burn. Most importantly, keep talking to them, keep listening and look past the angst and anger façade…your baby is still in there.

Tips for Parenting Teenage Girls from a Teen Mom

Unconditional Love

Always, every day, no matter what love them like you loved that baby they laid on your chest. They are still in there hiding behind the eye rolls, smart mouth and pimples. No matter how big they get, they still need positive affirmations and love. Give hugs and keep telling them you love them. Maybe just not in public as much as when they were in kindergarten.

Communication

Talk to them. Not just when you think they did something stupid but all day every day. More importantly, listen. When they talk, they are trying to tell you something even if they don’t have the words. Read between the lines. Fight for them like you did before they were taller than you. Let them say whatever they need to say to you, try to keep your cool and see through their own insecurities and fear. Be there.

Patience

Count to ten before you scream at them. I know that you are tired of them looking at you like you are the dumbest person on earth. I know it breaks your heart when they look at you like you are a stranger on the street. Don’t allow them to be disrespectful or cruel but remember sometimes they are having a bad day. Maybe someone at school was being cruel or unkind, give them the benefit of the doubt. Try not to tell them you hate them ( even if in that moment maybe you do). Remember hate the sin not the sinner? Be patient, the child you couldn’t get enough of is inside that teenage girl smacking her lips and thinking she knows everything and soon enough, you’ll be needed as her soft place to land.

Understanding

This one is hard because teenagers can be frustrating and infuriating and sometimes you just don’t want to rise above it. Sometimes you want to get down in the dirt with them and make them cry to give them a taste of their own medicine. Don’t do that.  That’s what bathrooms are for, go cry in private. Don’t fall apart. You need to be the adult.

When your teen girl tells you something that you don’t want to hear (she’s thinking about having sex or she drank at a party) you need to remember you were her not so long ago. Then ask yourself, what will yield a better outcome 1) screaming at her with full disappointment and having her never tell you anything again or 2) listening, recognizing that she is becoming a young adult and these are young adult issues and calmly offering advice and guidance? I think you know the right answer. It’s hard. No one wants to have these conversations with their “child” but this is how they learn to do the right thing and be kind humans, from our sacrifice of weighing in on these topics when we’d really prefer to just lock them in their rooms and keep them safe until they go to college.

Listening

Use your voice of reason, stop talking and listen to the words coming out of their faces. Will it always be what you want to hear? NO! Do you need to hear it? Hell YES! As parents, just because we don’t hear something doesn’t stop it from happening. It’s like not going to the doctor when you have cancer because you’re afraid of the diagnosis. Knowing the diagnosis is not what’s going to kill you, ignoring the symptoms and not getting treated is. Have the hard conversations and listen to everything they say because they are trying to tell you something you need to hear and maybe it could save their life.

Forgiveness

This is a big one. Wow! Teenagers can be cruel and have a biting tongue. They have a knack for going for the weak spots. It must be a defense mechanism against bullying that kicks in with the hormones at puberty. While most won’t dare use it against their peers, they will easily use it on the people who will always love them, their parents. Keep in mind, the teen years are only 7 years of their entire lifetime, don’t punish them or hold grudges against them for what they say or do as teens. Discipline as needed but also remember to dole out positive enforcement and random acts of kindness towards your teenage children, they need it more than anyone else. Let it go. Forgiveness is for both of you. Forgive yourself too for feeling like you’re failing. We all do in these years.

Guidance

Always be there to gently guide your teenagers in the right direction. Firstly, demonstrate good behavior by example. Just like toddlers, they tend to do what they see not what they are told. Next, you can’t force a strong-willed teen to do anything. You can but nobody wins. But you can gently nudge them in the right direction by limiting the choices available. They still need to feel like they have free will.

Make life more of a would you rather situation instead of a what would you do situation because the world is still too big for all of that responsibility. Also, be available to give feedback when asked. If they are talking to you, they might want you to give them your input. This allows them to make their own informed decisions rather than listening to just their peers. But this only works if you respect and value your child’s thoughts and opinions. We are teaching them to make good choices. You can’t just tell them. They have to learn to use logical thinking and decide for themselves.

Compassion

This is so important. Remember you were where they’re at, not so long ago. You didn’t always know everything. I still don’t. When your child messes up, listen to them and be there. Hold them. Help them get through it. Don’t chide and chastise them. Just love them and let them know that everyone makes mistakes and, unless someone’s dead, we’ll all get through it.

It sounds like a lot of rules but in the end, all you really need to do is follow your gut. Your mom intuition tells you when things aren’t right, even when your mind and heart don’t want to believe it. I’ll be here if you want to commiserate and compare notes. We’ll all survive.

 

 

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parenting, how to survive parenting, mom mantra, exhausted mom

Ever find yourself Googling how to survive parenting? My girls are past the toddler years and we even lived through the threenager years…twice! We’ve survived the first days of school and those first years of the insecurity of the early years of elementary school and learning to coexist with others. We are falling fast, headlong into prepubescence and the tween years, which as far as I can decipher is basically a much taller, more vocal threenager who has perfected the eye roll so well that she just may injure herself doing so. It nearly gave me whip lash just being on the receiving end of one earlier this weekend. Yet, at the same time, they are my most favorite people.

It seems like forever ago that we were worrying ourselves silly about every single choice we made when they were newborns and even longer since bringing them home that first day and sleeping with the lights on so that we could watch every breath she took to make sure that she was still alive. I remember the overwhelming fear that I was going to somehow break this precious piece of perfection the minute those insane doctors allowed me to leave the hospital with this brand spanking new perfect newborn.

The point is that parenting is overwhelming at every age. It never gets easier it only gets different. That’s why we mothers have this mantra, and you might not even realize that it is yours, “Can’t stop, Won’t Stop.” I wish there was some sort of mom bat signal that we could shine out to other mothers in the dead of night like a bat mom rescue signal, or there was some sort of letter we could pin on our chest to signal to other mothers that we are exhausted and overwhelmed and in desperate need of a moment of silence, a nap, a hug or just an ear to listen. Instead, we’re all like the little mom that could…just chugging along, praying, “I think I can, I think I can” hoping to survive until our partner gets home from work. We mark our days by putting out metaphorical fires and surviving one catastrophe to the next. It’s not really living so much as its survival.

I’ve been a mom for 11 years now and I can tell you, if it gets easier, it’s not in those first 11 years but I’ve picked up some pointers along the way. Being a parent is hard work, especially when you consider what’s at stake; your sanity, your children’s lives and your quality of life. Oh and your partner, can’t forget about him or her because even if you’re in this shit show together, you’re not really. One of you is doing more work. But who’s keeping score?

How to survive parenting?

When the girls were littler, back in the days when I had a 2 and 4-year-old (and honestly, for a few years after that) every 3 months I’d have a meltdown. I needed the release. Those were my limitations; 3 solids months of non-stop doing my best parenting and then I needed a good cry (a sobbing your face off ugly cry.) In retrospect, I’m not sure if I was crying from feeling like a failure to my children, sucking at making time for my husband, the catastrophic state of what was my home or mourning for my life, the one I knew I would never have again.

I know it had a lot to do with being left on my own to figure it out while my husband worked out of state. I never felt so lonely and overwhelmed as I did in those days even though I was never technically alone (little people had attached themselves to me like barnacles and for 97% if the time I loved it but for the other 3% I felt like I was that guy in the Scream painting by Edvard Munch.) I wasn’t even allowed time alone to hear myself think. Not sure if it was from missing someone to help with the parenting, having someone to talk to about it or the feeling like when he came home on the weekends the Big Guy was secretly thinking to himself, what the hell has she been doing all week…this house looks like a tornado hit it. All I know is that I spent a lot of the early years of parenting feeling buried inside myself; unseen, unheard and invisible (well, unless you consider being a human feed machine, booger and ass wiper and always eating cold food while tiny people asked me a zillion questions being visible…ironically, those were the moments when I really wished I could be invisible.)

The thing is I loved every single moment of it and I hated it too. I loved (still do) my children more than anything else but I put myself on the back burner. I lost myself to a mom uniform (mine was yoga pants and t-shirts, for some it’s a pair of jeans and a sweater or a comfy maxi-dress) and a soft body (because who the hell has the time or the energy to work out when they have little kids). I became unrecognizable on the outside, even to myself. I was in survival mode or maybe it was beast mode, “Can’t stop. Won’t stop!” Because when little people’s lives are depending on you, there is no option even when you want to collapse and say you quit (and we’ve all wanted to. You beautiful exhausted mom reading this, you’re not alone and I see you.) It’s okay. We’ve all wanted to tell the boss to take this job and shove it at one point or another.

The thing is, like I said, it doesn’t get any easier but it gets better. My theory is that babies are born so freakishly cute to us so that when they keep us up all night and take us to the brink of insanity we can be soothed by a coo or a smile. As they get a little older, they get even cuter and that is because those are the real butthole years. Oh if those adorable little smiles didn’t melt our hearts, parents would probably be abandoning threenagers on the carousel at the mall at an alarming rate. Then, they settle in at absolutely freaking adorable from the ages of 4- about 10ish; everything they do is sunshine and out mommy/ daddy hearts almost explode. Then one day, we wake up and they are tweens and they are kind of smelly and starting to perfect that whip lash inducing eye roll that I was warning you about. I hear that over the next few years they become heinous back talkers who know everything and go through a rough patch physically, I think this is nature’ way of making sure our parent hearts survive their departure to college. Otherwise we’d all die or follow them. At this juncture, I can’t guarantee I won’t do both.

The secret to surviving these early years is acceptance. Accept that it really does go by at lightning speed and accept that you love them more than you really want to admit so much so that you worry at night that it might kill you dead if they ever leave you or God forbid, something terrible happens to them. The bottom line is that parenthood is minutia peppered with misery and profound moments of bliss and it’s the most amazing, wonderful thing that any of us will ever be a part of but it also kind of sucks and that’s okay too.

Let it go. Perfection is not attainable in parenting. In fact, it’s a moving target. Do your best, love your children, love yourself and love your partner. Don’t worry so much about the house and laundry, they will still be there tomorrow (unfortunately, I know this first hand). Don’t be afraid to share your struggles with other moms, think of it as your own personal bat mom signal. Talking about it really does help. Why do you think I started this blog in the first place? Believe me, your kids are not the only ones bickering constantly, talking back, not sleeping and living on chicken nuggets and good looks. You are not alone!

Make time to hear yourself think because your thoughts are important. Steal moments to catch your breath and every once in a while, lock the door when you go pee, drive alone with the music you like to hear cranked up 10 decibels too loud for your toddler’s ears and just try to remember that you are still a person and you are not alone. We (the other moms) see you. I promise you, one-day sooner than you think, you will be alone with your thoughts again and you’ll be able to take the time to shower, shave and dress like an adult.  You’ll even get to eat warm food and talk to adults again and you will most definitely miss these exhausted, overwhelming moments of now. Did I mention that I cried like a baby the first day that both girls were in school all day long?

Of course, that’s about the same time your “babies” will start throwing you major shade and rolling their eyes at you like it was their job but it’s also about the time you can have real, meaningful conversations with them because they are becoming adults. There’s that damn misery profound bliss thing again.

I see you. What’s the one moment in parenting that you really wished you could send out a bat mom signal and have someone come to your rescue? Let’s have a conversation, share it in the comments.

What’s your one tip you’d give another mom for how to survive parenting?

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INternational Women's Day,#tbt, Throwback Thursday, The TRUTH about Motherhood, Motherhood

Today is Throwback Thursday #tbt and I’m doing it parenting style. It’s all about the motherhood. There will be a Throat Punch Thursday post here on The TRUTH  later today. But since it’s my 5-year anniversary week,  I have decided to do a little Throwback Thursday post #tbt.

This was the first post that I EVER wrote.I am pretty sure that no one ever read it:)  I had no idea what I was doing as a blogger and was definitely still figuring out motherhood. I knew what I wanted this blog to be. I wanted it to be a place where other mothers could come and get the real nitty, gritty down low on motherhood. I was tired of feeling like a failure only to find out that other mothers were only telling me the good parts of their experience and never the hard parts.

As I got to know more moms, I realized they were just trying to protect themselves because all they were hearing were the good parts and in the end…we all felt like failures. I never wanted another new mom to feel like a failure again. That is why I started this blog. I figured if I shared my highs and lows, if only one other mom felt better about herself or felt like she wasn’t alone, I had made a difference. I was trying to be the change.  Here is my #TBT post complete with Throwback Thursday Photos. Enjoy.

Parenting for beginners.

motherhood,the truth about motherhood, pregnancy, babies, parenting

There’s a club, more exclusive than the Junior League, the country club, or any other social/philanthropic women’s club, it’s called the Mommy club also known as the bliss/insanity that is Motherhood.

Welcome to the TRUTH about Motherhood where parenting gets really real.

Yes, there are many, many women in this club, from all countries and walks of life. Do you know of any other sorority where the initiation rite is growing and producing a human being? Seriously, that’s a little steep. It’s a never ending membership. Once you’ve joined, you’re a lifer and believe me it’s more stringent than any other club I belong to. It’s like being jumped into a gang. There is no way out. It’s a ’til death to we part sort of situation.

motherhood, mother

 Motherhood is hard. Parenting is not for the weak.

Once you are in the “Motherhood”, you are continuously scrutinized for your choices; from conception, to delivery, what you wear, what your child wears, how you speak to your child, what classes you take and the lists goes on to infinity and beyond. Worse still, other mothers seldom tell you the whole truth about motherhood. Parenting is the best kept secret there is. No one wants to admit how challenging it can really be.

The secrets of parenting are securely hidden from the newbies under lock and key by other parents. Being careful not to reveal an inkling of the real truth for fear that the species may cease to exist. You won’t be told the hard truth about pregnancy, labor, subsequent siblings, bedtime, discipline, after baby body or any of the other gruesome aspects of motherhood by your friends and neighbors.  You will hear all about the awesomeness by your mom friends. You will have rainbows and unicorns coming out of your ass. But that’s not reality.

The reality is that parenting is the hardest job that you will ever love.

I’m Truthful Mommy , also known as Deborah to other adults, and this is the truth that your mothers, sisters, and girlfriends never told you! This is the beginning, so if you are ready for the TRUTH about motherhood, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as it happens to me, put on your mom goggles and have a seat and stay awhile. I’ll be giving you the good, the bad, the ugly of motherhood. I’ll be irreverent and brutally honest, so hold on to your hats. Sh*t is about to get real. Welcome to The TRUTH about Motherhood.

motherhood, parenting, mother, the TRUTH about Motherhood

My TRUTH about Motherhood is that parenting is everything.

I hope you will come back tomorrow and check out my new series This Blogger’s Life... My first interview will be with my friend, Jill Smokler,  the awesome force behind Scary Mommy! It will be live at 8 am EST. 

Okay, lets see those #TBT photos on Instagram. Leave your Instagram name in the comments and I will follow! I’m Deborah Cruz on Instagram.

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