Summertime: Parenting 101

Children are definitely life’s greatest teachers, and while summertime is a period of slowing down, it’s also a period of exponential growth. As a mom of three young boys, it means that I’m stretched in so many ways that it’s grow or die. Well, sometimes I grow in the morning and die in the afternoon. Thankfully one of my kids still takes a nap!

We’re only a few weeks into the summer and we’ve already logged a good portion of our 10,000 hours of both tennis and soccer. We’ve moulded with play-doh, practiced our painting and drawing skills, climbed trees, and spent most of our days hanging out at the park with friends. We’ve frequented water parks, hit up the zoo, and tore up the town with our 3 wheeled scooters. These kids literally never ever slow down!

Though raising 3 young boys is challenging, it’s an amazing opportunity to work on my inner game. Some days are great, some days are good, and some days I wish I had parented a heck of a lot better. But tomorrow is another day, another chance.

We are never the same person we were yesterday. Every day we learn. Each morning is a blank slate; a new chance to be the person we’ve always wanted to be. Every day is an opportunity be a little more calm, a little more tolerant, a little more patient, a little more loving, and a little more in touch with your spirit self.

Having children is one giant lesson that never ends. It took me until the 3rd kid to really get a hang of letting go, and I’m thankful that I’ve got that one under my belt. You choose you battles.

Parenting is knowing when to be firm and when to be soft; when to be a friend and when to lay down the law, guns blazing. It’s knowing when to let go and let their spirits thrive, and parenting is always leading by example. Are you the adult you want your children to grow up to be?

My kids make me acutely aware of where I need to improve. Whether it’s my 2 year old whining about wanting chocolate or my 4 year old repeating a bad word, they’re my mirrors. But they also remind me of where I’m doing really well. When my 2 year old asks his 1 year old brother if he had a good night, when my 4 year old gets up from the dinner table to find a soother for his little brother, and when strangers tell me how talented my little scooterists are, it just makes my heart burst.

When you think of how well you are parenting, don’t just think about your downfalls. Don’t do that. Think about a few areas that you need to improve and think of what you can do today to change your parenting game for the better, sure. But also think about what you are doing well. Think about how proud you are of your kids and be sure to let them know it.

When we’re at the park I hear a lot of “Don’t do that. Don’t climb on that. You can’t do that. Yadda yadda yadda.” There is a time and a place for that, and I’ve said them all a thousand times, but just like us, what our kids need to hear more of is what they are doing right. Today I heard a grandmother berating her grandson for squeezing out too much sunscreen. She was relentless. She tore him down when she could have let it go and built him up with “It’s okay, that happens to me all the time!”

Build their confidence. Tell them why you are proud of them. Tell them how amazing they are for working hard learning a new sport. Tell them how much courage they have for doing the things they do. Compliment them on their good behaviour and push them to try something out of their comfort zone. The next time you want to yell, ask yourself first if you can let it go and find the lesson without the raised voice instead. Why tear them down when you can build them up?

And at the end of the day, once you’ve parented your way through the past 14 hours, know that it’s okay to crack open a bottle of wine. As a parent, I completely agree that it’s not only okay, but so entirely necessary!

xoxo Amy.

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