As Easy as ABC and 123

I’m going to fill you in on a little parenting advise that I’ve learned in all my years of being a mama… we really have no idea what we’re doing.

Seriously. Everyday is a new day of growth and learning. And I mean learning what’s best and what works for YOUR kid. Because you can read all of those parenting books that you’re given (we literally have 3 of the same one), you can take all the classes, you can even go into it thinking “Well my kid is just going to listen to me and be the best kid ever” but in reality, nothing will ever fully prepare you for this lifelong responsibility.

And that’s okay.

I was that mom going into this gig with the mindset that I will discipline and teach my son everything he needs to know from the start. He was never going to be “that kid” throwing a fit in the grocery store. His first words were going to be “please” and “thank you.” He was going to be the sweetest boy that everybody loved and he loved back. I know, I was in my own little world. But really, I think every parent has this picture perfect idea of what their children would be like. You WANT your kid to be the best kid there is, and it’s okay to strive for that. But you also have to go into it with just as much grace and patience, not only for your kid, but for yourself as well.

Our son is 2 and a half years old. He can be the sweetest boy one second and the most stubborn boy the next. We have learned, when it comes to pretty much everything, that he will do it when he wants to. I’m not saying I’m happy about that, but I’ve learned that that is just who he is, and no amount of time outs or scolding is going to change that.

Some people may read that and say “You’re the parent, you MAKE HIM do what he’s told.”

Easier said than done, am I right?

I do agree that our kids need to mind what their parents say and have respect for them. I can get 100% down with that. But HOW we do that is a whole other challenge.

Like I said, everyday is a learn and grow experience. One thing that we have found that (for the most part) works with our son is something that I have never read in any parenting guide book.

In the last month or so, he has really gotten into counting to 10 and (attempting) to sing the ABCs. So, that’s what we do. When it’s time to pick up toys, it used to be a temper tantrum that lasted 20 minutes and that ended with me or Drew just picking them up. Now, he counts his toys as he puts them away. Obviously after he gets to 10 we give him some help, and it still takes a little bit, as he has to do it one by one. But it gets the job done and everybody is happy in the end. When it comes to brushing his teeth or washing his hands, it used to be a wrestling match of one of us holding him down and the other quickly scrubbing away as he screamed. What we’ve learned, though, is that if we sing the ABC’s while washing up, he happily complies and even giggles or tries to sing along.

That’s it. As easy as ABC and 123.

I’m not telling you this trick because I think I should win mother of the year, by any means. I’m also not saying that this is going to work with every kid, because it won’t. Because every. kid. is.different. Our daughter is going to be different than our son. She may be the one to listen without needing a trick or reward to do so. (I wish.) Or, she will just need a different structure. Whatever gets the duty done without feeling like you just went through World War 3 is a win in my book.

I will end with this: You can read the books. You can do what your mom or dad did to you when you were a kid. You can listen to everybody tell you something different. But in reality, it’s all up to what your parenting gut says. You won’t figure everything out right away. It will be a day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute process.

So don’t by so hard on yourself. Don’t compare your kid to the next. Write your own book and let your instincts take control. Remember, as easy as ABC and 123.

-J

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