Moms are the smartest people I know.
It seems as soon as I’m at the end of my wits with the most mundane of tasks, along comes a super hero mom with the answer to my woes.
There is something about resourcefulness under pressure that churns out better research than any scientist in a lab. Got a problem? There’s a mom whose been there before and will surely have something for you to try. She might even have a way to fix it in her purse.
What I find even more inspiring is when moms don’t just keep this insider info to themselves. They are generous givers of the secrets. Because every mom knows it takes a village, a village where the butcher shares the meat, the baker shares the bread and the moms share the sneaky tricks to get your kid to eat both of those things, with a side of veggies and a smile.
This space here at Raise and Shine is where I tell a bit of what I know to be true about parenting, the things I am still learning, and how to find the sunshine through all of it. I believe a valuable part of this learning process is sharing the tricks, some maybe that I have learned along the way, but hopefully focusing on the ones you are collecting.
I’m calling this little series Raise Your Mom Game. It’s not a quick fix, because none of us are broken. We just need a fresh perspective to the everyday struggles learned from the cool parents like you and I. It’s for when we need another play in our playbook, tool in our toolbox, option in our portfolio, any other metaphors I need to throw at you?
And remember, gathering ideas from each other is just that, another idea to try, NOT the final answer. Remember when I talked about diversifying your parenting portfolio? That’s what we are doing here. Because the tricks don’t always work the first time, or every time. It’s best to have options, and the smart moms around you continuing to fill your bucket.
And also, side note, I even used my mom group to help come up with the name for this series, proof that moms are smart in ways beyond their parenting prowess.
Ok. I’ll go first with my greatest nuisance these days...getting kids dressed for the day. Made particularly more challenging by that annoying gap between a three year old’s fierce independence and their current skill level, as well as a six year old with a new found love of fashion.
On any given morning I find myself in the middle of two different debates. The first is convincing the three year old to change out of pajamas in the first place. The second is arguing with the six year old about whether that t shirt still fits, why shorts in January are not a good idea, and if maybe that flower girl dress is a little too fancy for a P.E. day.
They say you should always tackle the hardest task first so that would be, and always will be, the toddler.
Enter…Getting dressed obstacle course. Duh. Duh. Duh. DUUUUUUH! (Did you sing that the way I did?)
I watched a fellow smart mom, Kelsey Williams, set up her three year old with his very own personalized obstacle course across the room. I watched as the toddler moved from obstacle to obstacle willing and able (although not winning any awards for technique.) There were no arguments. There were no cold stare power struggles. There was NO YELLING. And would you believe he even looked like he was having fun getting dressed? Winning.
I tried this technique during a particular challenging week of getting dressed battles and it was a success. I laid out the clothes around the room, in the hallway, up the stairs. I showed him each step and we cheered him along as if he was Flo Jo going for gold. Sure it still took a REEEEALLY long time because watching kids learn to get themselves dressed is like water boarding for me. But at least it wasn’t paired with whining.
Also, I had to be ok with my child often finishing the task with everything on backwards. And we leave it that way. It’s his signature look these days.
Its a very common mom trick. Take a struggle and make it fun. I’m familiar with this one. But sometimes in the midst of getting four people ready for the day, I can forget to be fun. This was a great reminder about how to get it done efficiently and sans battle. It also played to the strengths of my particular toddler who enjoys a game and competition.
Now, my six year old, on the other hand is not one to enjoy a challenge or competition. She hates it when we try to “race” at bedtime to see who can get dressed the fastest. The girl doesn’t like to be rushed and she doesn’t like to feel unsuccessful. Its better for her to feel confident from the get go.
Our struggle was not in the getting dressed part but in the choosing clothes. I try to encourage the independent dressing but I get very tired of sending her back down to get dressed a second, sometimes third time when what she has on was not going to work for me. But I also get tired of having to lay out her clothes every single day. I have enough people to dress. Creating an obstacle course for one and changing the clothes of another four times a day was enough.
But then I saw how Erica Ladd has her girls choose their outfits for the entire week on Sunday. She then approves all of it at once, helps them take into account the special days at school, and then her job is done. For a whole week. How freeing! Whatever shall I do with all this time I just created for myself?
So there you have it. Two great ideas for Raising Your Mom Game in the getting dressed department.
And now its your turn! I want to hear your ideas for great tips and tricks in the parenting department. Or maybe you are STRUGGLIN’ with something and need some ideas. I’ll see what our mom tribe can come up.
Lets Raise our Mom Game. And Shine through it all.