My first born turned 4 years old and as I looked back at the photos and videos of him growing into a toddler I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what I’ve learned about being a mom these last 4 years.
1. Have fun! The number one thing you hear from other parents with grown kids is that it goes by so fast. While they say this, you are probably stressing out over a tantrum or how the house is a mess, but stop to enjoy playtime with your child. Looking back at the times we went to the park, the beach, built forts, and played WITH him with his toys, those times have been so important to his development and imagination. They learn so much thru play! Plus it won’t be long until he won’t want to blow bubbles or have mom push him on a swing at the park, so don’t miss out on these years of playtime together.
2. A jelly bean goes a long way. Bribing? I look at it as rewarding. For us it was jelly beans, but I know other parents have a “treat jar” with small prizes. Jelly beans helped us potty train him and helped us teach him how we clean up after playtime. I get so excited now when I see him just picking up and putting away his toys all by himself without me asking! The best part is he just does it, not for a jelly bean or treat anymore.
3. Make and eat meals together. We hear about the importance of eating together as a family, but I want to add the word “make” to that sentence. When Bryce has helped in making a meal, even just picking out and pouring the cereal into the bowls, I have noticed he will eat better and sit longer at the table.
4. Remember their feelings. One of the biggest struggles/lessons I have learned in the 4 years of being a mom is the balance of having fun while teaching them. You know the saying, “be their parent, not their friend” but that doesn’t mean to forget about THEIR feelings. If I get mad at something he is already mad about, guess what happens? He gets more mad and upset. Instead if I get down on his level and say “wait what are you mad about?”, he tells me it was because sister took his toy, he is already calming down while telling me this, and everyone learns together about taking turns and sharing toys. If I had just yelled AT him instead of talking WITH him, that whole lesson would not have happened. Of course this can’t happen at every situation, but the majority of times this resolves the issue so much faster and more peacefully.
What lessons will I need to get ready for in the next 4 years?