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Being a parent is arguably the most important job in the world. To pull it off successfully is no simple task. After all, Edna Mode famously said, “Done properly, parenting is a heroic act… Done properly.” For this reason, we often turn to one another for parenting advice when we are faced with a trial or something new. Most people will tell you what they did or what they heard others do to overcome these trials.
While many of these pieces of advice may help, they should be given after this rarely shared piece of parenting advice. You, as a parent, need to personally be ready to accept these changes.
One of the most common things that parents go looking for advice on is sleeping problems. I do not want to get caught up on sleep training techniques. This is something that you personally should choose. Whatever approach you take to parenting in general. You should make sure that you are ready to face the possible hardships that could come with your individual decisions.
With my first baby, I felt I was in a good place emotionally to let my 4-month old cry in her crib when I was ready for her to start sleeping through the night. It worked quite well for us. Naturally, I figured I was getting pretty good at this parenting stuff. I was given a big reality check when my next baby came along and the dynamic shifted rather dramatically. For some reason, it took a lot longer for me to prepare him and myself to let him learn how to fall asleep on his own.
I initially tried to let him cry it out around the same age as his sister. I quickly realized that I wasn’t ready to face the stress of hearing my baby cry it out. Why was I able to handle my daughter’s plight of crying it out, but not my sons? It wasn’t until he was over a year old, and sleeping rather well by then, that I came to the realization that I hadn’t been ready to face the stress of that step at that particular time. It took me a lot longer to prepare myself for this step, but I did eventually get there. Now my son is one of my best sleepers.
Funny enough to say, I also discovered that this same concept can be used in potty training and other aspects of parenting or life in general. With my daughter, I tried to push her with potty training because people told me that she was ready to learn, but I guess for some reason, I wasn’t ready. While I still pushed the training, it took months before she was fully trained. As you can imagine, many, many accidents happened during that time. I wish that I could go back and share this parenting advice with myself. It would have saved me a lot of frustrations.
How can you become ready?
So this is the big question. Everyone is very different in how they approach any given parenting situation. With that said, these tips are a few things that I’ve done to prepare myself to face a new challenge or a new situation.
Do your homework:
In the words of my loving father, “Do your homework.” It can really help to find out the different tactics other people have used during similar situations. If you find something that you feel might work for you, make a plan and do your homework so you can ensure you are taking the best path. In other words, make sure you know how you are going to approach the situation.
The reason I was failing at potty training my daughter at first was that I personally wasn’t prepared. I didn’t really know how I was going to approach this whole potty training thing. After reading books and talking to some people, I gained some ideas on what to do. This helped me to stick to my guns and get it done.
Once I’ve decided on my course of action towards a new step, I make sure that I talk it out with my husband. By informing him of my intentions, I have vocalized my idea to someone else and gotten them involved. Doing this helped me further solidify my goals. I often found people softly reminding me and pushing me to go through with these plans. I have also found it reassuring to hear from friends and family about their experiences. More often than not, they will also offer their help and support.
Take a break:
As mothers there comes a time when you need to step back and take a break from kids and home. Often these breaks can give us a renewed sense of emotional strength to face upcoming stresses. My circumstance is fortunate enough that my part-time job and my husband give me ample opportunity to have ‘grown-up’ conversations. One of my dear friends considers her bathroom her ‘sacred space’. She goes there to decompress if her anxieties become too much to contain. Finding avenues for relieving that stress is crucial. That’s why I also do hero-work of moonlighting as the Incredible Elastimomon on the side. This is also where those support groups can really come in handy.
There are so many other tactics that can be used to help us prepare for these big steps in parenting. But remember this: you can listen to all the advice out there, but if you aren’t quite ready to face these new steps yourself and chart a course, then things likely won’t happen how you would like them to happen.
– The Incredible Elastimom