I’ve had several life-changing epiphanies since becoming a parent. Is epiphany the right word? What happened was I observed other moms doing these things and then I copied these women and found out the strategy worked so well in my family, I had to implement it into my daily life.
The first: I tried attending a Mommy and Me yoga class with my screamasaurus first son (this was years before we knew he has Sensory Processing Disorder…all we knew was that he SCREAMED. All. The. Time.) and, of course, he cried the whole class. I overheard another mom say she marched her baby up and down a flight of stairs while wearing him in the baby carrier. I went home, tried it, and he stopped screaming. So we marched him. For months. I got very fit and thin, if I didn’t get much sleep.
The second: A friend told me that the first year of life after having her second child was basically a big game of “Whose turn is it to cry right now?” By this, she literally meant that she told her sons, “You can’t cry right now. It’s not your turn. It’s your brother’s turn to cry.” Any parent who has been privy to the train-whistle choir of two children crying at once can appreciate how awesome it would be if just one of the children would stop weeping. I was skeptical that such a thing would work, but one day said to my older son, “Miles, you cannot cry right now. It’s Felix’s turn to cry. You have to wait until he is done.” And it worked! From that moment on, we’ve taken turns crying. Even if that means one kid yelling to the other one, “Stop crying! Stop crying! It’s *MY* turn to cry!”
Now, I’m moments away from having three sons. The aspect of parenting that currently vexes me most is carseat buckling/unbuckling. I will order a spatula from Amazon Prime rather than deal with car seats to go to the store, I hate it that much. Sometimes, I lie awake at night and cry thinking about how I’ll soon have to deal with three car seats just to visit the ATM. Thankfully, my trusted village of mom-friends delivered another epiphany.
The third: My older kid can help my younger kid(s) with carseat buckles. It’s true! He can already do his own chest buckle and undo all of the buckles. Why shouldn’t he at least get his brother’s chest buckle? There is little he loves more than to boss his brother around. I thought I’d try directing this “leadership” toward carseat safety. And it worked! I sat Miles down and explained that it’s hard for me to bend over, I’m usually hauling many bags of crackers and diapers, and could he just be my big helper and fasten his brother into his carseat? “Sure, I can do that.” And he’s been doing it! He ushers his brother into the seat, buckles the chest clip, then climbs in his own seat and buckles his own chest clip. And, lo! I have two children contained enough that one isn’t climbing away into the driver’s seat while I’m buckling the other.
What parenting epiphanies have you learned that have most changed your life for good? Leave us a comment to share your experiences!