2. It's hard. Hats off to single parents everywhere.
3. It has to be done. Crying in the middle of the night, early morning waking, hungry when food isn't ready, poopy diapers every 5 seconds (it seems)...it has to be handled and it's up to me.
4. My children will not ever, ever be calmer or kinder than I am. This is not patting myself on the back. It's saying that if I am upset and rude, it will not teach them to be better. I must be the example if I require it of them.
5. I am more easily irritated when tired and hungry. I must eat and sleep to take better care of them. This is exacerbated by pregnancy.
6. Sometimes time-outs are counterproductive. Sometimes cuddling, talking and then tickling or reading a book does more to repair moods and behaviors.
7. Cooking is overrated - pb&j or cereal are nutritious enough, even almost daily. Especially if we have plenty of fruit and carrot sticks for snacks and sides.
8. Cleaning up is not overrated. It does me psychological good to have my kids help put their toys away, pick up all those books they scattered from the shelf, and have the peace of mind of a (mostly) neat house once they are in bed. Same goes for me with dishes - keep up with them and things feel better.
9. If kids are up early, it's worth it to do tasks early. Let's face it, while kids are eating breakfast is a great time to wash dishes. And while they're playing happily in that morning stretch of rested and fed is a great time to work on projects or get a load of laundry pushed through. That way, when they hit a lull later in the day for a nap time or watching an episode of the Backyardigans, I don't have to rush to finish something during those few calm minutes and might actually be able to take a break myself to sneak a Reese's or read a chapter of a book. Especially important is finishing as much as possible before they go to bed so I'm not left with piles of things to do but can relax, choose a grown-up activity like phone calls or reading or a movie, and get to bed at a decent hour, no stress, but having completed the necessary things.
10. It's fine for kids to keep playing in the bath until THEY realize they're cold, even if I already knew they should have been. Enjoy the extra minutes or finish something up to buy that after-bed-free-time.
11. Putting kids to bed a half hour early will not make a big difference to them, but it just might save my sanity that day.
What about you? What parenting strategy keeps your head on straighter?