Unpopular Parenting Opinions

Unpopular Parenting Opinions

 

When you become a mom, you learn that everyone around you has strong feelings about every fine detail of your decision-making as a parent. It’s like once the test strip turns pink, friends and family suddenly feel the freedom to throw their two cents into about all sorts of things related to rearing a child, from feeding to discipline to proper medical care. Sometimes, these opinions are welcomed and advice is much needed. However, sometimes the opinions are just that – and should be treated as such.

Since becoming a mom over four years ago, I’ve developed some parenting opinions as well – and some of them could be controversial. Here are some of my unpopular parenting opinions:

  1. Kids are unlikeable human beings sometimes. Listen, I will always love my children, feed them, clothe them, wipe their stinky bottoms, tuck them into bed at night and smother them with kisses in the process. But sometimes, they’re rotten and bratty and I don’t like them – and I don’t apologize for feeling that way or admitting it, because guess what? Most humans can be pretty annoying at times, and my kids are no exception. If you’ve ever lived with a spouse, significant other, or roommate then you know this to be true.
  2. Over-the-top first birthday parties are excessive and unnecessary. Save that money and put it into a college fund. I may get some heat for this one, but that’s okay because if you have more than enough money to throw it down the drain on a hot air balloon photobooth setup for a one-year-old’s party – then we’re probably not friends and you’re not reading this opinion, anyway.
  3. Sleep training can be a sanity-saver. Our first slept like a champ upon leaving the womb, but our second really struggled. It wasn’t until we sleep trained him that any of us got any consistent rest throughout the night, and I couldn’t believe how long we waited to do it.
  4. One and done is a perfectly legitimate child-bearing decision. Though we have two children, I remember the pressure others put on us to have a second kid. Any time I expressed that I might be done at one child, I was met with looks of shock and dismay, “the horror!” I’m glad we have two now, but I have good friends who struggle justifying their one-and-done decision every day, as if they’re being mean to their kid for depriving them of a sibling. Pretty sure my oldest would say I’m the mean one for giving her a brother – sometimes.
  5. Watching TV is fine. I could guilt myself about this one, but that seems like a lot of emotional effort and since I carry enough baggage with me each day – why add to it? We do this together as a family most of the time, we still have dinners around the table and we turn off the screens to read and sing together each night, so I’m okay with our TV time. And you know what? Thanks to Little Einsteins, my kids know the meaning of fancy musical terms like adagio, allegro, presto and moderato but can’t wipe their own bottoms, so clearly my parenting opinions might need to be taken with a grain of salt. Or a few grains and a shot of tequila.

Ahem. Anyway.

As a mom with a penchant for sarcasm, it’s easy for me to develop strong feelings about myriad parenting things – these are just a few. What are some of your unpopular parenting opinions?

30 Things I’d Tell My 20-year-old Self, Part 3: embrace the life you have

30 things I'd tell my 20-year-old self: embrace the life you have

This post is part 3 of a 30-day long series of reflections on my life as I approach my 30th birthday. If you’d like to catch up and follow along, you can find part 1 here

Last month, John Piper tweeted the following:

Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.

High school and those first couple of years of college were rough, weren’t they? All the mother/daughter things. Mani/pedis with mom. Moms passing on how to do makeup or style hair. Rushing sororities based on mom’s legacy. Heck, even my favorite character/TV show at that time featured a strong mother/daughter relationship. I certainly grieved this absence in my life. I felt inferior to other girls my age so many times because I didn’t have that kind of mom.

I didn’t talk about that emptiness often. I preferred to put up a brave face. I’d wear my childhood like a sanctimonious badge of honor that somehow made me stronger, wiser, more resilient than other young people who didn’t have half the life experience I did at 20 years old. Yet, behind that bravado was an insecure young woman who desperately wanted to chat with my mom about boys, get our nails done together, go to the salon or to the movies.

So, to 20-year-old Rachel, I want to say: it’s okay to grieve over the loss of that life you hoped would be, but be real about the grief. Don’t hide behind your bravado, burying your insecurities in the dark. Bear them in the light and strip them of their power. Don’t dwell in that grief for too long, either.

Trust God, and embrace the life you’ve been given. It will make you a better wife and mother. When you fight with your husband, your past will help you understand how to make amends, apologize, admit when you’ve been wrong and seek reconciliation. When your children push you to the end of yourself, remembering your mom’s anger will help you find grace in the trenches of parenting. 

So, embrace the life you have. It’s far more than what you hoped would be. 

30 Things I'd Tell My 20-year Old Self | Coffee Stains Blog
30 Things I'm Tell My 20-year-old Self: embrace the life you have

How to Get a Toddler to Sleep On Vacation

How to Get a Toddler to Sleep on Vacation

Step 1: Plan a weekend getaway with your husband and ask the grandparents to watch your kids.

You haven’t had a kids-free overnight stay with your husband since your second child was born. A little momma/daddy time is well overdue.

Step 2: Assume (foolishly) your 15-month-old will enjoy a weekend at Mimi and Papa’s. Pack the playpen for him to sleep in, blissfully ignorant of what’s to come. Also pack his favorite blanket and some stuffed animals for good measure.

He’s been sleeping through the night for weeks now, so surely the change of scenery won’t be that big of a deal. There may be a little fussing when you lay him down, but you’re sure he’ll adjust quickly and fall into a sweet, peaceful slumber and dream of lambs and sugar plum fairies.

Step 3: Drive the 2+ hours to the grandparents’ house. Let the kid run around in the yard to dispel all that energy he accumulated on the drive. Fill his belly with pizza and ice cream to lull him into a false sense of security before bedtime.

He got to play outside AND eat junk food, so he should be a happy camper. He should be falling asleep in your arms from all that activity and excitement, not writhing from your gasp at the first sight of the playpen and his pajamas.

Step 4: Change him into his pajamas and make his bed. Kiss him goodnight and sing to him in dulcet tones to induce a drowsy and drama free bedtime experience.

In this moment, you reflect on how sweet it is to have a little boy who loves you so much. You appreciate his snuggles and you grow prematurely nostalgic thinking of the future when he won’t want to cuddle you before bed.

Step 5: Lay him in the playpen. Ignore the immediate wails and ensuing tantrum as you quickly escape the room.

Tell yourself he’ll settle after just a few minutes. He just needs to adjust to the new surroundings, but you know he’s tired and he’ll settle soon. Ignore the little voice in the back of your head telling you this is wishful thinking.

Step 6: Check on him every 5-10 minutes as he continues to scream. Begin to sear your conscience to the relentless wailing.

At this point, you’re trying to remember all that Ferberizing you did when you sleep trained him.

Step 7: Question everything. Adjust lighting, rearrange his bed, change the temperature of the room.

You realize that his bed at home faces the door, so you place him in the bed so he can face the door. You breathe a sigh of relief when he instantly quiets, thinking you found the magic key to unlock the door of toddler sleep secrets.

Step 8: Enjoy a quiet hour of playing cards with in-laws. Feel your confidence rise as you think that bedtime wasn’t so bad, and it’ll be a good night.

Your naivete is so cute.

Step 9: Sneak into bed in the same room as your sleeping toddler. Close your eyes and begin to drift into sleep just as he awakes and begins to scream. Try to ignore it as you tell yourself he’ll settle in a few minutes.

He probably heard you breathe and now he knows you’re in the room. You wonder if he has night vision like a cat, because it’s pitch dark and you can’t see him yet you’re sure he is watching your every twitch.

Step 10: Question everything again. Sing to him, pat his back, pick him up and lay him down. Try to give him a snack. Try to lay him down next to you. Do this on repeat for 5 hours until you’re bleary-eyed and on the brink of insanity.

During this step, you also Google how to get your toddler to sleep on vacation, and much of the advice you find is the same: Don’t go on vacation.

Step 11: Hear grandpa rummaging around in the kitchen. Pawn your kid off on grandpa and go sleep for a couple of hours.

If grandpa isn’t going to sleep, there’s no point in you losing some sleep, too.

Step 12: Bail the next morning for your road trip getaway with your husband. Wish the grandparents best of luck.

See you later, suckers! Have fun with the grandkids!

This post may or may not have been a slight resemblance to a real life scenario in my life, recently. You probably shouldn’t follow any of this advice, by the way. Also, this was inspired by my friend Marisa and her poignant insight on how to care for an orchid. 

 

Motherhood is more than I can handle

Motherhood is more than I can handle Coffee Stains Blog

God will not give you more than you can handle

There is a common phrase Christians repeat to one another in times of trial or difficulty. It is shared as a word of comfort or encouragement to press on. I’m sure you’ve heard it: “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

The concept stems from Paul’s letter to the Corinthian Church when he tells them, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). It sounds nice, doesn’t it? Whenever faced with a hard circumstance or an overwhelming situation, we can keep going knowing that we can handle it, because God won’t give us more than we handle. Well friends, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news: it’s not true. Let me explain.

While this Scripture from 1 Corinthians does teach a wonderful principle that provides divine encouragement in our Christian walk, it does not promise that we will be able to handle all of life’s troubles. Take a look at something else Paul told the Corinthians, “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced…we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself” (2 Corinthians 1:8).

I want you to read those words again: so utterly burdened beyond our strength. Clearly, Paul had more than he could handle. This fact leads us to an important truth: our strength to endure, whether it be trials or temptations, does not come from ourselves – it comes from God. That’s exactly what Paul says next: “This happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God” (2 Corinthians 1:9). Paul then praises God for his deliverance.

Motherhood is more than we can handle

Today started like most days do around our house – the alarm rings at 5:30 a.m., followed soon after by the cries of a hungry toddler. Toast was made and milk was poured, and I sipped fresh coffee while trying to gain full consciousness before the busyness of the morning set in. After breakfast, my babies climbed into my lap for some morning snuggles and Magic School Bus, and I thought to myself (as I do most mornings), I wish I could stay here. I wish I didn’t have to work.

Soon, the flurry of getting dressed, brushing teeth, and rushing out the door had everyone on edge, and I began to lose my cool. As we were about to walk out the door, my daughter decided to antagonize her brother (as siblings do), and I lost it with her. There was yelling and crying, and I was left with the guilt of shame that comes from these moments.

This moment and others like it cause me to think, I can’t do this. I am a terrible mother. Why do I always end up yelling? I’m damaging them for life. There will be years of therapy tied to this single moment from her childhood. Maybe it’s just me, but I would guess that many of you have these moments, too (though maybe not as dramatic. I’m sure only one year of therapy will result from this episode.).

That is because we can’t do it, not in our own strength. Motherhood is more than you or I can handle. When we rely on ourselves for motherhood, we will remain doubtful, overwhelmed, frustrated, impatient, irritable, insecure and maybe even hopeless. But when we recognize that God is the source of our strength (Psalm 28:7), we are “more than conquerors” in Jesus (Romans 8:34), and that “everyone born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4), we know we can have victory in this thing called motherhood.

God’s gracious promises give us the confidence that though motherhood is hard, anything that comes our way – sibling squabbles, potty accidents, strong-willed defiance, sleepless nights , seemingly endless whining – anything, we are capable, in God’s power, of overcoming. God has given you more than you can handle in motherhood, but he also gives you the victory in it. Are you trusting him for it today?

 

God will not give you more than you can handle. Except when he does.

 

Mom Quotes

Mom Quotes from Real Moms

 

Yesterday, I crowd-sourced my Facebook friends for some of the common phrases they often say to their kids. They did not disappoint. Their contributions were hilarious and heart-warming, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites. If you came here to find poetic or inspiring thoughts on motherhood, you should look elsewhere. Instead, here are real mom quotes that reflect real life motherhood:

“As long as you live in this house, you will follow our rules.”

“Because I said so!”

“Please engage your brain!”

“Put kindness in your voice/face/eyes/hands.”

“Stop, you’ll hurt someone or break something.”

“I could never stop loving you.”

“Can you please just stop!?”

“This day is over!”

“Be gentle!”

“Use your words.”

“Please stop touching me.”

“You cannot still be hungry.”

“I just want to pee alone!”

Funny Mom Quotes Coffee Stains Blog

“What were you thinking?!”

“Don’t pee in the hamper!”

“Please put on underwear.”

“Why is there poop in the bathtub?”

“No, people don’t eat poop.”

“I will pull this car over!”

“I love you.”

“May the odds be ever in your favor!”

“I’m proud of you.”

“I want to squeeze you until your head pops off!”

“I’m gonna kiss you forever.”

“Act like we let you out of the attic once in a while!”

“I’m gonna eat you up!”

“Be nice to your brother. He’ll be bigger than you one day!”

“Mommy loves you so so so so so much! And Jesus loves you more than that!”

“Stop licking the fridge.”

“Make sure you wash all your nooks and crannies.”

And the best…..

“ASK YOUR DADDY!”

Funny Mom Quotes from Real Moms

 

I hope these mom quotes made you smile or laugh. Motherhood can push us to our limits some days, but it’s healthy to laugh at the funny and crazy moments that come with it as well. What are some of the funny or weird things you say to your kids often?