My name is Amanda Braschuk. I’ve been married to my amazing husband Paul for 5 years, together for 8. He works away from home which can make life a little crazy when I’m parenting solo. My daughter Zoey is 2.5 years old, she is the most beautiful little girl I’ve ever seen. My son Asher is one, he is incredibly handsome and really mischievous. I also have two dogs who think they are human, which is only fair because in this house fur babies are family too!
Any expectant mother can tell you, with a baby on the way, you are offered hordes of advice. Whether warranted, unnecessary, asked for, brash or overwhelming – generally everyone has a wise word or two for a soon to be mom. The best advice I received before the birth of my daughter was from a friend, mother of 3 herself. She urged me to hear all the advice; people mean well and typically someone is sharing knowledge which helped them in hopes it will benefit you too. She then recommended I choose the advice I would use, anything which could assist my journey into motherhood and forget the leftovers. Great advice. I wish I could impart grand knowledge to make parenting less challenging and easier for everyone but this is not the case. Rather, I will share a few sentiments I have discovered through my own childrearing experiences. Survival methods if you will.
Pick your battles. You will have an abundance of conflicts to choose from, your options will be plenty. I don’t budge on brushing teeth. I have brushed the teeth of a toddler cinched in a headlock, lying on the ground with toothpaste froth being screamed into my face. It’s not attractive but you know what else isn’t? Tooth decay. Some things I have learned simply aren’t worth the struggle. I have relinquished any effort to break them from ingesting bath water. I tried, many times. I went so far as removing any toy capable of being used as a drinking vessel and it merely directed them to discover they can suck water out of their washcloths. There are still a few of nights I request with a sigh “don’t drink the bath water” but to no avail. What more can be done if drawing attention to little brother peeing in the water and acknowledging they’ve both been farting in the tub for 15 minutes won’t discourage them? Perhaps it’s too close to bedtime and I’ve already punched out my imaginary timecard. Either way, if you want to drink urine-fart water be my guest, I’ve surrendered this war.
Expect the unexpected. I’m not insinuating you create paranoia to endure your days but the Boys Scouts have it right – Be Prepared. No amount of organizing or scheduling can compete with the disorder children are able to mix into plans. My kids are awake and up by 5:30 every morning, 6 if I’m lucky. By means of this logic one might assume I would have ample time to ensure prompt arrival for an 8am appointment. Wrong. The days I need them awake are the days they’ll sleep until 7:30. Taking a holiday I tend to imagine someone will get sick, before or during the vacation or it could be the day before family pictures when your child debuts modelling their new goose egg sized bruise on their forehead. There won’t always be a readied solution. Sometimes these situations are difficult to foresee and consequently tough to be prepared for. No matter what, expecting the unexpected has made it easier for me to roll with the punches. Things won’t always go as planned, its life – only much more obvious since having children.
You are not alone. No, I mean actually never alone – children follow you everywhere, all the time, wherever you go. They require constant entertainment and attention. I truly enjoy engaging with my kids and seeing their imaginations at work but frankly a person can only sing the Wheels on The Bus so many times a day. Take a break – but you can’t take a break you’re “Mom”…boloney! Call your favorite confidant and have a trusted vent session. Take your friend up on their offer to make you supper/run your errand/watch your little ones. Send Grandma to the rescue. It takes a village…to keep Mommy sane…to raise a child. Count on the care and support from the people who surround you. When you take care of yourself, you’re better prepared to take care of your children.
I don’t have it all figured out, I don’t believe anyone does. I maintain listening to any advice or strategies other parents have employed, eager to improve and progress as a Mother. You know yourself and you know your children, most likely better than anyone else. At the end of the day we have survived and live to tell our tales of the best solutions for poop stains and temper tantrums, potty training tips and remedies for picky eaters. I, for one, am willing to listen to any guidance if it will make this rollercoaster an even slightly smoother ride.