You fight fires and battles every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. So why do you find it so hard to pick and choose the battles you fight with your kids? Because they are a little piece of you walking outside of your body! You don't like telling yourself no, so why would you tell your mini-me no, either? Truth is, we have to! In the South it's even harder to say no with that sweet, southern drawl we are all born with! Who can deny that, especially when your sweetie pie baby looks at you and says, "Mama, can I pwwease have some ice cream?" (emphasis on every vowel in that sentence). It will make your heart swoon! But here's the thing: we have to figure out how to get over ourselves and be parents instead of friends despite what society says for us to do. Ladies and gents, I'm here to give you some advice on raising your kids:
One: Kids don't have to always like you. Don't worry, they will always love you, but they certainly don't have to like you all the time. It's OK to say no, to tell them to do chores, to go outside and put down the phones, or even to just go sit in their room! In the South, your grandma would get a hickory and teach you when you had done wrong. Then she'd butter you up with your favorite foods and desserts and you still loved her! But you certainly respected what she had to say, as well!
Two: Kids can be brats! They don't need to get their way every single time they ask, or demand, something. Society says to give in, don't spank, be their friend, etc. Sometimes it's OK to give it. They are kids with short attention spans. They need to know they are doing good. However, buying a toy each time you take them to the store will only set them up for failure. They need to learn they can live without every material thing their heart desires.
Three: They are your kids, not anyone else's kids! In the end, you determine the best for your child. You are the parent, you are the enforcer. I can't count how many times I've had to ignore other peoples comments on how I raise my child. Don't think I'm some extreme parent. I'm not by any means. I've had people say "they shouldn't be around dogs" or "that formula is what is making her upset and gassy." I've heard countless stories about why co-sleeping is bad. Guess what? My child is OK and she is happy! My husband and I raise her how we see fit. When I gave up trying to please everyone else, I felt a load lift off of my shoulders. Truth was, I wanted to breast feed, to have her sleep in her crib, and to make her independent. It didn't go the way I'd planned, but she is independent in her own ways and that's OK. Each child will get to those developments at some point. You can't model your child after someone else's!
Four: You and only YOU know when you're ready for more kids. (this is a HUGE topic that people love to talk about to new parents) People and society will shove it down your throat that you need to expand your family. It's not their decision. they will say "you're missing out" or "you'll run out of time" but truth be known, you know your finances and your abilities. For us, we dont' have the finances right away to have another one soon. I don't know if I could emotionally handle it; we lost two babies before her and I've had some major anxiety with her, making sure I'm taking care of her correctly. It's a mental block, but I would love another baby either way. I would never turn a baby away because I was scared, but some women suffer greatly from Postpartum depression or anxiety and it's real. So real. You may also have health concerns that people don't understand. For instance, I can't get pregnant for a year since my C-section for fear of my body failing/ripping open and losing my life and the baby's. People don't get that. They think you can just pop them out like candy. Some people can, but some can't, and it's OK. I think more parents need to hear that again. Ready? IT'S OK. YOU DID NOTHING WRONG. YOU CAN DETERMINE YOUR OWN LIFE REGARDLESS OF WHAT OTHERS SAY. YOU ARE A GOOD PARENT. YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR BABY AND WANT WHAT'S BEST. There, doesn't it feel good to have some validation?
Truth is, society can't determine what's right as a "one size fits all babies" approach. It's up to us to make sure we do what is right and know that our gut instinct is more than likely the best one.