The problem with Fridays is that you can't say "Well, it's Friday somewhere!" the way you can with 5 o'clock. That's unfortunate. But for today, at least and thank God, it is Friday, in many, many places.
And so, without futher ado, I give you 7 Quick Takes on Parenting.
If there is one thing to say 'never' about, with respect to parenting, it is this: Never compare yourself to any other parent. No two families are alike. Wishing you did things like so-and-so may start innocently enough, but will lead you down a dark, dark road from which it is very difficult to return. Just don't do it. Know what you want for your family and stick with that. You can get all kinds of good ideas from other parents; just don't assume anyone else has it all together, or is better at parenting than you are, based on the view from your own eyeballs. Take the good ideas and leave the comparisons at the curb.
Your children will not truly appreciate everything you do for years. They might say nice things like "thanks for making me a hamburger, mom; your burgers are the best" or "you are the nicest mommy in the whole wide world" or "I love you up to the moon and back twenty-eleventy-thousand times." As many times as they might thank you, they have no clue what they are talking about, and will not, until they are all grown up and wiping drool off your chin, and when they finally say a sincere, wise thank you, you will be too far gone to appreciate it. Well, maybe and hopefully not, but the point is, gratitude is like a fine wine: it takes years to cultivate and only the most patient people enjoy the very best.
The best gift you can give your children is a great relationship with your spouse. Get that right, and little else can go wrong.
You will automatically, against your will, and with no mercy, recognize all your worst qualities, and those of your spouse, in the most irritating, infuriating, hand-wringing, and crazy-making of your children's behavior. Try like hell to recognize your best qualities too, and those of your spouse. They're there, undoubtedly, but the human condition is such that the good stuff is much harder to see. Squint.
Always, always, always: say sorry to your kids when you should. And talk to them about anything and everything that either they or you want to talk about. Listen when you need to and talk as much as you need to. It's OK if they get sick of your voice. Your words, and the time you spend talking, will reverberate in their skulls and hearts for years and years. Now is your chance to fill their heads with all the good stuff you ever heard or ever wanted to. Tell them how smart and capable they are. Chances are, it's true, and chances are, hearing it over and over will make them behave like it's true.
Set firm boundaries. And be as flexible as Elasti-girl when required. Sorry, but that's the deal. Bend, don't break, when they slam into you with one more request, one more challenge, one more plea, one more test, one more assertion, one more self-determinant step. Bend, don't break. Be a soft place for them to land on the surface of your choosing.
Say a fervent prayer each and every day that you somehow find the wisdom to know when to stand firm and when to give a little. Parenting, after all, is an art; our children are our masterpieces.
Develop your own self-confidence. It will be contagious to your kids, and the second best gift you can give your kids is self-confidence.
Sleep. As much as you can, which will never be enough, but always strive for more. Laugh as much as you can too, and this one should be easy, because kids are natural born comedians.
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Yes, I know. That's 8 Quick Takes. Bask in the abundance.
Please visit our host; you can read her 7 Quick Takes for today and browse the links of other people who are participating this week.
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