In a few short weeks, my baby girl will be turning one. Yep, one. It feels like yesterday, I was leaving the hospital with this 5 pound baby and now I’m planning her first birthday party.
Crazy how time works. It’s a thief.
Her first year of life feels like it just flashed before my eyes. It was a challenging year. I experienced postpartum depression, which I didn’t experience with my son when I gave birth to him 5 years ago. I’m older, a little wiser, and a lot less patient.
Why didn’t anyone ever tell me that having 2 kids feels like you have 10 kids?
It was (and still is) a very difficult transition going from one child to two. It’s kind of shocking how drastic it is. Personally, the transition was harder than going from no kid to one kid.
There are a lot of things I would do differently if I could back. The lack of sleep and monotony of my days really affected my energy levels and overall psyche.
I have a lot less patience nowadays, especially with Gabriel, and I catch myself getting short with him and hate myself for it. There are times where he tries to get my attention and I have a million things going through my mind and respond to him without really even listening to what he has to say. I hate myself for that too.
I can’t go back in time but the great thing is that kids are forgiving and will give you the chance to make it up to them. So that’s what I vow to do.
I want to make up for those lost moments where I wasn’t present. For those times where they wanted me to get down on the floor with them and play and I told them, “not now I’m busy”. For the times they looked me straight in the eyes to get my attention and I didn’t look back.
Man, the mom guilt is no joke. But its okay. We are all human and we learn from our mistakes.
What I do know for sure is that I don’t want to blink and all of a sudden my kids are going off to college and the memories they have of their mother is an impatient rule enforcer.
From here on out, I vow to try and be the best version of myself so that I can be the best mother to my kids.
Here are 12 ways I’ll be reconnecting with my kids:
- Be present.
Really present. No iPhone, TV or computer. Spend time with them and play.
Its so tempting to reach for the phone or glance at the computer or television when playing with them. At times, Gabriel will catch me do it and will call me out on it!
- Gain more confidence in taking them out alone.
I have a little anxiety when taking them out by myself. Mainly I’m afraid that I won’t be able to attend to one of them because I’d be busy with the other. But like most things, the more I do it, the more I’ll get used to it and we’ll find our rhythm. After all, other parents do this with more than two kids so if they can do it, so can I.
- Help Gabriel with his homework.
This sounds like a no-brainer but at times I default to my husband to do this because honestly at the end of the day, my brain is like mush. Need to be better at this.
- Read to them every night before bed.
Again the patience thing comes into play. Sometimes I’m so exhausted that I actually tell them no story for the night. Can you believe that?
- Take them to the park at least 3x a week.
I know my kids. They do so much better when they get physical activity in. They sleep better, eat better and are more well behaved. This needs to be a priority.
- Be mindful of my tone when speaking to them.
Sometimes I catch my tone and ask myself why am I irritated right now with a five year old? It’s something I need to work on and be conscious about.
- Bake/cook with Gabriel
Include him in doing regular day to day things. The best bonding moments I’ve had with Gabe has been when he helps me in the kitchen. He loves it! He takes pride in helping me cook or bake something and we have so much fun doing it. So messy though!
- Focus on Gabriel’s good behavior instead of bad.
Reward him for his good behavior. Its so easy to reprimand the bad behavior but harder to remember to recognize good behavior.
- Tell them I love them every morning when they wake up and every night before they sleep.
Every single morning and night. Every. Day!
- Have dinner every night with no distractions of a TV, iPad or phone.
We have the best conversations when there are no distractions. And without even asking, Gabriel will open up about something that happened at school. If the television is on, its like we are all zombies eating dinner.
- Wake up before them everyday.
Get the day started so that its not chaotic when they wake up. OK, I AM BAD AT THIS. I NEED TO DO THIS MORE! I find that on the mornings where they wake up before me, its so much more chaotic, I’m un prepared and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. I hate it! When I wake up before them, I am so much more relaxed and organized and greet them nicely when they wake up.
- Make them a good hearty breakfast every day.
Waking up early will allow me to do this. No more sugary cereals in the morning. Well, maybe sometimes. But a good hearty breakfast is what I will feed my kids. Just like my mom did.
I know that some days will be better than others. No-one is perfect, certainly not me, but I hope to give them my 100% of myself most of the time.
Do you have any parenting goals this year or an area you’d like to improve on for your kids? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!