As I approach my second Mothers Day I thought it would be good to reflect on what has helped me the most when it comes to mothering. I read parenting books, ask friends for advice and pray a lot when it comes to parenting our little girl Lily. Here are few things that have really influenced my mothering these last 15 months.
These books have been an incredible help! We practiced the eat-wake-sleep method and loved it. Lily was sleeping through the night at 8 weeks old. She was and is a content and happy baby. I just finished Pre-Toddler Wise and next on my list is Toddler Wise.
The overall theme in these books is “Begin as you mean to go” it is summed up best taken right out of Chapter One
“We encourage parents to begin as you mean to go during the babyhood transition months (5-12 months), because this is a critical period of brain formation and adaption. It is a time when parents are intentionally (or unintentionally) imprinting learning patterns that will stay with the child for many years to come. Since growth and development takes place in stages, with each new experience building upon the previous, it is imperative that the first learning patterns established be the right patterns- thus, begin as you mean to go!”
2) I learned about something called containment from two of my favorite authors Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
They describe containment this way.
“Containment is the mothering function in which the mom literally keeps the child’s feelings until he can handle them for himself.”
“This is what containing is. She takes in and holds on to the feelings that the child can’t bear. Then, she gradually feeds them back to the child in a way he can digest them without being overwhelmed by them. In this way, she then prepares the child for taking responsibility for his feelings when he has matured sufficiently.” The specifics of containing are Soothing, Validating, Structuring, Confronting and Thinking.
“When babies or young children are upset, their only comfort is the secure safety of a loving mother. When they are hurting, and a loving mother offers comfort, their misery is transformed to safety and gratitude. When that happens literally thousands of times, they come to expect and end to their pain, and they develop the virtue we call hope -the expectation that good will come eventually, no matter how bad things are right now.”
These two principals were life changing for me. I am in awe of the responsibility we have as mothers. I thought it was also a profound view into how God loves and cares for us when we his children are hurting.
3) A few helpful tips from Focus on the Family’s
– Give them a choice over small issues. There are so many things they have no control over but small choices help them develop decision making skills that will help later on in life.
– Don’t ask “Can you?” If they need to stop doing something that you don’t want them to do you should not ask them “Can you stop or Can you come here” tell them to stop or tell them to come to you. By asking them the questions you are giving them a chance to answer with a no.
4) Playing and living in the moment trump cooking and cleaning.
5) Let Dad (Matt) do things how he does them and don’t interfere. This is by far the hardest and most challenging thing for me. I am learning that just because he does things different, it doesn’t mean they are wrong.
|Lily Rose 15 months old|
Currently there are two disciplines I wish I was better at and I hope I can start getting my act together and putting them into practice.
1) Getting up earlier. Ugh, this is so hard because I love to sleep.
2) Meal planning, I have tried meal planning here and there but never stuck with it consistently. My excuse is I can’t find a cute enough printable to write our weeks meals down on hahahahahahaha. What a lame excuse 🙂
Thanks for the taking the time to read some of what I’ve learned along the way. I know women say this all the time but it really is true; motherhood is the most amazing, exhausting, exciting, scary and wonderful role I have ever played in my life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Happy Mother’s Day
|Photos: Traveling Suitcase Photography|