At first I was going to title this post, “5 Ways My Parenting Has Changed the Second Time Around” — because I actually thought for a minute that it was as simple as that. You know, the usual naive parent stuff, going from using binky wipes with your first baby to popping it in the ol’ mouth to ‘give it a clean’ by the time we’re into our second baby.
Nothing in parenting is ever black and white, and my particular style definitely doesn’t fall into one category. When I got pregnant with Wyndham, I was that mom who wanted to do things as holistically as possible — everything from the birth to the wooden Waldorf and Montessori toys we’d only allow in the home and organic garments I’d dress, wrap and swaddle him in.
How annoying was I?
Perhaps a lot, or perhaps not much to you, depending on where you fall, dear reader. And I don’t even care about any of that, because I’m still that mom. I still have a great respect and admiration for natural childbirth and I LIKE wooden toys better than plastic, blinky crap. But it doesn’t mean my kids do. And therein lies the reason for my ever-changing, waxing and waning style of “natural” parenting.
Nothing ever stays the same. Nothing is ever predictable with children. Of all the things I don’t screw up too badly, parenting has to be it. Learning to let go and change as my kids change and develop is my biggest challenge, one that I’m not scared of anymore. So I’ve been letting go and holding on at the same damn time, and if anything, try as you might but not a single label will be able to aptly describe how I parent. What, exactly am I letting go of anyways?
Oh, those grand ideas of perfection and blissful happy mothering that I had. Having a magazine spread-worthy home. Looking good and feeling good all the time. Oh, I still live it, and for the most part — I’m a happy mom. I like making things and I love design and I’m passionate about holistic health. And I love this crazy gig like nothing else in my life. So much so that my biggest aim is to stay at least partially sane for all of the rest of the years that I have offspring who will call me mama, or perhaps mom as the years wear on. So I keep on loving it. So that my kids know it and see it too and feel that they live in a home with a mom who loves being a mom.
Even when she loses it.
When I get frustrated or angry, my kids still know that I love them and everyone learns a things or two about human emotion, respect, boundaries, space, compassion and kindness. I’ve found that in letting go of a myriad of daily little oddities and nerve wracking things that my kids do, everyone is a lot happier and I end the day feeling a heck of lot less stressed out. The house might be a mess, but the kids are alright.
Now that I’ve talked about some of the serious stuff, I thought that it might be fun to share some of my children’s adorable oddities and curiously different ways that my parenting has changed over the years. There is a definite relation betwixt the two and I’ve found a little sweet spot in recognizing it. Perhaps you will too.
All Naked All the Time 1 of 5
Abby insists on being naked all of the time. There are other things to do with being naked and certain obsessions revolving around body parts that I'm not going to get into, which I hear is perfectly normal during this age bracket. So you over there, wondering why the heck your toddler won't stop scratching their bum all time. Fahgettabout it. Apparently it's a thing. We did it too. Some of us never learned to stop. Apparently that's when it's problematic. Right now, not so much. Besides, when I stopped focusing on silly things like my daughter wanting to be naked all of the time, something rather amazing started to happen. She blossomed even more. Her personality and creative energy seems to burst forth when she's not restricted by clothes. She's rather intoxicatingly magical to be around when she's in that mood.
Mom-Guilt What? 2 of 5
I barely took time for myself after Wyndham was born, well into his early toddler years. Now that he's stepping into childhood and Abby is full-on into the wild and crazy of toddler-ness, I've realized that in order for me to stay grounded, happy and calm, I've got to take time for myself. No explanations necessary.
Strange Is Just Strange 3 of 5
And also usually gross. Toddlers do some bizarrely gross things, right? Once upon a time, I might not have been so lenient with one of my kids licking windows, doors, walls, everything in sight basically, because GERMS. Now, I can barely contain a smile.
Leave the Girl Stuff Be 4 of 5
Through no coercion of my own, Abby has turned out to be quite the girly-girl. Princess paraphernalia is sneaking into our house and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. I mean, sure -- I could ban it. Or, I could lose all definitions of gender specific toys and keep talking to my daughter and engaging with her about what it means to be a girl in all of its vastly consuming and confusing ways. I'm learning to let go of the way my jaw seizes up when she grasps a princess book tightly to her chest as we're trying to leave daycare, giving me the death-ray stare of challenge, just daring me to take it from her. It's like she knows. And obviously we haven't even talked about any of this stuff yet because she's TWO. Right now she wants to twirl and prance and dress-up in frouffy things and wear her Tinkerbell and Little Mermaid shirts to bed for days on end. She also wants to drive cars into dirt piles and create collages with everything and anything I allow her to pull off the art shelves. She devours books much like her brother and kicks around with him and the neighborhood boys with glee. As for Barbie? Talk to me in a few years.
Mess Is Golden 5 of 5
I've been described as the one who likes mess. Or, "It's so easy Selena." An actual monicker. How about that, huh? Because I have so much time on my hands. Yet actually, not. This is just how I choose to spend my time with my kids (or for my kids). I'm all about the mess at least half the time, which is far more than what it used to be. I foresee sizable amounts of mess and changes in how I make mess or allow my kids to make mess down the road. What makes some parents rather uncomfortable really hits a sweet spot with me. I suppose I feel a bit like a kid again myself when I get into big art projects with my kids. Or up to our elbows in cookie dough together. Or dirt. Nothing but goodness can come from that, right? I really have to keep believing that, so don't burst my bubble and I won't burst yours.
More Babbles From Selena…
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- Ikea Recalls Kid’s Bed Canopies
- Should I Be Annoyed With All of the Religious Content in My Kid’s Classroom?
- Toddler Pleads With Mom For a Cupcake Dinner! [VIDEO]
- My 10 Favourite Toddler Internet Personalities and Memes
- March Break Boredom Busters For Toddlers (Free Printable!)
- The Genius of Things I’ve Said To My Children
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- Strider Bikes Launches National MBX Racing Competition For Toddlers
Selena is a crafty, culinary mom. Regular writer here. Part-time mischief maker, all-time geek. Find her elsewhere on the Internets… via her humble beginnings, mastering in general mayhem.