Tue | Sep 26, 2017

10 things parents should know

Published:Monday | August 18, 2014 | 8:00 AM

Unlike buying a new car or an appliance, motherhood does not come with a manual. It is a journey travelled by trial and error and words of the wise - those who have been there before. So let's take the journey together in the Flair Magazine's new feature 'Mommy Corner'. Each week, mothers share the 'tricks' of the trade - what works for them and what doesn't. Let us know what works for you.

Today, popular blog Jamaican Mommies shares some essential tips with you.

In this information age, it's easy to be bombarded by countless tips and tricks everywhere about what you should or shouldn't't know as a parent.

But before you start feeling overwhelmed, rest assured many other parents share these feelings as well. JamaicanMommies.com has condensed a lot of the information, and their members have tried and proven them true. As a new mom you are not alone and your concerns are not unfounded, and even with those apparently crazy questions, you are not alone.

Here are 10 things parents REALLY need to know:

no universal perfection

You've probably heard that every child is different and so is every parent-child relationship. In aiming to be the best you can, go with your guts. Trust your motherly instincts and use your child's well-being and happiness as your guide. The only near perfection is a satisfied mommy and a truly happy child.

Nothing beats quality time

You may feel like you are just not doing enough, but it is never a suitable alternative to replace quality time with your child. In your child's world, your presence greatly trumps the many presents. So even while you may want to give them occasional treats, do not make it a substitute for the time they crave with you. As a guiding principle, remember PRESENCE over PRESENTS.

It is ok to be overwhelmed

But it's never okay to remain depressed. Just about every parent has had a day when it all seems too much - when they want a 10-minute breather to calm the screaming voices. Or when a very strong-willed toddler refuses a bath or a teenager refuses to calmly accept a reprimand. That is normal; we all have those "won't this day just end" kind of days. What is not okay is continuous or extended feelings of sadness and despair. Depression is real, and so are the effects. So if you are in any way at that stage, seek immediate medical attention.

Children NEED their parents

If there ever was a "duh" point in the universal parenting manual- this would be it. Yet, this need extends well beyond the cuddly cushy phase and keeps going for as long as your child(ren) exist. Even when it seems like they don't need you, remember the parental journey is a lifelong commitment that has to be treated seriously. Think of it as your legal vow to care for and protect another human being for the rest of your life.

role model

As Joyce Maynard noted, "As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours." It will never be easy to fashion your life to be close to perfection, but in your child(ren's) eyes you are initially the benchmark. Though it may not seem so at the moment, many years later, children have a tendency to somehow become their parents.

Get that me time

One of the biggest mistakes many parents make is to harbour eternal guilt over any time alone. We wake at the crack of dawn and fit a million and one things into 24 hours. Yet even when we are on the brink of a burnout, many moms will themselves not take a break. Make no bones about it, if we don't care for ourselves, sooner or later we won't be of much use to anyone else - or to ourselves. So set aside some time, for personal reflections and the same care you exercise for your little ones, reserve some for yourself.

Routines are important

You may have remembered this when they were toddlers, but as they got older, the routines fall by the way. Routines are useful for babies, toddlers, adolescents and every member of the family. Some routines help you get through the things that need to be done each day, while building time management skills. The key is to determine what routines work well for your family in a family-friendly and non-restrictive way.

Don't overschedule

In our quest to set a road map for success, moms can sometimes get carried away with all the very many things we want our children to be involved in. As with all things, moderation is key and in the same way that limited to no activities have their downside, too many activities can also have negative effects.

Social media can wait

This is specifically for our social media-obsessed and almost- obsessed mamas. It is very easy to spend a little too much time online to the detriment of a relationship with our children. If your social media activity leaves stories unread, homework undone, family play ignored, then you need an intervention. So let's aim to break this pattern with less action on our time lines and more action on our lifelines.

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