More Advice

...but don't tell me it's unsolicited advice, because you don't HAVE to be reading this :) We all dislike that kind of mothering advice, don't we?! If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you might remember this post. Well, a year later, we have added another child to our family. Things have changed a bit for us, and I have gained more experience and advice in this mothering adventure that I wanted to share. Do you have something you can add to the list? I would love to hear from you and glean from your wisdom as well!

1. While the baby (or babies) still sleep in cribs or other confined bedding, do not go to them when they first wake up from a nap or wake in the morning. This, apparently, causes those children to be early risers (ahem, our firstborn.) The 3 children we have left alone in bed for a little while all either sleep in most every morning or at least will play in their beds for awhile by themselves. It is a blessing, to say the least.

2. Keep the baby in the room with you while they are still nursing through the night. We have co-slept with all but one of ours (Your first is such a guinea pig, you know?!), but I know some are not comfortable with that. We also have an Arm's Reach co-sleeper that we love. Whichever method of nearby sleeping arrangements you choose for you and your baby, you will be a happier, more rested mom. At least, that's how it is for me. (like when my baby woke up at 5:30 this morning ready to play? I turned on the flashlight for him, which kept him very entertained while still in the co-sleeper, and then I nursed him back to sleep once he seemed tired again. I didn't have to leave my bed once.)

3. Get a wrap. Period :) (I have this one.)

4. Give your kids alone time every day or at least every other day, starting when they can crawl. I am talking about time by themselves aside from nap time. Baby-proof their room and give them a "new" box of toys that is special for that time. Start out with about 5-10 minutes and go in before they are crying or calling for you. When you go in to let them know "room time" is over, sit and play with them for a few minutes and help them clean up before coming out. This way, they will know it wasn't a TIME out, but just a time for playing. You will be glad you did this when you have kids who no longer take naps. I use room time for my shower time or when I need/want peace and quiet in the kitchen while making lunch or dinner. It also helps when you need some quiet to get the baby down for a nap.

5. I would love to have a TV-Free home, but the next best thing for us is to have a set TV time. Since Justus gets up so early in the morning, he watches TV while Derek showers. After that, though, my kids don't even ask to watch anything. They know that after quiet time, they will have TV time. It is just part of their routine. When we're going somewhere right after quiet time, they don't have TV time that day. They don't ask to watch TV when we get home later, but it's also nice that that option is still there if I need to use it as down time for making dinner.

6. Speaking of quiet time, people often ask me if I can get all of my kids to nap at the same time. The short answer to that is no. Justus doesn't nap anymore, and Josiah is not on a schedule yet. On occasion, the 3 nappers' naps will overlap by about 30 minutes. (If that happens, we drop everything and do some concentrated school work.) How do I get some down time, then? I start by laying the 2 middle kids down for their naps at the same time (right after lunch.) Josiah is usually waking up from his morning nap around this time, so I feed him and bring him into the school room. Once we finish school for the day, Justus has his quiet time, and I have time to take care of the little man and get some things done. At this point, Josiah doesn't interrupt me too much :) Titus' naps are getting shorter nowadays, so usually by the time he comes downstairs, Josiah is getting cranky again. It's TV time for the big boys, and naptime for Josiah...AND quiet time for me! aaah What's the advice here? Figure out a way to give yourself a break during the day. Whatever you have to do, do it. It's crucial :)

7. Grocery shop by yourself whenever possible. You buy less junk, spend less money, and it goes much faster. (and if you're like me, you actually will have room in your grocery cart when the kids aren't with you :) )

8. Have a family night. We have been doing this the past few months, and if Fridays weren't already exciting enough, this seals the deal. It doesn't have to be a big deal, but work something in on a regular basis.

9. Plan to have a messy house. I try (read: try) to stay on top of the dishes and the laundry and the ridiculousness that accompanies both of those, but as far as dust and dirt and toys everywhere? I am learning to embrace it. I know I will one day miss the many sights I see everyday, and I will WISH I could trip over toys and walk through sand tracked in by the many small feet we have running around :)

10. Lock yourself in your room sometimes. Not just when you need a quiet place to talk on the phone, not just when you're hiding out from a screaming toddler (but certainly for those things, too!) Just do it on occasion, because you want to. Go in, lock the door behind you, turn on the radio, and take a few minutes for yourself. It will remind you that YOU, too, are important and have needs. It is okay to meet your own desires, and's okay to put them in front of your children's!

11. Realize that all of the above is useless and a waste of time if your children do not know Jesus Christ. Pray for them and with them, talk about Jesus all the time, quote Scripture in times of encouragement and times of discipline, sing worship songs in the car and songs with Bible verses (we love Seeds Family Worship cds), and teach your kids they were created for God's glory. Our pastor uses the analogy that we are responsible for putting down the "kindling," and if the Lord chooses, He will light the fire.


Jessica said…
:) Remind me to read this when I have kids one day.

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