Written by Julie Cadieux, julieloveshome.wordpress.com
Julie Cadieux is both a Home Stylist and a Freelance Writer. Currently based out of Montreal, she has also lived and traveled extensively throughout the United States. The busy wife and mom of three is the only designer in the city who offers on site decorating help, detailed email consultations, and is a published writer. Julie contributes articles for her blog, Julie Loves Home, as well as for clients such as RONAMAG, Bob Vila Nation, and The Hudson St. Lazare Gazette. She believes that a home is both an investment and a refuge; “I think one of the nicest things you can do for yourself is to create a space that you feel relaxed and proud to be in.” Julie can be reached via email at JulieLovesHome@gmail.com.
The top 10 parenting tips I’ve learned so far.
I’m well out of the diapers. With an almost 15-year-old, 13-year-old, and a 9-year-old, you would think it would all be easier by now. In many cases it is, I had imagined that at this point it would be smooth sailing. But it’s not; it’s just different.
When you have babies and toddlers, you need to be in great physical shape to handle the long days of noise, tantrums, questions, feedings, the need to stimulate, distract, sooth, snuggle, teach, nurse, make play dates, reprimand, and toilet train! It’s exhausting. And to be honest, even though we lived 800 km from family and my husband traveled a lot, I rocked at it—finding the time to even iron, mow the lawn, paint the house, bake cookies, and reupholster a sofa! It’s why I am convinced biologically our bodies are made to have babies young because I know I could never do all of that now on 2.5 hours of sleep. Stamina in phase one of parenting is what helped make me an awesome parent.
The next stage however is all brains and little body; the only difference outsiders will notice though is how you look less cute in your jeans. Muscle tone gone from the required pick up and chasing, phase two finds your babies don’t want you to touch them very much at all, let alone pick them up! You need to stand your ground, make tough calls, have thoughtful conversations, and not become frustrated and angry when faced with insults or laziness. You worry about their friends, their grades, their futures, the Internet, drugs; and where they once shared every detail, burp, emotion, and bowel movement, now you have to play detective. Asking the wrong question or too many can make them clam up and send them storming to their bedrooms.
Here are the top 10 parenting tips I can proudly pass on so far:
1. Plan on having zero restful nights until your child is at least 4 years old. You have my permission to doubt those who claim their babies slept through the night starting at 3 months.
2. Always be (age-appropriate) honest with your child. (Babies don’t come out of a magician’s black hat – but thanks, Mom.)
3. Never sit on the toilet seat without inspecting it first.
4. Bring snacks, entertainment, and baby wipes long after they are out of diapers, everywhere you go.
5. Fresh air will always tire them out, no matter what the age.
6. Have the birds and the bees talk when your gut tells you…and keep having it. They will have more questions later; make sure they know it’s not wrong to talk about this stuff.
7. Teach them about healthy eating. Don’t give in when most of dinner ends up in the trash. They will get it and make good choices on their own eventually.
8. Homework is hard on both them and you – remember you are your child’s cheerleader.
9. Try not to cave from your morals, values, and house rules; remember the person you want your child to become.
10. When I was pregnant with child #2, I had a client tell me, “The older the child, the bigger their problems.” So true. Secretly laugh at the fact that your pre-schooler cut Susie’s bangs with the scissors he found in the craft drawer. Hair grows back. It’s not the end of the world. You will be wishing for those simple problems in a few years!