Category Archives: parenting

Working moms: The emotional side of returning to work

by Bethany Lynch

All moms are working moms, but I also have a job outside of the home. At first, I thought I would love being a working mom. I envisioned myself as a worker bee that would love working all day while my children played. I thought brightly lit, highly staffed daycare centers would be our best option. I never thought I would want to be home all day. While I desperately wanted to be a mother, I honestly had no idea how much my feelings would change once I had a baby.

I was extremely unprepared for the wild wave of emotions about returning to work that I experienced almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant. My amazing career that I had worked so hard for and thought was such a blessing for my family became a thorn in my side. The need to provide for my family away from home made me question everything.

The hardest part was accepting that I could not stay home or even reduce my hours. I resented my career. I resented making more than my husband. I resented every stay-at-home mom whose husband made enough and every working mom that could work part-time. I was angry. Cutting our grocery budget was not enough. Moving was not an option. I felt stuck.

I struggled for a long time with the idea of being a working mom. It was probably a year before I came to peace with the idea and accepted that I was where God wanted me to be. The best advice that anyone gave me was that a wife is called to be a helpmate. Ultimately my marriage is priority. By working, I was not only supporting my children; I was supporting my husband.

Of course my children are more important, WAY more important, than my career, but there is so much I can provide for them by working. I could go on and on about the advantages and disadvantages of working outside the home, but ultimately, I had to accept that I could not change my situation. I had to find advantages to having a career, and I had to praise God for helping me realize what a great mother I could be to my children—not despite the fact that I work but because of it.

In future posts I will share with you the decisions we have made about childcare, routine and discipline from a working mom’s viewpoint—all with a Babywise twist.

____________________

Bethany is a wife and working mother of two young children. Married 8 years to her supportive husband, Lee, Bethany says that without Babywise her life would be impossibly chaotic. Babywise has helped her children, 2 ½ year-old Kai and 11 month-old Caitlin, become happy, healthy, well-rested and obedient. Despite her busy full-time job as a neonatal pharmacist at a fast-paced children’s hospital, Bethany loves to write about her family’s adventures on a family blog, and she has recently started a healthy-living blog called Babysteps to Organic Living.

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Potty training regressions

by Bethany Lynch

I wrote earlier about the need for discipline during our potty training experience. When our son started deliberately having accidents, it was clear that we needed some form of correction. However, accidents are not always deliberate, and it is very common for children to go through potty training regressions. I wish I had known that earlier! Regressions make you question every step and every decision.

There are some important questions to ask if you find yourself in the middle of a potty training regression:

  • Is this behavioral? Are there deliberate signs of refusing to use the potty?
  • Have we ruled out all physical causes and reasons? Are there any signs of illness?
  • Is my child too young? Should we postpone training and resume again in a month?
  • Have there been any changes to routine? Any trips that could have disrupted consistency?
  • If discipline is necessary, what would sting the most? Loss of toy? Time out? No reward?
  • Am I being consistent?
  • Am I sending mixed signals by using pull-ups or diapers except for sleep?
  • Does my child have too much freedom?
  • Am I expecting first time obedience in other areas?

So how did we get out of the mess we were back in? (No pun intended!) We went back to square one…bare bottom with the emphasis of staying clean and dry as soon as he was back in underwear. Every 60 minutes, we put him on the potty whether he could tell us he had to pee or not. If he did not use the potty, we put him back on the potty 15 minutes later. Yes, there were times he was not pleased he had to sit on the potty, but it was done. It was done without emotion and it was done consistently.

I think one trap of potty training is expecting to be told by the child when they have to potty from the beginning. This took a long time to happen, and I think putting him on the potty consistently went a long way in helping him learn sensations and bladder control.

Another interesting tactic that we used was a reward and prize system. Another mom gave me the idea of working towards a prize. We had used that system successfully for a while. Each time he went to the potty without an associated accident before or after that trip, he got a cotton ball. After ten cotton balls, he got a small prize which was hidden in a gift box. During his potty training regression, we also agreed that the novelty of cotton balls had probably outlived their usefulness. On a whim, we decided to put pennies in the jar instead of cotton balls. Being able to put all of his pennies in his piggy bank and still work towards a prize was more than enough motivation to get us back on track!

____________________

Bethany is a wife and working mother of two young children. Married 8 years to her supportive husband, Lee, Bethany says that without Babywise her life would be impossibly chaotic. Babywise has helped her children, 2 ½ year-old Kai and 11 month-old Caitlin, become happy, healthy, well-rested and obedient. Despite her busy full-time job as a neonatal pharmacist at a fast-paced children’s hospital, Bethany loves to write about her family’s adventures on a family blog, and she has recently started a healthy-living blog called Babysteps to Organic Living.

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Get some sleep!

Does your child get enough sleep? Do you? Many kids don’t get enough sleep, and it most certainly affects their behavior. As our kids get older, they need less sleep, and sometimes it’s easy to skip naps here and there when we want to be out having fun.

Does your child get enough sleep?

Here are some signs your child isn’t getting enough sleep:

  • He throws fits over insignificant events. Any little thing will send him over the edge.
  • His behavior is characteristically poor an hour or two before bed.
  • He wakes up in bad mood. (This is huge!)
  • He’d rather lie on the couch and watch TV than go outside to play.
  • He seems hyper before bed.
  • It takes him a long time to settle down for bed and naps.
  • It seems like he’s constantly trying to catch up on sleep.

Making sure our kids get enough sleep is one of the easiest and most important things we can do to ensure good behavior. Stay home for naps. Get him in bed early. Give him the gift of sleep. Your social life can wait a year or two.

Do you get enough sleep?

Sleep is just as important for mom and dad as it is for the child. I know first-hand how easy it is to stay up late to have some alone time while the kids are asleep. But when we don’t get enough sleep, we are much more likely to lose patience with our children. When we are well rested, we can react calmly and with authority when they misbehave. Plus, we are much more available to our kids when we have had enough sleep.

Here are some signs that you need more sleep:

  • You feel like you’re disciplining your child all day long. (Every little thing seems like a huge behavior issue.)
  • You know you should react calmly but can’t seem to manage your anger and frustration.
  • You feel like all your child does is need, need, need, want, want, want.
  • You know you should spend more time playing with your child, but you just don’t have the energy.
  • You realize you went through the day barely talking to your child.
  • All you want to do when you have a break from your child is rest.
  • You argue with your spouse about who gets to sleep in.

Now, if you’re up all night with a newborn and up all day with a toddler, you don’t have much opportunity to sleep. Just be aware of your need for sleep. Take a nap when you can and try your hardest to be more patient with your little ones.

But if your kids sleep through the night, you have no excuse. Allow yourself some “me” time, but don’t lose track of time. Go to bed and get up at a reasonable hour and you’ll all be better off.

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Say “yes” when you can

I heard a wonderful phrase recently that I thought I would share. If you keep this phrase in mind throughout the day, it will help you determine when you can choose your battles and when you must consider holiness over happiness. Here’s the phrase:

“Say ‘yes’ when you can. But say ‘no’ when you must.”

Say “yes” when you can

Many parents are too quick to say “no” to their kids, often for the wrong reasons. The wrong reasons to say “no” include:

  • You don’t want to be put out.
  • You are annoyed by the request.
  • You are in a bad mood.
  • You are holding a grudge over a previous misbehavior. (It’s up to you to wipe the slate clean if you have effectively dealt with your child’s misbehavior.)

If you say “yes” when you can, you and your child will be much happier. True, your child’s little requests might put you out a bit, but if you don’t have a good reason to deny the request, then say “yes.”

Say “no” when you must

On the other side of the parenting spectrum are parents who are reluctant to deny their children’s requests. The wrong reasons not to say “no” include:

  • You fear that the child will throw a tantrum.
  • You worry about hurting his self-esteem.
  • You fear that your child won’t like you.
  • You are afraid to assert any authority over your child

If you plan to teach your child anything of value, you must have the strength to say “no” to your child when the situation calls for it. There are many times when you must consider your child’s holiness over his happiness.

Carry this phrase with you

Even if you feel you do a good job of saying “yes” and “no” for the right reasons, keep this phrase in mind as your child gets older. Consider these circumstances:

  • Your toddler begins to show he is capable of feeding himself, so you allow him that freedom at every meal. (You say “yes.”)
  • Your preschooler gets out of bed every night one week, so you take away his freedom of reading books in bed. (You say “no.”)
  • Your school-aged child shows over a period of weeks that he can complete his homework on time, so you give him the freedom to watch 30 minutes of TV after school. (You say “yes.”)

So while this phrase will certainly help us on a day-to-day basis, it’s also an idea that we should to carry with us throughout our parenting years.

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Filed under miscellaneous, parenting, parenting philosophy

Children want to be disciplined

Among most parents, it’s understood that children need discipline. But have you ever considered that your child actually wants to be disciplined? Sure, he may protest when you send him to his room, but many experts say children actually crave discipline.

I am currently reading Make Your Children Mind without Losing Yours by Kevin Leman and in the book, he says, “They don’t test us out of orneriness; what they really want to know is whether or not we care. When we are firm and prove that we do care, they may not like it but they do respect us and appreciate us,” (p. 88).

Discipline shows you care
Our children want discipline simply to know that we care about them. When you discipline your child, you are showing that you have a vested interest in how he behaves. You show that you care about what he does and who he becomes.

Some children of permissive parents will act out simply to challenge their parents to discipline them. They will try every misdeed in the book to see if their parents care enough to discipline them. Sadly, this tactic usually backfires on them. Not only do they not receive loving discipline, but also they get shouting, frustrated parents who lash out once they have reached their breaking point. (Think Supernanny.)

Discipline allows children to learn
Our children also want discipline so they can learn to navigate the world around them. In most cases, our children come from a place of innocence and want to please their parents. However, they are still learning the ways of the world and need their parents’ discipline to redirect them towards right behavior.

No matter how young, on some level, your child recognizes that he needs this discipline to learn how to behave in the world. He knows that the world can be a big, scary place, and he depends on you to teach and guide him by disciplining those behaviors that are not acceptable in our world.

Discipline cleanses the soul
Most importantly, disciplining your child can cleanse his soul. When you discipline, the behavior is spoken about openly and is addressed with love. The child understands what he did wrong and has the opportunity to apologize for his actions. He also has the opportunity to receive forgiveness from those he offended. Once he repents and receives forgiveness, his slate is wiped clean.

When a child misbehaves and receives no discipline, he may feel secretly self-conscious about his behavior but has no opportunity to confess his sin or ask for forgiveness. Without being encouraged to apologize to his parents, his sins are left to fester in his heart.

His heart then becomes full of negativity, especially if his whole childhood is characterized by a lack of discipline. He may even carry this feeling into his adult years. Sure, he may understand that the actions he committed as a child are relatively insignificant, but when that negativity stays in his heart for so long, the actions and his feelings toward them can get blown out of proportion.

Be sure to show your child you care about his actions and his heart by disciplining him in love. One day, he will thank you for it.

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Filed under moral training, parenting

Mom’s Notes on sale!

One of my readers pointed out that the Mom’s Notes are currently on sale. (Thanks Lynn!) During the Christmas season, you can get the entire set of Mom’s Notes for just $250, a savings of $50 off the online price. These audio presentations have been extremely helpful to me and other moms in putting the Ezzo principles into practice on a day-to-day basis. Visit http://www.momsnotes.com or learn more here.

Note: I have no affiliation with J&C Ministries. I just think they make a great product!

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Teach the value of others

This is my final post on child-centered parenting. Here I will discuss one of the most fundamental consequences of making your child the center of your family: selfishness. In my previous post on the topic, I said:

“Child-centered parenting fosters innate selfishness and reduces the significance of morality. The child often feels he is above morality.”

The child rules

The fundamental idea behind child-centered parenting is that the child has all the power in the family. The child decides what he wants to do and when he wants to do it. The child decides what he will eat and how he will dress. The child decides how he will treat others. Giving the child so much power at such a young age encourages selfishness. It encourages the child to think only of himself.

Two sides of the coin: me vs. we

There are two important factors when it comes to selfishness. Not only is the selfish child only concerned with himself, but he also has little regard for others. On the “me” side of the equation, the selfish child is most concerned about his own needs and wants. More importantly, on the “we” side of the equation, he won’t let others stand in his way when satisfying those needs and wants. While selfishness should be discouraged, the lack of concern for others is most damaging. When you juxtapose the two, you see the difference:

  • Selfish: Hordes his toys.
  • Disregard for others: Steals toys.
  • Selfish: Is consumed by the idea of getting gifts (especially at birthdays and Christmas).
  • Disregard for others: Shows no appreciation to the giver or for the act of giving.
  • Selfish: Always wants to win.
  • Disregard for others: Will cheat at a game of Candyland and even gloat about his win.

Morality becomes a non-issue

One of the most dangerous effects of a lack of concern for others is that it makes morality unimportant. When a child is only concerned with himself and his own needs, morality becomes a non-issue. The child disregards any moral directives that are opposed to his own beliefs and desires. For example,

  • A child who has little loyalty to others will see no harm in lying.
  • A child who doesn’t consider the dominion of others will have no problem stealing.
  • A child who feels he is above “the system” (school, work, etc.) will cheat the system.

For this child, his own wants and needs take precedence over any moral direction he may receive. Those around him may attempt to teach morality, but if the basic concern for others is not there, the moral teachings simply won’t take hold.

What can a parent do?

The best way to teach morality to your child is to teach him to value others. And the best way to teach him to value others is to show him that he is not the center of the universe. Teach him that everyone in our lives holds a special place in our hearts and that they are to be valued and accepted for who they are (not for what they offer). Show him that the actions he commits against others damage the relationships that we have with those people. Teach him that if we want to be cared for, we must care for others.

Here are some ideas you can use in your daily life to encourage your child to value others:

  • Model the behavior you want to see in your child. Don’t lie, cheat or steal. Even the smallest transgression will get noticed.
  • Teach your child how to interact with others by sharing, taking turns, being honest, etc.
  • Encourage your child to thank others for any act of kindness.
  • Let your child lose at a game of Candyland. Teach him how to lose gracefully.
  • Teach him the value of playing by the rules. Let him make the mistake of breaking a rule and receiving the consequence. Don’t bail him out or make excuses for him.
  • Show him through your words and actions that adults and others in authority are to be respected.
  • Teach him how to handle disappointment by saying no to his requests. The earlier he learns this the better off he will be.

Almost any experience in your child’s life can be a lesson in the value of others. Use it to your advantage.

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