In keeping with my usual style of sharing my thoughts via list, today’s offering is a new set of “commandments.” We’ve all (presumably) read the original 10 “Thou shalts” about murder, adultery and neighbor’s asses, etc. Those were pretty crucial… But here are the one’s intended just for mamas. And we get a dozen, because we’re special like that.
I. Thou shalt not wake a sleeping baby. He’s sleeping because his little body is telling him he needs it. Don’t wake him just to keep him on what you think his schedule ought to be! Break this commandment only when you’re inching toward dinnertime and he’s been out for more than 3 hours.
II. Though shalt not allow Granny to just “peek in” while the little one is napping. You know it’s never just a peek. Then she leaves and you’re stuck with a cranky baby who didn’t get a full nap. You wake, you take!
III. Thou shalt always say kind words in front of toddlers. ESPECIALLY about other people! Just when you think they aren’t talkers yet… they will embarrass you with your own words. (Adopt many euphemisms!)
IV. Thou shalt designate one day of the weekend as mommy’s sleep-in day. Daddy needs a taste of lil’ Junior’s full force 7 a.m.’ness, all by his lonesome. You’ll wake up to a huge mess, but it is so worth it.
V. Thou shalt resign to the fact that your car is going to be kind of gross for a few years. Like 10 or 15.
VI. Though shalt not travel without an arsenal of coercive materials … like lollipops, trinkets, stickers, or toys of some sort. It’s a time-buyer and a window-extender. (And sometimes a noise hole plug.) And the public will thank you.
VII. Thou shalt not train baby to sleep in only his dark, quiet nursery. Stroller naps are going to save a shopping trip or two. And a car snooze can make a family day trip possible. Plus you don’t want to be stuck tip-toeing around and whispering every time he’s asleep. So leave his curtains raised from time to time for day naps and make plenty of noise around the house while he’s asleep.
VIII. Thou shalt not ignore, invalidate, or worse, become frustrated with your child’s seemingly “irrational” fear of strangers. It might not be irrational. Kids, like dogs, have a way of sensing things that you’re desensitized to. If he’s totally freaked by the guy behind you in line at the grocery store, maybe he should be. Or maybe the guy’s just ugly. I don’t know.
IX. Thou shalt see the value in all people… even if they only serve as reminders for what lessons to teach your children.
X. Though shalt not groan when your 2 year old wants to hear the same storybook for the 8th time today. This kind of quiet, quality time is going to be scarce, to say the least in just a few short years. And you’ll long for it. (Think “Youre Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins) And fostering reading, no matter how insipid and repetitive the story, is SO IMPORTANT.
XI. Thou shalt read and listen much, and absorb as much parenting advice and wisdom as you can. But remember that you are the mommy and always do what YOU think is the right thing. Be open to new ideas and strategies, but you know what they say about if it ain’t broke…
XII. Thou shalt take the time to teach your children the really important life lessons… like patience, tolerance, and the proper way to eat an Oreo™ cookie! No mater how many practice rounds it takes…