How I Did Less Work and Became A Better Parent
Do you share my feeling of scrambling every day to get it all done? From diapers to laundry to cooking to work, I feel like I am on a treadmill that doesn’t stop.
It has taken me 19 months to figure out that sometimes instead of fighting against the current of motherhood, it is best to just go with the flow. I have truly discovered that sometimes less is more. Let me explain.
Diaper changes – Now that Anjali is a toddler however, she turns into a rolling, arching, crying mess when I go to change her diaper. I have found that the best thing I can do is to just relax instead of wrestling with her to do a diaper change. I just pick her back up, distract her for a little bit and then try again. This method of doing less helps her to relax and gives me the peace I need to change her.
Baby Proofing– We have an open concept house and beyond covering our outlets, and putting harmful items away, there is little we can do to baby proof. I have one cupboard in our kitchen where our dishwasher tablets are that I put a plastic baby proof latch on. It is literally the only drawer in the entire house that she tries to get into because it has a baby proof plastic latch on it. She has never even looked at or tried to open any of the other easy to open cupboards or drawers! So again I am learning that as long as I have put chemicals or harmful items away, less is more for our family when it comes to baby proofing.
Traveling– I found out last weekend that traveling with a toddler is a whole different ballgame. As our flight began to descend, Anjali’s ears were popping and she was exhausted which is never a good combination. She was crying, arching back and trying to find a way to be comfortable. Heat began to rise up my body as my embarrassment grew that I couldn’t calm her down. A vastly different experience from when I would just nurse her throughout flights. On the return flight to Florida however, I learned that the calmer I stayed, the calmer she was. I know it sounds obvious, but trust me when the other travelers are shooting darts at you and your toddler’s ears are hurting, it sucks big time. Alas, I calmly murmured comfort into her ear, held her tight and she finally went to sleep….when we landed. Sigh.
The word NO– I am not afraid of the word no, I just want to make sure Anjali understands that when I do use it, I mean it. However, I found that if I put things out of reach I don’t want her to have, shut the closet doors and allowed her to safely explore the house, that when it came time for me to say ‘no thank you’ to her she definitely listened. I am glad I made the choice to migrate from saying no, no, no and instead chose to create a safe environment for her to be a free range baby in!
Truly for our family, less is more. It has been a year-long lesson in honing my parental guidance and leadership skills, but it is amazing to watch Anjali become the independent little person she is today by giving her the room to experience and grow.