There are times now, especially with an almost preschooler, where mommy and daddy have lost their marbles. Some days it really seems like there is no chance of us EVER getting those marbles back either.
Last week was especially challenging with our dear daughter. We can’t blame her because the poor girl has 4 molars all coming in at once, I’d be grumpy too. It did make for several days of all of us sadly getting easily frustrated with one another. The days did not go how we would have liked them too at all. We were too quick to speak, to not listen, to get angry, and so much more. We found ourselves, especially as parents, and as husband and wife really needing to keep things in check. Through it we have figured out a few ways to keep our marbles, or at the least get them back for the next day.
- Sleep! Everyone in our house needs a solid nights sleep. We do not function well with little sleep. We tend to be very consistent when it comes to bed time. Our almost 3 year old also still has a nap each day. We’ve tried going without putting her down for a nap, and those days tend to end in a disastrous melt down… from all of us. Sometimes for us as parents, it also means trading off on who gets to sleep in the next morning if it’s needed.
- Hanger. We learned the hard way about what will happen if we forget snacks, or a drink when we go out. It is not a good situation. We now double, and triple check that we have some sort of snack packed to bring with us for everyone. I am to the point of also considering making an emergency snack kit to keep in the car. It is no fun dealing with an angry, and hungry kid. There is just no reasoning with them until they get something into their tummy. It also means making sure we have our main meals at regular times too. This helps with my next point.
- Consistency. We have found consistency to play a huge role in how things function. With everything from bed times, to discipline, to meal times. Children appreciate routine, and this is especially true for our daughter we have found. Through being consistent our child knows what to expect in many different situations. It also helps my husband, and I to be on the same page for things.
- Communicate. Communication is so incredibly important. We want our daughter to know that she can always talk to us about anything. Most recently she has been able to let us know if something scares her, and she knows we are there for her. She is still learning about emotions, and figuring out how to share with us how she is feeling and being able to convey her needs to us. The same goes for my husband and I as a couple. I cannot expect my husband to read my mind, and figure out what I need. It does not help for me to sit on the couch in a huff. It’s incredible the difference it makes to say “Honey, I really need a day, even just a couple hours to get out and have some down time.” We know sooner when the other really needs a to go have some time to do something else. My husband loves golfing with friends, and I enjoy getting to go out shopping without having a toddler freaking out in the changing room. We make sure that we both get time, to be away from being 100% in the parenting role, we find time to make sure we get to enjoy things we did before becoming parents.
- Call in back up! Sometimes when you are ready to throw in the towel and surrender, everyone needs a change. Don’t hesitate to call in backup and get a baby sitter, or have another family member come in and help. It’s amazing how refreshing it can be for everyone to have a different face around. Our daughter loves when someone else comes over to hang out with her, she practically kicks us out the door. This provides a great opportunity for us to go out, and have a date night to focus on us as a married couple. It is so needed to have the opportunity to recharge.
- Change of environment. Many times it has helped to just pack up and head out of the house. If we have been in the same environment for too long, we all go a little house crazy. We’ll go outside, head to the park, load into the car and go for a drive some place else. Maybe to a local park, or some place else. It helps to just chance the scenery.
- Patience. This one I feel may be the most important of them all. Have patience, grace, and be compassionate towards one another. We are reminding ourselves that being parents is a learning curve for us, it will always be. We also have to remember that our daughter is learning new things every day. Things are bound to happen. We know what we want our reaction to always be from here on out. We are working on being slow to anger, quick to listen, and full of love. Responding in this way is also setting the example that we want our daughter to learn from.
We are doing our best, some marbles may never be returned to us and that is okay. If we say our marbles are missing now around our daughter she responds “Uh oh, time to go to bed so you get your marbles back!”. We are so thankful that our daughter is learning with us through all of this, and that she is also very forgiving.