When we told family and friends we were adopting, many called us brave. Here are a few of the strategies that help us manage mature parenthood with grace:
#10 Say “Yes!”
When someone you trust offers to watch your little one “sometime”, schedule it! You need personal time, and mommy/daddy weekends away are essential for an amazing marriage and joyful family.
#9 Life is a Dance
A happy family loves routine. My shift is until 5:00am, attending to any cries in the night, Jonathan’s is 5:00-8:00am, and we’re together as a family, evenings. The Daddy/boy bonding is a blessing – Kyler naps on Daddy’s chest, they watch the sunrise, make breakfast, and greet a well rested, showered, yoga’d Mommy with smiles.
#8 Active Family = Happy Family
Tummy time, then Jumperoo for baby; chasing, climbing, running around the park for toddler; yoga, gym, bike, swim for you and your partner. Feel great, sleep better, and build up your stamina!
#7 Play Well With Others
Join Gymboree or Mommy and Me for the fun, and also the socialization and learning. Good for both of you.
By now, many of us have joints or backs that have us whimpering on occasion; consider what will make things easier. Being tall, we enjoy a taller changing table, a high-backed Dutalier glider, and an Orbit “turning” car seat. We used the Orbit bassinette latched onto the stroller as a chariot around the house when Kyler was an infant.
#5 Relaxed Mama
Weave errands and chores into playtime so that the baby’s naptime can be Mommy (and/or Daddy) time. Remember what you enjoy; read, nap, play piano, take a long bath. This ties in nicely with #10.
#4 Tai Chi
Channel your child’s energy. When he rolls on the changing table, use it to slide the diaper underneath his bottom. Then use his kicking to slip on pant legs. Beats a wrestling match! When Kyler was overtired yet wired at bedtime, we put him in the Jumperoo; he jumped and jumped and jumped until he fell asleep midair, and was easily carried to the crib.
#3 Sing Yourself Silly
When diaper changing escalates from difficult to impossible, a silly diaper song goes a long way. You can’t go wrong – the sillier, the better. Fa-la-la-la-la, et voilà. A dry diapered child. We’re trying this strategy now with toothbrushing; on a good day it works.
#2 Beat Them to the Punch
Some unthinking yet well meaning stranger is bound to ask, “so are you his, um, grandma?” Chime in on the third syllable with “…Kyler’s mommy, yes!” If you’re too late, keep your humor and remember, they could technically be right.
#1 Whatever happens, laugh.