EMILY EDLYNN, PHD, THE ART & SCIENCE OF MOM
truth in parenting
Tearing your hair out over lack of sleep, daycare decisions, homework enforcement, or what to do with the toddler tantrum? Want to feel better about your own tantrum as you try and manage it all? Read my Truth in Parenting blog for some evidence-based reassurance (The Art and Science of . . . ), my own True Mom Confessions, and some psychologist expertise (The Dr. Is In). Not sure where to start? Try here.
The experiences of hurt and pain and joy and closeness teach our kids, and our kids need all of them to learn. We cannot (and should not) prevent the hardships, but we can be important “friendship coaches” -- if we can do it without too much whistle-blowing.
This also means I am Commander in Chief of Operation Morning Routine, and my little soldiers are taking awhile to follow protocol. It’s like playing a game of whack-a-mole between 7 and 7:45 am, once one head is doing what it’s supposed to, the other two pop up, or more accurately, pop OUT of line.
Sleep is everything . . . If moms on the brink of a mental health precipice get the message that they have to spend hours not sleeping so they don’t forever harm their children, this is downright dangerous.
Time to switch gears from the 24/7 job of building up all the fundamental parts of their beings (safety, trust, healthy attachments) to us BEING their fundamentals – their touchstones — in these years when they may still listen to us.
Every parent’s fear is we are not adequately preparing our children for their futures. This fear sits in me even as I rationalize all the great reasons our kids are just fine without more activities.
Taking a step back, our children’s growth and learning should encompass a whole lot more than reading comprehension and math computation. Maybe we should ask ourselves what other types of learning get to happen BECAUSE of summer break.
In writing and sharing this, I hope it sends out a sort of bat signal of support and compassion to all other parents struggling in the temperament equivalent of crossfit training. I’m sorry. It’s hard. It’s okay to not be “perfect” because it’s really exhausting and you’re doing your best. And you’re not alone.
I would venture to say (very non-scientifically) that becoming a mother may be the biggest risk factor for sleep problems. Think about it – from pregnancy hormones, discomfort, and worry, to the newborn “sleep” cycle totally incompatible with feeling human, to 4-year-olds running screaming into your room at 2 a.m. (oh is that just mine? It’s like a horror movie scene every time), to worrying about your teenage kids not home yet, our children hijack our sleep.
Feeding our children sounds as basic and instinctual to parenting as loving them. But from the often surprising struggles with breastfeeding, to the mixed messages around how to be “healthy,” feeding our children has become another land mine of parenting anxiety. Balancing experts and science with reality, I offer ways we can all nurture our children’s bodies without losing our minds.
We need to start with the cold, hard truth that the word "vacation" does not apply. Managing young children in travel and new environments is a feat of hard labor.
I also seize opportunities to talk about how everyone is born with a different body shape and it’s cool that we all look unique. I have even tried my best to shield my girls from watching adored female celebrities in their skimpy outfits, flaunting and glamorizing body shapes unattainable by most. Yet, my 6-year-old said she didn’t want to be fat and my 9-year-old is dissatisfied with being “skinny.” UGH.
By building up and uniting mothers, are we perpetuating the very complaint that fathers don’t do their part? Are we leaving out fathers and then wishing they would do more?