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Parenting Tips from “Mom of the Year”

Mother’s Day is coming up, and it always strikes me when I see cards or gifts that say “Best Mom Ever” or “Mom of the Year” because they’re both superlatives. There can’t be more than one of the best mom ever and the Mom of the Year award can only have one true winner, right?

If that’s true, I can honestly say I would never be close to earning either of those accolades because, while I think I do a pretty good job meeting the needs of my kiddos, I can easily rattle off 10 women who would be far better choices. Why? Let me share a few parenting philosophies I’ve adopted that are very handy for sanity and survival, but will certainly keep me off the short list for “Mom of the Year”:

1. If they’re screamin’ they’re breathin’ – When I set them up with a meal and then run to get ready for the day, I’ve come to realize that as long as they’re being obnoxiously loud, they aren’t choking, so I can shower in “peace” guilt free. (It’s when they’re being nice and quiet that I come running.)

2. Ignore it! – My mom bought me an intriguing book called “Ignore it!” by Catherine Pearlman, PhD, LCSW. The premise is that when a kid is being naughty, challenging or downright disrespectful, rather than rewarding the negative behavior with a reaction, a better option may be to ignore it until they stop, then swoop back in and reward only positive behaviors with attention. I really struggle to ignore the super annoying stuff, but my best win was when they went through a phase of constantly spitting at each other. Eventually I stopped trying to parent that one (if they want to be gross, fine. I give up!) and it stopped pretty quickly. Ignoring it for the win!

3. TV is a tool – I’m typically not a big fan of screen time, if for no other reason, because I find they behave worse when they’ve had too much of it, but dang. Turning on the tube really does the trick after a long day. I get to rest and they get to turn into little screen zombies. It’s one of my favorite tactics for those “I’m just done being an adult” moments.

4. Pawn them off as often as possible – My husband really hates it when I say (and do!) this because he hates to be a burden on others. I disagree. I see it as a survival tactic for both parents and the kids, especially when everyone is cooped up inside all winter – they need to get tired out, be around different people and have stimulating experiences, and I need to catch up on work and home stuff. (Disclaimer: sometimes I just sleep instead.) Plus, the whole “it takes a village” thing didn’t come from nowhere. So, next time you catch me saying, “Does anyone want to take either of my kids for any length of time?” you’ll know I’m just trying to get through. (Side note: I do return the favor too. When I have parenting energy, I try to share it with others by taking on their kids for a bit!)

So there you have it. Four solid reasons why I’ll never be “Mom of the Year.” But if they ever start making cards or mugs with phrases like “Mom with the best sanity tactics” or “Supermom Survivor,” watch out – I just might win!

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