CareGiving Joys and Challenges: Your Children

caregiving your childrenParenting is a Special Journey

The Joys of Your Children

Parenting is not for everyone. But if you have jumped into the ring of parenting (yes, a bit like the ring of fire!) you have probably found the sweet spots…sometimes. As with most CareGiving, it’s about remembering to notice and hold onto those special moments with your children!

  • How you watch (or watched) with fascination as your child did everything for “the first time”
  • The sweetness of hearing your toddler say, “I love you.”
  • Seeing them become more self-sufficient (and celebrating that little bit less that you have to do!)

The one thing that is certain for most parents is that as the years go by, the need for caregiving will change. Eventually, as your child becomes their own person, the caregiving may evolve into that you would offer any good friend or loved one.

The Challenges of Your Children

Ah, the challenges of parenting! The responsibility! Day and night for years you must know exactly where your child is, what they are eating, especially if they have a #SpecialDiet, and how they are sleeping. The boo-boos and the bigger problems of illness or injury which often seem to come at the exact worst time possible!

Even without extremes, day to day parenting is a lot of work. Patsy Keesh, in her book “Mothering An Angel” talks about the first days she was alone with her two sons, one of whom had many special needs. “I worked harder in those weeks off than I ever worked in my life….The boys kept me so busy with diaper changes, making bottles, walks, clothing changes and laundry.”

Even without extremes, day to day #caregiving for your children is a lot of work. But you're not alone! Click To Tweet

Especially in the early years, the health of your children is usually your responsibility, but they have their own minds, too. Avacado may be good for baby, but if they won’t eat it then you either hide it in another food or find another way to help them get the nutrients they need. Omega 3 is an important nutrient for brain development, but if you child will only eat a breaded fish stick it may be time to find another option.

Help with Your Children

Don’t do it alone.

In an ideal world there are two parents, so share the responsibility. If that is not your reality, still try to find ways to take a break. Too many new moms claim their only alone time is when they lock the door to the bathroom! Yet you may have a neighbor who truly would enjoy a little time with your little one, or be willing to trade babysitting time with you. Hire a coach! Yes, there ARE parenting coaches. Ingrid Prueher of BabySleepWhisperer.com is one we love!

#CareGiving for you children can be tough but there's more than one way to share the responsibility. Click To Tweet

Look for options. Here’s one:

When we were new parents, our parents lived hours (or even days!) away. We disliked the idea of daycare, but discovered that being a “stay at home” parent was not going to be a happy choice for either of us. Our decision to find and have Au Pairs to live with our family for the next 12 years was a perfect solution for us:

  • It was a bit more expensive overall than childcare for ONE child, but a DEAL once we had two!
  • Sleep: Our children could sleep their natural rhythms, without being woken up to go to daycare.
  • We were not locked into that 6pm pick up time “or else!” which is especially good on bad weather days.
  • Variety: We set their schedule of events, from grocery shopping to parks to play-dates and the zoo. No boring same 4 walls!
  • Nutrition: We had control over what they were given for food options.
  • Our children learned to love and respect others besides us, and deal with the changing of the guard.
  • Since we picked young women from one particular country, and requested they speak their language with our kids, our daughters are bilingual.

There are many ups and downs to having an au pair, it is not a solution for everyone! But find other options that work for you. More about Au Pairs can be found here. Ask, and I’ll consider sharing some more thoughts, stories, and experiences in another blog!

My BEST Advice.

I confess I missed the boat on the tip I’m going to share with you here: Find a parenting class and join it. In Minnesota they are called ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) classes. Go every chance you get. Be PART of the class. Get to know the other parents. So many people I know met their very best friends through classes like this, and shared the next decades of parenting with these people, even sharing childcare so spouses could take trips without kids.

Parenting is a special journey. It will be imperfect. One thing you learn as a parent is to love your own parents in their love, effort, and imperfection as well.

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