As a brand-new stay-at-home mom, I feel like I’m learning a whole new language. I’ve missed the year of sweet babyhood as I worked until my daughter, Libbie, was 14 months. Instead, I’ve been thrown into the insanity of having a toddler all to myself for ten hours a day.
The word intention has been screaming at me from every direction as of late. While it may have been OK to wonder aimlessly through those two hours between getting home and Libbie’s bedtime every night when I was working, I can’t just meander through the years of toddlerhood. With an active, wild child, I’ve been forced to figure out what my goals are as a parent and how I want to accomplish them.
Reading. Usually, I read fiction and an occasional memoir. I love to read, and I have so many books on my shelf that I’ve had for years and not read that I can’t laugh about it anymore. I am not one to follow every word of one book when it comes to parenting; I draw from many sources and, of course, weigh them against biblical principles. Right now I am trying to read one parenting book, one faith-based nonfiction book, and one fiction book at a time. I won’t claim I’m great at balancing reading this many books, but even if it’s reading them in rotation, I’m fitting in more instructional books and more books that will challenge me, I hope.
Meeting Libbie’s needs. I know, this seems obvious. But some days it’s just not easy. For me, this means taking her outside to get fresh air and run around when I would rather talk to my girls on Skype and have her play inside. It means making her French toast for breakfast because it’s a way of getting her to eat protein when I’d rather just shove some dry cereal on her high-chair table. It’s rocking her when she’s sad or grumpy instead of throwing her in her crib or yelling at her.
Disciplining without anger. I really have a problem with anger. I’m working on getting to the root of it. (As Beth Moore says, “Mean always has a history.”) Every day I battle myself and have to remind myself that Libbie’s a toddler. Like every other toddler in the history of mankind, she’s pushing the limits, testing me, and seeing what she can do. She doesn’t hate me. I’m testing different kinds of discipline and trying to decide beforehand what will earn discipline and what will not. (Thanks Amanda.)
Finding time for myself. I am 100% behind finding time for yourself as a mama. I am a super internal person and I cannot make it if I don’t have time to process things on my own. My “me” time usually comes from long, hot baths; trips to coupon shop at Target or the grocery by myself; exercise; or even some hard-core cleaning.
How are you an intentional parent? Honestly, I would love any further tips you have to share!
sweet photo of Jessie’s daughter Libbie. courtesy of Jessie.