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Archive for February, 2014

I’ve had some really awesome moments recently with people who do not have kids or people who have grown kids.

Sometimes when you’re the one with 2 littles it can get pretty frustrating trying to keep up a social life while guarding your children while maintaining your sanity AKA I don’t have a lot of time but when I do create time I want to make sure I’m spending it with people who 1) I want to be around 2) Respect the way we raise our kids 3) Won’t add stress to my life but provide refreshment to my day.

So, since I’ve had some really awesome run-ins with this type of thing lately, I thought I would formulate a list of ways people without kids (or without little kids… maybe you have kids that are grown and are a little removed from baby days) can help out those of us with tots when you’re wanting to hang out.

I figure this is a good time to write this post, since I can talk about the negatives by focusing on the positive experiences I’ve ran into lately. The other way around would be me complaining about people who don’t abide by these rules and drive me nuts. SO, 🙂 here ya go…

1) Offer us grace when planning to hang out –

You may text or call me on Wednesday and want to hang out Friday, but I may not respond to you in the same time frame I used to before kids. There is a small  big chance that one of my kids is crying or on the potty or needs me in some real way, so if I don’t get back to you for a few hours, or *gasp* a few days – please don’t answer the phone and berate me about not talking to me in awhile or ask me why I haven’t come to see you… be like my friend Christa and say “It’s nice to hear from you!” or “How have you been?” you can *totally* skip the part where you address the fact that I haven’t called you back. Parents of little ones try to keep up to date on the social scene but sometimes it’s delayed, give us grace in those moments. If I don’t call you back until Saturday, 😦 I’m sorry I missed hanging out with you Friday, but I’m not intentionally putting off hanging out with you.

2) Come to my house –

If I have the option of putting the baby down in his crib and having access to the toddlers snacks and toys at my house, it’s really awesome if we can hang out at my house. You can even invite yourself over. It’s actually really awesome when you realize that is what I need. Nap times and bed times are real, it’s best for my sanity and the kids well-being if we stick to somewhat of a schedule, don’t make fun of these things. Seriously, you can invite yourself over- be like our friends Paul and Katie …tell us you want to hang out, and then casually mention if it’s easier for us then you will come to our house – we will say “sure!” and quietly do a happy dance that we can keep up a normal schedule. Also bonus points for this, if we have company that means my house has to be somewhat presentable, so props for keeping me accountable on housekeeping.

3) If you want me out of the house, give notice –

Ok maybe on the last one you are thinking “you really should get out of the house sometime.” Yes, I agree. That’s why you need to plan in advance. If you know restaurant week is coming up and you want the Rinaldi’s to join, be like my friend Whitney and give me the date of the reservation you already made, 3 weeks before the date arrives. That way I have enough time to figure out the plan for the kids. 24 hours notice is kind of lame/impossible if you’re wanting a no-kids evening.

4) Interact with my kids-

Maybe you don’t like kids (I guess we are done being friends at this point in life if that’s the case though, we’re sort of a packaged deal for the next errr forever). Maybe you do like kids but you really do want to have adult conversation. That’s great. I like not talking about princesses and play-doh, too. I actually love it and need it. In order for that to happen – let’s give the little girl some conversation first. If you follow step 2 and come over to my house, and it isn’t nap time, then you should embrace step 4 like my friend Natalie. Are you a nurse? She is. If you’re a nurse, bring over your stethoscope so my little girl can play with it. Not a nurse? Not a problem. Do you know anything about the sky being blue, why fuzz isn’t an animal, if the snowman melting across the street looks like a chicken, or have you ever eaten sprinkles? These are all talking points Brooklyn might want to cover, give her a little attention and she’ll casually lose interest in you like all toddlers do and when she heads off to the playroom to give her stuffed dog a check-up because he has a case of no-wag-a-tail-itis then you and I can talk about things other than veggies tales and juice cups.

5)  Don’t teach my kids bad habits-

If you see we’re working hard on getting Brooklyn to use her manners, it’s ok for you to join in the loving encouragement. If a child’s parents are instilling manners and they try to take something from you, it’s okay to sweetly ask them to use manners (well, here I speak for my kids, maybe other parents aren’t comfortable with this?). If you have an opportunity to acknowledge my parenting skills and encourage them while I am around, do you know how much that blesses me and makes me feel like everything Joseph and I do isn’t for naught? If Brooklyn snatches something out of your hand, be like my Sunday School teacher Julie. We were at a Super Bowl party and Brooklyn took a toy out of Julie’s hand (Julie was interacting with Brooklyn while I was eating some dessert), Julie has kids who are more grown than Brooklyn so she’s been down this road before (and her and her husband are great parents). Instead of just letting Brooklyn snatch the toy, she said sweetly and lovingly “can you ask with your manners instead of just taking it?”…I could have hugged her but like I said I was eating dessert. Simple as that, Brooklyn asked, and I felt validated in my parenting style. One of the most harmful things you can do to the parent/child relationship is undermine the parent in front of the child, if I ask her to call you ma’am, don’t say that’s not necessary…if I ask her to use her manners, give her an opportunity to do so… if you want to ask her to use her manners – well then that saves me a step and I can get back to my dessert. 🙂

I’m thankful for people in my life that maybe haven’t been where I am right now or maybe were there awhile ago but find it in themselves to help keep things peaceful and enjoyable and respect the way Joseph and I parent.

If you are friends with people who have little kids, be mindful of these things – it really makes us (ME) feel so great. To those of you who are aware of these things, keep it up, you’re a blessing.

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