Parenting 101: A Guide from an Older Mom

Something weird happened a couple of years ago: I became the older mom and younger moms started assuming I had answers to their parenting questions. (I know. I can hear my kids laughing at the very thought.)

But instead of wearing a permanent sticky note on my forehead declaring I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING EITHER, I thought I’d put together of little guide of my sage advice in dealing with some parenting issues. I hope it is a source of encouragement and help. (I also hope you appreciate sarcasm.)

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Temper Tantrums

We’ve all experienced them, right?

If your child has never had one, HOLD ON. It’s coming at some point.

Tip: If ignoring and stepping over your thrashing child doesn’t work, I suggest throwing yourself on the floor. Add in a bit of kicking and screaming for good measure. If it doesn’t distract your child, it might scare them into behaving or at least give them some company. Plus, it’s good to get a view of your floors this way and it might make you feel better.

Talking Back

You might be staring at your tiny baby on your lap right now and be thinking “It’s just not possible.” Oh, bless your heart.

Tip: When my kids are disrespectful, it takes a lot of self control on my part to RESPOND correctly, which mostly means not being disrespectful right back. Or yelling. Remaining calm and in control goes a long way.

But if that fails, see Temper Tantrum above or break down and sob uncontrollably about your hurt feelings. Sometimes they just need to remember you’re a person, too.

Chores

Tip: If you’re struggling to get your kids to pitch in around the house, simply stop doing it all yourself. It’s sort of a shock to their system when they have to dig dirty clothes out of the hamper. Unless they are a teen and then they don’t mind at all. In this case, I suggest sliding an invoice under their door for rent. Also known as a WAKE UP CALL.

Cleaning Up

The other day my kids avoided a nasty hairball on the floor, only to point it out to me (from upstairs). In this situation, I’ve found it’s best to quietly pick up the vomit with 17 paper towels and then chase your kids around the house with it for a bit. It doesn’t really teach them much, but it’s really fun.

*Updated: My cat left another gift on the kitchen tile before I published this post. My son walked right in and grabbed paper towels and cleaned it up. Miracles happen, y’all.

Sibling Rivalry

Let me tell you what not to do: Don’t send your kids into the back yard to “work it out.” Because one of your kids might just get punched in the nose, not that I know from experience or anything.

Tip: While I really hate hearing my kids fight, arguing is often the best way to work something out or compromise.

Now, I just go to the backyard.

Paying for College

Um.

Dating

I’m banking on the Second Coming of Jesus before I have to figure this one out (sticks head back in sand)

Sleep: Naps, Sleeping Thru the Night/Sleeping In

I have one kid that has always required half the sleep I do.  Tip: Might I suggest room darkening curtains for them and ear plugs for yourself? And that whole don’t wake a sleeping baby? It’s truth.

Picking Your Battles

I once saw a child wearing the strangest assortment of mismatched clothes with church shoes at the store. I remember thinking my child will never go out in public looking like that. And then a few years later, I realized I was a really great mother–before I had kids.

That’s all I’ve got, people.

Y’all have a happy Monday.


Comments

  1. says

    My favorite line in this entire post is ” I realized I was a really great mother–before I had kids.” I am an older mother too. To two grandkids. I don’t tolerate tantrums or talking back. They do their chores if they want their electronics. Mine are teens and I can’t even begin to look at dating or driving. I think I’ll just skip those this time around. They have plenty of time to do both after they leave home……

  2. says

    Thank you for this! It’s nice to know that I will look back and laugh one day! :) I’ve got a 6 and 4 year old. The disrespect and talking back is the hardest–I’m definitely going to try kicking and screaming myself! Great idea.

  3. says

    dating? read at least some of their messages. talk to the other parents. set up rules. follow them. ask questions. now, i do all of this in a mumbly-stare-at-the-floor-let’s-get-this-over-with kind of way. but i do it. oh, and, i have one who is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts so throw in the conversation about how he needs to make sure his girlfriend hasn’t just eaten a snickers if they’re going to kiss.

    AND…i pray for my boys and any girls they will date. because, hopefully, one of those girls will take care of me in my old age. and i want her to be great.

  4. Stacey says

    Lol. I love this! Our children are 16,18 and 20. I’ve never stopped feeling like I’m ” flying by the seat if my pants” in some situations. Every child is unique and a gift. There will always be “hair balls”.( thanks to two Bernese mountain dogs ). I try super hard to not let messes bother me( I suceed half of the time )I think the most important thing is to support each other as parents. After all we’re all in this together. Blessings

  5. says

    My kids are generally very respectful to me. I think it’s because I laugh heartily at them or roll my eyes when they try to be rude. “Great powers do not respond to petty belligerence” is my motto.

  6. Kelly says

    I LOVE reading your blog…as a mother of 3 teenager GIRLS…sometimes IT IS better to just laugh/cry depending on situation than making problem worse by my own head strong smart-mouth temper…so You Have given me lots more incentive to be just as inventive & hopefully avoid worse situations than what is the problem @ hand…& for those of you NOT there yet…driving & dating are just as difficult as the temper tantrums & back talking/arguing for the fun of it issues!!! Prayers…LOTS & LOTS of prayers.

  7. says

    Hilarious! I hate when parents tell arguing kids to “go work it out”. How are they supposed to know “how to work it out” if you don’t show them? But, I DO like the idea of me going to the backyard.

  8. Sylvia says

    How many times have I had to eat my words? Oh, my goodness. “My child will never…….”. Oh, yes, he did. And more. Thanks for the laughs. Laughing is really all a mom can do sometimes.. that and be sarcastic. Always remember, you are making memories and making great family stories. I can’t even count how many times my son’s high school friends asked me “did he really called his kindergarten teacher a communist?” By the way, he did.

  9. Dale says

    Great thoughts–as a dad to two great teenagers, I know that sometimes you just have to grab a prayer and hang on. Maybe what I have to add helps someone.

    Our society’s system of dating leaves much to be desired. We start with kids who have nearly zero training for serious investigation, and we tell them “Try out a bunch of people–find what you like!” Incidentally, this is much more akin to practicing for divorce than shopping for a mate. The wife and I have some rules in place for courting. The meaning of “courting” is close to its root–court. This is where all truth about an issue is put before a judge and jury so it can be examined. In this case, the eyes of parents looking at a potential spouse, and his or her parents and upbringing, can more judiciously examine whether two young adults edify and complement one another. And while I am not talking of completely arranging marriages, godly parents owe their kids and their God more than what many parents give both. Thus……

    1. My kids are allowed to visit with folks of the opposite sex in group settings only–It takes all the pressure off the kids, and allows them to get to know one another in a more honest setting. “Chaperon” is one of my favorite words these days.
    2. My daughter knows that “he” is gonna have to talk with me before he even gets to sit by her in those group settings.
    3. My son is aware that he is thinking about a sister-in-Christ. He is to consider a young woman like my daughter would reap what he sows.
    4. No one gets to update “relationship status” on Facebook until my wife and I say so. Keeping up with the Joneses ain’t what this is about.
    5. If the parents of the one my child is considering want to hide their heads in the sand and not participate in this process, that is symptomatic of a poor modeling process, which I would rather my child not partner with for a lifetime.
    6. Your child is a gift from God. And while there are no perfect mates for your child, you are instrumental in examining a potential mate. I am blessed that, except in medical cases, I have never had to ask my wife where she wanted to be on Sunday AM. The same goes for my wife not having to ask me. Please know enough about your kid’s mate to be able to reasonably expect that your child will be blessed with the same.

    • Melissa McIntyre says

      While I agree with many of the things you have to offer, I find number 5. unfair and judgmental. My husband and I have been together for 20 years and are the parents of 6 children. We too are THAT family living very different than the rest of society. I come from a broken home and my parents are pretty terrible people, to keep this short and sweet. I always KNEW in my heart how they lived and the things they did were wrong. According to your “logic” a person like me would be deemed unacceptable as a future spouse. Is that what Jesus taught??? Is that what the Bible says??? Is that what God says??? How terribly legalistic and judgmental of you! I am a child of God, saved by the love and grace of my savior JESUS CHRIST who died for my sins! How dare you deem someone like me unworthy to be a part of someone like your child’s life just because I have crummy parents! Shame on you! EVERY person should be viewed as an INDIVIDUAL PERSON, not judged because of the family they were born into!

  10. says

    I was nodding…..and laughing through the entire thing.
    I am older mom too…….and yet, still fighting the “clothes must match and swim goggles are only worn for swimming” thing.
    I’ll never let go I say!! :)

  11. Melissa McIntyre says

    Kristen…. YOU ROCK! You make me laugh soo often, thank you! I too have realized recently that I am now an OLDER mom! We have 6 kiddos ranging from 14 down to 3. Happy that I still have SOME littles to keep me young :-)

  12. Mrs. R. says

    Thank you so much!—I laughed all the way through this, too, esp since I’m an “older mom,” as well. :-)
    There is SO MUCH I can completely resonate with. And I really needed some grins after our day yesterday and our morning today.

    And I, too, used to think “…I was a really great mother–before I had kids.” HA! There’s an actual book by that title too…Oops; just looked it up and it’s actually “I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids.”

  13. says

    LOL!!! We are in the throws of parenting little ones, so I’m still the ‘young’ mom desperately seeking advice of older ones. Thanks for this! :)

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