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7 Parenting Lessons from ABC’s Scandal — April 22, 2015

7 Parenting Lessons from ABC’s Scandal

I have stacks upon stacks of parenting books sitting on my (very overloaded) bookshelves, but most of them are only half read. As I flip the pages, I just think to myself, “This isn’t real life.” Sure, they’re great ideas to aspire to, but at the end of the day, different things work for different moms. So I started turning to less-conventional outlets to find the practices that worked best for me: other moms, blogs, websites, and, you guessed it, Scandal.

I remember walking through Michael’s looking for craft supplies for my two-year-old who was throwing a bit (read, a lot) of a temper tantrum and I told myself, “Just wear the white hat. Do the right thing.” That got me thinking about what other little nuggets of wisdom I could find in my favorite show.

So I binge-watched the series (for research, obviously), and came up with these pointers:

1. Always wear the white hat

Dinner is wrecked, your baby is screaming, the laundry isn’t folded … the list goes on. You may want to burn the white hat, but don’t do it. The only thing that can keep you sane is the thought that you can and will rise above. Do the right thing: wear the white hat. Because if you take it off, let’s be real, who knows what monsters may arise.

2. Gladiate

Fierceness is a quality that comes along with parenting territory — it’s your right as a protector and parent to that little human you made. Don’t apologize for being your child’s gladiator. It’s a title not easily won, but it’s one that you deserve.

3. Utilize your resources

Pope and Associates have a lot of resources at their fingertips, but sometimes they have to take the back way in. Now, I’m not saying you should threaten and blackmail to get your kid in that private school you’re eying, but take stock of your natural talents, and see how they can get you where you want to be.

4. Know the power of wine and popcorn

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. We all need those moments of bliss when the kids are in bed and we forget about the to-do list. Uncork that bottle, pop that popcorn (extra butter, thank you), and for the love of Olivia Pope — relax.

olivia pope wine

5. Stand in the sun

Where is Jake Ballard when you need him? At the end of the day, you have to live in the truth as it presently is and face it head on. Otherwise, things stay broken, and you never end up moving forward. In my mind, this mentality is paramount when raising children, because only when you acknowledge the truth of the present can you amend your plan for the future.

6. Make jam

With that being said, you also have to have an element of “making jam,” that is to say, a dream or fantasy that you look forward to but isn’t quite reachable yet. Take that vision, hold on to it, and make it your happy place when you’re certain that invasion of the body snatchers has happened and your child has taken momentary reprieve from normal human behavior.

7. Handle it  

Part of parenting is being 10 steps ahead in terms of thinking of a solution. This goes hand in hand with multi-tasking and looking at every side of a situation, all things that Olivia Pope excels at. Next time your spouse asks if you’ve done the grocery shopping and/or paid the bills, just tell them, “It’s handled.” They’ll respect you for the force of nature you are and feel discouraged from asking any further questions — a mother’s dream.

While I’m not quite at Pope & Associates’s level yet, remembering these things in the heat of battle (also known as when you’re trying to cook breakfast with a baby on your hip and she burns her arm on the toaster) has restored a minor sense of sanity in this crazy thing they call parenting.

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I Am Officially Tired of Buying Diapers — March 24, 2015

I Am Officially Tired of Buying Diapers

Well, lately I’ve been wearing the financial pants in my family.  Today I am going to talk about a different kind of pants- diapers and pull-ups, specifically- and the fact that I am officially tired of buying them after five long years.

Tired. Of. It.

I buy pull-ups for daytime and diapers for overnights.  I buy them at the grocery store, the department store, and the drug store- with coupons if I’m lucky.  I currently spend $10-$15 dollars per week on something that adds no value to our lives or to the planet.   I might as well be shreddin’ $20 bills over here!

I Am Officially Tired of Buying Diapers

My oldest potty-trained quickly and easily.  But my youngest?  I’m afraid to say it, but I just don’t think she cares enough at this point.  She’s also busy- real busy- and doesn’t want to stop what she’s doing to go to the bathroom.  She would much rather just pee her pants and continue picking flowers, riding her bike, or playing in the sandbox.  Ewww…  I’m tired of buying diapers, but I also don’t know what else to do.  A few strategies I’m considering:

  • Potty Timer– A relative suggested I set a timer and simply tell her it is the “potty timer.”  Then I just need to take her to the potty any time it goes off.  Perhaps she will think it’s a game and get on board.  Maybe?
  • Naked Weekend– Several people have suggested I let her run around naked outside for a day or two.  The idea is that she might recognize her need to potty better if she literally felt pee run down her leg (as opposed to it being absorbed by her clothing).  That might be possible on the weekend, but I’m not sure how cooperative she would be.
  • Fun Potty Time- Others have suggested adding food coloring to the toilet water or wearing a funny hat when it’s pee-pee time.  Sounds crazy to me, but I’m honestly willing to do anything at this point.
  • Wait- I keep reading that kids who aren’t interested in potty-training might just need more time.  I’ve considered putting our plans on hold for a few months and trying again this fall.

So, that’s it.  I’m officially tired of buying diapers, but must continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Hopefully I’ll figure out a winning strategy sometime soon.  Until then, I envision lots of laundry, frustration, and tears coming up.  Stay tuned.

Did you have trouble potty-training your kids?  What strategies worked for you?

 

Fun Parenting Tips — February 17, 2015

Fun Parenting Tips

February 14, 2015

Communicating In Another Thinking Style

by Shari Steelsmith

Tip—Speak in a way that your child will hear.

There are many ordinary sorts of conflicts that occur between parents and children. On the younger end, for example, there’s the getting out the door on time struggle, the eating a balanced diet conflict, the going to bed struggle, picking up toys, and countless more. With the school-aged years come conflicts over homework, chores, and friends. Although none of these are particularly serious, there is rarely a week that goes by that you don’t negotiate such an issue with one of your kids. Sometimes you have the same conflict every week.

Could you use some help? I certainly could. Fortunately for us, parent educator and professor, Susie Leonard Weller has written a helpful little book called, Why Don’t You Understand? Improve Family Communication with the 4 Thinking Styles. (A brief outline of the four dominant thinking styles, Logical, Practical, Relational and Creative, can be found here.) Weller points out that you will have much greater success with getting your children to cooperate with you if you speak in their preferred thinking styles rather than in your own.

“We each have a preferred way of thinking and talking,” says Weller. When you speak in a child’s preferred style, he is more likely to understand what you want and respond cooperatively. Take some time to look over the four styles through the link above and decide which style your child operates in.

Tools— Let’s say that eight-year-old Jasmine is dragging her feet and complaining about cleaning up her room. Here are some ways you might talk with her about the chore, based on each style.

  1. If Jasmine is a Logical Thinker: Logicals like you to get to the point quickly, be precise, and specific about the bottom line. “Jasmine, your room needs to be cleaned up before you go out to play.”
  2. If Jasmine is a Practical Thinker: This thinking style likes information to be laid out sequentially, with sufficient detail. “Jasmine, do three things: make your bed; put dirty clothes in the hamper; and put all your toys away.”
  3. If Jasmine is a Relational Thinker: Relationals respond to empathy, informal language, and personal experiences. “Jasmine, I know it’s hard to pick up your room. I had a hard time when I was your age, too. You know what I did? I sang the Whistle While You Work song. Would you like me to teach you that song while you make your bed?”
  4. If Jasmine is a Creative Thinker: This style likes new and varied approaches to the same old task and freedom to explore new ideas. “Jasmine, let’s make cleaning up your room a game. Let’s pretend we’re archaeologists digging for pterodactyl fossils in the desert. I’ll take big armfuls of sand (dirty clothes) and sweep them out of the way. You remove all the rocks (toys) from the site; they could be important fossils that we’ll need to look at later, so put them away carefully.”

Although it may take a little time to figure out to what your child best responds, the good news is that it will get easier for you to speak in your child’s style as you practice it.

You’ll find more practical tips you can use right now in Why Don’t You Understand? Improve Family Communication with the 4 Thinking Styles by Susie Leonard Weller.