The other day I was chatting with some ladies at Parents.com about super-secret parenting tips – or sanity tips. You know, those things you’re not sure you should share with others, but are lifesavers in your house? When I sat down to think about what salvages my day, I discovered that my solutions are a bit silly more than any kind of secret!
*Start a nighttime routine and stick to it! The day we brought our daughter home from the hospital I started a bedtime routine – no joke. The essential part of our beddy-bye time is NOT making eye contact with baby after she’s in the crib. I give her a bottle, zip her into snuggly-soft jammies and then –without making eye contact, lay her down. If she causes a fuss, I wait five minutes, offer a pacifier, which she only gets during sleepy-times, and her blanky (no eye contact!). Most nights she falls asleep in 20 minutes – no crying. I know some of you hate me just a little bit right now, but that’s okay.
*Sometimes yelling isn’t bad, or some really loud music. Distraction is one of the best ways to change your babe’s (and your) mood. I’m not talking ear-splitting noise level or anything, but put on some Lady Gaga and dance around while holding your wee one. If she’s not into music, yelling out the ABC’s might do the trick. My neighbors probably think I’m insane, but when my babe’s a grump she seems to find it fantastically silly when I jump up and down and yell the ABC’s.
*INDULGE. I got a stroller as a baby gift and it wasn’t the one I wanted. I went and purchased the stroller I had put on my baby registry and have no regrets – even though it cost a ton! Splurge on the baby items that you’ll be with for a while (stroller, high chair, crib, car seat, etc.). If you do a lot of walking like I do, you’ll feel better pushing your wee tot around in the stroller you wanted instead of suffering with one that was a good deal.
*Take the baby in the shower/tub with you. This may be the only way you get clean. Seriously. Once my babe could sit on her own, I plopped her down with a couple of wash clothes around her for support. Now that she’s older, I can actually enjoy a shower while she enjoys some splashing. And, she ends up sitting on the wash cloths, which help her from slip-sliding away! I also put a towel right outside the tub so when we’re done, I can lift her directly onto a fresh towel and wrap her up. Often, she runs off dragging the towel after her, but at least she’s not dripping wet (and I wont freak out worrying she’s going to slip and crack her head open).
*Oh, and schedule “special time” with your partner. Sex makes you feel good and strengthens and the bond you have with your mate. When I feel wonderful about myself, I’m a better parent.
What are your secret sanity tips?