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I parent alone a lot. It is just a fact of life as a military spouse. My husband and I have been apart for days, weeks and months at a time since having children. I know many of you have husbands who travel for work, or maybe you are military spouses too, so you know what it is like to be the only one to deal with the tantrums, school work, morning routine, and running a household. This time around I have found some simple ways to make things run pretty smoothly while parenting alone.
I recently read a book called Parenting with Purpose, and I thought, it was a perfect read for me while parenting alone. The tips in the book were so easy to implement, but things that I often forget to do in the whirlwind of our days. I want to share a few of the tips I read in the book, and give you information so you can check it out too because it is free on Kindle for the next few days. Yeah for free stuff!
Nina Garcia, author and blogger over at Sleeping Should Be Easy (Ha! Not in my house!) wrote the book Parenting with Purpose. She is a fellow twin mom and has one older child as well. The mom of 3 knows about seeking balance and trying to be present and positive when she is at home with her children.
Parenting with Purpose
Life can be busy juggling home and children. There are choices we make in the little moments with our children that help or hurt our time with them.
For example, one thing I have been better about this time while parenting on my own is getting outside and being active with my kids every single day. Often I try to take advantage of just sitting and watching them play, now I literally chase them around the yard-per their request-trying to catch them. They squeal with laughter and we all get needed exercise. I definitely think that taking the time to leave my phone inside, get outdoors, and just play with the kids has helped them feel secure.
Nina mentions in her book about making sure we are really focusing on our children when they want our attention at times in the day. That does not mean we follow them around and let them run the show all day long, but part of building up a child’s self esteem is making them feel important. We can do that by easily saying, “Yes I will chase you around the yard after dinner,” or acknowledging when they want to show us the newest drawing in their journal even if we are in the middle of washing dishes.
Is this possible every single night? Probably not, but in my experience for 6 evenings straight we have been playing tag and running together in the backyard after dinner, and so far my children have been showing great behavior-not perfect, but pretty good. My presence with them, on their level, doing something they want, helps.
We get caught up in the to do list, and the emails, the phone calls and the meal planning some days and we forget to stop and “schedule in” our kids. As a stay-at home mom I am blessed because this does not happen a lot, but there are days when I think after bedtime: I feel like I barely had one-on one time with the kids! The book Parenting with Purpose really is a series of actionable reminders for being proactive in our parenting, finding balance that ultimately helps our children be more balanced…and the side benefit is that they will show less negative behaviors.
Practical Parenting Tips
Parenting is a challenge some days, and some ages are just tougher than others. Our kids have given us some good strong challenges from about 16 months to 3 years old (terrible “twos”) and then 3-5 years old (defiant “threes”). I know I was a bit of a pill during my teen years through my early twenties, so I know my husband and I have a lot of challenges ahead of us still as our children reach those ages!
You have to define your family’s values, mission and parenting preferences. Then be consistent.
Children arguing with you is not a sign that YOU are doing something wrong.
Children throwing a tantrum is not a sign that YOU have to adjust your actions.
Often our children just need us to be consistent and patient as they learn.
A Practical Parenting Resource
Children learn from us what is expected, what is appropriate, and what love is. Our role is important, and our presence is powerful. As moms, we need simple reminders, straight forward suggestions, and I think Parenting with Purpose offers those things. The 20 actionable items at the end of the book are a key! (You can even get a bonus chapter free.)
I think all of our children are different and we can’t say to a parent you should not do A, B, or C, when we don’t know each other’s children or family values. I think this book is extremely beneficial for the way it outlines how to be a purposeful and present parent (and not perfect) no matter if you have all day to spend with your children, or if you have to balance work and home throughout your day. With any parenting advice, take what works for your family, and leave what does not. That is the beauty of advice-you can pick and choose what you use. 🙂
As I mentioned above Parenting with Purpose is FREE right now through October 22 in the Kindle version.
What parenting tip would you offer a mom about the most important way to be a purposeful parent?