This post was originally published on Sammiches and Psych Meds
Are you a toddler’s mom who can’t take it anymore? Are you about to lose your mind or bang your head on a wall very soon?
Well, I’ve got some good news for you: you’re not alone. You’re a mom. I’m a mom. So regardless of our differences, we’ve got something in common here. And as a very considerate person, I’m here to teach you how to change your perspective so you can enjoy life to its fullest, just like me.
My weapon? I’m a very flexible person – I like to refer to my talent as flexy, it actually sounds much cooler than using the full word. The best part of my talent is that I “bend” easily and I adapt to all situations, which helps me survive with a toddler.
I’m going to share with you some examples to define exactly what flexy is all about. The approach is pretty simple and involves four easy steps: Standards, Adaptation, Tolerance and Compromise. To remember it, you can think of the acronym SATC (you know, like the TV series Sex and the City).
So let’s get started.
Before having kids you might have had a long list of standards that you were very keen on implementing: keeping the house super clean and shiny, cooking fresh food for every meal, washing and ironing every piece of clothing (including underwear), sterilizing every item that the baby touches, etc. But then your babies came along and you found that keeping up with your standards between the sleepless nights, the baby vomit and the diaper changes was very challenging, right?
Well here is the thing: having standards is good, but refreshing your standards is even greater. If you have too many of them, consider reducing them (as they say, less is more), and if they are too high, consider lowering them. I’ve done it. I’ve stopped stressing about sterilization after 6 months, getting every piece of clothing ironed, and when I did that, the world didn’t end! As a matter of fact, now that I worry less about keeping every aspect of my life bright and shiny, I feel liberated.
Kids needs and habits change a lot over time. What worked with a newborn won’t necessarily apply to a toddler or a preschooler. While sitting your baby in a bouncy chair with a couple of dangling toys was great amusement for the 4-months-old baby, the metamorphosed version of this child, who turned into a curious explorer, moves around the house to discover every little corner (and of course touch, eat, and climb on everything possible). While this might seem cute in the beginning, it gets pretty exhausting when those monkey feet run around the house 18 hours per day.
Which is why adaptation gets very handy when dealing with kids.
Adapt yourself to your kids’ needs so you can enjoy every minute of their development without wanting to jump from a window or doing other crazy stuff like that (remember that your kids still need you). The human race has survived throughout the centuries thanks to this little quality, so take time to learn how to implement it in your house; this way you and your kids can make it to their 18th birthday without any major harm.
Compared to the first two steps, this one gets a little easier with toddlers as they haven’t fully developed an opinion yet (if you happen to have older kids, my deepest prayers are with you). Your toddlers are discovering the world and learning how it works, so it comes natural to say that they like to have things done in a specific way. This is when the chocolate syrup gets poured on the chicken to make a yummy meal, or when they refuse to get in the shower (and then they refuse to get out of it), or even when they touch that vase when you’ve repeatedly told them not to.
Toddlers like to experience things. It’s part of their natural development.
The best way is to accept this new trend with open arms. You know why? Well, because this is how your toddler will learn to develop his autonomy, so by his 18th birthday he can actually move away to college and make proper decisions. Besides, tolerance is key in our modern globalized world; that’s how we learn to open up to change and accept our differences with others. So by showing some tolerance you’ll be providing your kids with an efficient tool as well.
That’s when YOU get to have an opinion too. After showing some tolerance towards your toddler’s weird demands and rules, you get to implement yours. So when your toddler wants to pour that chocolate syrup on your chicken, let him do it if that makes him happy. This is how you’ll get to create and nourish your reputation as a cool mom (and in exchange, you can expect your kid to complete his meal and tell you that it was delicious).
So the way I see it, tolerance is just a trading currency to get to your goals. This way everyone is happy and everyone’s opinions are respected fully in the house.
So the SATC approach is not just a theory, it’s a lifestyle. If you implement it, you get to reach your goals without getting anyone injured (hopefully). The best part is that it’s very liberating and empowering and if you apply is successfully you get to become a cool, relaxed, mom.
That’s the spirit of flexy-ness.
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