Third time is a charm

Do you remember when you first became a mom?  I certainly do.  I remember that moment when I found out I was pregnant with Ethan, I remember the day he was born.  I remember the HUGE learning curve.

Now that I have three children, it’s amazing to look back on how differently I parent Emma vs. how I started out parenting Ethan.  Hindsight is 20/20, right?  I thought I’d share some of those pearls of wisdom with you.
Feed your child what you eat.  From the time he/she can eat solid food.  Ethan ate a lot of baby food.  Once he was done eating baby food, I fed him a lot of the name brand toddler foods–pasta pick ups, toddler dinners, etc.  Even though we were eating food he could have eaten too.  I didn’t want to give him things like salad, or soup.  I was a little better with this with Zach, but with Emma, I found the expense of baby food was just too high.  And I didn’t have the time to make all her baby food.  So when it came to meal time, I’d stick whatever we were eating in the blender, and, voila!  She had dinner.  If we had soup, she had soup.  If we had salad, she had salad.  You know what?  Emma is my best eater.  She eats everything we put in front of her.  Ethan?  That’s a whole ‘nother blog post.
It’s OK if your child has to entertain him/herself.  This is a big point I learned when Zach came along.  With Ethan being my firstborn, he got a multitude of attention.  I sat with him all the time, and played the day away.  Consequently, when Zach was born, there was a lot of “Play with me, Mommy!” when I just couldn’t do it.  Enter Emma, and, well, I was just busy keeping up with the laundry.  To this day Ethan is the one in the family that begs for us to play with him, and Emma is the one in the family that can play independently for hours.  
Put your infant to sleep while he/she is drowsy, but still awake.  You will be so thankful for this later.  I started out rocking Ethan to sleep, and later on it was almost impossible to get him to go to sleep.  With both Zach and Emma I would rock them during a feeding, but made sure that they were both still awake when I put them in their cribs.  Eventually, using some sleep training techniques, (similar to the Super Nanny’s) Ethan was also able to go to sleep without problems.  Today, I have three children that are very good about going to bed, and most importantly, staying in bed.  Makes for a happier Mommy in the morning!

Don’t worry about milestones–they’ll happen.  I remember calling my mom when Ethan was a baby, freaking out that he hadn’t rolled over.  I had looked in both Dan and my baby books, and we had both rolled over way earlier than Ethan.  (I don’t even remember how old he was now, funny, right?)  My mom told me to calm down, that he would, in fact, roll over.  And he did.  Then I worried about him starting to crawl.  Then I worried about him walking.  With Emma?  I didn’t worry about ANY of that.  Actually, I hoped she wouldn’t, because keeping track of a stationary baby is much easier than a baby in motion!  Every child is different.  They all do things in their own time.  Which brings me to my next point:

Don’t compare your children to each other.  All three of my children were born with very distinct personalities.  But they came from the same parents, so it’s hard not to compare what Zach is doing in Kindergarten to what Ethan was doing at the same age.  But they’re different boys, and it’s not fair to compare them.  Who liked being compared to a sibling?  Not me, that’s for sure.

Take time to spend with each of your children individually.  It’s easy to get lost in a crowd, even in a smallish family like ours.  I love being able to be alone with my kids, either at a Cub Scout meeting with Ethan, a field trip with Zach or a trip to library story time with Emma.  And they like having your undivided attention.

This, too, shall pass.  Ethan was a nightmare in Kindergarten.  His moods were terrible, his behavior in school not great, and generally wasn’t a nice person to live with.  Now some of that had to do with us moving just before school started, but the rest?  He was 5.  Last year, as a 1st grader, he got a little better.  This year, I’m seeing so much maturity in him, something I thought I’d never see two years ago.  So when Zachie started with the attitude and drama this year, I remembered Ethan at 5.  And looked at him now.  And realized that this is just a stage.  Zachie will get through this.  And we’ll survive Emma being 3, also.  Hopefully.  😉

I want to stress here that I am not a perfect parent.  I’m still making mistakes with my kids, just like I did when Ethan was younger.  I’m learning as he grows older, that’s for sure.  But the key in being a good parent is much like being a good person in life–you learn from your mistakes.  And above all, I love my kids.  I love being their mom.  And I wouldn’t change that for the world.

What have you learned during your years of parenting?  Any tips I missed?

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6 Responses to Third time is a charm

  1. Wade's World says:

    Great list!!!

    I also think you should never compare your kids to your friends kids, even though there may be some parental competitions going on!

  2. Jenney says:

    I think you pretty much covered it. Just enjoy every stage, every moment because they are fleeting.
    I soooo AMEN the spend time with them individually. Hard when you have more than 2.

  3. Suzanne says:

    Third child, like night and day Esther! I am much more relaxed…

    We are holding up in our household, I would really like next Wednesday off, so we could get together…keep this in the back of your busy-mama mind!

  4. Dakotapam says:

    Very true! 6 kids and I’m still learning, and at each stage they will give you more to worry about and celebrate with!

    Motherhood is a journey!

  5. Melanie says:

    Amen, sister! :) That is wonderful advice! I only have two, but I can see the difference between what I know now with the second and what I thought with my first…

    Blessings!
    Melanie

  6. I do agree with all of the ideas you have offered to your post.

    They’re very convincing and can definitely work. Still, the posts are very brief for newbies. May just you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.
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