Words of Wisdom from Experienced Moms and Dads.

A Guest Post by Claire Adams

I was approached by a fellow blogger and writer, Claire to see if she could write a post for me. Claire is personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. You can find her online writing and giving tips about lifestyle and development as a regular contributor at highstylife.com.

I am thrilled to introduce Claire’s post for my readers and hope you love it as much as I do!

Words of Wisdom from Experienced Moms and Dads

We live in the age of the Internet, parenting books, chat rooms, classes, information wells only a few clicks away, but as disturbingly contradictory or simply different as some of it may be, new parents and parents-to-be yearn for knowledge. And it makes sense – your thirst is driven by the desire to be the best parent you could possibly be, without sacrificing your relationships or neglecting your professional development.

However, few things related to parenting are black and white. It’s a beautiful journey, the adventure of being a parent, but it makes for a stressful one on those who decide to embark on it in this day and age. And as such, you could use some real-life advice from moms and dads who’ve been in your shoes and can help you prepare and enjoy as much as possible.

Let go of perfectionism

Whether it’s a messy t-shirt, a room filled with toys, or the fact that you’re wearing a puke-covered hoodie after 36 sleepless hours – you soon realize that the reality of parenting doesn’t even resemble those dreamy ideals. On the contrary, your baby will disrupt your lives beyond recognition, both in marvelous and less marvelous ways.

Your priorities will change, and so will your sleeping schedule, and the notion of what passes for “presentable” will alter. As they grow up, you will also realize that “she will never throw tantrums in public” or “he will never get hooked on watching TV” are also far-fetched, as every child has their own way of perceiving the world. The best thing you can do for your child’s peace of mind, as well as your own, is to abandon any perfectionist notion you’ve had thus far.

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Go with Frank

Mr. Frank Sinatra has spoken many a wise word through his music, but one universal truth that affects parents as much as it does every other aspect of your identity would be simply doing things your own way. That doesn’t mean rejecting any piece of advice you hear (solicited or otherwise), but still being able to have your own opinion in the chaos of other parents’ voices.

Every child is different, and while one parent will successfully potty-train their youngster with the help of training-pants, another might prefer to try a reward system. This extends to all behavioral patterns in life, so listening to others can sometimes point you in the right direction, while sharpening your own parenting “gut feeling” is equally important. No parent knows you own child like you do.

Go with Frank

Finance wisely

On a more practical, forward-thinking note, parenting could use some financial structure that will ensure your own, as well as your children’s security later in life. While a majority of employers often carry a family friendly health plan that includes various types of insurance, new parents could also think about writing their will, and a college fund that can be re-purposed if needed.

Keeping an eye on your retirement policy and other related plans for the future may seem over the top while you have a baby to care for, but the sooner you reach for the reins, the safer you’ll be if any problems crop up. The same goes for choosing the right guardian for your kids and setting up a contingent trust that allows you a reasonable amount of control over the funds when your kids finally come of age.

Finance wisely

Invest ahead

Some kids learn fairly quickly and adapt easily to new environments, both socially and cognitively, while others struggle with different challenges. As parents, we can sometimes be prone to misjudging our kids’ abilities, either perceiving them as flawless, or underestimating their potential. In both scenarios, it may seem impossible to relinquish some of our parental power over to teachers, psychologists and other professionals, but it could be necessary for the sake of their success later in life.

Sometimes that means tackling a speech impediment early on, or ensuring tailored high school tutoring for improving their performance in those subjects that are particularly problematic. Either way, there is no shame in recognizing a problem and handling it with the help of professionals.

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Don’t forget you

As soon as you become a parent, your children occupy almost your every thought. At first, this may serve as a mechanism to adapt to your new role as a parent, or anticipate and solve problems along the way. But if you continue neglecting your own needs, and pushing aside your identity, your parenting enthusiasm will also dwindle.

New moms and dads should work on learning to remember their preferences, nurturing their relationship and tending to their needs. As Elizabeth Silk, a New York psychotherapist working with moms put it wisely: “The happier you are, the better parent you will be.”

Adams, Claire 2017
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Am I an “inbetween” blogger?

I’ve committed blogging suicide apparently. According to every “How to get ahead in blogging” type post you must have a niche. Well, I don’t.

I’m not really a Parenting blog. Yes, I blog about life with my teens or the occasional post about when my children were younger. But that is not all I blog about.

I’m not really an Educational blog. Yes, I blog about educational things. Being a teacher means that these things do come up but I wouldn’t describe my blog as an educational site.

I’m not really a Gardening blog. I love gardening and gardens but I don’t only blog about these things. Gardening is my hobby and I love it.

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So, this has left me with a dilemma.

Do I carry on as I am and blog about all the things above or specialise in just one? I’ve been blogging for 7 months now and I’m still finding my way but do I really need a niche?

Well, I’ve decided that I love all of the above so I’m now renaming myself an “in between” blogger. I’m ok with that! Are you? If you like what you read, keep visiting the old house!
This old house blogs about gardening, garden visits, parenting dilemmas, mamas randoms and educational tips.

My blog has had a make over! What do you think?

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How to survive teen driving lessons in 5 easy steps.

Driving home from school the other day and my 17-year-old tells me that I have my hands at the wrong position on the wheel! What?? In fact, after a few driving lessons she is often pointing out various things I’m doing that are technically “wrong.” I remember doing this exact thing with my mum. I feel officially old!

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Both hands on  the wheel mum!

We are now at the stage where she wants to practise her driving with me in my car and I know that this is an important skill for her to have but it is very, very scary!

Firstly, this is my car! I have a cute, little, red Fiat 500 and I love it frankly! Also, it’s  very, very hard to be a passenger in a car with your CHILD driving!

So, here are 5 easy (tongue in cheek) tips to help fellow parents in the passenger seat.

1. Practise your “I am very calm” face. This is vitally important. Even the most patient person should know that the out of control feeling will transfer to your face thus totally annoying your teenager. Oh and do NOT grab the sides of your seat as this may also instill teen anger.

2. Do NOT take your teen’s sibling along for the ride. The moment when your children start fighting in the car when one of them is driving is not one I recommend. Or, the sibling starts to reach forward to plug in their phone so that they can play music. Just no.

3. Try not to make the braking action. You are not driving so this is useless. In fact, your teen will possibly start saying things such as “For God sake mum!” or “Will you stop!” or worse. Mime braking will be a thing but it doesn’t actually work.

4. Do NOT change gear for them. Stalling at junctions will happen and it will terribly embarrassing for your teen. They will be flustered, especially if there is a cute boy in the car behind them. Don’t touch the gear stick or hand brake for that matter. They may explode in rage or threaten to get out of the car. I recommend your calm face at this point.

5. Finally, do NOT let your child drive home from school. Friends watching your teen will encourage “cool” behaviour which, in turn will provoke stalling or the car bouncing. This will instill a fit of hysterical laughter in your teen (especially if the cute boy is passing by the window) or that teen anger that you want to avoid. Oh and don’t wave at anyone that you may know at this point as your teen may then refuse to leave the car and swap places until EVERYONE has left the school grounds. The calm face will not be as easy at this point.

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Fiat 500 in red

On a more serious note, she is doing really well and picking up this driving malarkey quickly.  It’s just I don’t think I am! And I’m not letting my Fiat go either!

OH THE JOYS OF BEING A PARENT OF TEENS.

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8 reasons why pets are good for children and your family.

So your child wants a pet? Are they demanding a kitten or a cute puppy? Do they dream  of their own pony or pet rat? Obviously, getting a pet takes thought and preparation but they are an essential part of family life in my opinion.

Before you decide, here are the top 8 reasons why a pet is a great idea for your child and your whole family.

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A dog can be your child’s first friend
1. They are good for your physical health.

I know that since we have got Dottie we are a healthier family as she needs to be walked. Every day we go out and walk for about an hour. Some dogs need more exercise than others but an hour works for us. Having other pets can also be great for physical health. Rabbits and guinea pigs love to run in the garden and children enjoy playing with them, feeding them and being with them outside. Horses and ponies need a lot of care and exercise but obviously your child can ride them, perhaps developing a lifelong passion. Pet owners are known to be at less risk of allergies and visit the doctor less often.

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Pets are good for your health

2. They can be your child’s first friend.

When I was young I had a cat called Fozzy when I was about 8. He was basically my baby and my first real love. I used to wrap him up in a blanket and he would let me! In fact, he loved it. Pets are always there and provide great comfort for children. I know dogs that are literally part of the game!

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Dog dressed as Supergirl!
3. They connect family members together.

During Christmas Day we had 8 adults, numerous children and 5 dogs (as well as our old cats) here at the old house. I know that the dogs were as important to our family as the people. There was no question that they would be left out! Having a pet creates a feeling of unity amongst families and can be a good way to encourage teens to come out of their bedroom!

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Children with lots of cute dogs
4. Pets can help with stressful moments.

Young children often have full on tantrums and we all know that is normal but it can be very stressful! Having a pet to stroke and distract their attention can be very handy! My daughter loved our cat when she was a toddler and that was a good way to encourage her to come out of her tantrum. Pets can also be very funny too and provide some lighter moments in a stressful day.

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Dog playing with her toy.

5. Pets teach children about responsibility.

I know that very young children can’t be responsible for walking a dog but they can feed a guinea pig or rabbit. Teaching children that pets need to be cared for is a great way for them to learn about responsibility. Children can learn that cleaning out the rabbit is not fun but is necessary for their pet to be looked after. I also think that boys learn about nurturing from having a pet that they wouldn’t necessarily learn through play. It’s not cool to play family type games but playing and loving a pet is ok.

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Child feeding her guinea pig.
6. Having a pet can teach our child about death and the circle of life.

This is hard for children to learn but is, sadly a fact of life. Losing a pet is terrible but can be a life lesson that children should be exposed to in my opinion.

7. Having a pet can beat loneliness and anxiety.

I remember crying my eyes out about something that had upset me as a child and telling my cat! My cat didn’t give me opinions, he just listened (or so I thought!). Pets can be a source of comfort to children of all ages. I know that Dottie really senses my emotions and will come for a cuddle when I’m feeling a bit low. Stroking animals has been proven to lower stress too. I know of children with Special Needs have found a friend in their dog or their pet has encouraged them to speak when other ways have failed.

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Boy with a kitten

8. Pets are fun!

Pets can be great fun! I knew someone growing up who kept miniature horses that would come into their house and sit on their sofa at night! How fun is that?? My dog is great fun and gets us out the house. We have explored more of our local area whilst walking her than in the time before we had her. Kittens love to play and are such fun when they pounce. My children would play with our cats for hours when they were younger; they provided lots of entertainment.

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Dog on a car seat with her toy!
So there we have it! 8 reasons to get a pet. In fact there are loads of reasons to get a pet! I hope this has helped with your decision. Now, just to choose which one…..

OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES….WITH 1 DOG AND 2 CATS.

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