As with most adventures involving a toddler (or two...or more), the best laid plans seem to inevitably fall by the wayside - especially when it comes to navigating the holidays and family. This year, the last week and a half of December seemingly faded into a blur, with plenty of family time, missed naps, presents, and travel. Managing overtired and over stimulated toddlers becomes a professional sport, where tag team efforts seem to be the best strategy for maintaining some resemblance of order and control as the parent.
Amidst all the insanity this year we found a bit of clarity when it comes to navigating the StrongTots waters...here are a few life lessons we thought best to share as we all look ahead at a New Year:
1. Take a step back, remove yourself from the chaos (even if for just a moment), and observe. In the midst of running around, managing kids, and daily craziness, make a point to hit the pause button. It is surprising what you might observe in these moments as you watch your spouse, parents, grandparents, siblings or friends interact with your toddler. In these moments you see some astonishing things about your family and children, parts of your family you hadn't seen or recognized before.
2. Time for reflections invites new ideas. The change of routine and scenery afford the opportunity to reflect on busy schedules, plans for work, and priorities. Just as our children grow and become influenced by their environment, we are influenced and changed as parents along the way. Instead of establishing resolutions for the New Year, the reflections from the holidays support an occasion to set intentions for the months ahead. Regardless of whether you are a stay-at-home parent or working parent, we all struggle with time for ourselves. Time away from routine and work proves worthwhile for creative planning (the fruits of all this idea nurturing will be seen on StrongTots in the weeks and months ahead).
3. Establish your own definition of "balance." Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love, Committed and, now her newest novel, The Signature of All Things) has spoken about the use of the word "balance." Her contention is that balance is another term used against us as something we struggle to achieve. As we try to learn from all the juggling of the past few weeks, we find ourselves revisiting priorities and looking to maintain a clearer focus on what matters most in our children's youth. Unstructured play, time as a family unit, and opportunities to build new knowledge together surface as the ideals we want to emphasize.
We chose to use the New Year to remind ourselves to see beyond the balancing act of parenting, and to instead embrace the time to watch our children grow, invite new ideas, and to even be surprised at some points along the way. We wish our StrongTots family a wonderful New Year - one filled with new learning, creative play, and unexpected adventures!
ABOUT CHRISSY K
I am mom to three boys (one with several life-threatening food allergies) who will never own too many picture books or create Pinterest-worthy snacks. Simply Chrissy K is a place to find helpful tips on parenting that stem from my work with families as an educational consultant and parenting coach.
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Based on a work at http://www.strongtots.com