Becoming Parents...For Real

So eight months into this whole parenting thing, I think Arsen and I have both been feeling pretty confident about how we're doing. Grayson is healthy, happy, and pretty adorable if I do say so myself. Maybe we've been awesome parents, or maybe we just got a good one. Either way, it hasn't been too difficult of a transition in our lives.
I mean...come on. He's pretty great.

But all of the sudden...he's like, a person. Like a real, live human being, with real emotions and desires and thoughts. He's not just a little baby blob that we have to feed and bathe and clothe. He crawls around and gets into things he's not supposed to. He sees us eating and decides he wants what we have and freaks out. He picks up a toy of Addie's and when I take it away he looks at me in horror and shrieks. He throws little tantrums and tries to climb over the backs of sofas and put Addie's rawhide in his mouth.

And it's totally up to me and Arsen to take care of it. All of it.

The discipline. The teaching "right" and "wrong". The healthy food choices. The safety. All. Of. It.

And I'm not gonna lie to you, I'm a little terrified. I've been a pretty freaking fantastic mom so far, if you ask me. I have put my heart and soul, my blood, sweat and tears, every ounce of who I am, into this little boy. He is my entire world. But none of what I've done so far has been "hard". Sure, sleep deprivation is exhausting, breastfeeding a baby with teeth can hurt like a mother, and changing a billion diapers ain't fun. But this. This is a whole new world.

How on earth do we form a human into a thoughtful, caring, considerate, loving, patient, humble, brilliant, kind, successful person? How do you do that? When I can't figure out how to make him understand that grunting and shaking and screaming "Ah! Ah! Ah!" shrilly, over and over, isn't the way to get more food....then how do I teach him to be a functioning, thriving member of society?

Suddenly I have the desire to download 32 parenting books to my iPad and lock myself in a room and not come out until I have read them all and can officially be considered an "expert" on parenting.  But I don't think that's necessarily the answer.

I know what type of parent I want to be. I know I believe in gentle parenting, in parenting out of love, patience, and kindness. I don't believe in spanking or yelling or instilling fear (I was spanked, I know billions of people who spank, but I personally don't want to...but no judgment!). But how on earth do you get an 8 month old baby to understand why he shouldn't throw a tantrum? Why he shouldn't eat the dog's rawhide? Why he shouldn't dive head first off the bed? My poor brain. It's so confused.

Parents of the world, please, please share with me your best parenting a baby-turning-into-a-real-human advice. I beg of you! I know I'll get it all figured out somehow, but where to begin? I'm just not totally sure. I will love you forever if you have some secret trick or some amazing parenting book that I just absolutely must read. Help a mama out!


  1. And when you get all the answers...please share because I am in the same boat. Turner just started crawling and I am terrified.

  2. OK, first, at 18 months don't worry about the tantrums. They are just frustration expressed, emotional overload, and knowing why not to throw them wouldn't help them not do it. Now, I do spank but I don't suggest YOU spanking because any punishment you don't feel comfortable with will backfire on you...they'll feel your hesitation, and you'll feel awful doing it. That's part of my "best parenting advice" is never do something that makes your guts turn inside out when it comes to discipline.

    I like logical consequences whenever possible. Here's some examples of things that worked well for me at that age:

    When my child threw his food on the floor (deliberate, not accidental), he got to be hungry til the next meal. No rescue, no replacement!

    If he made a mess, he had to help me clean it up.

    If he was able to clean it up (broken glass), and if it resulted from disobedience (don't climb up their, don't touch that, etc.), I would make them sit in the high chair in a time out for as long as it took me to clean up the mess. That was the best way I could get them to understand the effort it took to clean that up and why they shouldn't do it again.

    If he hit someone with a toy, the toy goes in time-out nd he had to appologize (for little kids have them give the person a hug, but only after asking if it's ok if he hugs them if it's another kid...some kids don't want hugs. They don't understand sorry, but they understand hugs, or kissing boo-boos they've made. It's a way to teach them what sorry means.).

    Also, one more 18 months, "because mommy doesn't want you too" and "if you do this, you'll get punished" is a perfectly good why. It's not really as arbitrary as it sounds. It's the simplified version of "Please trust me, cause I love you" and "Sometimes people other than you will make the rules, and you'll have to follow them. There are times when a rule is stupid or wrong or misguided, and so you'll have to decide for yourself when it's worth the consequences to break them." Those conversations follow when they are old enough to understand.

    Hope this help,
    Mom of three boys who is still totally figuring out things as she goes too!

    1. Oops...on that broken glass line it should be "if he was NOT able to clean it up." I would not let my preschooler clean broken glass!

  3. what a sweet feet face:)


  4. once you have to start telling your baby "no", parenting gets real. And hard! It is so hard to discipline; it never ends. Just, consistency. You decide what is/isn't acceptable and what you want them to do. Set your bar high and they will reach it. You just have to stick to your guns. No means no, even after the tears and tantrums. welcome to the club :)

  5. Here's my advice--no matter how much advice you have you will never feel like a perfect parent. But that doesn't mean you can't read, learn, and observe. My husband I didn't really read any books on parenting but we have observed. We've watched friends, family, strangers and from there we've drawn conclusions of what we want to do and what we want to avoid doing. But even then there are nights I've gone to bed thinking I've failed as a parent. The next morning when your baby snuggles up with you, you realize you have a new day and a new chance to try again! You're already a good parent if you're desiring to want to be a better parent :)

  6. I have been having the same issue. I literally have been interviewing people who have raised great kids. I asked them how they disciplined them. Some of the best answers I have gotten are to know you kid. A woman I work with raised 2 amazing kids. She said she had to spank her daughter but her son all it took was a good talking to. Another piece of advice I have gotten is to be a good example. Your actions are the best discipline for kids. I've also been told to pick your battles and also to stay consistent. If you say it you have to follow through so be careful what you threaten your children with cause you have to be able to follow through.

  7. I'm not a parent yet, but I read something recently that helped me with some of the kids I nanny.

    Kids just want to be validated. As adults, we see the ways that their logic is completely flawed, so it's quite easy for us to snap at kids about how they're wrong, or the world doesn't work that way, or it doesn't matter what they think. In order to validate kids, we just have to let them know that we understand how they feel--easily enough, just by saying "I understand . . . "

    I understand that you want your green backpack, but you left it in your mom's car so we're going to have to use a different one instead.

    I understand that you want your mom to put you to bed, but she's not here and it's time to go to sleep.

    I understand that you only want to eat popsicles, but popsicles aren't healthy enough for dinner, and I want you to be healthy and strong.

    The situation doesn't change, but it helps kids realize that you're listening to them, and treating them like a real human being, instead of just a silly kid.

    Idk if this will help out with a kiddo so young, but as a non-parent, that's pretty much the only advice I have :)

    PS found you via Life of Bon, and I'm excited to read more of what you have to say :)


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment...each and every one makes my day just a little bit brighter!