Gentle Parenting- How To Do It And Why

I often get complimented for my calm way of talking and working with my daughter. It’s something I work on on a daily basis. It can take a lot to remain calm and patient but it’s worth it to me and its the kind of parent I want to be. I never wanted to be a screamer or for my kids to feel fearful to approach me. I am really happy with the parent I am today and have worked hard to become. I always questioned whether or not I was a good mom. It’s something that means so much to me, that’s who I want to be in life. I can clearly see now that I am a great mom. I can see it in the way my daughter talks to me and others so kindly. I can see it in what a sweetheart she has turned out to be. So I wanted to take the time today to share with you all my tips for calm and gentle parenting.

Crying babies and toddler tantrums are some of the most challenging things to deal with. I believe that’s because the way we go about it will have a lasting affect on our kids, either for the good or the bad. So we have to be very careful with the things we say to our children and the way we treat them. I will never expose people personally but I have dealt with that in my childhood. I have had people talk down to me for years and years as a child. The result? I deal with deep feelings of worthlessness and feeling that I only cause problems. That has been deeply engrained in me as a child so it takes work everyday for me to uproot those feelings and convince myself that I am not all those negative things that I had been told. All this is to say, the way we talk to our children WILL have a lasting effect even into adulthood. Children will believe what you tell them. I know some people don’t like to hear that, probably because it would exempt them of any responsibility if it wasn’t true. But these are the facts. You can ask any psychologist. We can cause our children to have long lasting attachment issues that will effect them even into their own marriages. So that is the first rule, think before you speak to your kids. Think of what the lasting consequences will be.

There will be moments when you feel so frustrated with your children that you just want to say whatever it is that comes to your mind. Don’t. When I’m feeling at my wits end and like I can’t speak calmly to my daughter in the moment, I will get my space. Either by having her go to her room and play with her toys for a little quiet time or I will go to a separate room and take a breather for a while. I have found it so beneficial to make sure that I get my quiet/alone time just about everyday. I can either do it during my daughters screen time during the day or when my husband comes home from work. Something as simple as doing my nighttime routine by myself or getting in my workout alone does me so much good. It allows me to reset, calm down and feel recharged for another day with my sweet girl. I used to feel guilty for taking this alone time but I now realize that it’s a necessity for me so that I’m not snappy or irritable with my family. So be sure to get time to yourself. When I do, it makes me happy and excited for the next day to play with my daughter and spend time with her. I feel like a whole new woman. I feel that this is especially needed when you’re a stay at home mom since we are home with our kids 24/7 with no time apart. (My daughter comes in our bed every night so it’s literally 24/7 with us.)

Going back to the way we talk with our children, please be sure not to use definitive negative statements with your kids. For example: “You are so lazy! You just love misbehaving. You never listen to me. You’re always acting up.” Like I mentioned earlier, children will believe what it is we tell them. They’re trying to make sense of the world and understand things. When we tell them something is bad, like a swear word, they believe it to be true and will avoid saying it. When we tell them saying thank you is a nice thing to do, they’ll believe it. So too, if you tell your kids that they are just so bad, a problem child, or always making a mess of things, they will believe it. They will believe that that is who they are and will act accordingly. Like I said, it’s taken me years to fix that negative view of myself that I was taught. I was taught that I am inherently a bad person. Even when negative life events had nothing to do with me, I would feel that I was somehow the cause of it and that I was to blame. So I can speak from experience. I can’t even tell you how deeply this has impacted me, how depressed I’ve felt because of it. I have to work everyday to get myself out of that dark way of viewing myself. We need to be our children’s #1 supporters and cheerleaders. Because if we don’t believe in them, why would they think anyone else would? Parents are the ones that need to tell their kids, “you can do it! I believe in you.” But if in fact we tell our kids the exact opposite, making them believe that they can’t do anything great, then that too is what they’ll believe and it’ll be a whole lot harder for them to think otherwise. They would have to fight to think that they actually could achieve something.

Next, we want to try and reason with our kids. Don’t just take things away, send them to their room, spank them, or yell at them. That honestly won’t do any good. It won’t teach them that what they did was wrong. A majority of them time when you do those things and don’t even talk to your kids, they will have no clue as to why they are being punished. They wont learn from their mistakes and most likely will just do it again since they were never told what they did wrong. During those times, I like to hold my daughter until she calms down. I wait till she’s done crying and in the mean time I like to sway her back and forth to comfort her and bring her cortisol levels down. Once she can catch her breath and talk again, I like to get down to her level. Either I will have her on my lap or I will kneel on the floor so I can be her height. That way your child doesn’t feel intimidated but they can feel more comfortable talking with you. I then ask her things like, “what’s wrong? why are you crying?”, even if I already know why. I like to have her express herself. Maybe sometimes there’s more to her being upset than I know. Once she explains herself I may say something like, “do you know why mama said no or why we cant do that thing?” I’ll let her answer and if she doesn’t know, Ill add to it and explain to her my reasoning. I’ll explain to her too that I love her very much and only say no if its going to hurt her. I’ll tell her things like ‘I want you to have fun but doing that thing is too dangerous, you could get hurt”. When I reason with her like that, it helps her to understand and to not be so upset. It makes sense to her and she can then think of those things in future situations.

We have to remember that children are still people, just miniature. So we have to take into consideration how we would feel in their shoes. I would hate for someone to dictate my every move, turn off my show whenever they felt like it, and say no for every little thing. I believe in respecting my daughter and children in general. I treat her as I would any adult. When we’re about to leave somewhere, I tell her about it and give her a 10 minute warning before we go. I always tell her the day’s schedule because just like we like to stay in the loop of things, so do our children. Even when it comes to her body, if she doesn’t want me to tickle her, than I stop. She started telling me lately that she only wants to be kissed on the top of her head, so that’s what I do. I want her to have certain boundaries with her body and to know that they will be respected. We also used to have a bunch of cutesy nicknames for her but she recently told us that she doesn’t like them; she only wants to be called by her first name. So that is what I do. Kids are worthy of respect, they deserve it. Of course there are times as parents where we have to do something they don’t like, like taking them to the dentist because even though in the moment they don’t like it, its for their own good. But when it’s less serious things, I like to give my daughter the freedom to choose and make her own decisions.

We also want to be conscience of our tone of voice with our child and our pitch. Children will respond to our mood and our way of talking. If we are loud or brash, yelling for every little thing, our kids will act the same, the tension in the house will be high. Whereas if you talk soft and calm, our children will pick up on that and it will help them to calm down too. Even if your current voice isn’t a soothing one, we can train our voices to be smoother and lower. It’s something I had to work on too but overtime it becomes second nature and it will actually become your normal default voice. Our attitude and demeanor will set the mood for our children. If they see that we are stressed and high strung, they will feel it and will begin to act accordingly. But if you are calm and patient, your child will see that there is no need to be anxious and your calming ways will rub off on them.

My last but arguably my most important tip is to pray to God for patience. We all have those days where we feel like we cant do it on our own, we need extra help and support to remain calm. That is what our amazing God and Father is for. It matters to Him how we treat our children since they are in fact a gift from him. He wants us to be gentle and loving with them so he most definitely will be there to help us if we call on him. Patience is a virtue and a quality that God wants us to display. So if we pray to him for some extra holy spirit to help us be good parents with our children, he will supply.

Those are my main tips when it comes to gentle, calm parenting. We want to be careful what we say to our children and think of the lasting harm it could potentially have. We want to show our kids respect, reason with them instead of yelling, and we want to try and talk in a soft soothing voice. And most important, we want to pray for patience. (It is in fact one of the fruitages of the spirit). I hope you guys enjoyed this article and that it helps you in becoming the kind of parent you want to be. Are there any tips you found especially helpful? Let me know in the comments below so we can keep the discussion going.

Till next time

-Paula🌺

How To Always Keep A Tidy Home (Even If You Have Kids)

For this past month, I have really been focusing in on maintaining a tidy, clean home, even with having my little 3 year old. It seems like there can always be a reason why things aren’t clean, and some of them are actual legit reasons. For myself, I found it a challenge to keep things clean when my daughter was a newborn. I feel that that’s a moment in life when you should give yourself grace and not worry so much about chores. You want to instead focus on adjusting to life with the newest member of your family. But even as my daughter got older, I found myself with the same mindset even though the newborn stage was long gone. I have now recently found a cleaning routine that works for me. It’s actually a whole lot easier and quicker to maintain than if I just allow my home to become a full blown mess. The only time now that things will get a bit chaotic is usually only if I’m not feeling well and have to use the day to rest. But other than that, the home is usually easily maintainable. So I wanted to share with you all the cleaning tips that I have adapted to my routine so you too can have an easier time maintaining your home.

  1. This is probably an obvious one but my first tip is to have your little ones help in tidying up their toys. Of course, the amount they can clean will vary depending on how old they are but they can always help out even as a little baby. I’ve always had my little girl pick up her toys for the most part, since she was about 1 years old. At that age, I would have her just pick up a small mess of toys. Now that she’s nearing 4 years old, she likes to help a whole lot with cleaning. She can clean her whole play room all on her own. She loves to help me wipe down surfaces and mirrors and sweep small messes with her mini sweeping pan. I would say maybe about half the time I’ll let her clean up her things on her own and then the other time I’ll help out. That’s usually if I can tell she’s really tired or overwhelmed with the mess. But my rule is if she stops helping out, than I will too and I won’t help if she’s purposely moving in slow motion just so she could try and do less. But our kids are very much capable and even willing to help. They like to feel included and their confidence is boosted after they’ve tackled a hard mess. I know sometimes we have to coax our children and encourage them to keep going but it does get easier and it’s a life long skill that is necessary for them as they get older.
  2. My next tip it to Use your dishwasher! I don’t know why I was so opposed to using mine for the 6 years that I’ve been married but for some weird reason, I didn’t even think of it as an option. Now that I’ve been using it these past few weeks, it has been such a timesaver! I usually take an hour to wash the dishes by hand everyday and sometimes it takes up to two hours! I don’t know why. I was just as shocked as you when I realized that. But I also include wiping down the kitchen counters, stove, sink, and table as part of that time. For me, it all has to be done in order for me to feel like the kitchen is complete. A tip I have picked up from a few youtubers is to load your dishwasher throughout the day and then run it at night. That way when you wake up, all the dishes will be ready to go for the day. You also want to be sure to unload the dishwasher and put them all away in the morning. That way your washer will be cleared and ready for you to load the dirty ones in there throughout the day.
  3. Do one load of laundry each day. That also includes hanging them up and storing them in the dresser too. Laundry is one of the chores that I really dislike. I enjoy putting them in the wash and folding them. I love having clean clothes too. But I just hate hate hate the hanging up process. I don’t know why😂. I think it’s because there’s just always so much laundry to do so it honestly feels like a never-ending task. Especially when you have a toddler who loves to change her outfits about 3 times a day.😄 You end up not knowing what’s dirty or clean so to be safe you just end up washing them all! So a tip I’ve heard from others that I’ve also found personally helpful is to wash one load each day. When you do that overtime, you’ll find that your daily loads are so small that it only takes about 10-15 minutes to put them all away. And when it comes to doing any chores you hate (mine is laundry) my tip is to just do it. You’ll often find that it was actually a lot easier and quicker to do than you had anticipated in your head. At least that’s what I tend to find. I often will just wake up and hang up the clothes waiting for me before I even have my breakfast. Since I’m hungry, it often helps me to move quicker and just get it done so I can eat sooner.
  4. Try tidying messes as you see them. Are you cooking and notice that the kitchen floors need a good sweeping? Or has the entry way floor started to track in mud from shoes? Try to clean those things as soon as you see them. I understand that at times we can’t drop everything and clean. We have children to attend to, we may be tired or not feeling well. There’s just often a lot going on. That’s why I say try. I have noticed that it’s easier to stay on top of things if I’m quick to tidy as I go. But I have my days though where I choose not to do it because my body is begging for some rest. So as with this and all the other tips, just incorporate the ones that are a good fit for you and your household. These aren’t hard and fast rules to live by. For example, if I have to make the choice between using my spare time to tidy another mess or spend time with my daughter, I choose my daughter. There will literally always be a mess to clean. I rather focus my time and attention on my sweet girl for as long as I can. They’re only little once so I want to make the most of it. So don’t always stress yourself out about keeping things pristine at all times.
  5. Another tip I’d like to add is to make your bed as soon as you wake up. I just love the look of a made bed but on top of that, I feel that it helps me to get my cleaning gears going so I’m already in that zone. It makes me want to check more things off my cleaning to do list.
  6. A tip for all the mamas out there, I’ve found it especially helpful to put my little girls toys in bins and then putting those bins up high in a closet so she can’t get to them herself. When she was able to reach all her toys, it would be a free for all with every little tiny toy out on the floor. So now, she just has access to larger, easier to clean toys like her music ones, stuffed animals, things like that. For tiny pieces like those Barbie accessories, those all go in one of the plastic containers that I keep in the closet. She has another one for play-doh things, another for arts and crafts and the like. I’ll usually only let her have one bin out at a time so the mess is easier to manage. It also tends to motivate her to to want to clean up those toys that are already out because in order for her to get a different bin, the rule is that she has to first clean up the one she’s working with. I have seen too that if I forget to put the other bins away at night, then she’ll end up dumping them all the next morning at once. So if you do try this one out, dont forget to put those bins back in the closet! But if you want to make the toy messes smaller and easier to clean, you might want to try implementing this trick.

These are my basic 6 principles of cleaning that have helped me with keeping a tidier home. Like I’ve mentioned, don’t beat yourself up if you’re not able to keep things as clean as you would like to. We’re all going through different seasons of life and have our own challenges. I only have one child who is almost 4 so she is very much self sufficient. It’s not nearly as challenging as having a newborn or 4 kids so please don’t compare or feel guilty. (Mom guilt is a powerful thing!) I hope maybe by trying a few of these out, they’ll make your life a little easier and help things run more smoothly. Please let me know in the comments any cleaning tips you have for us all. I’m still trying to learn where I can and could always use more help. I hope you enjoyed this article and until next time…bye!

-Paula🌙

I Am Done Hating My Body (An End To Diets)

I have been on such a long, hard road of dieting. I can’t even tell you just how much it has ruled my life and controlled everything I do. I have never not been on some sort of diet, meal plan, or special way of eating for even a month since I was 12 years old! I am done hating myself, fighting my body, and focusing all my thoughts and energy on controlling food. It has drained me, kept me from social events, and even from eating a slice of cake at my own wedding! I can’t even tell you how tired of it I am and unfortunately so many other woman are fighting this same battle everyday.

I know it’s debatable but I really do believe in the idea of set point theory. That theory basically states that our bodies prefer to stay at a certain weight (it’s different for everyone) and if you go under that weight, your body will fight to bring it back up. Usually that’s by revving up your appetite and slowing down your metabolism. Your body does this, in theory, to bring you back to your original weight since your body functions best there. I have seen this in myself. I’ll start a diet, weight comes off easy breezy, and then I hit a point, normally around 10 pounds of weight loss. It’s as if my body thinks, “wait, she’s still losing weight and it’s not ending. She’s not going to stop.” And it is at that time that suddenly, my appetite is through the roof! I feel ravenous, food becomes all I can think about. I count down the hours just waiting for my eating window to open up again. The diet that was once so easy and had me losing weight effortlessly is now no longer ok with my body. And it’s not just hungry. I can take hungry and in fact throughout my 10+ years of restrictive eating, it was something that I had to get used to. This is much more than just that. It’s a churning in your stomach, it’s rumbling so loud that people next to you can hear.

This my friends is not about willpower, it’s biology. When I am eating so little that I can’t do normal tasks, get delayed periods, and am snappy and irritable with everyone. When I need a nap just to make it through the day, this is not a matter of not having enough self control. This is a matter of me just wanting to be able to perform normal everyday things without feeling lightheaded. And that was the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around. For me, I believe that if I want it bad enough, I can get it. I know the hard work and determination I put towards everything I want in life. I have always been able to achieve whatever it is I put my mind to. So realizing that after 10+ years in a vain pursuit to achieve the “perfect body” that it is in fact something that I may possibly never be able to achieve? That’s so crushing to my A-type personality. It’s still an idea I’m adjusting to.

Of course, it is possible to be thin, but at what cost? I’m not willing to do it if I have to stay hungry everyday of my life just to look that way, if I have to deny every craving I ever have, if I’ll have to feel anxiety around food, or be too weak to do anything fun. I have read many testimonies of girls who finally got to that smaller size, but to maintain it, they had to keep a disordered way of eating. They would exercise for hours everyday, not go to certain social events, had a bunch of food rules, and the like. They would often isolate themselves most days too so they could practice their eating disorder in private. I have no problem putting in the work. I have. But I’m not willing to live a life feeling famished all day, obsessing over food. That’s not the kind of life I want to live just to attain a certain look that is not particularly healthy for my body type.

And I don’t mean I just want to binge on all the junk food and go crazy either. I don’t. I simply want to eat healthy and balanced, continue exercising (because I really do enjoy it), and just let my weight fall where it may. I’m just so tried of fighting my body and not just working with it, of always being dissatisfied and treating myself as if I need to change everything. I just want to be at peace with myself, to enjoy a variety of food, and just live my life.

This issue of trying to achieve the “perfect body” has been speculated to have it’s origins in big business. Meaning, that these companies make it seem as if there is a problem with our bodies (through advertising) so we’ll buy the weight loss products that they’re selling. Think about it! As of 2019, the weight loss industry ranked in $72.7 billion dollars! For all the supplements, teas, powders, videos, and memberships that we’re made to believe we need. If we were all told to just eat a healthy diet and embrace your body for what it is, there wouldn’t be a need for such a market. How would they make their money if we all believed that there was nothing wrong with us? I do believe that we are made to feel ugly if we have any amount of body fat on us just so that there will be a niche in the market for all the weight loss “tools” that we try, believing that this next big thing will be the answer.

I am just ready to live my life and without food being the main focus. Dieting all these years has really robbed me of precious moments. As I mentioned in the opening, I didn’t even have a piece of cake at my own wedding! That’s so sad to me. For years I was literally afraid to eat a brownie or pizza because I truly believed that it would cause me to gain all my weight back, just by eating it for that one time. I was afraid of food. I’m done living that life, I’m done starving myself, and I’m done believing the lie that something is wrong with me just so I’ll throw away all my money towards weight loss endeavors.

I hope you guys enjoyed this vulnerable article of mine. My hope for you is that you’ll avoid all the pain and misery that goes into dieting and obsessing over food. If you’re in the thick of it at the moment, I hope this article somehow encourages you to find a way out of that. Please let me know what you thought in the comments below so we can continue the conversation. And if you are struggling in this area, you can always email me by going to my contact page. I’m here to listen and help in anyway I can.

Until next time,

Paula 🌙