Monday, August 19, 2013

Thoughts on Parenthood from a Childless Girl...

be the parent.
It wasn't too long ago that I stood in a dressing room in Target and listened to a child screaming it's lungs out in one of the biggest tantrums I've ever heard. 5 minutes later in the milk aisle I heard the same kid still screaming. And a few minutes later I spotted the little gremlin  tot still in hysterics, slapping his mom's arms while she pushed the cart seemingly unawares to his toddler attacks. Tantrums are not part of growing up. Being upset and flailing exorcist-style on the floor are two completely different things. Kids crave limits and boundaries -it assures them they are being taken care of by someone else in charge. 

I still remember my first and only tantrum. It did not end well for me. And you know what. I don't hate my parents. And I didn't end up a serial killer. It's a win for all. Institute boundaries for acceptable behavior. 

And if somehow you just find yourself weaker than a two foot, 37 pound two year old, look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself these three questions (1) Who is bigger? (that would be you) (2) Who's the parent here? (that would be you again) (3) Whose in charge? (yep, you again...see, you're so good at this.) Don't let your kid rule your life. Be the parent. 

don't count.
The car coming down the street doesn't know you're only on 2. That red hot oven coil does't cool down just because your child still has another chance to pull their hand away. If your child can obey on 2 and 3/4, they can obey on 1. Teach them to be obedient the first time. I promise you this comes in handy not just in the toddler years but for life. 

teach your kids hard work.
It is never too early to start teaching your kids the value of work. The most beneficial thing I learned growing up was to work hard. I can't tell you the countless times I heard my parents say "Go the extra mile" "Do the best you can." "Work hard." "We're not sleeping in today, it's baseboard day." (Infamous Baseboard Day! Which, by the way, come to find out, is NOT a real holiday.)
Kids raking leaves in the autumn.

Does your child want to go on a mission trip? Don't teach them how to write letters to ask for money. Teach them how to work to earn it. Rake every lawn on their street. Babysit every kid that needs watching. Do what it takes. And don't be above any job. If I were to lose my job tomorrow it would suck and I'd be devastated but you know what I'd do? I'd hustle across the street to the Cheesecake Factory and see if they needed a waitress. Have dreams. Have goals. But don't be above any job. 

teach your sons how to date
I'm living in a generation of men that don't know how to date. If you are anywhere in your 20's you have the world's support behind you that you're "just in a phase of life where you want to have fun." And being thoughtful and respectful of women is ok to be left on the curb where you can pick it up when you turn 33 as you pass go on your way to the alter.
love | Tumblr

Teach your sons how to date....Take a girl out. "Hanging out" at your house, is not a date. Open doors, always. Stand up when she comes to the table. Walk on the outside of the street. Bring her around your friends. Don't message or text other girls...even if you're fighting or she's being unreasonable. Never call her derogatory names. Never talk about her body with your bros. Teach your sons that there is nothing sexier than being generous. And not in the sense of gifts and things, but in recognizing the needs in others and doing something about it.  
Don't make her your number one, Make her your only one.

tell your daughters as often as possible that they are beautiful....more importantly, if there is a father figure in their life, have them tell their daughter she is beautiful. 
I'm telling you, it's a plastic, silicone and size zero world out there ladies. And the pressure is on to look just like every girl on that photo shopped magazine. Remind your daughters that they were created to be just exactly who they were. And that every part of them....even that nose they hate! -  is exactly how they were designed to look. Don't let them get swept into the tumbleweed of lies that they are not enough. 

and one more for the girls...teach her to be self-sufficient. 
There is nothing wrong if your desire in life is to be a wife and mom. Those are beautiful things. But even though that may be your daughter's desire that may not be her instant reality. Teach her how to be a hard worker, how to provide for herself if she needs to. How to live on her own, and pay bills. How to be smart and observant when she's walking to her car alone at night.  
What desks used to look like back in the day.........I still love black phones...

and I know what you're thinking....."easy for you to say, childless person." 

I have no doubt parenting is hard. But I also know that hard work in the early stages of parenthood pays off not only in great kids that turn into great people but in great relationships that last far longer than the "terrible two's." 

XO, A


26 comments:

Danielle said...

So well written! I agree with everything you said here!

Jess @ Pretty Physicist said...

sounds like everything I plan to do if/when I have kids ... :)

Pamela said...

Love this!! Parents/kids KILL me nowadays!! It's awful!

Erica Ashley said...

I LOVE THIS POST! This is so great! It is crazy to me how much parenting has changed! I remember my first tantrum to and man I would never want to see my dad like that again! I love the dating portion too, thanks for the reality check :)

Tiffany said...

This is awesome, Ashley! I love it! And you are so, SO right on teaching sons to date. For freakin' real!

~Tiffany

Whitney said...

You hit the nail on the head with this post. Beautifully written :-)

Kate said...

That 1st picture of the little chick screaming is freaking hilarious!! Had me laughing out loud, literally!

Tiffany @ Savor Home said...

Amen sista!!!!

Kristen said...

such a great post!

SHUG IN BOOTS {Beth} said...

Yes, yes, yes! No - I don't have kids, either. But, teaching has shown me the clear difference between children who are RAISED and those who are coddled and put on a pedestal. It's hard as work, and almost always easier to just "do it yourself", but that's part of the decision to have kids. Preach ON! I'm so sick of people whose kids are spoiled beyond tolerable playing the, "You don't know, you don't have kids card."

The Pink Growl said...

OK maybe it's my PMS but I am in tears reading this! WELL SAID!

Kristina said...

I couldn't agree more. We are awaiting our first. I can remember the most intense child meltdown I ever heard. I was in Disney when an evil little monster screamed his bloody face off. When the grandmother tried redirecting her he yelled "Shut up Grandma" I was waiting for an epic whack from this child's parents. They ignored it! I was in SHOCK! Couldn't believe it. If I ever did anything like that I think I would have been flown home from Disney World that very day!!!

Alex said...

Oh my gosh, I agree completely on all of this! Especially the "teach your sons how to date" bit. And teaching girls to be self-sufficient. I absolutely can't stand it when I meet a female who still relies on her parents in her 20s!! We will both obviously make excellent parents one day!

ilene @ muchloveilly said...

AMEN and AMEN and AMEN! everything well written. loved this!

Ginger said...

Excellent post, Ashley! As a teacher, I see the parents who strive to be buddies. I wish I could hand them this post.

http://sweetcanadian.blogspot.com/ said...

i can honestly say it is not as easy as you make it sound , not even close. When you have kids you will understand.

It is so easy to judge others, i do it all the time too, but you have no clue what the person has/is going through.

My son has a severe case of ADHD and does not understand consequences. He is almost 15 and while he is polite to older people and always willing to lend a hand he has a major attitude and trouble with lying, which most kids with ADHD have trouble with. It is not something that we can control with medicine.

Very few parents that have kids who throw tantrums wish they would, i personally would drop my cart and take the kid out of the store but in some situations it is not always that easy and discipline your kid in public is not something one can do easily. I have had to do it at home on more than one occasion.

Michaela said...

Yes ma'am. Amen... especially to the teach your sons how to date. I wish my last boyfriend's dad had taught him not to cash a check from your ex girlfriend for a plane flight 4 weeks AFTER he broke up with her. That wasn't that cool! So well written, and a good reminder to all parents (even though it's harder said than done, of course!) :) xoxo M

Jamie said...

Some days are worse than others. Heck, some personalities are worse than others! I hope you don't get a screamer :)

Rachel said...

From one "childless girl" to another, I think you make some valid points. I also think it's important to offer some grace in your Target example. For all we know, that could have been a single mom who had only a few minutes to get the things she needed in Target, with a child who has a disability, and no amount of reasoning or "discipline" can change that. I hate to hear a screaming child as much as the next person. But I also try to remember there might be so much more to their story than the five seconds I witness in a Target.

Jenna said...

Amen sister! While I think we should try not to judge until we have little monsters of our own, I do think that there's been a trend where children are not disciplined anymore.

Although I was never physically punished, tantrums were just not tolerated by my parents. In the only one I can remember, my dad picked me up from where I was sitting, walked me straight out to the car, put we inside and then shut the door and stood outside while I finished screaming. When I was done he finally asked me if I was finished crying and then took me back in. For some reason, something clicked and I never did this again... and can still remember the experience vividly today.

Consistency is key!

xxx
Jenna

Nicole Shea said...

Great advice!!! I'm hoping we can keep everything in perspective as adorable baby Jack grows up.

Katie said...

this post is one of the reasons you are one of my absolute favorites. first of all, I love your use of random pictures. it totally makes every post better. About the whole tantrum thing, I work at a library, and I see kids that throw tantrums all the time and there is nothing wrong they are just throwing a fit to throw a fit and the parent does nothing. It just kind of breaks my heart to see how easily some parents give in to their kids and let them get by with things. I love what you said about teaching your kids hard work. It is really amazing the difference you see between kids who had to do work growing up and those who had to do nothing.

Amen on the teaching your sons to date. But you already knew I would agree with that haha. It seriously pains me to see how so many guys in our town act like, let's be honest, morons. Totally disrespectful. Would never even think of holding open a door for a girl. The dating prospects around here are crummy.

I wish I was more self-sufficient but sadly I am not. Although, I actually think of how awesome it would be to live in my own little place and take care of myself completely for awhile. That isn't a possibility at all right now though but you never know when things may change or come up.

ANYWAY. I love this post, girl.

Christa said...

Love. All. Of. This. Every last word. The thing about kids behaving in public grinds my gears. I work for a bank and people will bring their kids in and let them run around and play with things and scream. It's the best form of birth control EVER! I had a kid in today who was so polite and well behaved I thought I had momentarily stepped into the Twilight Zone. I kept waiting for his head to start spinning around, adn that's sad. I shouldn't expect kids to just automatically act like heathens. But our country has so many entitled adults that are now teaching their children to be entitled brats that don't have to wrok for anything or act like a functioning human being in public. Pitch a fit and society will bend to your will. It's all bullcrap.

Kelly D said...

What wonderful advice. I don't have kids yet either (hopefully sometime soon) but this gives me so many things to think about for the future. It is so important to pull from all the wonderful things our parents did growing up - even if we didn't realize how wonderful they were at the time.

emme said...

I love this. Not to sound rude, but it bothers me when parents tell you that you were 'lucky to get good kids'. Luck is not involved. It takes patience, consistency & training. If you can train an animal, who has far less capacity for understanding certain emotions than a human being has, you can certainly train a child. Kids will get away with whatever you let them get away with. If that means you let them get away with screaming, then they'll certainly scream when they don't get their way.

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