THE reality of today’s parenting life is multifaceted and demanding to say the least. With information readily available and opinions shared through social media, we’re pressured to study so many aspects of our child’s growth. From basic health, education and religion to future competitiveness, empathy and emotional health, we can’t help but worry most of the time.
Through the years, I’ve confronted many of these questions. I’ve had my share of parenting trial and errors and I can definitely say, I’m not a perfect parent. Yet I look forward to each parenting day with much eagerness and content.
I believe this attitude comes from my personal belief of always extracting the “important basics”—whether tangible or intangible—in any decision I make. My important basic as a parent is: I love my kids and want what’s best for them. Everything else is peripheral. What does this mean? When it comes to choices that get presented to me as a parent, I immediately focus on those that matter more. This is my first principle in “simplifying parenting.”
For example, when I was choosing my firstborn’s diaper, I chose EQ Dry because it had the extra-small size. I didn’t worry about which is the most high-end brand. As long as my baby was not having rashes, I was okay with it. For my son, since his skin was more sensitive, I had to use Pampers Comfort Dry. I don’t ever imagine my kids questioning me when they get older why I chose a certain diaper brand.
My principle for tangible things: compartmentalize what you see in stores into three groups—“Basic,” “Nice to Have” and “Innovation.” I always try with “Basic” first because this is what probably worked for generations. Baby’s needs for me are not like fashion trends. So, for me, my choice of brand is key as a minimum safety requirement. Nice to Have’s are more about “frills” but serve the same purpose. I consider purchasing Innovations if it serves a new need, like when I wanted to expose my kids to new food, I found a 5-in-1 blender/steamer/sterilizer. I tell younger moms about feeling how we’d like to splurge on our kids when they’re babies, but the reality is there are so many expenses coming up that we should be more mindful about: the right preschool, enrichment classes, even travel.
My second principle is don’t be afraid to ask questions. I remember when my daughter was in her Terrible Twos. I felt so helpless. I chanced upon a forum at Geobaby.com. I typed in my questions and got at least eight suggestions. It’s an added benefit if you can find your own mom peer-mentors, which are moms whom you personally know and are somehow in tune with your parenting style, or at least the parenting style you aspire for.
They can be your sister, close friends, people you meet or longtime acquaintances whose opinion you value. I will share some of my mom peer-mentors throughout this year.
I find the topic of simplifying parenting interesting and relevant. My goal this year is to research and share plenty of tips from parents, both dads and moms, on this topic for everybody learn from and to share. I was lucky that I got a chance to interview three admirable moms during the recent launch of Promil Organic Milk. Below are their tips I learned on how to simplify parenting:
ANDI MANZANO REYES: “It starts with making that decision to simplify.” She shared her tips about knowing your priorities: “Realizing you can’t do it all, you have to delegate work and that’s okay.” For nutrition, she shared about starting with little things if one wants to go organic—the decision to use coconut sugar, organic eggs and the like.
n CAT JUAN LEDESMA: “Prioritize. Know when to say no.” She also shared that moms must make quality time with their children. “You may not be there all the time, but when you’re there, be there—let’s say after work, the phone’s off, the laptop is gone, it’s just you and your children communicating. Your children feel that, your children feel that mom or dad is giving me all the attention right now, and that’s what they remember.” Her last tip: “Don’t worry too much. Children don’t really remember whether theirs is a stay-at-home mom or a working mom; they just remember a happy home and if you’re happy with the way your life is going. That’s what your children will feed off on.”
HINDY WEBER-TANTOCO: “Actions speak louder than words.” She shared how she and her husband “walks the talk” on the values they espouse. She said it lessens the argument, builds the trust and automatically simplifies everything. Second, she talked about “rhythm.”
“I think if you have a healthy rhythm at home, it simplifies things so much. Like the sleep rhythm, the getting to school, eating together and even celebrating occasions, festivals and even like prayer time or meditation time, when they have a rhythm to expect, their whole lives also go together with that rhythm.” She continued: “Rhythm is not schedule; schedules can be rigid. Sometimes we have to be malleable as well, especially for children.”
If you have any tips to share on simplifying parenting, do e-mail me at [email protected]