Hey! My name is Ashley and I am a 30 year old mom with 6 kids born in 6 consecutive years. I love Jesus and have been married to my amazing husband for 10 years. I am also trying to navigate life with a chronic illness- I may not be able to control what it does to my body, but I can control what it does to my spirit. I'm in the middle when it comes to parenting and life..too crunchy for some, too mushy for others- but just right for me. My life is blessed and I want to share my journey with you.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
TMTT- Toilets, Training, and Time Alone
We meet again. :) Just want to say a big thank you to all of you who have been so supportive of my blog. It has been so great getting feedback from you and to have you share your tips with me. There is nothing better on this journey than learning from one another.
On that note, I hope you like to read about poo poo and pee pee! hehe Sorry, apparently I am a four year old at heart.
How do you potty train your kids?
I don’t! Seriously, I don’t. There are a few reasons why I do not potty train. First of all, I don’t really have the time or the energy to spend any length of time focused solely on one of my kids’ elimination needs. One time I tried the whole “set the timer and put the kid on the toilet every 20 minutes” thing, and after 2 hours I threw the timer in the toilet. But the main reason I don’t do it is because I FIRMLY believe that a child has to be ready for it to be truly successful (as in the child has had a positive experience and be truly able to do it mentally, physically, and emotionally). Yes, you can potty train a child when they are young, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are ready in all areas, and that can lead to frustrating moments for mom and child. I don’t think learning to use the toilet should be something a child has to be anxious about, nor do I think it should be something he/she gets pushed to do. Yes, it is nice to not have to change diapers, but it is even nicer to have a child use the toilet when they are mentally and physically ready without any yelling/stress/control issues going along with it. Using the potty is not made into a big deal in my house until the child starts to do it themselves, then they get cheered on and given a little candy as a reward when they do go. Four months ago, I had 2 kids in underwear. Today, I have 4 kids in underwear...and I didn’t do a thing to make that happen. Of my 4 in underwear, 2 still use a diaper when they have to poop, and 3 need pull-ups at night (one of those being my 6 1/2 year old). I just think it’s sad to make a big stressful deal out of something that WILL happen naturally when they are ready, even without your help. I have never really done a thing (other than explain and let them know what to do), and when each child was ready they simply started doing it on their own. My daughter was fully trained for several weeks, and then suddenly decided she wanted back in diapers again. Whether it was a control issue or an emotional one, it really doesn’t matter- she needed to be able to make that choice and feel secure, so I let her go back to diapers...and eventually when she was ready she went back to the potty. I have had kids trained before they were 3 years old and kids that were not trained until they were almost 5. But what I have never had are any tears shed or fights had over it. This is sometimes more about the parent than the child- moms tend to feel like they have to hit a certain mark to be a “good parent”. You may feel “pressure” to start training your child simply because they are a certain age. If you can get over that -in all areas of your parenting- than you will be free to have a much more pleasant time raising your kids. Raising kids is a marathon- don’t blow all your energy now on the small stuff, cause there are way more important things down the road. ;)
Do you co-sleep? Do you use the cry-it-out method?
My parenting has changed over the years, and in my opinion, has gotten better the more I have learned and the more kids I have had. I do NOT do the cry it out method, however I also do not do everything “on demand”. When I have a baby, I immediately get them on a schedule, but I don’t do it “by force”. I try and steer the feedings to happen every X amount of hours, and then I try and get it on the hours I want. But if at any point the baby cries off schedule and will not be pacified any other way, then of course I will not let them cry or withhold the bottle. Every one of my kids has slept through the night by the time they were about 10 weeks old- some earlier, but none much later. I don’t deny them the bottle or let them cry until they pass out...but I do try other methods of appeasement before just giving them the bottle in the middle of the night. After the first 2 months, sometimes just rocking them with a pacifier makes them fall back asleep. Sometimes I will do that the first time or 2 that they wake up, and then if they continue to wake up I feed them. But eventually their bodies adjust to not needing the bottle in the middle of the night, which is eventually the goal. But also keep in mind that I cannot breastfeed, so this is based on bottle feeding. But I do not let the baby cry- a little fussing here and there, yes, but when baby cries I am there.
I do not co-sleep with babies, I have them in a bassinet either in my room or in a room nearby. As for when they get older, they do get put in their own room and bed, but I have a very flexible and open bed policy. When I am still awake, kids must be in their own beds, but once I am asleep if kids wake up and want to come in my bed then I let them. I love that when they wake up in the middle of the night they come right to me...one day they won’t be little and won’t want to be in my bed, so I am going to take every opportunity I can to be with them. I also want them to know that they can ALWAYS come to me if they are scared or just need some closeness.
How do you get any time alone with your husband?
Considering how many kids I have and the crazy work schedule my hubby has, I have to say we spend a lot of time together. We are very close anyway, so during the day we are always texting and calling one another. And I may have mentioned this before, but I am very strict with night time. My kids are in bed promptly by 7/7:15 every night. Unless Jeff is working and I have a special date with my kiddos, bedtime is non-negotiable. The kids know that once bedtime comes the night is over. I am also pretty strict about not doing anything once the kids are in bed. I don’t use it as a time to do laundry, dishes, or anything else. I use my days for work and my nights for rest. So once the kids go down it’s me and Jeff time until we fall asleep. This is also something you have to be deliberate about...we are at a time in our lives where we are kind of cut off from the outside world. Yes, I do hang out with friends once and a while, but for the most part we make sure we are both home at night. We really protect the time we have together. One day when the kids are older we may each start to do more things out of the house but for now, we pretty much are both home together whenever Jeff isn’t working. The early years of child rearing can be very hard on your relationship if you are not careful. You do not want to let life take over- it’s important to be keeping your marriage relationship strong. It can be very easy to get sucked into the craziness of your life and not even realize that you are losing strength in your relationship. It is easy to take for granted that your spouse will always feel loved and that your relationship will always be strong, but that doesn’t just happen on it’s own if you don’t feed into it deliberately. It takes sacrifice, but it is more than worth it.
Next week is going to be a great post, so keep your eyes open for that one. I have interviewed 3 friends of mine who were home-schooled growing up, and asked them a lot of questions regarding their experiences, what they liked about it, what they didn’t like, etc. I am looking forward to this one because as a homeschooling mom, I would love some tips to make it a better experience for my kids.