• Best Pieces of Advice I Ever Received

    Don’t bad-mouth the other parent.  My sister-in-law imparted these pearls of wisdom onto me, and not only did I never forget, I tried my hardest to never speak ill of my daughter’s father, no matter what he had done.  In fact, in most situations when my daughter was growing up, I went to bat for him, time and time again.  When he cancelled out on his weekend with her, I made sure that she viewed it as an opportunity, rather than a disappointment.   I made excuses for him, because no matter what he did to me, I was an adult and much more capable of handling it.  She was not a part of our relationship and I wanted her to have a good relationship with her father.  Today she is 17 years old, and while their bond has been shaken by some of the stupid stuff he has done, they are still close.  She realizes that her dad is human and as such, will make mistakes.

    Accept help. If you have to be both mother and father (or father and mother) to your kids, remember it takes a village.  By that, I mean it will and does require more than you to raise your kids.  It takes their aunts, uncles, grandparents.  It takes your friends and sometimes even your co-workers.  If someone offers their assistance, TAKE it.  Let someone help you with the plumbing issues. Let someone babysit for you, even if the only thing you do is catch up on some much-needed sleep.  Let someone cook your family a meal.  When it comes time, you can return the favor, but take it as it is offered.  You will not regret it.   And you won’t regret asking for help either.

    Establish a routine.  I don’t know about you, but my daughter is a routine kid.  She likes knowing how the day will go, when she will get up, when she will eat and when she goes to bed.  There is comfort in routine, no matter what anyone says.  She had an established bedtime and naptime when she was little.  We always woke up, or at least she did, at the same time, even on weekends.  I could usually coax her into napping on Saturdays and Sundays.   It cuts down on the element of surprise.

    Dirt will still be there.  One of my old bosses imparted this wisdom onto me.  She had a 7-year old boy, and constantly told me that he would only be small once, and dirt can wait.  You won’t be arrested for not cleaning.  But you will regret not enjoying your child’s childhood.   It’ll be there when you get back.

    Empower yourself.  This one I came up with on my own.  I knew I had to get an education in order to provide for us.  I graduated with an AAS (Associates of Applied Science) in Legal Assisting because there was no way I was going to be ill-prepared for whatever came my way, be it from my daughter’s father or somewhere else. I was going to arm myself with the education, skills and network in the legal field.  This has paid for itself tenfold in so many ways.  I understand this isn’t for everyone; but find a way to defend yourself if need be.  Financial knowledge, legal knowledge –whatever tickles your fancy.

    You will always receive advice.  It’s what you do with it that counts.

    Written by: Allyson Johns

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