I’m not a “young” mom by any stretch of the imagination. Oh sure, I had grand dreams of three kids before I was 30, but I was blessed with two wonderful boys who both showed up when I was 30 and 35. That doesn’t qualify me as an “old” mom either, but I think it does put a different spin on the parenting stuff.
A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article in the USA Weekend magazine in my local paper written by Philip Lerman. He wrote a great piece on why being an older dad is so much better in his case. And, a lot of what he said rang true for me, too (even though, obviously, I’m not a dad!). Here are a few of his points that I found especially close to my own parenting style…
- TECHNOLOGY – in this day of cell phones, blackberries, PDAs and instant messaging, it is rare to see any parent without some sort of device along for the ride. The important thing to remember is that, while your work might have access to you 24/7, your family needs the same. Be sure to pay attention to your children and not be so distracted by outside influences.
- TIME – unfortunately, so much of our time isn’t spent with our families anymore; it is spent at our jobs or other commitments. However, kids are kids, just as they were 30, 50, and 100 years ago. And kids still need their parents. Take a few nights a week to make a point to eat together as a family (if you aren’t already doing so). Every once in a while, burn a few vacation hours at work to enjoy your kids for an afternoon.
- BUYING THAT Wii – While I’m not going to knock my friends who have the latest Playstation/Wii/xBox, I will say that I do have a good chuckle at my friends who buy these things for their kids. What happened to Legos, Lincoln Logs, and Tinker Toys? Where are the dolls, the paint and the balls? The simplest toys are what every child needs to develop creativity, motor skills and thought processes, not the latest version of Super Mario.
- TV TIME – Television isn’t what it used to be. What we watched as kids on Saturday morning doesn’t hold a candle to what is out there now. That’s not to say that ALL programming is bad - Dora, Little Einsteins, and Cyberchase still offer great messages in a format better suited for children. What is essential is to sit down with your child and watch it WITH them. Discuss what you see. You might learn something yourself!
- PLAY PLAY PLAY! As exhausting as it is, playing with my kids is the best thing I can do for them. Our time together, whether it is a rousing game of Monopoly or Memory or a book or puzzle we share or even a game of wiffle ball in the back yard, will be some of the best memories they take through adulthood. TV can wait. But our kids grow up. And quickly. Take advantage of every moment you have with them.
As Philip Lerman says, “When you have a baby, the nights are very long, and the years are very short. Amen, Philip!