Lisa: Hey, it's Lisa. Parenting, as we all know, is really hard. We often find ourselves maybe second-guessing what we did or trying to figure out how to do things better like making healthier meals, handling tantrums in a calmer way or even just finding ways to have better work-life balance. But you know, it's also important to applaud our accomplishments. So, as your new year moves along, we asked parents to tell us about their past year and how they hope to shape how they parent in 2020.
Lisa: This is Kate Berube. She's with me today and she is our parenting blog manager. You've seen the topics run the gamut over 2019 so we are curious. What in particular was a really hot topic for parents?
Kate: Well, I think to start off with, we're focusing on, you know, celebrating and embracing other's differences was definitely a big theme across the blog this year. And I think another one, too, was helping parents understand how they can extend classroom learning out into their home-life – whether that's easy baby sign language or some great science podcasts, helping parents understand how they can keep the learning going at home with their kids.
Lisa: What about how-to advice, were people interested in that?
Kate: Well, I think the overarching theme that we always try to come back to was just making parenting easy and how can we make parents' lives more convenient. And you know, whether that's providing dinner shortcuts or tips for dining out with your kids or strategies for pumping at work. That's sort of in the background of all that we do is how can we make parenting a little bit easier for our busy parents.
Lisa: So, before we get more into our talk, let's listen to this. We asked our bloggers about something or some moment they're proud of as parents from the past year. You're gonna hear from one of our parenting bloggers, Kelly. She starts us off with her story.
Kelly: My most proud moment of 2019 happened this summer. It's not so much what I've done, but more what I've seen my children grow into. My wife, kids, aged seven and five and I, were busy doing our various activities around the house when the power went out. We live in Phoenix, so needless to say, it got hot in the house very quickly. Although it was daytime, my youngest was overwhelmed by the outage. We decided to sit on the tile floor and play games together. I was blown away and so grateful to watch as they quickly and voluntarily became a team to beat mommy and mama at Skip-Bo. There was strategy, giggles, and competition, but I won't forget the way they supported one another and worked so thoughtfully and strategically together through literally the heat of the day, even if it was to beat us at a game. It was incredible and exactly what I want to see in my kids, sticking by each other through challenging situations.
Lisa: I have to say bravo to Kelly because it doesn't always work out quite that well. So, she must be doing something right. Are there any favorite parent accomplishments aside from proud mommy moments that you heard about?
Kate: Yeah. I think definitely some proud daddy moments as well. This year on the blog we were really excited to be able to feature some more dad voices and their stories in particular one about what Father’s Day means to them from dads of all backgrounds. And also later on in the year, we heard from one of our dad bloggers in the LGBTQ community about his journey becoming a dad and raising his son and sort of the highs and the challenges of that. So, it's really cool to be able to be not just featuring mommy proud accomplishments, but daddy's proud accomplishments as well.
Lisa: Well, on that note, I want to take a minute to take a listen to some of our other parenting bloggers and what they had to say about their proud moments in 2019.
Parent 1: I'd have to say that my biggest parenting win was learning to step back a little bit. That's actually a lot tougher than it sounds.
Parent 2: I think one of my accomplishments as a parent in 2019 is that I finally feel like me again after having my second daughter and we've found our groove as a family of four.
Parent 3: I'm really good with little kids, right? That's my background, zero to five. It was a brand new experience for me being the parent to a teen, it's really hard, so just navigating through that...
Parent 4: The kindergarten prep into public school system was a large transition and I didn't know how it was going to go for me. I didn't know how it was going to go for him. And getting him into his new school, getting him on the bus, which was a huge accomplishment for us, but then also making sure that I'm inserting myself, but allowing him that ability to fly on his own.
Parent 5: I welcomed my daughter this summer. My son was just under two when she arrived, so I'd have to say my biggest accomplishment for the year was survival and surviving in a house with two under two.
Parent 6: I stepped into parenthood the way most first time parents do, not knowing anything and trying to learn as much as I can and with all the balls that I have in the air, this is one that I haven't dropped yet and I'm super proud of that.
Parent 7: It was a challenging year to go from one to two children as many can relate. And there's a lot of anxiety and unknowns that go into it before you have a second child. "How am I going to do this? Is there enough time in the day? How am I gonna love the second one as much as I love the first one?" But I would say pretty proud of where we're at and starting to raise our second boy.
Parent 8: My son turned 15 in November and I admit that I've probably babied him a bit. Really mostly out of habit and pretty proud of the steps that he's taken and for myself, I'm really proud that I recognized that it was time to let my little guy grow up and handle things himself.
Parent 9: They're both finally sleeping better, though I hope I didn't just jinx myself. So, that's a plus for the whole family.
Parent 10: When there are moments where my two kiddos are happy, I look back and I'm really proud of those little moments. It makes everything else worth it.
Lisa: Oh, wow. Where to start?
Kate: I know there was a lot in there.
Lisa: There was, sleep, survival mode, you know it's so reassuring to hear other parents when you're in the middle of it having the same issues, concerns, worries that you have.
Kate: I know, there's a lot that's universal even though our stories are all so unique, I feel like I really related to the struggle to relinquish control and delegate and sort of share that responsibility to hit home with me in particular.
Lisa: Okay. So, that was 2019. What do you got in queue for 2020?
Kate: Well, it's going to be an exciting year, I think. I think especially in the times that we are in today, I think focus around content that talks about sustainability and being environmentally conscious will be really important. Providing parents with some actual tips on how they can make some realistic changes in the household and even get their kids involved, too. And then I'm also excited to sort of be bringing on more diverse voices to the blog. So, touching on different parenting journeys – we have a blogger who is a first-generation American originally from Kenya and child care is very different there than it is here. There's definitely been some interest in talking about how to teach kids to be financially responsible.
Kate: I think that's a big topic in the year ahead and certainly very important to kids' future success, learning how to save money and earn money.
Lisa: Well, Kate, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This has been awesome. I can't wait to read all those blogs and I know a lot of other people are going to look forward to that too.
Kate: Thanks so much, Lisa.
Lisa: Last but not least, take a listen to what some of our parenting bloggers have to say about their new year's resolutions.
Parent 11: As I all of a sudden started to reflect on 2019, I realized one of the things that I really want to ensure that I do a little more of is being present at key moments and I don't mean like the huge things that go on, I mean, in the morning. I know I could clean up the breakfast dishes or I could load the dishwasher or I could make sure that I'm picking up those things from last night. Instead of me doing those things, what I wanna do is be more present in those half-hour, 45-minute chunks and play with them, get on the floor, be able to ask those questions or be able to color the pages that he wants to do or create the art project at 7:00 in the morning.
Parent 12: For 2020, I am actually hoping to take some advice to heart, which I have heard from many people in being kind to myself. All my kids need is a happy mom and a happy family and their expectations are not as high as mine. So, I think I have to remind myself of that a lot more and really just think about the fact that I'm doing the best I can and sometimes that's all that is needed.
Parent 13: Putting our phones down and not getting wrapped up in distractions from work or social media or you know, just the constant texts from friends and family just to put those phones down and not even worry about getting that photo or taking a video. I think we really just need to make sure we're present with the girls, having fun, listening to them and giving them the attention that they deserve without technology distracting us at every given moment.
Parent 14: One thing that I'd like to improve, change or do differently for 2020, I guess I could work on my sense of humor, but you do need some laughs to get through the tough days.
Parent 15: I read something recently that said that a 12-year-old will have moments of acting like the child you've always known, but also those moments of suddenly turning into a little devil right in front of your face. So, mentally and physically, emotionally preparing myself for this ride that we're going to be on. And one of the things that I need to remember is that she's not me, I'm not her.
Parent 16: My son has his driver's permit and he's going to be driving in about two weeks by himself, and the first time he pulls off by himself in his car, that's going to be like, wow, and I just need to take a step back. I trust my gut. I trust my son. He's a good kid. I know it's going to be okay.
Parent 17: I need to learn how to be a little less hard on myself, always feeling like I should have done something better or more of, you have to work. There's other commitments that just happen that you can't be with your children 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Not that they would want me there that long, but I'm learning that that's part of life and not feeling guilty every time you're not with them, not be so hard on ourselves.
Parent 18: Well, it won't be easy overnight to just relax and say, "Oh, I'm gonna go easy on myself this year." I think I'm gonna try to tell myself that on a daily basis. My kids are healthy and happy and that's all we need at the end of the day.
Parent 29: Parenting is equal parts difficult and beautiful at the same time.
Lisa: We hope some of these reflections and resolutions resonated with you and we wish you all the best in 2020. Before we go, let's complete Kelly's story. She looks ahead to the new year of parenting.
Kelly: I recently asked my kids what they wanted for the holidays. Both my girls love to cook. My oldest an expert at pasta sauces and my youngest makes amazing scrambled eggs. They requested some specific cooking utensils, books, and other materials, but my oldest, who will be eight in early 2020 said, "I want everyone to try the new foods I cook." And that had me thinking, in 2020, as a parent, I really want to make more space and time for my children to cook our meals. Our busy work, school, and extracurriculars often prevent us from finding the time to do many of the things we love, but this is their passion and making time to foster that is important to us.