20 things every mom should know
1. You can raise a healthy eater
Get your kids into the kitchen. Christine Mastrangelo, R.D., a registered dietitian in Wakefield, MA, explains, "Children feel important when they're asked to pitch in, and because they take pride in the finished product, they're more likely to have an open mind about eating it." Chef hats come in small, too.
2. Motherhood is a learning curve
It's OK to make mistakes -- everyone leaves their daughter's blanket on the roof of the car and drives off in the parking lot or snips their son's eyebrow by accident during an at-home haircut. Learn from your mistakes and move on -- don't beat yourself up.
3. Let Dad parent, too
Valerie Davis Raskin, M.D., a Chicago-based psychiatrist and author of The Making of a Mother: Overcoming the Nine Key Challenges -- From Crib to Empty Nest, says, "In this culture of perfectionism, it's easy to fall into the trap of 'If I don't do it, it won't get done right.' Kids want to be loved in different ways, and to experience different aspects of love. As long as Dad's ways aren't dangerous, it's a good idea to let it go."
4. Plan outfits ahead of time
To make your weekday mornings a little less hectic, plan your children's outfits for the week on Sunday afternoon. If your kid likes to play dress-up, the routine will become a fun fashion show as soon as you put on some Glee -- or Madonna.
5. Have family dinner as often as you can
Dinner is the perfect time to catch up on everyone's day, hear what your kids are learning in school and listen to them gush about their afternoon tree-climbing adventure. It doesn't matter if it's takeout, Easy Mac, or homemade. If President Obama can get home in time for a family dinner, then we can too!
6. Saying N-O can be A-Okay
Saying "no" can feel mean, but this is how children learn patience and delayed gratification. You don't have to rule with an iron fist, but just know that saying no from time to time won't elevate you to Mommy Dearest status anytime soon.
7. Laugh at yourself, a lot
The next time you find a cheerio in your hair and catch yourself eating it, or you talk in a baby voice to thank the cashier at your grocery store, laugh. Motherhood is fun and funny and hard -- enjoy it.
8. Get over yourself, Pinocchio
If it means that your kids will pick up their toys, or take a nap, or eat broccoli, then it's okay to tell the occasional white lie.
9. Apology accepted
You say sorry to your husband, so why not your kids? Though you and Dad may be The Law, you can still be wrong. Saying sorry is just a small gesture that teaches your children that no one is perfect. Your kids will understand that we all make mistakes and it is better to acknowledge and learn from them so that you can both move on without hard feelings.
10. Don't feel guilty for working—or not working
Both child care and maternity leave were invented for a reason -- for you to take advantage of! Regardless of your feelings about the current debate of whether women can have it all, make a choice that is right for your family and feel good about it. Your kids will thank you later.