guest post // rachel’s mom advice.

Hi there! I’m excited to be here on MiniKind. I’m Rachel Jones, a mother of two girls (5 and almost 2), a designer, and I share design/lifestyle explorations over at Black Eiffel. Congratulations to Erin and Ken! I remember when I was out for a visit in Indiana and stopped by your lovely home, the two of you engaged with our little India and her red locks and she adored you both right away. When I heard you were expecting I was thrilled and knew you were bound to be amazing parents. The first six months are a crazy tricky learning curve, but you will get along. Each day gets a little easier. So happy for you both and welcome little Bee!

Here are 5 things I wish I would have known sooner, and am still learning along the way…

1: Know (and write down) what is most important to you and then prioritize.

I recently listened to a Ted Talk by Malika Chopra and was impressed by her insights, they really struck a chord with me. She stated that she had been working really hard to find a new voice after working long hours in a successful career. She wanted more. After much time, energy, and thought she had an ephiphany that her highest intention of all was to be a good mom. Through setting her direct intentions and priorities it helped her not only to become a more engaged parent but also empowered her in her business. My suggestion is when you have a few moments of quiet time, write down what you value most, (maybe 3-7 things) and put it somewhere you can see everyday. Then focus on those key things wholeheartedly everyday. It sounds so obvious, “to know what you value most”, but how easy it is to forget. That visual reminder is a powerful and priceless thing.

2: Be as consciously present as much as possible.

Living in the present is something I work on daily, it is so hard to do sometimes with our busy lives especially with little ones! Do your best to be truly engaged in every moment when you are with your children. It is so cliche but true – “time flies” especially when children are around. Enjoy every phase along the way, because those infant and childhood moments only happen once and slip away like sand in a glass. Put the cell phones away. If you are up for it, go media free one day a week; it’s done wonders for me and our family.

3: Keep things simple and create order.

Simplify, simplify! Do whatever you can to set up your own systems, routines or rituals in your home and space to make things simple. For example, I have one day a week where I go gangbusters on laundry, another day I go grocery shopping, on Fridays for dinner we usually do Pizza or Sushi etc… Having a few key simple and orderly systems in place has really worked really well for me and our family. Everyone has their own way of doing things so do what works for you. Experiment and try different things until you get what jives best. Keep things simple, less is more.

4: Take time to play.

Take time for impromptu dance parties, ring a round the rosy, and just tickling each other and being really silly. It energizes me, and makes me happy so much so you would think I would do it more often. I read once that when parents really get down and play with their children it helps foster a sense of belonging, their children behave better and also become more confident. Wow, I want to be better at this! Sounds nuts, but remember to play and explore on their terms.

5: Never devalue yourself as a parent.

Parenthood is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences ever. I think you with go through every emotion possible to the human condition. As a reward you will also become a better version of yourself. You’ll probably make lots of mistakes, (I’ve made tons!) but don’t compare yourself with others, look back, beat yourself up, and wallow. Move forward, make changes if needed, be better. The other day I made a big mistake and had to put myself in time-out in front of my girls. It is usually something we do at our house for the girls when they are being sassy. When I did this they were jaw-drooping shocked, thought it was comical, and also realized that I mess up too. Time-outs are good for everyone!