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The Gentle Reminder We All Need: “Your Kids Are Doing Their Best”

Hanging out with little kids all day, its easy to get frustrated with challenging or difficult behavior. I speak from experience, having been a teen when my siblings were young, and now having an almost two and four-year-old of my own.


This past year has increased my stress level to epic proportions as both of them are working to assert their will. The Little Man, at 20 months, struggles with screaming for things instead of speaking. He is demonstrating even more forcefully that he NEVER EVER wants to have his diaper or his clothes changed. Just coming in from outside results in window shattering protests.

Our daughter, nearly four, is also tough. Very sharp and very challenging. The best way to describe her is that her emotional capabilities have not caught up to her mental capabilities. She wants to do what she wants to do now, and there will be a tantrum if things don’t go her way.

One way of thinking that has proven very helpful for me is remembering that my child is doing the best that he or she can. This does not come naturally for me. Most of the time, it feels like my kids are acting out on purpose, testing me, challenging me, and simply trying to get their way.

 But that’s the key – they are doing all of those things. And those things are the best that they can do right now. It’s what they are supposed to be doing.

Consider an example: My daughter had a meltdown the other day because I wouldn’t let her color before getting dressed for school. I had already conceded to allowing her a glass of milk first, and she had agreed to get dressed afterwards.

When she asked to color, I told her “no” and reminded her that she had agreed to get dressed. Immediately, I could see her dig in. Tears of anger came to her eyes and her frustration escalated. I tried again to calmly remind her of our agreement, but I could not stop the train.

She started screaming and spewing “nasties” so I sent her to her room to work it out. As awful as it is, this is where she’s at. This is her skill level at this time. She has not developed the emotional control required to remain calm when she doesn’t get what she wants, or the patience and logic to see that she will get to color after she completes her obligations.

Even when a child behaves “badly,” they are doing the best that they can. That doesn’t make it right. That doesn’t mean that we should allow certain behaviors to continue. It means there are certain limitations still in play developmentally, and that additional time and coaching will correct them.

I’m telling you this because I have to remind myself ALL THE TIME. Without this perspective, I react with anger and frustration instead of understanding. This can create a negative cycle, because my kids then react to my anger instead of focus on the lesson that they must learn.

This perspective can be applied to adults as well. The way people choose to behave – good and bad – results from their upbringing and life experiences. I encounter grownups all the time whose actions make me stop and scratch my head. I have to remember that I’m viewing their behaviors through my own framework of how adults should act, as opposed to considering it from their point of view.

You might see people making poor decisions about how they spend their money or prioritize their time. You might notice people who act aggressively on the road or treat waitstaff in a restaurant rudely over something minor. You might encounter a boss who takes credit for your work, or a coworker who throws you under the bus in order to get ahead.

These examples demonstrate some true limitations in character, self-control, self-awareness, and work ethic. It’s where they’re at. It helps to remember that people are the product of their lives. And that is their problem, not yours.

This post was originally published on the authors site, The Sanity Plan

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Jessica Simpson celebrated her baby shower this weekend (after getting a cupping treatment for her very swollen pregnancy feet) and her theme and IG captions have fans thinking this was not just a shower, but a baby name announcement as well.

Simpson (who is expecting her third child with former NFL player Eric Johnson) captioned two photos of her shower as "💚 Birdie's Nest 💚". The photographs show Simpson and her family standing under a neon sign spelling out the same thing.

While Simpson didn't explicitly state that she was naming her child Birdie, the numerous references to the name in her shower photos and IG stories have the internet convinced that she's picking the same name Busy Philips chose for her now 10-year-old daughter.

The name Birdie isn't in the top 1000 baby names according to the Social Security Administration, but It has been seeing a resurgence in recent years, according to name nerds and trend watchers.

"Birdie feels like a sassy but sweet, down-to-earth yet unusual name," Pamela Redmond Satran of Nameberry told Town and Country back in 2017. "It's also just old enough to be right on time."

Simpson's older kids are called Maxwell and Ace, which both have a vintage feel, so if Birdie really is her choice, the three old-school names make a nice sibling set.

Whether Birdie is the official name or just a cute nickname Simpson is playing around with, we get the appeal and bet she can't wait for her little one to arrive (and her feet to go back to normal!)

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Mamas, if you hire a cleaning service to tackle the toddler fingerprints on your windows, or shop at the neighborhood grocery store even when the deals are better across town, don't feel guilty. A new study by the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School shows money buys happiness if it's used to give you more time. And that, in turn could be better for the whole family.

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As if we needed another reason to shop at Target, our favorite store is offering some great deals for mamas who need products for baby. Mom life can be expensive and we love any chance at saving a few bucks. If you need to stock up on baby care items, like diapers and wipes, now is the time.

Right now, if you spend $100 on select diapers, wipes, formula, you'll get a $20 gift card with pickup or Target Restock. Other purchases will get you $5 gift cards during this promotion:

  • $20 gift card when you spend $100 or more on select diapers, wipes, formula, and food items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select beauty care items
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select household essentials items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock
  • $5 gift card when you buy 2 select Iams, Pedigree, Crave & Nutro dog and cat food or Fresh Step cat litter items using in store Order Pickup
  • $5 gift card when you buy 3 select feminine care items using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock

All of these promotions will only run through 11:59 pm PT on Saturday, January 19, 2019 so make sure to stock up before they're gone!

Because the deals only apply to select products and certain colors, just be sure to read the fine print before checking out.

Target's website notes the "offer is valid using in store Order Pickup, Drive Up or Target Restock when available".

The gift cards will be delivered after you have picked up your order or your Target Restock order has shipped.

We won't tell anyone if you use those gift cards exclusively for yourself. 😉 So, get to shopping, mama!

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