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I did it guys … I am the mother of a TODDLER. Before I get to my killer tips, I’m going to make you sit through one awesome story. We successfully sleep-trained my daughter last week after I realized I was spending 1.5 hours a night getting her to bed because she needed my warm body besider her.
Yes, I know: The nights are long the years are short. I am going to miss this (I already do). But if you do the math that’s 10.5 hours a week. That is time I need to better do all the things that give her a clean home, food in her tummy and clothes on her back.
So we did it … but the first night this precious girl stood for 3 HOURS in silence, laying her head on the side of the crib. Was it a protest? Was she patiently waiting for us to return? We’ll never know. At one point she took off her pajama pants, wadded them up and used them as a pillow. Anyway, I’m still laughing about it and just had to share. Here’s what I’ve learned so far about the toddler years, which I have been living for five hot minutes. (When I blink, she’s going to be 4.)
1 – Don’t Neglect YOUR Appointments
It’s really tempting as you’re shuttling your little one from the pediatrician to the lab to the dentist to neglect your own health. But keep seeing your designated mental health professionals to ensure you’re on the right treatment path. Here’s an example: I recently made the difficult decision to switch providers for insurance reasons. Because I stayed the course with my treatment and remained vigilant that I’m getting adequate care, I uncovered a new insight about my condition that I am currently addressing with new medication.
Instead of throwing up my hands and giving up on my ADHD treatment, I now am learning that my crazy high anxiety may be linked to the fact that my ADHD medicine wasn’t working like it was supposed to. And if I was accomplishing what I needed to, maybe I wouldn’t be so upset at the end of every night. And here I thought it was my generalized anxiety disorder flaring up or parenting woes. I’m sure those both are factoring in, but now that I’m on better medicine, I already feel more relaxed. I’m also no longer paying out of pocket for a provider who wasn’t really working for me anymore anyway.
2 – Fuel Early, Fuel Often
Are you in love with Daily Harvest, but love your money more? Me too! That’s why recipes like this are so awesome. (But if you’re on Weight Watchers, find another one because that’s too many points! But it’s a-mazing.) Daily Harvest has my heart because it’s easy and it’s healthy. But once you throw in the DIY element to save cash, it’s the ultimate trifecta of easy, healthy and affordable. Superfood smoothies are the ultimate weapon against ADHD and, when pre-prepped, you can fuel up throughout the week in seconds. No crashing in the middle of the day, or you can start your day off to a great start.
By the way, this doesn’t just apply to smoothies. Make-ahead oatmeal, breakfast tacos and egg bites are all things you can use to keep your mind and body fuelled and humming. (And if you’re anything like me, you’ll need to rotate them out so you don’t get bored.)
3 – On Sundays We Wear Aprons
I do this in stages, but on the weekends I also pre-prep different elements of my toddler’s weekly meals. Maybe in one little shift while making lunch on Saturday I’ll make up a week’s worth of oatmeal. While I’m making Sunday dinner, maybe I’ll use a chopper to cut up all of her fruits and vegetables for the week. The lunches I pack for her are super simple, and even if your little one does not go to daycare or Grandma’s, I could still see the value in having make-ahead meals. Additionally, I always keep Sprout Power Paks on-hand for when I’m in a pinch and she absolutely loves them.
Here are a few easy things I make for her weekly. Shout-out to Urban Mom Tales, who gave me the inspiration for some of these:
- PB&J or Turkey & Hummus Roll-Ups, using whole wheat tortillas
- Frozen fruits, vegetables, chicken breast, and fajita beef. Chopped using my Ninja food chopper, then stored in these little convenient cups. The infinite combinations provide new and interesting flavors throughout the week.
- Oatmeal with shredded pear and cinnamon. She won’t have it any other way!
4 – Turn Play Into Exercise
As we all know, proper exercise is essential to any ADHD treatment plan, and it keeps your mind alert. We additionally know that toddlers are an infinite powerhouse of energy! Instead of dreading it, start looking for ways you can sneak in your daily steps. Personally, my end-game is to rack in 10K a day, and I’m currently up to 6,000 a day. I add another 1,000 each week as I am consistently meeting my milestones.
Since my daughter loves the outdoors, I can typically throw her in a stroller, walk to the gas station down the street and get in a good amount of steps. I also have my Fitbit Flex 2 set to vibrate throughout the day to remind me to get up and walk around. Sometimes I just let her wander around the backyard and I sing songs to her while I walk in place. She thinks it’s a stage production just for her!
5 – Join An Accountability Group
Maybe you’re trying to lose weight, maybe you have some career goals in mind. Accountability groups help you reach a common goal with like-minded individuals. The best groups brainstorm on actionable steps on a regular basis and check-in with each other periodically. It sounds simple, but it’s surprising how effective this can really be. Websites like DietBet have taken this to a whole new level, with some actual skin in the game! Personally, I am a huge fan of the Accountability Group at Get Bullish Society, where I check in weekly about career and parenting goals, tasks and hurdles. There’s something about having to check in weekly and seeing others doing it that just is really effective for me. UPDATE: I’m so convinced of the effectiveness of accountability groups, I recently launched one here for ADHD women.
What are your favorite toddler parenting hacks?