Updated: May 18, 2019
Name Hilary Young
Location Philadelphia, PA
Occupation Content & Branding Consultant
Children (Names, Age) Sadie, 4, and Ava, 10 months
What brings you joy as a parent? My kids are at such different stages of life right now, so I experience joy in different ways with both of them. With Sadie, it's amazing to see what a kind, smart, funny, observant little person she's become and it brings me such joy to watch her putting lessons into action, like sharing with friends, showing empathy, and being a good listener. With Ava, she is just pure joy right now and watching her do everything with a giggle--even falling off something she's trying to climb--lights up my life. Both of my girls laugh a lot, which brings me great joy too!
What are some of your challenges as a parent? Getting on the same parenting page as my husband. I spend more time reading blogs and books about parenting and asking other moms for advice, whereas he just seems to be winging it all the time. Also, the lifestyle adjustment of going from one to two kids was remarkably challenging. Now that Ava is getting a little more self-sufficient, it's much easier.
What is the best advice you received or lessons learned as a parent? I've learned that parenting requires flexibility and the ability to improvise. Every time you think you have a handle on your kid's behavior they switch it up and do something new and you just have to learn to roll with the punches and get creative with it. You can't control the outcome all the time (if ever!) and you just have to have a sense of humor about it. Also, I have more perspective about how fast the time goes the second time around, which gives me a greater appreciation for being a parent.
How do you practice self care? After having the baby, I really wasn't and it took a toll on me. Now that I've stopped nursing, I make more time for working out--I love to spin and take these killer trampoline cardio classes--and I love to cook, which a lot of people find stressful but it really zen's me out. I also have a timeout rule for the whole house, which really helps all of us take a step back when we need it. If any of us break the time out rules (not listening, yelling, kicking/hitting/spitting, name calling) we tell Alexa to set a 5-minute timer and we take a time out, including Mom and Dad. It's been super helpful for those moments when I feel like I'm about to lose it and need 5 minutes for myself. Plus, the fact that the grown ups take timeouts too makes it easier for my daughter to accept when she needs a timeout. It's been a serious lifesaver!
How do you make time for your relationship with your partner? This is also one of our biggest struggles since Ava's arrival. There is just less time for everything now! Plus, it doesn't help that we are on totally opposite schedules. My husband wakes up at 5am to exercise and I'm usually up until about midnight working, so sometimes we are just like two ships passing in the night. My husband had the great idea of buying jigsaw puzzles that we can work on together after dinner once the kids are asleep, and Sadie has gotten in on the action, requesting puzzle time after dinner. We also took a childless vacation to the Dominican Republic last month and I think we're going to try to plan childless getaways at least twice a year, if not more!
Are your parenting styles different than your partners? How do you manage parenting with your partner? As you already know, this is one of our greatest challenges! We actually just bought the book "How to Talk So Kids Will Listen (And Listen So Kids Will Talk)" and we're reading it like a book club so that we can also discuss what we're reading together. I am naturally more empathetic than my husband, so I handle a lot of the emotional heavy lifting when it comes to parenting and we're trying to balance it out a little more. I think the book will help!
How do you spend quality time with your children? I run my own business, so I have some flexibility with my schedule which allows me to spend time with my kids during the week. Sadie is in preschool now, and I keep her late three days a week. On Mondays and Fridays I stop working at 3pm so that I can pick her up and do something fun with the girls, like a music class or just playing together at home. This past winter was a little rough, but now that it's getting nicer out we go to the park a lot after school and all of us love being in the fresh air and out of the house.
What parenting tools work for you and your family? Mostly, I am winging it and collecting advice from friends, blogs, and experience. I wish I had more time for books.
Favorite parenting books or resources? I love the Aha Parenting website, along with the parenting course and book by Dr. Laura Markham ("Peaceful Parent, Happy Child"). I also love the Mindful Kids social media feed--really smart and actionable tips for parents! We've been using Fallyn's "soup breathing" technique to help calm down and my daughter loves it so much she's tried to teach other kids in her class how to do it. We added our own spin on, talking about what kind of soup we're smelling as we breath in and then cool it down, which also helps to break the tension during tough emotional times.
What do you wish for your children? I want both of my girls to be unapologetically themselves as they go through this world. I want them to have good self-esteem, a great sense of humor, and not ever feel as though they can't achieve something because they are girls. I want them to be resilient, understanding that failure is only a stepping stone to strengthen you on your way to success. And I want them to have the confidence they need to trust their instincts, make good choices and be fierce, independent women! I want them to have it all. There's a great Jason Mraz song appropriately called "Have It All," that makes me tear up every time I hear it because it makes me think of my girls and everything I want for them to have in this life.