The Tiger Series Part 1: Daniel Tiger’s Advice For Moms
Y’all, my littles are ADDICTED to the PBS Kids show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and I may or may not have been the dealer of the goods. Okay, I was. I’ll admit it. I willingly and regularly stick them in front of the television from 9am-10am to get two full episodes of Daniel Tiger in so I can get my TO-DO list going.
Laundry, cleaning, ministry phone calls, appointment setting, blogging, working on furniture or DIY projects…these all happen thanks to my wing man, DT.
If you’re not familiar with Daniel Tiger, you may recognize his roots. Back in my day it was Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Fred Rogers would come in, break out in a song, take off his business attire in exchange for something more comfy, and would walk his young viewers through life situations while teaching them proper social etiquette, and addressing their inner feelings and concerns. I hearted Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, and now that I think about it, my mom got a lot done while I was enjoying the songs and stories in each episode.
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is the 21st century spinoff of the show, and “Daniel The Striped Tiger” was actually one of Mister Roger’s puppets who had learning adventures in his imaginary world. He has been cartoon-ized, given a new lease on life, and is now capturing the hearts of children and parents alike. He uses catchy jingles that easily get stuck in your head to pound home life lessons that all of us could use.
I’ve heard Daniel and his gang sing enough songs in the past couple of years that these songs have become part of my parenting strategy. But when I step back as an adult, a mom, I realize that I, too, can learn my striped friend.
5 Pieces of Advice From Daniel Tiger to Moms
To help me out, I had Caroline sing (basically from memory, with a little coaxing) Daniel’s 5 pieces of advice so you can get the gist (and get them stuck in your head).
1) When You’re Feeling Frustrated, Take a Step Back and Ask For Help.
Frustration. It comes with the job. We all get to the point where we want to fly off the handle…on the regular. But because it’s so important to “keep our love on” with our kids, sometimes we need to take a step back and ask for help. Who do we ask? First, God. He promises to give us wisdom to know how to handle a situation when we ask for it. He lavishes on us patience, kindness, and self-control. All we have to do is ask, and he is happy to give you what you need in the moment to check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self (and little hearts who’ve been entrusted to you.) Ask, and it will be given to you…for everyone who asks receives.. (Matthew 7:7-8). Second, ask someone else. This could be your spouse or the child’s father (if he’s not your spouse). It could be one of your parents, or a trusted friend. You need to have someone who, even if they are not in the position to help you physically, can lend you a listening and empathetic ear.
2. When You Have To Go Potty, Stop and Go Right Away.
Any mama in the trenches knows that there are times when we just need 5 minutes to ourselves in the bathroom. But usually, we are joined by inquisitive, needy little beings who seem to have been doused in super glue and are stuck to us when we need to do our business. Recognize this, Mama. It’s not a crime to shut and lock the door. Don’t spend all day on the throne thumbing through HGTV magazines while little fingers find their way under the door, but no matter how young or needy your kid is, you can put them in a safe place and take care of this basic need. Go ahead, allow yourself that privilege, but don’t forget to “flush and wash and be on your way!”
3. You Can Take a Turn, and Then I’ll Get It Back.
I think of this as Daniel giving us permission to let Daddy take some of the responsibility when he’s around. Sure, the kids may be eating ice cream and cold pizza for breakfast, but they’ll live and they’ll love it. Give Dad a turn to be “On” while you’re “Off” every once in a while. Stay-at-home moms have it especially hard sometimes…we don’t get to have regular hours or work days, vacation time or paid holiday leave. We. Are. ON. 24/7. If your husband is willing, give him a turn to watch the baby, and when you do, try not to micromanage him or criticize his parenting. Just let him be Daddy. Step away, get some down time, and don’t worry, you’ll get the kid back soon enough!
4. Grown Ups Come Back.
When I first became a mom, I found that staying at home with the baby can be very lonely at times. It takes intentionality and sometimes a whole lotta planning and straight up effort to get out of the house with the kids and find other adults in the community. Thankfully, it does get easier. Fight for community. Real relationships. Not just online relationships, although they have their places as well, and have been a source of sanity for me when getting out was just out of the question. But nothing beats good ole fashion friendships. Call your girlfriends and schedule play dates, even if your kids are different ages or don’t get along all that well. Don’t let that keep you from developing and strengthening your friendships that you will NEED in the days and years to come. There was a season when, for multiple reasons (some out of my control) I felt like my preschoolers were my best buddies. It wasn’t until I joined the local YMCA (with free childcare, hallelujah), and introduced myself to a few other girls who worked out there that I began to feel like I could hold adult conversations again.
5. Keep Trying, You’ll Get Better!
Every mom has thought she’s a failure at one time or another. Some just don’t really have that mothering instinct, some are all bent out of whack over trivial mishaps, and still some are doing a good job, but in comparison to what we see on Pinterest and in the blogasphere, we tend to believe the lie that we’re getting it all wrong. Look, mommies make mistakes. We all do. We don’t get the sleep schedule right, or we can’t figure out how to connect with our middle schooler. I’m sure I’m screwing my kids up in mulitple ways every single day. I need to start a counseling fund for them alongside the college fund and the wedding fund so they can get fixed when they’re older. But I Don’t. Give. Up. Keep trying. When I do something dumb, I apologize to them and try to help. If what you’ve always done isn’t working, try something different. There are many parenting philosophies, tips and tricks, books, videos and a whole plethora of information out there to help you keep trying. The point is…just don’t stop showing up in your kids’ lives because you’ve messed up in the past or think you can’t do it. You can. You were made to be this kid’s parent, and God wants to give you everything you need to knock it out of the ballpark.
I’m so thankful that my kids are addicts, because I’ve learned so much through their addiction!
Be sure to check back next week when I break down 5 Pastoral Care Tips from Daniel Tiger.