Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Instant Family Movie & My Parental Survival Guide (Quick 10 Tips on How to Get Through Parenting)

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Instant Family is a must-see comedy family film! Directed by Sean Anders (Daddy's Home and Daddy's Home 2) and written by Sean Anders and John Morris. 

When Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) decide to start a family, they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15 year old girl (Isabela Moner), they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must hilariously try to learn the ropes of instant parenthood in the hopes of becoming a family. Instant Family is inspired by the real events from the life of writer/director Sean Anders and also stars Octavia Spencer, Tig Notaro and Margo Martindale.

Parental Survival Guide

When I was asked to write a post, a sort of a Parental Survival Guide, I was hesitant. If you know me well or have been reading My Vegas Mommy for a long time, you know that this isn't a parenting advice blog. I believe that everyone has their own unique experiences and sometimes I find as moms we can be so hard on ourselves when people share their stories because we tend to compare and critique our own shortcomings. So, let me first say...this is a judge-free zone. You are amazing if you are reading this and I hope that we just share the commonality that we are in this together.

As a mom of identical twin boys that have now reached the teenage years, 13...still the craziness to come, I can say it has been relatively easy so far. The younger toddler years and even baby years were so demanding and a bit of blur, but I can honestly say that for right now, my kids are pretty well adjusted. Then we have a so-called middle child, 11, he is the thorn in my side, the fiesty one. He's quick-witted and can be just a complete brat. I wonder sometimes how they grew up in the same household. And the littlest, he's 6...yes, I have 4 boys...he is our favorite, ha for realz. And I tell everyone too, I don't care who hears it. He is the sweetest child on the planet. I wonder how we got so blessed with him. Now, don't get me wrong, the middle...he can be a sweetheart. He has a knack for babies and adores spending time with young kids, he's a natural at it. However, on an everyday basis...him and I can go to battle. You may look at my avatar above and think...where is the girl on the cell phone? Well, that is my stepdaughter and when I started this blog in 2008, she was living with us. You see, I have been around since she was 2, she is now 22. My husband was awarded full custody the same year the twins were born, so I can totally relate to the part of Instant Family when they go from "just us" to 3 kids in one year and kind of at once. My relationship with my stepdaughter has been great at times and tumultuous at other times. I don't have the answers, she moved out at 15, back to Texas with her mom. It's funny because they want you to stop parenting them in those years, but you cannot just turn it off. If I had to give advice to you all on what I had learned so far, here's what I am going to say....

1) Don't blame yourself for your child's behavior...whether it is good or bad. You can lead them to the water, teach them how to fish...but ultimately it comes down to their choices. So, don't take that on as a reflection of yourself or your parenting.

2) Breathe...I tell myself this all the time. When you get frustrated belly breathe. I saw this in a Sesame Street film for kids called Monster Manners, on how to help control works. It is like a time out. And if you still yell, they will survive.

3) Take your oxygen first...a great read and advice by Leeza Gibbons. She wrote a book with the same title and it was more focused on protecting your health and happiness when caring for a loved one with memory loss and let's face is just sound advice. And the kids have their own memory loss at times. Just like the airlines, you have to take time for yourself, so you can care for the one next to you. Don't feel guilty that you need a girl's night out, date night or just want to escape in the bathroom for 15 minutes.

4) Love one another. I think this comes naturally as there is really no other love like the one you share with your kids, but sometimes we have to remember that in the hard times just speak, act, show love to each other it will get you far.

5) Unplug...I have struggled with this in the past and I am much more present this year. Make the kids unplug and parents too...try to be present in the moment, time flies...

6) Ask for help. When we lived in Oregon, we had no family, just a few friends and thankfully we could count on some of them to have our backs...but I learned it takes a village and that is no joke. So, don't feel guilty asking for help from your parents, in-laws, friends, other relatives. Just return the favor some day to someone.

7) Don't sweat the small stuff. It is cliche I know and it still made this quick list because it holds merit. My mom, used to tell me when I was younger that, "this isn't even a spark in the light of eternity". If you believe in a higher power, than it is a little easier to wrap your head around this concept. But, even if you look at you life on a timeline with an end, it is true. Pick your battles, it is all relative. I know sometimes they seem ginormous and never-ending, but really...they are not. It will pass, time has a way of changing things like that. 

8) Have fun. I think sometimes we can easily get caught up in parenting,'s hard work. But, remember to have fun with your kids. Do things they like, fortnite...if that is what it takes, but most of all have fun. Those happy times will comfort you later when things are hard. I heard somewhere that kids equate love to time, so like number 5...unplug and have fun.

9) Follow your gut. There have been so many times that I just followed it and I can say about 90% of the time it worked out. My twins have food allergies and during an episode I had the paramedics tell me that my son was stable and didn't need to go to the ER. I remembered stories and relied on that gut instinct and I advocated for him to go anyways. Long story, but the short was...if I hadn't have followed my gut, he would have died.

10) Accept the word No. Learn how to say no when you need to whether it be to yourself or your kids. Don't try and be everyone's everything. I had a great upbringing, I was fortunate...but I also kind of believed that I could have it all. As I got older, I learned that it wasn't quite true, you can but timing is everything and you just cannot always have it at the same time. So, I had to learn to say no to myself, spouse and to the kids. Whether it is volunteering on a project, going to an event, buying something. If I am being honest, I still struggle with this one the most. But, I am learning the power of No more as the years go by.

I hope this list is something you can relate to or take a piece of advice from and mold it to your life. And for those of you out there that tackle parenting whether by choice or circumstance, may the force be with you!

Take the family to see Instant Family this holiday season, it is a funny heart-felt witty take on fostering that the whole family will love. Look for our interview post tomorrow, 11/15, with writer/director Sean Anders.

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