Living in Reno offers so many outdoor adventures, lifestyle opportunities and affordable options to families.
My husband and I are fortunate. In hindsight, we — and our kids — navigated the perils of child-rearing with relatively few hardships. During the process we weren’t as clear. Today, with a 21-year-old junior in college and 18-year-old twins who are now college freshmen, we thank our lucky stars.
We’re not experts. We did what worked for us. Neither of us had parents to ask for help or advice. My mom died of a brain aneurysm when I was 21. No warning, no farewells. My husband’s mom died of cancer just before our eldest was born. He, at least, got to say goodbye.
We were pretty much on our own. I read lots of books. We sought advice and learned so much friends and extended family with older children. We took good bits from our own childhood, then purposely shed the rest.
Time vs money. Parenting three people under age 3 is a full-time job for someone — the actual parents, a nanny or a day-care center. Financially, living in Reno allowed that job to fall to me. With one child we had a nanny. In Reno, we could live on one and a half incomes, especially since we “saved” $300-$500 a week in childcare costs. Plus, we didn’t spend hours each day commuting to work. We had time to be with our kids that living in a larger metro area wouldn’t have allowed. Our kids became our entertainment, our recreation.
Hugs. We committed to hugging each kid every day, and telling them each day that we loved them — even when we least wanted to. When a kid is driving you crazy, it may be the time they need a hug, a quiet time and to be told “I love you” the most. Sometimes I forced myself — but I did it. We told our kids that hugging your mom is not an option. You do it every chance you get.
Food. We had breakfast and/or dinner together 90+ percent of the time. One picky eater led me to buy, “How to Get Your Kid to Eat, But Not Too Much.” A book I still recommend.
Rules. I restricted TV. We had no video games until the oldest was in 6th grade. Active toys, reading, games are better.
Academically, we set the bar at what we considered reasonable levels for our kids’ abilities. We got them homework help, but didn’t do their homework. We supplemented with piano lessons, sports and other activities.
Did we have confrontations? You bet. Did we lay out choices, point out that their activities, electronics, style of dress were privileges not rights? We sure did. Did we pull those privileges? Yep.
Summary: Spend more time than money; hug everyday; respect who a child is — and require respectful behavior in return. We could not have done this without input, help and advice from so many other people. Ultimately, though, it was up to us to filter, fight and find our way.
It’s a job — a hard job. I loved it.