I have discovered a few random things about my ability to parent that I'd like to share.
1. I am a better mother when I am caffeinated. (Also see: I am a better parent with a shot of espresso)
2. I like being a mother better when my child is well-behaved. (Also see: It is easier to like her when she isn't driving me crazy)
The first is obvious. I get caffeine withdrawal headaches and nobody is a good mom when they have a headache. Also, the extra energy burst can't hurt when functioning on the small amount of sleep attributed to mothers of infants, or when chasing a very active toddler.
The second seems obvious, but until we started this new system that we've been using, I didn't realize that 1) it was effecting me as much as it was and 2) it actually could be noticeably better than it was.
We are using the book "To Train Up a Child" (I can't remember the first name of the man, but it's written by a married couple with the last name of Pearl and her name is Debi). They stress the idea of "training" more than discipline. Basically, teaching the child your expectations instead of reacting to a new negative behavior. It is really working for us.
My sister gave me the book (also a couple of others along the same vein) and it's kind of nice to think that I've got a few of my sister's child-rearing secrets up my sleeve. Most of the time, my nephews and nieces are incredibly well-behaved. (They have annoying moments or habits, but who doesn't?) But the biggest thing is that they obey as soon as they are told something. And that, to me, is priceless.