Not sure if I am angry or proud!!

So here it is ............... after yet another school morning of nagging at the kids to get ready and out the door for the bus on time, Mike & I were chatting about how much we are so sick & tired of hearing our own voices lately - Is this just the way its going to always be?  Surely there has to be a better way!

The morning was topped off by the fact that Saxon (my oldest) had misplaced his Football boots - new football boots mind you, and the season has only just started!  While fuming. we took him to Football practise that afternoon, wearing his sneakers, while we desperately tried to come up with some sort of solution to teach the kids about taking responsibility.  Its amazing the ideas that come to mind when you are fuming at the lack of care your kids can show for all their, and your, belongings.  (I should mention that the boots were just the cherry on top - there have been a few items lost lately along with the general winging and "I'm so hard done by" attitude that kids always go through), and we had had enough.

So, we put our foot down that afternoon in our fed up states.  Because they don't take care of the things we get for them or do for them. or help out without winging at us about every single little thing every single time, we decided that we weren't going to do ANYTHING for them that night when we got home!  We weren't going to argue with them about what they needed to do before bed, we weren't going to argue with them about shower time, we weren't going to argue with them about PJ time, we weren't going to argue with them about setting the table OR clearing the table - and we weren't even going to cook them their dinner!! We told them that they had to take care of everything themselves and they had to be in bed by 7:30pm!

This may sound harsh, and heck, when we got home I started doubting it myself.  At the end of the day we weren't fully deserting them as parents though, we were still there in the house with them and keeping an eye on them - but we thought it would be interesting to see what would take place with the challenge that was set.  And thats exactly what they did - they saw it as a challenge!

We couldn't believe it - they actually went straight to the bedroom and had a 'meeting' about how they were going to 'run' the evening.  Then Saxon came out and asked to use the i-pad to google 'How to make scrambled eggs'!  I was stunned.  He made the scrambled eggs while Casey made the toast.  They then dished it up, along with a side of grapes, sat at the dining room table next to each other and had dinner WITHOUT ARGUING once!  They then cleared their dishes and unloaded the clean dishwasher. Saxon then had his shower while Casey sat down, grabbed some paper and started drawing out a house design, then Saxon went to bed to read while Casey had his shower, and they were both in bed by about 7:20pm!  EARLY, and WITHOUT arguing!  I was absolutely gobsmacked!  Well, that had gone down better than I had expected.  We said our goodnights and praised them for the great work they had done while dishing out our kisses and hugs and sat down baffled at what had just gone down.

We hadn't quite finished yet though........ 

When the morning came we got the kids out of bed, got them together and told them that they were on their own again that morning.  We weren't going to do the usual nagging at them to get ready.  They had to get their own breakfast (which credit to them, they do do everyday anyway), they had to make their own lunch, clean their teeth, do their hair, pack their bag and get themselves dressed all on their own accord, without us nagging them to do it.  Whatever condition they were in when it was time to leave was how they were catching the bus, whether they were dressed or not or whether they had their lunch or not.  Well blow me down they were ready with 5-10 minutes to spare, and Casey was so happy with himself that he even asked if he could do it again tomorrow!!!!!!  Who were these children??

That was my moment when I didn't know whether I was proud at how capable our boys were when they needed to be, or selfishly angry that they didn't fall to a screaming heap realising how much they needed us for day to day activities!  In the end I did of course choose proud as it really showed my how mature the kids were and opened my eyes to how much information they really do absorb on a daily basis even when they show no sign of even being on your planet!

I think we spend so much time & effort trying to make life so easy for our children that more often than not we actually make life harder for ourselves!  Kids are alot smarter and capable than what we give them credit for.  If we don't allow them to think for themselves, and we stop them from taking responsibility, we are actually inhibiting their growth.  

Kids these days have so much more than they ever used to have, which is definitely a blessing, but by having an unlimited amount of things on hand all the time is this creating a lack of true appreciation and responsibility for taking care of the things they do have?  We as parents need to step back and give our children more responsibility, not only to make life a little easier for ourselves, but to also teach our kids to start thinking for themselves.  

Try it, you may be surprised.

 

 

It Takes a Village To Raise A Child

We all like to think we live in an area where our neighbours genuinely care about each other, will pitch in to help out whenever needed without that wanting of something in return, and where we feel safe to let the kids retreat to their bedrooms to play with their friends with the doors closed.  This is what life is like these days raising children right?  .......... well, at least it used to be!

I suppose that now would be a good time for me to make my obvious disclosure that this is a generalization - I am sure some of you out there are in a great environment with support from neighbours & friends, but these days, peoples opinions on parenting and what is acceptable behaviour seem to somehow differ drastically from household to household and I feel that somewhere along the line we have lost our way when it comes to the basics of parenting.  Now, granted that I am not a qualified therapist or have an army of children of my own, I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to sit back and wonder whatever happened to the good old fashioned values that were drilled into us at a young age - things like the following

Respect - Respect for other people, respect for yourself, and very importantly, RESPECT FOR AUTHORITY!  I am absolutely disgusted about how much disrespect we see these days for teachers, parents, and especially police officers!  And, if our kids have little or no respect for themselves, how can we expect them to have respect for anybody else?

Manners - It actually amazes me that I am even putting this in here because it just seems to me to be a complete no brainer.  We should be teaching our kids manners right from day dot.  Some of the first words we teach our kids are the 'ta, please and thank-you's' before they are even stringing sentences together.  And yes, like most things while they are growing up, they do occasionally forget their manners at times, but it is up to us as parents to remind them and make sure they stay on track.

Kindness & Empathy + Giving & Sharing - I have put these all together because I truely believe these are behaviours that we need to be consciously demonstrating to our kids through our own actions.  It is true what they say that it is amazing what kids pick up on - and we all know that actions speak louder than words!

Appreciation - We find it a fine line between lucky & spoilt, and this is where I think it is important to show some emphasis on appreciation.  We try to let our kids experience as much as possible in life but are also trying to teach them how lucky they are to be able to do all the things they do, and have all the things they have.  With our kids still being young we sometimes struggle with this fine line, and quite often wonder if we are doing it right, but I think that if we are getting the point across about them realizing & appreciating what they do have, then we must be on the right track.

Now, I'm not saying that my children are perfect all the time, and I'm not saying that my beliefs in parenting issues are better than others, but like everyone with YOUNG children (and some with older) we need to take this parenting job seriously and make sure we stay on top of the game!  Basic parenting doesn't stop when your kids start school, leave school, or even leave home.  You are a parent for life, and no matter how old your kids are, it is your duty to approach them with any issues you see arising.  At what stage do we sit back, look around at our society today, and wonder what has changed so much that this way of life, and kids outlandish disrespectful behaviour seems to be becoming accepted as the norm.  These points I have listed are just the same as what I was taught and behaviour that was expected of me growing up - AND in all my friends/neighbours households that i went to play at.  If we stepped out of line, we were pulled back in accordingly.  Im not saying its easy - kids are kids - they will constantly push the boundries.  I just wish it was like the good old days where everybody had the same values, respect and time for each other.  How can we get it back to days like that?  These days people are so busy and pre-occupied with everything going on their own lives that they either don't notice if anyone around them needs help or is struggling.  and alot of them are spending their time trying to portray that they have it all sorted and all their shit together all the time that they can't approach anybody if they need help or support because they think of it as admitting defeat.  My goals are to break down these barriers between woman & mums and just put nothing but my real experiences and honesty out there to help empower woman and especially mums that the struggles they have or the 'shaking your head at your kids' moments are all ok and normal.  

Think of me as your on-line village to help you, or as that friendly neighbour you need to sit down and have the coffee with every so often.  I have kids of my own and know how it feels sometimes.  Have a think about it and let me know what you think.xx

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On The Move

Mike and I made the decision last year to move to a different city.  This idea was always in our '5 year plan' and after discussing it with the boys, and an amazing family holiday to our destination, we agreed that we didn't really know why we were waiting and decided to bring the move forward - by 4 1/2 years!!

6 months later (and a few visits to find somewhere to live) we have now moved in to our awesome new home in Queenstown, New Zealand.  

We drove all our worldly possessions down in a truck over 3 days while my mum looked after the boys.  Then the boys flew down and finally get to see their new home!  We had tried to include them in our decisions as much as possible so they had seen the new house & their bedrooms through photos, but I was excited to pick them up and show them in person.

While Mike was busy doing the 3 days drive returning the moving truck back to Auckland, I was trying to sort out the boys furniture in their bedrooms and getting the kitchen unpacked & sorted so there could be a little normality for them. The fun thing is is that our family cat 'Pebbles' was on the same flight down with them too so they got to experience the new house together!

Moving our family to a different city where we know no-one wasn't an easy decision to make, but with the lifestyle changes & opportunities and adventures available here for us all we were and are confident that we are going to have an amazing time.  

I am so grateful that being able to be a mum working from home allows me to do exciting/adventurous things like this as I am not stuck in an office job that ties me down to any one destination.  Such a nice feeling to challenge ourselves, face the fear of uncertainty and do it anyway.  Especially when we know its providing such a better life for our kids.

 

DONT FEAR CHANGE, EMBRACE IT!

- Anthony J. D'Angelo