Motherhood Unplugged – Am I Beautiful?

Motherhood Unplugged – Am I Beautiful?

If you were asked how to describe yourself in a few sentences, what would you say? Would you speak in kindness and affirmation? Would you say you’re beautiful?
To be honest, when I was recently asked this question, my first words weren’t particularly nourishing and that bothered me. A lot.

So, here is my answer after a couple of thinking days:
I am a child of the King and beautiful and precious in His eyes.
I am a wife and a mother but also a daughter, sister and friend.
I am sometimes anxious and often feel the weight of other people’s emotions.
I am sensitive and quirky and very spontaneous.
I am calm, love the quiet and altogether very sensitive. 

I am nowhere near perfect but am learning that perfection is a slippery slope towards failure.
I am a runner, a lover of cake and a creative soul.
I am a bearer of scars and the recipient of many years of bullying from others.

I have the heart of a gypsy, the soul of a wanderer and the spirit of a lion.
I am exactly who I was always meant to be.

A few days ago, Princess Eugenie married her long-term partner, Jack Brooksbank at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.  And in a show of courage and inspiration, the Princess made a point of wearing a dress that exposed – rather than hid – a scar left over from a childhood operation.
The Queen’s granddaughter had major surgery on her back to treat a curvature of the spine at the age of 12 and in revealing her scar, she hoped it would honour those who had helped her on her journey with the condition of scoliosis. The Princess also wanted to make a point, being that  “you can change the way beauty is” and following the wedding, her bravery has indeed influenced many others to also reveal their hidden scars and embrace beautiful.

“True beauty isn’t about having a pretty face.
It’s about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart
and a pretty soul.”

In a stereotypical sense, most little girls long to be a princess right? But a princess with a curved spine? That’s not part of the fairytale story. 
The princesses we see in the storybooks have clear, porcelain smooth skin, big shining blue eyes and long wavy hair. She is sweet and kind and often unaware of her stunning beauty, whilst she patiently waits for her handsome prince to complete her life.
But she definitely does not bear scars. Or a crooked spine.

In light of our Motherhood Unplugged series and being asked how I view myself, it also made consider how we, as mothers, view beauty in this current era?
I daily scroll through the snapshots of many, many mothers and their Instagram grids. Perfectly colour-co-ordinated squares of, well frankly, beautifully turned out women.
And whilst I SO understand that we all want to show our best features and lives, what happens to the mum that doesn’t feel attractive?
Who has just had a baby and her jelly belly and stretch marks are the reason why she doesn’t want to undress in front of her husband. Or the mum who can’t remember the last time she had a haircut or her cuticles pushed back to reveal pretty nails?
Or the depressed mum, who is so sleep-deprived and struggling with the task of keeping a little human alive that she can’t bear to face the outside world. And try to look normal.
What about those women?

Yet, I freely admit, I too struggle with the same sort of authenticity on social media. Whilst I can write about my flaws and downfalls, I don’t particularly want to post a picture of me looking less than my best.
Do I want to reveal a photo of me when I have first woken up, with my wild and knotty hair, bags under my eyes and those neck wrinkles that take a few hours to un-crease!! Heck no!

Why? Because I don’t want to be judged. There you have it. I don’t want someone (whoever you are) to look at me and go “Euch that’s not attractive!”
I don’t want to be criticised or put down or for somebody to think I am ugly.
So I/we, filter out the normal, the mundane, the things that we all struggle with, like bed hair, grumpy moods, messy homes, arguments with our partners, annoying children.
And in doing so, we filter out our true selves.

We want to be in the shot next to our adorably behaved children, with matching outfits and not a smear of snot or dirt on their colour-co-ordinated clothes. We want our hair done, smooth and shiny or cool-dude, beach-wave messy and our lips a pretty shade of seashell-salmon.

We don’t necessarily want to put up the ones of us, bleary-eyed, fed up and grouchy, feeling bloated and teary, whilst obsessively watching the clock, willing bed-time to come swiftly.

We all talk about finding our tribe, our community of peeps who support us and enrich our lives, along with our children’s. However, if our collective tribe only sees the well-turned-out mothers, the ones who have a seemingly rose-pink coloured existence, where are the rest of us hiding?

I believe Princess Eugenie’s wedding dress has made a much bigger statement than she possibly intended. I think it shouts of “Me too!”

Me too who has scars, visible and hidden.
Me too who is tired of pretending and wearing a mask.
Me too who feels inferior and self-conscious when I look at other mothers on social media.
And definitely, me too when I start to scratch at the wounds of comparison, envy and jealousy. These are unattractive emotions and not something I want to keep diving into. And that pesky little voice that whispers, “am I beautiful?”

Well, the answer is YES! A huge resounding, shout it from the rooftops, yes (to myself and you too).
Heck yes, you are beautiful and so am I!

How can we not be? We don’t just share our bodies with our partners, we go the extra mile and grow human beings. We grow bone and lungs and kidneys. Our blood sustains life and our heart beats for more than just ourselves.
We then deliver these little miracles into the world and nourish them from our bodies and our hands. We nurture and love and protect and embrace tiny lives that become big people, who go out and smash dreams and conquer the world. All because of us, mamas.

Are we beautiful? Oh my goodness, YES, we are SO beautiful! 
True beauty isn’t about having a pretty face. It’s about having a pretty mind, a pretty heart and a pretty soul. Of being the best possible version of yourself, inside and out.
Be brave, be bold but more than anything, BE YOU. Beautiful you.

 

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Knowing When Your Teenager Needs You.

Knowing When Your Teenager Needs You.
Part Four

Knowing when your teenager needs you 1At this stage more than any other, your teen needs you.
Even if they show every emotion and negative body language that they don’t want you near them, they still need you.

It’s not easy to feel as though you are being shut out during a time of such rapid change and growth. To realise that you have to knock on their door before entering. To give them space and ask for a hug, instead of stepping straight in and offering comfort and love.
It’s a strange period of alternating between realising they are no longer children but not quite adults, ready for a world of responsibility.

“Be an influencer in your teen’s life”

Your teen will be asking all those big questions and if they don’t find them at home, they surely will elsewhere. Questions such as,
Who am I?
What do I want?
Who is going to love me?
Who will I depend on?
Whilst their peers and friendships with others are vitally important, you are still their firm foundation, especially when their world seems ever-changing and could easily throw them off course.

Your teen will not only search for the answers but find them. Whether it’s over the kitchen table and a meal with their family, via social media or on the football field, those questions will be addressed in one way or the other.

My encouragement to you as a parent is to be an influencer in your teen’s life.
Walk quietly alongside them, be their silent partner in the waiting lane of life. Just be there.
Sometimes being there means doing nothing and saying nothing, even though you may be aware that your teen is dabbling in areas that you would rather they didn’t, seeing things that are too mature for their eyes and saying words that you didn’t realise they even knew the meaning of.

More than ever, teenagers are being thrust into a world that not only beckons them in an alluring way but forces them to mature rapidly. Too rapidly in many cases.
Your teen will want to know about all of everything but may not be able to physically or emotionally deal with all of that everything.

“You will find that your precious mini-adult,
all arms and legs and awkward conversations,
will one day be a fully grown person”

Knowing when your teenager needs you 2
When I was a teen, my peers were doing all of the usual things that puberty evokes
.
Smoking weed on the school oval, stealing spirits from their older siblings, cheating on tests, practising the vilest of swear words on each other, sneaking into their parent’s room and finding their stash of condoms.
All the usual really.
Except we didn’t have the additional access to information that is available today on the internet. It was more along the lines of coping a gander at adult magazines hidden under smelly mattresses and reading steamy sex scenes in adult novels, furtively snuck from the library shelves.
That sort of thing. Not necessarily forging a path for a life of smut, deceit, and depravity but for me, it all left me cold.

As I mentioned in Part Three, I was one of the weird kids who just didn’t find all that stuff, all that appealing. Let’s just say, I was a late bloomer in all things worldly.

I do, however, vividly remember thinking who the heck I was (besides awkward, with legs like a giraffe and a flat chest) and what my actual purpose for being on this earth was for?
I worried that as I grew up I wouldn’t be loved for who I was and I was deeply concerned that I didn’t have anyone close to me that truly had my back, should things all head south.

Knowing when your teenager needs you 3

Eventually, I found some of these answers through a spiritual faith, closely followed by deep friendships and belonging. But that doesn’t mean that all teenagers are going to be at all interested in such things. I do know however that they will be searching, and your teen needs you.
And they will find their belonging somewhere
Build that belonging within your home, the safe haven and place of unconditional love. Where the foundation and fabric of a strong family unit are big enough to answer all the big questions.
It is surely what this age group need the very most and sadly, where they often find it the least.

“Tread gently for this seemingly unending
teen stage too, shall pass”

My one advice would be to listen, listen, listen and then listen some more. Be a silent observer, but be there. Turn up, be present, encourage always and let a lot go. Try not to take their mood swings, snappy words and frustrations to heart.
You can’t deal with all of everything all at once and the really important stuff will be dealt with. In time.

Maybe having pink and blue hair isn’t your choice for your teen’s gorgeous blonde locks. Or that nose piercing isn’t what you imagined would sit in your son/daughter’s nasal passages. Quite possibly the dragon tattoo isn’t your preference either. Maybe chose your battles over these. They may go ahead and do it anyway despite your strong opinions.

You will find that your precious mini-adult, all arms and legs and awkward conversations, will one day be a fully grown person and that piercing or tat fades into insignificance. Before you know it, they will be at your height, or indeed towering over you, when they wrap their strong arms around yours.
And you will know… that they have navigated the road to adulthood, perfectly imperfect but wonderfully strong and capable of making a huge dent in this world that we have ushered them into.

Because of you, mum, dad, guardian. For being there always.

Knowing when your teenager needs you 4

And you are allowed to be immensely, utterly proud of who they have become. I promise that day will come sooner than you ever realised.
Know I am cheering you on the sidelines of this parenting journey. Some days may feel unbelievably difficult but your presence is undoubtedly a total-life changer in the life of your child.

Tread gently for this seemingly unending teen stage too, shall pass.

 

If you have missed Parts One, Two and Three, of this series click on the links below to catch up.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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How You Can Ease Your Child Into Becoming A Teenager.

Becoming a teenager 5

How You Can Ease Your Child
Into Becoming A Teenager.
Part Three

Becoming a teenager 1Do you remember becoming a teenager?
I have a vague recollection of it although it fades by the day.
My memory is a time of feeling the pressure to fit in with my peer group but opposing a lot of the things they were into. Of quite suddenly being interested in the opposite sex. And desperately hating having braces and a fringe, not to mention, looking back, an awful 80’s perm that I thought was the absolute bomb. At the time.
Now I realise I looked like a woolly sheep with a weird straight fringe like one of those highland cows.
Not good. Not good at all.

I was awkward transitioning into a teenager and definitely not one of the cool kids.
I hung out with the misfits, the kids who were teased for their looks or personalities.
One of the three girl’s I hung out with, had the worse halitosis I have ever come across in my entire life and daily my only two other friends and I would discuss the varying ways we could let her know how offensive it was every time she opened her mouth.
And don’t get me started when she yawned. We had to dive for cover.

“These not-children but not-yet-adults are in the waiting lane of life”

My second friend, had pigeon toes and ran like a duck and my third friend lived with just her dad and two brothers after her mother walked out on them after breakfast one day and never came home, which made her a very sad and angry young person, who mainly spoke in grunts and sighs.

We were the misfits, the square pegs in round holes, that the popular kids picked on daily.

Then there was me. Towering above all the boys and girls in my year group and the next, that perm, those braces, hairy legs. Yep hairy legs. Because my mum didn’t want me to start shaving them too early. So I spent years tugging my school skirt lower to hide my unattractive black fuzz.

Now I come to think of it, I do recall quite a lot of my transitioning teen time and frankly it was awkward.

Now I have teens of my own, I view this stage with great understanding and a healthy dose of sympathy. These not-children but not-yet-adults are in the waiting lane of life.
And it’s not easy. They often don’t know where to put themselves or where they fit in within the greater scheme of life.
There is so much pressure placed upon their burgeoning shoulders. Big decisions are expected to be made at such a young age – where to direct their future career choices?
Which doors to walk through. Heck which doors they should even be thinking about entering?
Do they choose the straight path set before them full of expectation from others or the rockier less travelled, slightly risky route, with an unknown destination?

“You may find yourself asking them if they have showered
and how long have they have been wearing that tee shirt?”

 

It’s a tricky time for sure as a parent and soon-to-be-teen.
We have picked up a few things along the way that may help you understand your child during this transition phase:

Becoming a teenager 2

Becoming a teenager

1. They will smell.

For quite some time you may feel as though your home has turned into an animal’s toilet at the zoo. When they are becoming a teenager they will start to smell. A lot.
It will permeate their clothes, their sheets and the walls of your house. Soft furnishings take a hit long after they have extracted themselves from the sofa.
Invest in Febreeze.

You may find yourself asking them if they have showered and how long have they have been wearing that tee-shirt?
Even after washing their clothes, they will still smell. Clothes and child.
Under the armpits is a very dangerous area to venture near. If your child lets you hug them, you may need to block your nose.
This is the time to gently approach the subject of deodorant.
I kid you not, it took us about six months for each of our teen’s to get into a routine of using deodorant every day. We basically left small roll-on bottles all around the house! Just as a reminder that their natural body odour isn’t actually that pleasant.
Eventually, a miracle will occur. They will pick up that little bottle and tentatively roll it under their pits.
And you can breathe in a lovely aroma of spicy eucalyptus hues.

2. They will shower. A lot.

The smelly stage will actually morph, fairly quickly, into the cleaning phase.
Your teen may spend an inordinate amount of time in the shower, not to mention, copious after-shower-grooming-and-preening. This will all be done in secret, under the cloak of a locked door, the extractor fan and possibly music from their phones.

Deodorant may still be a problem, as in they may not feel they need it. Keep reminding them daily or thrice daily, that it is very much required.
Aftershave (often cheap), may be liberally applied which will be a welcome scent change in your house but may also be migraine inducing.
Pick your battles on this one. Smell vs head pain? I flitted between the two.

“Those hormones are stoking the fire of puberty and in overdrive”

3. They will become interested in sex.

Whether this manifests as being suddenly acutely embarrassed at any sign of physical affection and touch (on the tv) or in real life, sex will be something that both fascinates and scares them.

When we sat our second son down for the ‘proper sex talk’ as in A & B connect whilst also consider C & D may play a role, his face slowly drained of all colour and he quite literally sat as still as stone.
We plowed ahead, determined to get it out of the way, lest he heard it from his peers. When we had finished he just nodded and said “Got it, can I please leave the room now?”

We have revisited the subject on occasions and it does become easier for both parent and teen to talk about sex. Basically we took a “There is nothing you can’t ask us approach” and tried very hard to make sex something that wasn’t acutely awkward to be discussing.

It’s not easy for sure, but the more you are open and relaxed about it, the more your teen will feel as though there is nothing to hide from or be ashamed about.

“Gently remind them that tomorrow is a new day
and this too shall pass”

Becoming a teenager 34. They will be emotional.

Those hormones are stoking the fire of puberty and in overdrive.
A lot of everything will be EVERYTHING! Sad feelings may feel like the end of the world. Happiness will be elation/mountain top experiences.
Riding those emotions with your would-be-teen is exhausting for you as a parent. Try to hold their feelings and emotions lightly. Gently remind them that tomorrow is a new day and this too shall pass. Often by the morning the said subject doesn’t hold the weight that it did the night before, which is the same for us as adults.

5. They will sleep a lot.

Sleep is a gift for would be teens.
As their bodies are rapidly growing and changing, you will find they need extra sleep at different times.
Our teens began to keep quite late nights and as long as they weren’t exhausted and irritable the next day, we took our lead from them.
Often night-time is a period where they can relax, play games, watch tv and talk to you! We find our teens are at their best at night, so we pick those times, more than any other, to have a conversation.
Basically, take your cue from them and don’t be surprised if on weekends they want to sleep away a good portion of the morning. They are catching up with their growing bodies and minds and sleep is like a natural steroid!

“Watching your once dependant, chubby fingered, adorable little love,
suddenly morph into a mini-adult,
isn’t easy all round”

Becoming a teenager 46. They will eat!

This seems like an obvious one, but I honestly didn’t factor in the extra amount of food we would need for our soon-to-be-teens (not to mention when they do actually reach teenage years!)

A friend of mine once commented that her son would come home from school and eat a huge bowl of noodles, followed by dinner, followed an hour later by cereal and then pudding. I naively thought that this wouldn’t happen to us. I mean, how much food can one person consume? The answer is – an enormous amount!!
Mine were always hungry and on the look-out for sustenance.

Try not to be alarmed at the sheer amount they are eating
. Their bodies need that extra fuel for a whole lot of growing and developing, so feed the looming beast that is puberty and remember they can’t grow up and out at the same time.

When your children are at the stage where they are no longer children anymore, it can sting a little for a parent.
Watching your once dependant, chubby fingered, adorable little love, suddenly morph into a mini-adult, isn’t easy all round.
And as much as you may want to hold onto the innocence of their childhood, becoming a teenager is the tangible fruits of all your hard work since they were babies.

Yes, it’s a time of excitement and letting go but it’s also a time of great satisfaction as a parent to watch your children hone and refine themselves into the people they were always destined to become.

 

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How To Have Fun With Your Teenager.

Teenager fun 1How To Have Fun With Your Teenager.
Part Two

Many parents most probably wouldn’t put the words fun and teenager in the same sentence.
Most teens wouldn’t use the words parents and fun in the same sentence. Fun with their friends? Yes. Fun with their parents? Mmmmm nope.

We have two teenage boys, a 12 year old girl and two tween girls  (plus a 21 year old daughter). If you have followed on from Part One of our teen series about “Why We Adore Having Teenagers And How We Got Here”this is some of the reasons we regard these years as the best.

By focussing on just a few simple practices within your family unit, you will discover that teens can be such a joy and immensely fun.
Our 18 year old son is hilarious!
His quick and witty banter keeps us on our happy toes, especially on days when we are all feeling grumpy. He is our man. Totally able to turn a mood around by saying “Hey Mum want to watch this funny video of a chicken trying to fly with a top hat?”
Mood gone.


“We all have the same amount of hours in each day
and often have to be intentional in setting aside time
for investing into our children’s hearts”.

Our other teen son, who is generally much quieter, comes out with some pearlers of lines that has us doubled over in laughter. Generally, quotes from a movie he has just watched, such as the movie from ‘The Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ and the line from a young New Zealand boy saying “He is bit of a bad egg”.
Followed by “Mum are you being a bit of a bad egg because you’re tired?”
I mean you can’t be grumpy when your son says that because it’s too funny. And cute.

Teenager fun 2

These are a few ways we incorporate fun in our home with teens:

1. Spend Alone Time With Them.

We have done this since they were toddlers and made a big deal of mum or dad dates. Once a month we took each child out for one-to-one time with either my husband, Matthew, or myself. And these times have been precious vaults of memories that the children, as they have become older, bring up and reminisce over.
Taking them outside of their home environment, we find, is a lovely way to connect.
Our 18 year old has a breakfast date with me every Monday. Without fail, this is our time together and we both look forward to it so much.
We start the week off in a positive way because we have the space to communicate uninterupted.

2. Spend time with them on their level.

This isn’t always easy for me because my boys love playing Fortnite (like the sole majority of teenage boys all over the world no doubt) and I find sitting still really hard. I also don’t really enjoy playing any sort of electronic games and obviously, my tastes of what I listen to on YouTube, are vastly different to theirs. However, as this is a brilliant way to interact with my boys and share in their fun and joy, I do it, as often as I can.
We all have the same amount of hours in each day and often have to be intentional in setting aside time for investing into our children’s hearts.
I actually find it a privilege that they allow me into their space.

They love, absolutely love the fact that I am in their interest domain, willing to learn the skills that are important to them and stoked that I am giving it a go.
This time that I spend with the boys, is one of the most important ways I connect with them on their level.

Teenager fun 33. Be Silly!

We were silly with our kids when they were small. Reading in funny voices, dancing to nursery rhymes, playing peek-a-boo, pretending to be a tree in their imaginative role playing (somehow I always end up a tree….)

I’m not saying that you start singing baby songs again. Please don’t do that! Your teen will bolt.
Just muck around. Enjoy banter, sharing funny family stories of “Do you remember when such and such did this?”
Play cards together, go for a walk and lark about with them.

Teenager fun 44. Be interested in their stuff.

This follows on really, from spending time with them on their level but also show interest in the general rhythms of their life.
Having conversations, which can range from how their friends are going, which movies are trending, what the latest fad is at school? Showing you are keen to hear about them is a wonderful way of assuring their hearts that you are still there, even though they have changed from babies to teens and soon-to-be-adults.
Your love won’t change but rather grow in different directions with them.

Teenager fun 55. Listen, listen, listen.

This is one that took me a while to figure out. I don’t like it when my children are hurting or someone has been rude or unkind to them and I instantly want to jump in and fix it.
But I have learnt not to do that as it doesn’t teach them that they can indeed fight their own battles.
Let them talk. With your mouth closed. I do a lot of nodding and saying the odd “yep” but keep those words locked away.
Unless – at the end of their talking – they ask for your advice or help, often all they really want is to be truly heard.

“Those little people who now fill a room with their presence
and big characters
and are big people, are still yours”

6. Share an interest or hobby.

It could be anything. We love to cook together. Harry our 14 year old, enjoys being outside with his dad mowing the lawn or building things for the house. George, our 18 year old, loves taking photos, so as a family we are getting used to him taking a tonne of pictures all the time (usually from strange angles, like above!)
It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you are all together and having fun.

7. Give them space to sort out emotions.

Teenagers have big emotions. Their bodies are changing – rapidly. We are talking hormones here and they are, of course, as real as yours and mine.

It can be a confusing and frightening time for teens.
We have adopted an open-door policy of questions, ie we would prefer the kids come to us with those awkward questions, rather than finding them elsewhere. Yes it’s a bit uncomfortable at first, but my husband and I try to be as transparent as we can with our teens. Don’t shy away from these talks but give them space to come to you in their own time. Once they begin to open up, you will be amazed at the weight that you can literally see lifting from their shoulders.

8. Eat together as often as you can.

We eat together as a family every night of the week and have made it a priority for us ever since they were babies. I realise for many families this just isn’t possible, such as those who work away for weeks remotely and/or have increasingly busy schedules with after-school commitments but any space that you can carve out to come together over a meal can be so beneficial.
For me, I think it stemmed from always wanting a large family and in my mind, that family were sitting around a kitchen table, over food, enjoying being together.

9. Watch tv programmes that they like.

My husband and I love to find programmes or tv series that we can watch with the boys after the younger ones have gone to bed.  Not every night, but a few nights each week.
At the moment George and I are working our way through the ‘Castle’ series and Harry and I are watching ‘LEGO Ninjago’.
Basically, it’s another way of saying I want to spend time with you. And they say these are their very favourite nights of the week.
Chilling together on the sofa at the end of the day feels like a privilege, especially when spent with these soon-to-be-adults.

Remember when you had little ones and they would run about the house, dressed up as a princess or superman? Or flying through the house as a dragon or bird?  Little children have such big imaginations and even though when they mature, they obviously won’t want to donne a dress-up costume, I do still want my teens to embrace life with the same spirit of imagination, creativity and spontaneity.
Because those little people who now fill a room with their presence and big characters and are big people, are still yours. Just grown up and needing their parents more than ever.
Even if they don’t show it.

You will have your own family’s unique footprints of what fun looks like and once you find that rhythm, embrace this season of teenagers, stepping into their world, rather than trying to pull them back to yours.

It’s there you find the magical word, fun.

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Why We Adore Having Teenagers And How We Got Here.

teenagers 1

Why We Adore Having Teenagers
And How We Got Here.
Part OneTeenagers 10

We are working on a series of living with teenagers in the house and how to enjoy every stage (yes it is possible).
Part One, is how we started out on our journey of raising teens from infancy.
Confused? Stick with me.

When our babies were born, we were hugely congratulated, swiftly followed by what I now call, ‘The Waits’.
Which, come to think of it, sounds a bit like a line from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, straight from Gilead – The Martha’s, The Commanders, The Waits…… It certainly felt as wrong as the Gilead world because ‘The Waits’ permeated our family with a mindset that the years ahead would be tumultuous.
However, I am here to tell you, it doesn’t have to be.

So, ‘The Waits’, went a bit like this:

“You think your baby is quiet now! Just wait until he truly wakes up and becomes a real person” (I thought they were already human, but ok).

“Wait until she starts teething, or having a growth spurt. You will be feeding every hour and feel like a cow” (Hello, I already am a feeding cow).
And ‘The Waits’ continued….

It was the ‘terrible two’s’, the meltdowns and tantrums.
Followed by school and peer pressure and bullying and Lord – I won’t even mention about the evils of social media and electronics.

“It’s a powerful statement when a parent comes before a child
asking for their forgiveness”.

Teenagers 8Basically, ‘The Waits’, followed us for years.
Until one day, with our fourth child strapped to my chest and in total exasperation and unnecessary frustration, I snapped.
At a poor old lady in the grocery store aisle, who caught me mid-yawn rubbing my eyes, and truly thinking she was displaying an understanding heart, said “Aww you think you are tired now love? Wait until she is a teenager and she has her driver’s licence. You won’t sleep a wink for worrying.”

I twisted my head around and snapped,  “Can’t I just enjoy her now! She is only 3 weeks old!”
Then I felt immediately guilty and apologised.

“Don’t worry dear, I can see you are exhausted. Tiredness is the life of a mother forevermore.”
Aghhhhh!

So whilst ‘The Waits’ plagued us, we decided to change tack and take the higher ground.
Basically ignore them.

We had also heard a smattering of  positive comments from experienced parents with teenagers, who spoke of how much they enjoyed this so called minefield-of-an-age and that they were indeed best friends with their teens.
These, we decided, were our peeps.

So we made a plan, a very long term plan. And given my husband and I are not long-term thinkers, at all. Not even beyond what we are having for dinner, this was an impressive move for us and the only one we have ever stuck to for years.
Our kids obviously mean a lot to us, given our flaky, aversion to long-term tendencies.

Teenagers 7
How did we grow our children into lovely teenagers?

1. We modelled respect to them.

Right from the time they were babies. My husband and I displayed respect to the children by showing each other respect. Which means we speak to each other with kindness (as much as we can – we do fail but as failing is learning, we are ok with that) and we speak the same to the children.
We don’t accept non-verbal communication as a response. No eye-rolls or grunts. We wouldn’t appreciate that from our peers as adults, so we taught the kids this from an early age.
If children aren’t shown how to be respectful, they surely can’t model it without a firm foundation, ie you as parents modelling it.

Teenagers 6

“You, mama and papa, are their anchor
within a world that can be wobbly without secure gates”.

2. We preserved their dignity.

When they were little and making wrong choices (being disobedient) we always took them aside, to a quiet room or corner and spoke to them about it. But we paused first.
Sometimes we left it for hours before gently coming back to the situation in question.
And we did it because being told off in front of anybody, even another member of the family, is belittling.
Nobody likes to be disciplined in front of people, their shortcomings pointed out – with an audience before them.

A few years ago I worked in a large fancy department store here in the UK. We were not allowed phones on the shop floor. The first day I started working I left my phone in the staff-room lockers. My daughter had the sickness bug and the school were unable to contact myself or my husband. I felt the worst mother’s guilt.
So as I was always behind the till, I would leave my phone on the shelf under the till counter. On silent. I didn’t want the school to not be able to contact me again.
I was a mummy first and an employee second. Simple as that.

As rotten luck rolls, I whipped to the toilet for two minutes during one of my shifts and you guessed it, my phone went off. Except I had forgotten to put it on silent and it rang and rang and rang. When I returned back to base, the store supervisor was fuming at me, her face crimson with anger. I actually looked behind me thinking she was giving the death stare to someone else.
But no, it was me. She was furious.
Right there on the shop floor, in front of a team of employees and many, many customers she flew into a rage of how disrespectful I was to bring my phone to the shop floor Did I know the rules? Was I aware that I was disobeying store policies? Etc etc etc.
Once she had finished, I very quietly apologised and went back to work (turning my phone onto silent and hiding it better. Needs must)

However, less than 20 minutes later, she came back for a lap of round two.
Again with a huge audience. Halfway through, I put my hand up and told her I had heard her the first time and was it necessary for the customers to hear of my insolence? Adding, by the way, it might be wise to check the rest of her staff as to where they hid their mobiles. That last comment wasn’t entirely necessary by me to be fair. No perfection here.

I was so mortified that she had chosen to admonish me in public. It wasn’t necessary and certainly wasn’t kind. I was in the wrong for sure but if we as adults, are speaking to each other like this, it’s no wonder teenagers do the same.
Giving them space to talk (or listen when they were little) allowed their dignity to remain and that little pause gave us space to be calm, as well as allow them to be settle and be more able to interact.

“Raising lovely teens is a mindful parenting practice,
rather than an overwhelming task”

Teenagers 53. We let them make mistakes.

We all make mistakes, every single day. Children make them often because they are still working out where they fit in this big world of ours.
When they were little we spoke to them often about the consequences of their actions but also realised mistakes were learning platforms, that even adults struggle to accept. Not many adults view mistakes in a positive light and instantly turn it around and think, “Brilliant so glad I stuffed up there. I have learnt from that”.
Nope, we normally beat ourselves up, try to cover up the mistake or blame someone else. Call it a default of human nature but we all do it. Me included.

For example, one birthday morning, our daughter excitedly blurted out to her sister, that she was receiving a soft toy. Before sis had unwrapped it.
She basically stole her sibling’s joy, even though it was most likely unintentional, as she was just so excited about the presents.
Later when everything had calmed down, we chatted with her and asked her how her heart felt about what she had said and she immediately responded with “I took her joy away”.

Rather than yell at her instantly and create an even bigger scene than necessary (because it wasn’t necessary), she simply hugged her sister and said sorry. End of story.
Modelling kindness, respect and moral awareness starts so early.
It is a baseline mindset of kindness.

“It is entirely possible and absolutely worth every second
of instilling simple,
small gestures into your days when your children are younger”.

Teenagers 44. We gave them boundaries.

When our children were little, they had tight boundaries.
Think of the shape of a funnel. Small spout at the bottom, wide at the top. When they were tiny, their boundaries were like the bottom of the funnel, narrow and contained. But as time went on and they matured, their boundaries also widened as they learnt how to deal with responsibilities and choices.

Most people parent the other way round.  They allow their children lots of freedom and choices that they are unable to cope with when little. When they become teenagers, they suddenly realise that those boundaries need sucking in – which causes conflict.

Guess what that achieves?
Angry, frustrated teenagers and parents who pull their hair out, trying to deal with these sudden surly, young adults.
And frankly, I don’t blame the teenagers one bit. Of course they are going to be mad! And confused.
They have basically grown up with little boundaries, only to be restricted at a time when they should be given more responsibility, not less.

Training is key when they are younger, so by teen years, they have a whole tool kit of strong and sound responses to situations.
You, mama and papa, are their anchor within a world that can be wobbly without secure gates.

By the time our children turn 13, that funnel is wide. They know how to make sound and safe decisions and don’t need us as their parents to be placing strict rules upon them. And we still don’t because it’s not required.

Teenagers 35. We apologised to them.

A lot. Just because we are the parents doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes. And we showed the kids this many times. When we had misjudged a situation or been curt, we would say sorry.
Our firstborn is now 21.
She says we cut our teeth on her and I think she is right. We made mistakes along the way as parents will do and we said sorry to her more than any of the others!! She, out of all of them has the most compassionate and forgiving heart. I like to think it’s due to our honest and authentic apologies, showing her that parents don’t know it all and we learn alongside our children.

It’s a powerful statement when a parent comes before a child asking for their forgiveness. It says we are in this together and although we do have a certain sense of authority over them as their parents, our foundation is one of learning and adjusting through our mistakes.

Teenagers 26. We started from day one.

Raising a lovely teen, starts from day one, which can feel daunting, especially for us. Remember our acute inability to think long term!
But it’s a mindful parenting practice, rather than an overwhelming task.

It’s all the tiny, little things that happen in every day that build the bigger picture and grow a beautiful teen’s heart.
As I mentioned above, we didn’t accept our children grunting at us, when they were little and could communicate properly, so our teens well know that grunting in response isn’t acceptable. That doesn’t mean they don’t do it from time to time but it’s not the norm. And generally they realise straight away that they are being rude and apologise.

Rolling eyes or shrugging shoulders were never an option, as when they were little we would ask them to give us eye contact so they understood what we were saying to them.
They replied with “Yes Mummy or Daddy”.
Simple enough.
As teens, they still give us a response to show that we are being heard and we do the same to them.

These are but a few ways we committed to growing teens who truly were to become our friends, like they are now.
It is entirely possible and absolutely worth every second of instilling simple, small gestures into your days when your children are younger.

Soon, we will have three teens in the house and two tweens.

What would I change? Nothing.
Except, on a personal note, I wish I had been more confident, parenting our children in a world where we didn’t follow the norm.
I wish I could tell my younger self that parenting inside the funnel would be totally worth it. And when people jokingly commented (and there were many) that we had just been dealt a lucky hand of kids, I wish I hadn’t just laughed and agreed with them, even though inside my head I was screaming, “We had to work at it!”.

We love having teens in our house. Their big, bright and loud characters fill our home and all the spaces we didn’t realise even needed filling.
Our 18 year old son, who was such a teeny, skinny baby, is now 6ft 3 and has the most booming loud voice on the face of the earth. And even though I’m always asking him to use his inside voice (“Mum this IS my inside voice!”), I wouldn’t change a thing.
Not a single thing.

Bring on the rest. This friendship stage of parenting which doesn’t feel like parenting at all.

 

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Starting Over Again.

Starting Over Again

“For though I fall, I will rise again.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light”.

Starting Over Again.

When we moved from Australia to the UK we knew in our hearts that there was unfinished business here in this glorious, lush island of rolling green hills and abundant history. This beautiful British country that was to become our forever home.

“Until we realised that the jacket we had been
trying to pass off as a good fit,
felt truly uncomfortable and awkward”.

And in many ways we were the misfits, the renegades, the square pegs in round holes. The Australians who felt out of place in their home country.

A bit like wearing a jacket that needed re-sizing. No matter how much we tried to make that jacket fit – take it in here, add some pleats there, fancy it up a bit. It just never sat properly across our shoulders. It was too baggy under the arms, sat heavy on our chests and scratchy to wear for long periods of time.

We knew that we weren’t planted in Australia for long seasons, as much as we tried and tried to force those roots, deep down in the dry Australian soil.
They just didn’t grow, didn’t stick and most certainly didn’t thrive.

We tried moving, hoping that the ground was more fertile in other places, prettier suburbs, better schools, even better paid jobs. And that did work for a while, until we realised that the jacket we had been trying to pass off as a good fit, felt truly uncomfortable and awkward.

 

So we did it.
We upended our entire family, our lives, home, nearly all of our worldly possessions.
Sold everything and with our most precious cargo, our six children, we relocated.
To England.

We broke hearts, friendships and fractured family relations, through this move to the other side of the world.
It hurt us and it hurt others. So much confusion as to why living in the great south-land of promise and opportunity, just wasn’t enough.
Wasn’t us. If it ever was in the first-place.

“It took much longer than we ever anticipated”

And for some, the thought of making a new life in a cold climate, grey, drab and wet, was unfathomable. But I guess that depends on which side of the coin you look at it. Like everything and everywhere, there are pros and cons.
We decided to look at the pros.

You would think that once we had made the momentous decision to move, it would be all smooth sailing.
I sure did.

But that was far from the way it panned out.
Our new jobs were challenging, making connections, time-consuming and exhausting. Everything was a starting block.
We felt lonely at times and displaced. Setting up home all over again was expensive. Heck even getting a mobile phone contract was nearly impossible.

“I eventually realised that I was here all along”

However, just because something is right, doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult.
To adjust, settle, face reality.
Like the couple who long to have a child without success and finally, their dream has come to fruition.
Except being a parent is hard but that doesn’t mean their child wasn’t meant to be or they truly didn’t deserve to be parents.
It just means that ‘right’ can also be challenging.
Or the couple who are perfectly suited for each other and marry. Do they never face hardship or sadness? Of course not. Marriage is hard work. For all of us.
Even for the most loved-up, cute couples you see on social media.
Happiness isn’t without struggle.

We knew it would take time. To settle, find friends, breathe a little easier.
But it took much longer than we ever anticipated.
Five years much longer.
And there were many, many times throughout those years that I couldn’t find myself anymore.
Where had I left me? Where was I to be found? Was I to be found?

And I eventually realised that I was here all along. That our new path was really a journey that was to twist and turn, like all other life journeys.
Some points would be magical and others devastating but we are building a life based on purpose, not perfection.

Of course there will be ups and downs, sickness and trials, hardship and rejection. For this is life, despite what country you live in.

 

However, the one thing we do know, is that our jacket now fits.
Snug in all the right places, with space to move and freedom to stretch out our arms and fly.

In this new place that isn’t so new anymore and one we call home.

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Why Women Are So Complex.

looking after yourself

If a woman says “Do what you want!” 
Do not do what you want.
Stand still.
Do not blink.
Don’t even breathe.
Just play dead.

Looking after yourself

Never a truer word spoken really. Especially when said woman has raging and unstable hormones, feels fat, ugly and wants to eat a truck-load of chocolate in a dark room, whilst partaking in impulse internet buying.

I really don’t quite understand how this happens but sometimes, when I am in a certain womanly phase of the month, I will wake in the night, prepare myself a plate of scrambled eggs with fresh parsley, brush my teeth and trawl Amazon for hessian pineapple bunting, soft, squishy anti-stress peaches and fluffy white pillows.
From China.

Somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks later, I receive random boxes in the mail. Of which I have zero recollection of being actively involved in purchasing.
I mean, Amazon and Ebay finds can be so damn cheap!
This 
stuff, that someone buys at 3.24am about 48hours prior to ahem – that time of the month.

“Women are beautifully and uniquely created, not to serve men or our children or be a slave to our jobs or homes, but to make our mark on this world and shake it gently.”

Which lends itself to the point that women are deeply awe-inspiring creatures.
We can shop in our sleep, prepare food, uphold excellent hygiene practices, and support the Chinese internet market, very finely thank you.
Not-to-mention maintain our homes with the latest of decorative trends. Purely and utterly incredible.

Which is just as well really, because on some days we are golden goddesses, oozing sexuality, poise and glamor. And others pyjama-clad, scratchy, irritable, balls of confusion, with a slight whiff of halitosis breath.

Women are beautifully and uniquely created, not to serve men or our children or be a slave to our jobs or homes, but to make our mark on this world and shake it gently, as Gandhi so eloquently quoted.
Even though our minds can be like an internet browser, with at least 19 open at one time, 10 shopping carts full of wish-lists, three frozen and a distant rendition of ‘The Sound of Music’ coming from some random corner of our minds, we can keep those balls in the air for a very very long time.
All at once.

“Don’t be afraid when storms come your way.
Learn to sail your ship over the waves”.

why women are so complex 2

 

In the spirit of celebrating the awesomeness and complexity of women, I have created a quick, go-to, glance-at, pin-on-your-wall, manifesto/self-care reminder to nurture our hearts:

Why women are so complex 1

 

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Go Easy On Yourself and Breathe, My Friend.

Go Easy On Yourself and Breathe, My Friend

“Breathe, my friend.
You are not old, you are young.
You are not a mess, you are normal.
Extraordinary, perhaps.
In the blink of an eye your life will change.
And it will continue to change for decades to come.
Enjoy it. Embrace it…Be grateful for the ride.
You are not old, you are young.
And faith will get you everywhere.
Just you wait”.

Hmmmmm these words. So very soothing. 

Like a gentle balm on sunburnt shoulders after a long day in the sun.
That first cup of coffee in the morning when you are woolly-headed and can’t quite wrap your brain around what lies ahead for the day.
Jumping into a cool shower and wetting your hair, immersing yourself in the rush of the water, blocking out the world – just for a moment.

This is how I feel when I read this lovely quote. As though I have been given permission to breathe in the busyness and frantic spaces that is our world.
I am as young as I feel, not middle-aged, as my son politely informed me the other day.
There will be some days that I barely feel as though I have left my teenage years and yet others – I will feel every bit the 44 years I have lived on this earth.
My bones will ache and my movements labour.
And that is ok.

I am not a mess. I am a beautiful creation. One worthy of kindness and love and mercy.
Some days I will feel like I have smashed the day like a boss and excelled every single time, with every single thing. Other times I will fail.
My house will be a mess, my clothes crumpled and I will feel incapable of caring for myself, let alone others.
And that is ok.

There will be times that I feel utterly, extraordinary and precious. I will see my gifting’s and thank the Father for making me a perfect creation in His eyes.
I will create and nurture and show gentleness, compassion and tenderness.
Yet again, I can be scratchy and overtly sensitive and critical. I can be so quick to condemn. Yelling at a slow driver, clicking my tongue when someone is being difficult, quick to judge and even quicker to be unkind.
And I swear a lot in my head. Some days.
And that is ok.


I know that in the blink of an eye – mere seconds even – my life can change direction.
I may move house, move countries, lose friends, make mistakes, regret my actions. Deeply.
My husband may lose his job. I may lose mine.
My beloved family may suffer. Cancer may become our norm. Life will spin on its axis and I will feel like a stranger in my skin.
I will find a new normal again.
And that is ok.

There will be moments of pure joy. When my heart feels so full of happiness that I could burst.
I will look at my life and genuinely feel frightened at the perfectness of it. Afraid it will shatter into a thousand pieces.
I will want to hold on to happiness like a small child holds onto their parent’s hand. But as much as I tighten my grip, that feeling will disappear and I will feel sad at its departure.
But then I will embrace happy and smile at those golden moments.
I will be thankful for the wild ride that is life. And when the cloudy days threaten to spill over and stay awhile, I will know that this too will pass.
And it does. Just as I always knew it would.
And that is ok

I am as young as I choose.
And faith will always be my friend. My constant, my solid ground and measuring stick. I will return again and again and again to the truthful words of the Father.
And I will know that I am loved. Despite everything.
And that makes everything ok.

And I will wait. Because most of life feels like a wait sometimes.
Waiting for something to happen, waiting for something to change, waiting to be loved, waiting for the sunshine, for my children to be grown-ups, independent, happy and settled with a life of their own.
Waiting for my life to be a little easier.
And that, also, is ok.

Because, I am a work in progress. And guess what?
So are you.

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When Friendship Is Hard Work.

friendship hard work history

When Friendship Is Hard Work.


Why everyone needs a history friend….

My mama has dear friends whom she is in regular contact with, from her pre-school days. That’s over 60 years of friendships. She and her pals have all shared the lives of their children, marriage, divorce, death, mid-life crises and everything in between.  And their connection is as strong as it’s ever been.
They don’t rely on social media to connect, they will pick up the phone and have an actual conversation, or hop on a train, bus or plane to see each other in person. I truly believe it is this face-to-face interaction that has enabled these friendships to grow, change with the seasons and still flourish.

In this day of transient lives and on-line socialising (of which I partake in as well), sometimes it’s easier to write a text message or shoot off a comment on Facebook, than actually looking at someone’s face and conversing.  I think we all want to show our best sides and this has never been more appealing than in the era of Instagram grid highlights and tweets of happy moments. Even if those moments are only a few minutes long in a day.

But here is the thing about history – it means something. It’s so very special when you have it, like a rare gem.
New pals are wonderful and exciting and they can expose you to a whole new world of knowledge and wonder.
Old friends hold treasures in jars of clay that have weight and depth, that you cannot measure all in one sitting.

Sharing stories of “do you remember when?” or reminiscing about events and people. Catching up on the present, dreaming of the future, it’s like gold.
Hold onto that gold and don’t just chase the most current and shiniest new kid on the block.

History friend 1
Because your history friend knows you in a way that your new pal doesn’t.

Your history friend will call you out when you are behaving badly and set your feet upon sturdy ground. They know when you are lying or being cagey – because they know you. They are well-acquainted with your heart.

And whilst your new friend will revel in the shape of your hands, your old friend will know the exact imprint by heart. The curve of your palm and the rough edges that are still being refined.

Your new pal and you will be in the first lovely flush of connection and no doubt stroke your ego and hang off every word you speak. They will agree with everything you say and nod at all the right places.
Your history friend will not. And sometimes that can seem like hard work. As though the connection is stale and not worth the effort – the nitty gritty of friendship. You may tire of their ways, as they will yours, and the grass seems so much more appealing and greener with the newer model.

My advice? Do not run to the one who tells you what you want to hear.
Stick with your history friend who builds into your heart, as well as your soul. Allow them space to breathe and permit them much grace to trip and fall. But be the hand that is always available to welcome them back, into the fold of your heart and continued friendship.

I read an article recently by The Pool, written by Viv Groskop.  She explains that since they launched the ‘Dear Viv’ podcast (aka old-fashioned agony aunt), at The Pool just three years ago, they have literally received hundreds of emails and letters each week.  And the one subject that comes up all the time, the topic that is constantly a subject to be addressed, is friendships.
Often the most asked questions are “what is wrong with me?” and “why has this suddenly gone wrong?”

History Friend 2
And whilst I don’t have any easy answers for those friendship questions myself, I do believe that many friendships formed quickly and intensely, aren’t always the ones that last the distance.
We have all had those friends who want to spend every minute of every day with us. And those who will message us numerous times in a 24 hour period to check-in. Sometimes these connections can be stifling, albeit lovely at first, they can stale very quickly. And when that friendship breaks down, over a misunderstanding or a cross word, that can leave a stain on one’s heart. A hurt soul.
Oftentimes it is then that we realise those history friends are the ones that we can rely on and always return to.

I have a dear best friend who lives in Australia. We often say to each other that we are so fortunate to have met and formed such a strong bond. We have adapted to the changes in our lives, parented small children, supported each other through numerous heartbreaking life events, built a business together, laughed until our sides ached, and survived a long-distance connection across the world. We have argued and disagreed and cried and forgiven. Again and again.
We are each other’s greatest cheerleaders, fiercest advocates and true sisters in Christ. I will forever be grateful for her input into my life and her commitment to our friendship, as I am to her. I miss her every single day and long to be able to pop over for a cup of tea in my jammies and devour a block of chocolate together. And I love her with all my heart.

That said however, this friendship is one built on doing the tough yards. Of having those uncomfortable conversations, sitting in moments of silence when we are both unsure and confused about the other’s feelings or emotions. It’s still work on both sides of the ocean for us and remains a deep commitment. However, the rewards, my word, the rewards, are rich, as we both give each other portion after portion of grace and love amidst our own brokenness.
Best friends come with the privileged title of walking, not just in the sunshine, but also the valley.

These connections, these deeply moving friendships, are the keepers. And in this day of transient people and transient friends – your keeper friends are all the more precious for sticking by you.

Because you aren’t so lovely all the time either.

History Friend 3

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When Your Kid’s Are Worth The Fallout

When Your Kid’s Are Worth The Fallout


I read a quote today which made me think about the journey of parenting.

It says, “I don’t spend much time and emotional energy training my dogs.  Why?  Because honestly, I don’t care that much.  I like them, but they’re dogs.  I will spend endless time and emotional energy training my kids though, because I do care that much. They’re my kids!”

Now for those who are total animal-lovers, please don’t shoot me.  I love our pets as much as the next person.  But if I had to decide between my fur-babies and my children, of course I choose my children.

That said, our labradoodle, Queenie, is very loved and cherished, as I have spoken about here.  She just doesn’t receive the same sort of attention as the children do.  And here she is to show you how much a part of the family she is, basking in the sunshine at our family picnic!


The other day, my four children had been happily playing outside in the sunshine, bouncing on the trampoline.  I was sewing at the kitchen table and noticed that three of them slinked into the room, whispering to each other, obviously sharing some sort of secret, shifty move.
I instantly became suspicious and asked them what they were up to?
The answer was predictably, “nothing!”
I also noticed that their sister, Olive, had been left outside and immediately smelt a very stinky rat.  So I enquired as to why they had abandoned her?
Their answer was, “it’s just a joke and she won’t mind”.
Literally two seconds later, Olive, being the whirlwind that she is, flew inside crying and sobbed that her siblings had abandoned her and she had been waiting for them to return.


In essence, she felt rejected, and I, was cross and disappointed at the others.

Herein lies the dilemma that all parents face.  I had a choice to ignore their behaviour, putting it down to silly and childish games and preferring instead to smooth the situation over and give Olive a hug.
Or, I could butt heads with the children over it.

We all know that diligent parenting will bring conflict.  It’s messy, inconvenient and time-consuming, and honestly, some days it’s so tempting to avoid it at all costs.  Certainly there are some hills that are not worth dying on, but many are worth the battle, which deal with matters of the heart.

I love my children so much, that temporary uncomfortableness is worth these lessons of the heart.
And I want my children to know that I will engage with them, correct them and train them, when I am tired, and I will challenge their behaviour, when I truly don’t feel like it and would rather ignore their actions.
Because I am not their best friend, I am their mother and loving beyond measure is hard work.  I know that giving into the small things, will only lead to bigger problems further down the track – and a lot more heartache.

Even though our incident appeared to be a small issue, I knew it was a key training moment.
In terms of being respectful to their sister who was left outside and truthful to me when I asked them what was going on. There were a few issues at play that really needed to be dealt with and nipped in the bud.

Teaching respect to small children leads to having respectful tweens, teens and adults.  In our family, this is a total no-brainer.  I not only want to have lovely offspring in my home, I want them to be lovely in your home too.


Basically, I love my children enough to bump heads with them
.
And even though it’s so much easier to be the fun parent, the one who plays and laughs and doesn’t cause her children to feel upset or uncomfortable as a result of their actions, being that other parent takes effort.
Discipling is hard work and I would rather not do it, but daily I choose to be the parent who temporarily falls out with her children and set some rules.

According to Parenting.com “rules reassure kids, because no matter how often children act as if they want to be in control, having too much power is frightening.  They intuitively know that they need an adult to be in charge, and they count on their parents to guide their behaviour”.
In other words, children who have firm boundaries feel more secure than those who don’t really know where the fence lies, how long that fence is and where the gate locks.  It means that they are constantly testing the waters to see how far they can dip their toe in, which causes stress on their hearts and can be a nightmare for parents.

I promise my children that although there are so many times that I long to let things slide, I won’t.  I just won’t.
Because I care too much for their hearts and their futures, not to tighten and maintain that fence daily.  I love them beyond measure and can’t bear to think of them feeling insecure daily, dipping their toes in to see how deep that water is.

The fence is there and so am I.

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