Your milestones – or your kids?

Growing with our family

My daughter are going through some milestones at the moment. My youngest is turning one next month and the eldest is going to be three in November. Little one finally popped a tooth (yes my kids tend to take their time on this issue) and I remember stressing with Zoe the eldest. When will her teeth come – when will she crawl (then walk) … and the list is being repeated as I see Emma reaching her personal targets.

What made me think was The Blind Side movie with Sandra Bullock. Right at the end of the movie she turns to Michael after he was drafted to a University and asked him – Do you actually LIKE football?

Do we as parents see our kids developing and growing and enjoy the moment? Or do we (optimistically wanting the best for them) start pushing them to the next level or the next belt or the higher grades. When do we as parents say “my kid did his best” instead of “well next time you can improve X or Y” … and are we wrong to want them to do more?

I don’t want to be the parent that turns to her child and berates her for a mark when I should be seeing how happy she is with the result she got. In no way am I saying I want my kids to sit back and be happy with status quo. But how do we as parents encourage our kids to THEIR goals – and not the ones we set for them ourselves?

Where do you believe we can find balance?

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Easy Crawley Creatures .. for kids

My daughter has been dying to paint lately – and piles and piles of painted paper seemed a little of a waste. So we decided to create our own jungle creatures. All it took some empty toilet rolls, paint, googley eyes and some pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaners, googley eyes and some ‘pom poms’ come in a pack for R15.99 at Crazy store. For little ones crazy also sells smocks in a 3 pack for R19.99.

One day one we painted some toilet rolls (weather has been wet so we needed time for them to dry). We painted dots and stripes and wild colours so we could be creative with animals later. At 2, Zoe is not dedicated to painting one colour – so different ones were extra fun for her.

Day two was inserting pipe cleaners in small cuts into the rolls. I cut the pipe cleaners shorter to make sure you can make more animals and to keep them in proportion. I added tails and wings to some rolls to make bees and other jungle creatures. Pom poms were added on top or inside the roll (at my daughters whim). I used simple glue on the balls for eyes.

And one, two, three we have some jungle creatures. I am thinking of converting them into a bit of a mobile for her room.

Mother tell your children …

This little chat was inspired by one of those simple polls you get in FB. It was a choice of what advice you would give a younger version of yourself. I started thinking what I would tell my daughters instead. Yes I have regrets, I have things I have learned painfully. Maybe I can spare them some heartsore .. and of course there were the things I was told and never believed.

So I will work on the basics of the poll I would have created from my mom’s advice:
* This too shall pass
* Nil illegitimatii carborundum
* You can’t expect to be loved until you til you love yourself
* If you fall in shut your mouth

This Too Shall Pass
Whatever you are going through in life, be it difficult friendships, exam stresses, depression or just life, given time it will pass. You won’t always be in high school with its inherent strains. Your deadline will eventually pass and you will be able to focus on something else. Your pain at being hurt or dropped or ignored by someone will ease as you make new friends. It will pass – but you need to lift your head and get through it the best you can.

Nil Illigitimii Carborundum
This is the polite way of saying “Don’t let the B** grind you down”. You can’t give anything more than you have to give. Your best is all anyone can expect from you! People will always try to be dominant – try to put themselves in the upper position. You need to learn what your strengths are and not let others define who you are.

You can’t expect to be loved until you love yourself
We all want to be loved. We all want to be accepted by those we look up to. But until you believe in yourself (pimples, cellulite and funny frizzy hair) no one else is going to think you are lovable (well except mom and gran). This was a long life journey for me. I filled a lot of time saying IF instead of saying WHY NOT. I think I missed a lot of opportunities and a lot of potential friendships because I was so busy focusing inwards that outwards passed me by.

I think I also made the mistake of selling myself short. We need to believe that we deserve the best. What makes us less worthy of being happy or loved? Believe that you are worth it and others will recognise that you are too.

If You Fall In – Shut Your Mouth
This one is a strange one. My mom used to scream it when we whizzed around the pool. And it grew later to mean anything we were getting ourselves into. If you fall into a situation where you feel you are drowning – don’t be silly and swallow water. Do something about it. Be prepared. And learn to swim sooner than later.

Falling into the water is not the problem. Deal with what you can control – and control those things. Someone will come along shortly to help you out – you just need to be above water to catch the lifebelt.

Mothers Advice
We all know that just as we had to learn our lessons, so will our kids. It is finding the wisdom to know when to let them buzz around the pool – and when to get the lifebelt ready.

As moms – what advice do you think you should have been given – or believe that your kids will be better off knowing? Please let the rest of us hear it.

And for the best advice we can give to Mothers from Mothers read Mandy’s blog.

Woman, Wife, Mother

Have you ever had a day when you’ve just had enough? Enough kids, enough work, enough husband, enough washing, just enough everything. I know I have, and I’m pretty sure most of you know exactly what I mean.

So what do we do about it?

Options we’ve all tried probably including curling up under the duvet and having a cry, having a mommy temper tantrum, getting a case of the sorries, or my favourite – picking a fight someone, preferably the husband! While this may relieve the stress for a while, it certainly doesn’t solve the problem.

While I don’t have all the answers, I do have something we should all think about. Ourselves.  Yes  – I said it – we need to think about ourselves.

I believe that many people get so caught up in the day to day travails of life – fetching and carrying kids, dealing with work stress, deciding what to cook for dinner, what have you – that we fail to consider our own needs.

You see – before we were wives, before we were mothers – we were women. And we forget to take care of that element of ourselves. We were women first. Individuals who lived a life independently of others. We need stuff that’s just for us – time to be ourselves – possibly even a little bit selfish, just for a moment.  And I truly believe that those times that are just for us, ultimately make us better mothers, wives and generally more pleasant to be around!

Fortunately, in today’s society, there are lots of ways to do this. Join a gym, take up a hobby, be part of a club, do something just for yourself. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money either – or take a lot of time!

Like many families these days, we’re on a tight budget. I can’t afford to join a gym or go to a yoga class. But I have developed some little ways to have those few moments to myself – and they don’t cost a cent!

My favourite way to have time out is generally on a weekend morning. My girls are old enough to wake themselves up and can even sort our their own breakfast. On weekends, they are allowed to get up – WITHOUT waking me – and switch on the telly. A treat for them (as telly is pretty limited in our house). And then, when they are fully occupied with the goggle box – I get my treat.

I have a bath. Preferably with bubbles. With the door shut. And everyone in the house knows – this is MY time. It may be for twenty minutes, it may be for a hour. But my moment of peace and quiet is in that time. I ignore the yells, fights and yowling kitties. I ignore the TV show that may not be of my choosing. I ignore the sound of milk splashed onto the floor. I have time out.

My next favourite escape is an even smaller moment. The ladies in my office simply do not understand why I get up an hour before I wake my children during the week. My reason is simple – I get to do the lunchboxes, have my shower and – this is the critical bit – have a cup of tea in peace and quiet BEFORE the kids wake up!  I treasure those moments – generally the silly gossip guru is on the telly, and I listen to trash TV stories about Paris Hilton or Charlie Sheen or what have you (most of the time it just goes over my head!) and I have my tea. While it’s still hot. And then, when the tea is gone, I wake the girls.

I treasure those moments. They may be small, but they’re mine. And they remind me that I’m still me. More than just a mom, more than just a wife. Me.

I’d love to hear about your little moments – perhaps you can inspire me to take a few more!