Be a YES parent

Sometimes we get into such a routine of saying ‘no’ to our children,  not out of being a bad parent but just because we condition ourselves into having this response.

D1: “Can I tip this tub of trains out Mummy?”
Me: “No, it’s too messy, you don’t need to!”

I say no because it’s convenient for me. Surely he can play without tipping them all out, and I guarantee I’ll be the one putting them all back into the tub later. D1 looks sad.

Why didn’t I just say yes?

A tipped out tub of trains wouldn’t be that messy, he probably just wanted to see which ones he’d got, and he would have probably helped me pick them up.

D1: “Mummy can we play outside in the rain? ”
Me: “No it’s too wet, and you’ll get filthy!”

I say no because it’s more convenient for me. I don’t want to stand in the rain. I’ll have to wash wellies and dry coats, and even iron fresh clothes. D1 looks sad.

Why didn’t I just say yes? Puddle jumping is fun. Dirt washes away. We have plenty of fresh clothes to put on. Fresh air is good for them and gets rids of their excess energy.

D2: “I play playdoh a bit!”
Me: “No we’ll play with it later I’ve just swept the floor!”

I say no because I’ve cleaned the house and want it to stay tidy. Playdoh is so messy. Plus they’ve just had a bath and don’t need playdoh stuck in their fingernails. D2 cries.

Why didn’t I just say yes? Who cares if I have to sweep again? Will it hurt me?! No! Who cares if they need rebathing? They love the water anyway. They love creating playdoh models, why don’t I use the time to interact with them?

 

Be A Yes Parent by Becci Nicholls | Photo: © Miredi

Be A Yes Parent by Becci Nicholls | Photo: © Miredi

It’s so easy to say ‘no’ without thinking things through. Children are not an inconvenience.

Do you want to create a tidy house with neatly stacked toys or do you want to create memories to cherish forever?

The truth about YES parenting

All the above are actually real examples, but I learnt a long time ago to say yes whenever I can. Life is too short to be anything less than fun. An untidy house doesn’t matter, but your children do. A simple yes will make their day. Try it out!

My boys love making my garden look a mess. Onlookers would see sand covering every concrete surface, chalk drawings on the floor, fences, and sheds, an upturned police car, water soaked toys, an empty sand pit, and a slide covered in wet sand. My kids see an adventure land / beach. They’ve carefully spilt the sand. They’ve drawn sharks in chalk. They’ve tipped their police car upside down to fix it with their invisible tools. They’ve played. They’ve unreservedly played, and that’s what rears happy children. Fearless children.

Sand can be swept up. Chalk can be washed away. Toys can dry out. Cars can be put the right way up. But children’s memories cannot be faked; they’re either good or not good.

Last week I filled our garden path with shaving foam and hid lots of dinosaurs in the ‘snow’. It was messy from the start. It got even messier when they figured out clapping your hands in the foam created a mini blizzard! I could have easily not bothered, or said no to the clapping but they had so much fun! They even spoke about it the next day! And the worst that happened? We all had to get changed.

Does your babba want three bedtime stories? Why not! Who’s counting anyway? One day they’ll be too big to have a bedtime story so don’t ever refuse them now.

It’s not about saying yes all of the time

Obviously this post is about saying yes more often in regards to fun and play, it’s not about saying yes to everything else. Children need healthy boundaries, but they also need a safe environment to be children. Let your babbas be free to play. Yes parenting is vital to their development.

Try having a day of ‘yes’, let them have fun, messy fun. You’ll enjoy it too and feel much more relaxed!

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Becoming a Momma

Having my first child was a shock to my system. When you’re pregnant you receive so much advice it is unbelievable. Now, I’m not really sure who wrote this rule but, being pregnant means that any Tom, Dick, or Harry, known to you or unknown, can give you advice about how to rear your child “correctly”!

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As a first time momma you worry about every single thing. You worry if you’re eating the right things during pregnancy (will that one stray bitesize piece of nut that somehow appeared in your carefully dissected cake give your child a nut allergy or a serious illness?) or will lying on your tummy somehow harm your baby. You spend every waking thought conjuring up worst case scenarios and how you would deal with them.

As a first time momma you plan all the things you’re going to buy; the cot, the moses basket, the bumper set, the bottles, the steriliser, the cot mobile, the pram, the car seat, their first outfit etc. You plan all the baby crafts you’re going to do and all the memories you’re going to make. You look forward to maternity leave and the lunches you’ll have, and the trips to the park.

As a first time momma you are very unrealistic. Nobody told you that you’d be so sleep deprived you’d sit on your bathroom floor crying uncontrollably at 2am because your baby will not settle for the sixteenth night in a row. Nobody told you that’s normal. Nobody told you how colic tests you to the limit. Nobody told you your laundry basket would never be empty. Nobody told you that the ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ advice is rubbish advice because it never happens. Nobody told you a simple trip to the grocery store would take you three hours just to leave the house.

During pregnancy nobody told you that you’d feel unattractive. Nobody told you you’d feel distant from your husband because your brains constantly running on overdrive mode. Nobody told you that you’d rather spend your days locked away in your house wearing your pyjamas. Nobody told you that you’d feel antisocial. Nobody told you that sometimes you have to rewash the clothes in the washing machine for a third time because they’ve been in there wet for two days. Nobody told you going to baby groups would be as nerve racking as starting high school.

Being a momma is hard, it’s a learning journey. You have to learn how to juggle being a momma with housework, appointments, grocery shopping, being a wife etc, whilst trying hard not to let go of the person you are also. If you achieve all of this then let me know your secret!

When you become a momma you compare yourself to so many ideals, and you aim unrealistically high, so sure enough you fail to reach your impossible standards. It’s very easy to fall into that trap, but if you do then you have to pull yourself out of it! Motherhood is a personal journey, a unique journey. Your motherhood journey will never be the same as anybody elses, and that is something to cherish; you write your own story. You don’t need to compare your story with anybody else’s, and especially not to another mums highlight reel!

My first child was a shocker to my system, but a good one don’t get me wrong! Nobody can prepare you for the experience though, and nobody can write your story either. You suddenly have this little human for whom you’re responsible. They come before everything, everyone, and even yourself. You burp them. Feed them. Bath them. Clean milky spew. Make bottles. Worry when they have a fever. You know everything about them, every detail. You wipe their tears. You cuddle. You snuggle. You sniff them. You fall asleep with them. And you turn into a momma bear if anything compromises their safety or their feelings!

Being a momma is hard. Being a momma is sometimes stressful, you worry constantly if you’re enough for them. You are! You’re perfect for them. The only momma they need! And that perfectly tidy house you think you should have!? That’s a load of rubbish too! Obviously don’t live in filth,
but if it’s a choice between nurturing your child through playing etc or mopping the floor choose your child every time. With your last breath you’re not gonna wish your house was cleaner!

Enjoy your journey, it’s something no one else can experience!

You are enough!

I actually began writing this post last week and then broke away from it. Circumstances that week made me slip into a dangerous self-loathing zone, and I felt like a fraud writing an upbeat blog telling people they are good enough as the are, when infact I actually felt ready to give up. I felt beyond inadequate. I felt worthless. I eventually crawled out of the rut, and ignored my heart for a few hours until it finally came into line with my head. All is now good, until next time, I am, after all, human. Here goes…

At one time or another we all feel below par and not good enough, that’s part of life, but what if the feeling lingers and seeps through into every area of your life? That’s what happened to me, and sometimes still does.

Motherhood makes you very vulnerable in regards to your emotional health, and you have to adjust to a crazy amount of changes.

Pre-motherhood I wasn’t exactly on a platform of emotional stability anyway, not that everyone could tell though, I’m pretty good at faking confidence and a carefree attitude, as you have already read a little about in one of my previous blogs The Silent Struggle.

Before I became a momma I spent the majority of days feeling inadequate, and I felt a constant need for gratification. I was a closet people pleaser, I guess I still am to a certain extent. I cannot stand to think that someone doesn’t like me, no matter how bad they treat me, I take it very personal.

Then I became a momma and I called a halt to various situations and people which were having such a negative impact on my life. Writing this now is easy, implementing it a few years ago was heartbreaking yet also necessary. It’s hard when the people who should innately love you beyond comprehension don’t. It leaves you feeling inadequate, and constantly worrying why they couldn’t. Self loathing permeates your very being, and a poor self image reins.

Even removing yourself from situations that are damaging emotionally does not eradicate the pain caused and it certainly does not change your inner thought processes, not over night anyway. Changing your mindset from inadequate to enough is a long, hard journey, but a very possible one!

Once you’re a momma a new ‘Am I enough?’ journey begins. And I’m not sure it actually ever ends, it just changes. There are so many stop offs on this journey. Here are three popular places I’ve stopped off at so far:

Pinterest Park – I love Pinterest, and have spent numerous hours pinning ideas for crafts, parties, outfits, my garden, and general humorous and inspirational quotes. Pinterest is a great tool, however it is also a great discourager. My house never looks shabby chic like the pins do, my cakes don’t look like the pins do, I don’t make my own household cleaners with vinegar and lemon juice like the pins do, my puppets didn’t work because I can’t thread a needle, my body is way beyond the five steps to a bikini body pin, I don’t know how to make furniture from pallets, my house isn’t always photograph ready like the pins, and so on. Pinterest makes me sometimes feel like a not good enough momma, it shows me everything I cannot do. I long to be the perfect momma; chirpy, homemade muffins for breakfast, several craft activities planned, spotless house, no laundry left to do, perfect garden, and flawless hair and makeup. This ideal doesn’t actually exist – life is not a Pinterest board. Give yourself a break – you’re good enough just as you are!

Opinionville – I stop here quite often, although not nearly as often as I used to. Anybody who knows me will know I am quite confident with telling people what I think, however, I usually make sure I have experience in the subject at hand first. One thing that really grates on me is uneducated over-opinionated people who put their mouth in gear way before their brain. These kind of people let you know the correct way you should be disciplining your child, how many hours sleep they need, what they shouldn’t be eating, what clothes they should be dressed in, how children should not be messy etc etc. They basically tell you that everything you’ve decided to do for your children is wrong and unless you bring up your children using their suggestions then you will raise a criminal. Let me tell you now, you do what you gotta do, momma knows best. You are good enough just as you are.

Showroom Lagoon – I visit here for a few seconds most days, but rarely do I set up camp and stay. Showroom Lagoon tells me my house should be spotless with everything in its place. Showroom Lagoon shows me dazzling fireplaces, clean windows, like-new beige carpets, freshly baked cupcakes in the kitchen, a sparkling oven, and a dust-free zone. My reality is the opposite; windows I planned to clean two months ago still remain neglected, dust is settled on most things above one metre high, toys on the floor, toys under the sofa, toys on the window sill, fingerprints on the mirror, jam on my tv screen, chalk on my wall, cushions scattered around the room, and general disarray. But hang on a minute…I’m not auditioning for the best kept house, I’m bringing up my children. My babies won’t remember if momma dusted the fireplace, they’ll remember when momma helped them build a volcanoe and the cavemen got attacked by the dinosaurs. You won’t have time to live up to Showroom Lagoons expectations and memory make too, but that’s ok, you’re not a failure, you’re good enough just as you are. Choose the memory making every time! Before you breathe your last breath you won’t be worrying if your cushions are neatly on the sofa!

Don’t let anything dictate your worth. You are more than enough. Despite the tired eyes, the unwashed hair, the spotted-by-yoghurt thighs, cheerios stuck to the sofa, and half-emptied dishwasher, you are enough and doing just fine! Keep going momma!

The grass is greener when you add a filter

We all know the saying that the grass is greener where you water it. Today I made up my own; the grass is greener when you add a filter.

My life isn’t perfect, my parenting skills are below par, some days I moan, some days I cry, some days I don’t do any housework, yet social media photo uploads rarely portray real life.

Some days I post photographs of our messy time, this photo captures one happy second when all was going well. It doesn’t capture the glue all over my chair and in D2’s hair, or the tantrum D1 threw when I told him he couldn’t put glue on the cat, or the billion sequins D2 scattered around my kitchen, or the snotty sneeze that D1 did that resulted in new pieces of paper all round! Social media life plus one point, real life minus one point!

Some days I post a photograph of a coffee shop stop-off. This photograph shows two cute little brothers sitting nicely eating a cakepop and sipping a babycino. Those few seconds are magical. Little do you know the minutes after are often a nightmare. The photograph doesn’t show the tantrum D1 had about a pecan slice he wanted yet doesn’t actually like, or D2 drop his lollipop and it land in fluff central,  or the karate chopping at the back of the knees I have to do to get D2 to sit down, or the babycino being spilt and momma having to queue with two kiddies to get a new one, or D1 needing a poopoo after one sip of my latte.

Some days I post a photograph of two boys running around the park having fun. This photograph captures my boys having fun, being free,  it doesn’t show the grazed knees I had to kiss better, or D2 running off at every opportunity, or D1 refusing to walk because his legs hurt so much, or D2 crying because his brother whacked him on the back with half an oak tree, or D2 eating the starting-to-mould bread which was for the ducks.

Some days I post photographs of my two boys snuggled on the sofa for movie time. That moment is perfect. What you don’t see is the full on wrestling match momma had to referee and instead of time out for the four hundreth time that day momma decided it was movie time instead, or the melted piece of chocolate D2 was sat on that ends up all over my new cushions, or D1 headbutting D2 because he’s up in his personal space, or the race to the front door to grab the ever so exciting bills the postman has just delivered.

Some days I post a photograph of a date night with my husband. This moment is magical, relaxing, totally needed. What you don’t see is pre-date stress, or bathing two boys who like to reenact the Noahs Ark situation, or momma trying to make her face resemble a human whilst two tinkers jump up and down on the bed she’s perched on, or D2 getting out every toy they own, or D1 needing a poopoo with his momma present, or running out of nappies and frantically sending your husband to the shops, or getting snot on your clean date outfit. You don’t see the cross words between two flustered parents.

What you see online is not always the full story. No one has a perfect life. The photograph may not tell the whole truth, but it will tell the nicest truth, and that’s all we need to remember.

Even in the midst of chaos try and snap a memorable moment, either physically or just in your mind, life will seem a lot more enjoyable. And remember life is not always greener on the other side; a photograph leaves a thousand words (& tantrums) unspoken.

Next time you feel like your falling short in the memory making be rest assured you’re not, you’re totally normal and life is NOT a Pinterest board!

Instaforgranted; private memory making

This is just a quick little post.

I love taking photos, I love capturing a moment, and I especially love sharing them on Instagram. Memories are so important to me, I never want my children to have bad memories of their time with me or their daddy. Photographs are also important to me,  I don’t really have any of my childhood, so I am determined my children will have hundreds, as it’s something I long to have had.

I love capturing messy moments, funny moments, snuggly moments, duvet moments, water moments, fun moments, every moment, but lately I’ve become very aware of how I am capturing all these memories. I’ve become very aware that by capturing the moment from behind the screen, I’m actually not in the moment myself. By photographing the moment, I’m missing some of the moment.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I won’t be taking photographs anymore, just not as many as I used too.

I went out for the day with my eldest a few weeks ago, just the two of us. A momma and son trip to the seaside. I’d usually take several photo’s of everything we did that day, but I didn’t take any. I decided to turn off my phone and not take one single photograph. I enjoyed every single minute and so did he. He had my undivided attention for the whole day and he thoroughly enjoyed it. We had the most loveliest conversations, all frustration free. Instead of photographing the sandcastles, I helped build them without pausing. That day was so important to me, and it’s lovely to think our day is a private little memory between momma and son. No social media whatsoever.

Don’t take your everyday life for granted, stop snapping away constantly. Facebook doesn’t need to see every detail. Some days your babies need an uninterrupted momma, you’ll feel amazing for it too. Be in the moment not just present for it.

Our kids notice everything, let them notice you taking in their every word sometimes.

Memories are precious; make great ones!

Small, unseen sacrifices

When you become a momma there are so many things you gain, but let’s be honest you lose a few things too, and lots of things definitely change. Here are six things that I’ve lost, and things that have most certainly changed,  see if you relate to any of them:

1 Clean hair – Pre-children, my hair used to be washed daily, or every 48 hours on the odd occasion. It used to be cared for, trimmed, moisturised with hair masks, lathered with designer conditioner, unfrizzed with the latest serum, tamed with GHD’s, and often treated to luscious hair extensions. Washing my hair was a relaxing, thirty minutes minimum experience. Nowadays my hair is washed once or twice a week with whatever shampoo and conditioner was on offer that month at the supermarket, trimmed once a year at a push, never straightened, and is shoved up in a top knot at least 26 days out of every month. It’s no longer a relaxing experience, it’s a quick one, 90 seconds on a good day, 10 on a bad day, and it is never a solitary experience, ever. I either shower with a two year old, a three year old, Partysaurus Rex, or all three if I’m extra lucky!

2 Three meals a day – Pre-children I had three meals a day, all at the normal times. I had breakfast type food for breakfast, I had lunch type food for lunch, and dinner type food for dinner, sometimes supper. Nowadays I rarely eat breakfast, somedays I forget lunch and only remember around 3pm when I wonder why my heads pounding. Somedays I skip breakfast and lunch, unintentionally, and swap them for a biscuit or whatever my children left on their plates. Most of the time we eat dinner around 8pm, I used to cook it every day, my husband cooks more than me lately.

3 Hot drinks – Before my munchkins arrived I used to drink a lot of hot tea, this is no longer true. Sometimes I boil the kettle seven times before I have chance to make a cup of tea, other times, which is actually all the time, I forget about my tea until it’s unintentional iced tea. When I say forget, what I actually mean is ‘I’m doing one million other things for two tiny little bosses’.

4 Watching the Soaps – Pre-children I used to watch every single soap going, I loved them, knew all the characters, all the story lines, and even got excited waiting for them to come on tv. Nowadays I couldn’t even tell you the last time I watched one, probably 2012 some time. I don’t know any characters, or story lines, or even the days of the week they are on. What I do know is Chugginton story lines, the words to every Sheriff Callie song, the plot of every Disney movie, and every dance move of Zingzillas.

5 Clothes shopping – Before my babies, I loved clothes shopping, a little addiction of mine. I loved sales, I loved grabbing a bargain, I loved rummaging. D1 didnt mind up until 18 months old, he was a quiet little shopper with momma, D2 wasn’t and still isn’t, not at all. If I so much as even turn the pram wheels slightly towards the entrance of a clothes shop D2 yells, and shouts, and moans. Clothes shopping is now only done out of necessity, or better still,online. Clothes shopping used to make me feel warm, and fluffy. Clothes shopping now makes me agitated and sweaty.

6 Phonecalls and texting – Pre-children you could reach me 24/7, and I’d reply pretty much straight away, but today is a different story. I no longer reply quickly, this will be due to various reasons; I read it and forgot to reply, I started to reply but had to prepare a bath, or snack, or wipe a bogey, or clean up spilt milk, I read it and then had to referee a wrestling match in my lounge etc. The list is endless, it’s no reflection on how I view you, it’s me failing at multitasking. I reply, eventually, but my time scale can be up to seven days. And phonecalls?!; they just don’t really exist in my life anymore, I rarely have the time or two hands free to answer a call.

These six things are actually nothing in comparison to the joy my munchkins bring into my life though, but they’ve happened nonetheless. I wouldn’t trade any of it back though, they’re the most important things in my life, and their health and happiness comes before everything, even clean hair!

Keep going momma, you’re not the only one with bogof hair products!

Grazed knees and booboo kisses

Being a momma is a powerful job, even your kisses are magical!

Today my three year old grazed his knee scaling a wall to join some bigger boys. His immediate reaction was “Argh, mummy!!!! Kiss it better, quick!” I don’t hesitate, I don’t care about germs and blood, my momma instinct kicks right in and I kiss that booboo all better.

In that split second of a graze and a booboo kiss you reach deep down into your child’s heart, and that booboo kiss makes him feel secure and safe again after a painful experience. Psychologically, a momma kiss restores his safety, and ensures no emotional damage or fear buries itself in his little heart. A booboo kiss is a very important thing, never overlook it.

Your toddler will never bore of booboo kisses, and your booboo bucket should never run dry. Sometimes ten booboo kisses are required, sometimes only one, but their magic is mighty!

A booboo kiss is a little security blanket each momma should offer their child the very first time they experience physical pain, they’ll soon learn how to regroup their emotions and feel safe again. It not only helps you connect with your child, it also let’s them know how important they are. It let’s them know you’re available to help them whether their need be big or small. Don’t downplay their booboos, their little worlds are not as complicated as our grownup worlds, that invisible booboo bothers them, let it bother you too!

Our toddlers are too little to guard their hearts, so we have a huge responsibility to guard it for them. This doesn’t mean shielding them from all danger, but it does mean acting as a filter for psychologically harmful emotions, and fears. I want my children to run to me, not from me.

Next time your little ones hurt themselves, minor or major, offer a booboo kiss, they work wonders! Love is a powerful healer.

A Typical Day With Two Under Three

I love my children beyond comprehension, they also drain 99% of the life out of me at the same time. How about yours? I’m guessing I’m not alone in this. My children are generally well-behaved, but they’re children. Gorgeous, world changing, life sucking children.

Do you ever wonder what it is like to have two under three years of age? Well, wonder no more! I’m glad they’re now school age!

4:55am – One child needs a wee. He wakes up half the street on his two metre journey to the bathroom.

4:58am – One child jumps back into bed so loud that the other awakens and shouts “I scared!”

5am – They both drift back off to sleep. Daddy continues snoring. Mummy lies awake dreaming of sleep and winning the lottery. Mummy eventually slips into a half-asleep half-awake state.

5:50am – One child cries because he’s hungry and needs a ham sandwich. Mummy convinces him to watch a movie in bed. Mummy’s eyes hurt. The other still snores. Daddy still snores.

6:15am – The awake child is starving and needs food now before Hanger becomes an issue. Mummy fetches a pre- breakfast. The other child still snores. The awake child doesn’t want to eat anymore, he flails. Hanger reigns. We cuddle. We find a TV show. He now eats. Mummy’s fully awake. Daddy snores.

7am – Alarm is snoozed by daddy. Alarm wakes the sleeping child. He gets into bed with mummy, daddy, and his brother. Daddy snores. Daddy gets jumped on and wrestled by the two boys. Daddy is not a morning person.

7:15am – Alarm snoozed again. Both boys are now in full Wreck it Ralph mode. We go downstairs to play. Daddy snores.

7:30am – Breakfast, milk, blanket & movie time. One child doesn’t share. The other child pulls the blanket. My floor is full of butter side down toast and blueberries. One of them stands on the blueberries. We clean up. We play.

8:45 – Daddy leaves for work. The boys play Duplo. My eldest doesn’t want to share the Duplo, he whacks it off his brthers face. His brother slamdunks him. Both boys get sat out. It takes six attempts for them to sit out. This sharing / wrestling goes on until snack time. Mummy is referee. Mummy plays. Mummy tidies. Mummy puts the kettle on to boil.

9:15 – Bath time. One child agrees. One runs naked around the landing. Mummy ignores him. The complient child gets in the bath. He pours half of the water over my floor. He is in trouble. He laughs. I get annoyed. I drag a screaming other child into the bath. I plonk him in. He cries. He moans. He eventually plays. Shampoo time. They scream to have it on, they scream to have it washed off. One cries about the plug dragon getting his toes. One pretends he is the plug dragon. Mummy is soaked. We get dry, all of us, after two games of naked chasing. Mummy gets washed and dressed with an audience.

10:15am – Snack time. Mummy reboils kettle to have that first drink. One child needs a poop. One child wants snack. Poop then snack. Now the other poops. Poop then snack. Boys sit on sofa and eat snack. One child needs a bath from snack. He gets a baby wipe bath.

10:45am – We draw some pictures. One child draws a storm cloud, which he scrunches up and throws off his brothers head, apparently it’s raining on him. Luckily he ignores him and doodles away. One draws around his own hand. The other copies. My youngest tattoos his whole body with a Crayola marker before I can reach him.

11:15 – We build a fort. We watch a few minutes of a movie on the tablet in the fort. We have a tea party in the fort. One child is a dragon and breaks down the fort. The other child breaks down about the dragon. We rebuild the fort which is now a pirate ship. One child becomes a crocodile. He bites his brother on the foot. He cries. My eldest is still a crocodile.

11:45 – Mummy prepares lunch. One wants six ham and six jam sandwiches, the other wants cheese and ice cream. The boys eat a ham sandwich and a salad in their fort. Mummy reboils the kettle for that first drink.

12:30pm – One child makes a Duplo stadium. The other breaks it. He pushes him over. Both boys are warned. They repeat this. One cries for fifty minutes and the other goes on a rampage with the Duplo. Mummy counts to ten.

1pm – We bake cakes. One child sneezes into the mixture. One eats a tablespoon of butter straight out the packet. One cries his cakes aren’t cool enough to decorate yet. We decorate warm cakes. They eat 75% of the cakes. One needs a poop. Mummy reboils the kettle and grabs a biscuit to eat.

1:45pm – Snack time. One wants raisins. One wants chicken. We have yoghurt. Then raisins. No chicken. My youngest now wears a yoghurt face mask and so does my fireplace.

2pm – One drums. One sings Summer in the style of Olaf. One sneezes, it goes everywhere. The other cries because he has bogies on his arm from brother. We use more wipes.

2:10pm – Mummy reboils kettle, throws in some washing, and eats half a banana. One cries for half a banana. One poops.

2:30pm – Playdoh time. One child makes a ship. One eats a playdoh snake. We cut. We roll. We make a whole playdoh happy land village. He still eats the snake.

2:55pm – Mummy boils the kettle for that first drink.

3pm – One wants to play shops. He gets his cash register and trolley. His brother steals his trolley. He screams and throws the cash register. He apologises. His brother wants a kiss. He doesn’t.

3:15pm – Mummy boils the kettle, and makes a drink.

3:30pm – Mummy prepares dinner. Mummy drinks a cold cup of tea. One child cries for carrots and chicken. Dinner cooks away. They have a 15 minute technology chill. One wants the game that his brother is playing. He snatches the tablet and throws it over the sofa. One cries. One gets sat out. He cries. Mummy wants to cry.

4pm – Dinner time. One refuses to eat. The other eats his in one go and tries to steal his brothers. One knocks over his milkshake. Mummy cleans up. Pudding time. One child needs to be hosed down.

4:45pm – Mummy tries to clean up after dinner. Both kids throw the sofa cushions into a heap and shout “soft play!”. Mummy says otherwise. Mummy says otherwise again. Nobody listens. Mummy now doesn’t care less about her sofa. We have a soft play session. They wrestle. There are tears.

5:30pm – Chill out and pyjama time. Nobody chills. Nobody wants pyjamas on. Daddy is home. More wrestling, now with three children.

6pm – Bedtime. Nobody wants milk. One child has to be held down again for his teeth to be brushed. There’s bed jumping, screaming, wrestling, dribbling, sweaty boys, and tears. We persevere. Two boys snore.

6:30pm – Mummy sometimes falls asleep until morning. Daddy plays his Xbox.

Then cue getting up at 30 minute intervals until morning.

How does yours compare? Are we normal? I doubt it!

 

Do You Encourage Your Children Enough?

Do you encourage your children enough?

Being a momma can be such a tiring job. Don’t get me wrong, I am besotted with my babies, and I’d sacrifice my life for them, but it is an exhausting role being a momma, and it’s ok to feel like that. It’s ok to mentally pack your suitcase, it’s ok to dream of walking out the door, it’s ok to cry into your pillow every once in a while, and it’s ok to have regrets; you’re only human! What’s not ok is venting our own hang-ups, disappointments, annoyances, tiredness, anger, hurts, and negativity onto our precious babies.

We all have those moments, those outbursts we’d rather forget – the moments we turn into a Momster; you woke late, the kids woke grumpy, the iron blew up, the milk was off, the kids wiped a bogey on your clean clothes, milk got spilt, you have a headache, there’s tears over an unsticky sticker, there’s throwing, kicking, screaming, pushing, Cheerios are all over the sofa, nobody wants to get dressed, poopy nappies, and stress levels rocket. In those moments I try to stay cool and calm, and sometimes I do, but sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I yell, my frustration and tiredness take over, but one thing I never do is belittle my children. I never want to chisel away any of their confidence or self esteem. A good self esteem is one of the most important things you can nurture in your children.

Helping your child understand they’re not a failure, just because something they did failed, will give them a solid foundation to base their future upon. When they cry and yell because they’re frustrated they’ve failed at their favourite game, try offering your help and reassure them in trying again, instead of getting annoyed at the whining and the tears. Show them how to handle difficult emotions.

When your child sees you looking in the mirror, never criticise yourself, affirm who you are, they will then learn to affirm themselves. This is a key ingredient in leading a happy life.

I tell my children countless times a day that I love them, and this will always be the case. I snuggle them, I hold them, I high-five them, I tell them they’re the best things since sliced bread. They love being loved; it melts stubbornness, it heals hurts, it wipes away tears.

I get tired of hearing the way some parents talk to their children, and I have to bite my lip. My biggest peeve is hearing a toddler being scolded with “Who the hell do you think you are?!” I mean what kind of stupidity is this? Who do they think they are? Chances are with comments like this they think they’re a nobody. This corrodes self worth, even that of a toddler.

Our words bring life and death. We even have to discipline with love. Disciplining your child isn’t about making sure they know who’s boss and making them feel like a nobody and unimportant. Discipline is about showing them which behavioural path they need to choose, and the best teacher is Mr Example; they watch everything you do and hear everything you say so be very selective.

Our little rascals need affirmation constantly. They need praise; good listening, tidying, being thoughtful, good manners, artwork, trying something new. Praise goes a long way in raising a child who believes in themselves. It’s much easier to build self worth into a child than it is in an adult. I make a conscious effort all day long to praise my children for both big and little things. They’re little faces beam with pride when they know mummy noticed how particularly good they were. I want them to know they’re good enough just as they are, and always will be.

Take the extra few minutes for that second book they are nagging you to read, let them lick the spoon then dip it proudly back into the cake mixture, let them have a water fight in the garden, let them paint each other then throw them in the bath, just let them be. Live a life full of more yes’ than no’s. Live a life of love, lots and lots of love, it conquers all things.