Attraction

I am working on this one.

I am not trying to attract attention, but maybe I am.

I am trying to attract like mindedness with my kid, who at the moment (this morning), is frustrating me. He has a very strong will and so do I and I’m the mama so I have seniority and tenure, as if that means anything. I find that when I react in a negative way (think yelling and threatening to take away everything he desires), I attract negative behavior back. He mimics me or I mimic him or maybe we mimic each other.

I am practicing staying calm and focused on being kind and firm as I guide him and I together on our shared trajectory. I have so many things to still teach him and to learn myself, at least that is my intention. I am hoping that if I stay calm and don’t overreact, that he’ll mimic me and listen and learn about cause and effect and make good choices too. I am still learning and practicing repetition, breathing and patience. I know it works. It just takes time to practice and it isn’t easy and it’s work. UGH.

All good things take work. I’ll keep practicing and loving on him as we grow up together, one day, one hug at a time. I’ll check back with you in 7 years and let you know how this little experiment turns out.  🙂

nAMaste

 

 

 

The Lonely Years

When kids are little, we love (over)sharing stories and pictures of our pride and joy. It’s easy to share the cute and good stuff.

Have you noticed when kids start to grow up, we share less and less? Part of that is because of their privacy and they have a say about what they want others to know about them and we respect their wishes. Part of it is because it’s not as easy any more. Some stuff is embarrassing and challenging for us and for them. We don’t want people to know we are struggling and are vulnerable. And our kids don’t want others to know either.

But we do struggle and we are vulnerable and that’s ok and totally normal too. Our kids are still cute and our pride and joy, we just have to be a little quieter for awhile. Know what I mean?

Here’s what we’re focusing on at our house this week:
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The top three words – consistency, discipline and do-the-work are important reminders for all of us, and especially for me and my parenting and weight management skills. Thank you to my tribe of sisters for their reminders and encouragement. You are loved!

The bottom word, togetherness, is my word of the year. So far, so good.

Love this life. Trials and all.

Namaste and goodnight.

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Work and Play

This is one of my mottos. We work hard and we play hard. We do the work and then we play.

I’m trying to instill these values in my kids and I’m trying to help them to be accountable and responsible as we enter the summer season, much to my oldest’s dismay.

He thinks he should be free to do whatever he wants and that there should be no expectations whatsoever.  He says I used to be the cool mom but now I’m a bit crazy. Bless his heart. He doesn’t understand my motivations and I’m trying to teach, ever so gently, yet we have lots of conflict and it’s only Day 1.  God give me patience and grace and help me to be a good teacher.

I’ve asked them to come up with their own daily schedules to help them feel like they have structure to their days without asking me what they should do or telling me that they are bored. I told them that they have limited screen time and that they have to include time to eat, do chores, read, exercise, rest, play, outdoor time, learn and have time to be giving. It is up to them to come up with a rough sketch of how they think the day should play out and that they should think of some of the fun activities and places they would like to visit. 

I want them to feel empowered and I want them to be productive, while still enjoying the laziness of summer. without being too lazy.

Each night they are to come up with a plan and write it out, share it with me and then we’ll decide if we need to make any changes. Once we have a plan, it’s perfectly fine for it to change, but doing nothing everyday is not ok.

For Juliana and Charlie, this was easy. It worked. No gripes. They worked hard, played hard and enjoyed their first day. For Christian, not so much. He didn’t like this idea at all and has resisted. He is of course a teenager and has his own definitions and knows it all, so I’m ok with that. We’re working through the chaos and conflict and loving each other despite the disagreements. I think we’ll meet in the middle hopefully by the middle of this week.  

Here are copies of their charts from tonight. I especially loved Juliana’s creativity, Charlie’s family ideas, and Christian’s list of possible ideas to explore. They are thinking. They are creating. They are working. They are playing. I am happy.

Happy Summer Everyone!! If you like this idea, steal it, copy it, and let me know if you have success!! xo

 

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Mother’s Work

One of my working mom friend’s went on strike this week. She’s sharing her story on Facebook and posting pictures of the dishes piled in the sink, the trash piling up and miscellaneous clutter surrounding her house. She is brave. She’s not cooking or cleaning or driving or nagging, and she’s taking care of only herself. I’m loving her story. She loves her family and she’s choosing the tough love approach to learning as her generosity has been going unnoticed. I get her. I feel her pain. And I appreciate that she’s choosing this challenging approach to teaching her kids responsibility.  It’s actually harder to do than cleaning up after them all the time. I can’t stand when my house goes crazy!  It would drive me nuts to go on strike, yet I appreciate her stance and am enjoying her journey.

I am also struggling and learning how to teach responsibility and discipline. I want help and I don’t want to ask and nag all the time. I want them to want to help out and pitch in, yet I think their natural tendency is avoidance. I think they have lots of reasons why they shouldn’t help out and fighting against this, is like fighting an uphill battle.  I like hills. I can feel the burn and I know that this is a long journey and it will take awhile, but we will be stronger and more fit from doing the hard work. I’m in it for the long haul. And I’m going to keep teaching and keep expecting responsibility, discipline, kindness, team work and love. I will never give up. 

I’m choosing to fight. I’m choosing to teach. I’m choosing to stand up and hold them accountable. I’m managing their work and I’m teaching them how to respond kindly and politely. I will be patient and I will wait for compliance, despite the conflict and uprising. This is what love looks and feels like. I am stronger than the Resistance Movement.

We’ll all be a better team because of it!  Go team.

And mamas – you are not alone!  This parenting thing is hard work and so worth it!!  Keep up the good fight.  

Life is good (and challenging sometimes!)

Have a great week! xo

Behind the Scenes

Do you ever think about what goes on behind the scenes? It could be behind the scenes of a sporting league, your favorite company, a celebration, your spouse’s work, your kid’s classroom, or an advertisement or performance just to name a few.

So much work and planning and details and repetition and rework and editing and practice to capture the right moment, the right product, the right exposure, the best performance.

Today I worked for three hours behind the scenes helping the costume department get ready for this week’s play performances. The Director was interacting with the Costume Designer and the volunteer parents and the cast to get all the costume parts assigned. The costume director was gathering and fitting all the pieces for each role and working with us as we labeled and organized all the parts for each role and cast member. It was a controlled, chaotic and long process that we typically don’t think about when watching a show.

This made me think of all the other jobs and events that take place every day and all the work that we don’t see or visualize to make things become what they are. It made me appreciate that not everything is about instant gratification and perhaps our kids are learning through theater and sports and music and other events what life is really like. Hard work that leads to satisfying results. On with the show!

everyday life

simple.

it doesn’t have to be complicated.

i choose to share my everyday life to share a story of one person practicing living in the moment, perfectly imperfectly, and doing my best.

i don’t always get it right, but the beauty is… there is always just another moment beginning to start and try again. there is hope. for us all. always. and if we don’t like what we’ve done or what we’re doing, we can change. for real.

i laugh at myself. i tell my kids when i mess up. i thank them for teaching me every day, because i still don’t have this life thing and parenting tweens thing all figured out. don’t you wish life came with a manual?

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Today’s joy was delivered in several ways.

I exercised and felt alive and felt muscles that are building, thanks to Lysia and her TRX training. Thank you.

I sat quietly and had my nails done, because I’m practicing discipline this week. I am a nail biter, and have been since I was 5 years old. I am practicing discipline this one way, and enjoying the sweet rewards of being pampered and practicing sitting still, which is hard for me.

I am also practicing discipline by doing Weight Watchers. I love to eat and drink and be merry. A little too much. So last week I decided to practice discipline this way too. I have to say, I am enjoying living a less gluttonous life style.

The real joy came from being with my kids today and not being too busy.

Charlie had friends over to do homework and they were pretending to be Santa Claus and the North Pole.
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Charlie was Santa and the girls were tracking his arrival on their computers, before falling asleep right before Santa arrived at their house with toys. I wish you could have heard the dialogue, as it was too cute!

I made a kid friendly meal for dinner – baked teriyaki chicken with rice, broccoli and grilled pineapple brushed with butter and brown sugar. I sat with them and shared stories and enjoyed them climbing all over my lap, making fun of my stupid, big cheeks that make my eyes shrink when I smile. I love that they want to play and tease me.

When I went to drop off Juliana at her event, I took Charlie with me to see the Christmas lights.
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I love that he loves Christmas, and I know I’ve already said this before, but seeing him enjoy it makes me enjoy it even more.  Loving this moment.

These were a few of my favorite things… what were your favorite moments from today? What made you smile?

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Discipline and Self Control

This week has been a week of learning and practicing discipline. And I’ve realized I’m not that good at it. I thought I was good at, but I only want to be good at it and still need practice.

I want to be disciplined at eating the right portion sizes. I want to be disciplined at working out everyday. I want to control my yelling when I get frustrated with my kids. And I want to know how best to discipline my kids.

This last thought is where I am most curious and want to learn more. My family is in a state of transition. I know we all are, but moving back and having kids turn into Tweens and teens and starting new schools has brought more changes. I used to have more control over choices and decisions but now their little minds have grown, as they are supposed to, and they have opinions and ideas that are different than mine. Go figure.

I was reading another blogger’s post on discipline around the world and clicked on a link regarding love and logic, a disciplinary approach to raising kids, that piqued my interest. Of course, I didn’t have time to read all of it, but what I did read mentioned that what we are trying to teach our kids with discipline is really self-control. We want them to be responsible for themselves and being responsible for their own behavior is no different than teaching them to be responsible with their school work, chores, and relationships.

So this weekend, I began practicing different discipline approaches and didn’t think of my teaching as discipline, but rather teaching my children self control. I used words to describe expectations and gaps and tried to make connections between their behavior and our reality. I practiced not yelling and reacting and patience and my own self-control.

Huh.

Maybe my kids will teach me a thing or two about self-control. I’m paying attention and learning too, I hope.

Day 254: Super Nanny Needed

Let’s just say there has been a lot of togetherness and today I was close to running out of patience.  I love having kids but their little idiosyncrasies and constant noise making skills start to drive me crazy.

We still have a couple days left of spring break!

I took all three of them with me to the grocery store this afternoon and warned them before we left, that they needed to cooperate and be quiet and to work together as a team. The peace lasted maybe 30 seconds before they needed another reminder. The littlest one just had no idea what I was talking about or maybe I was speaking a different language.  He just didn’t get it.

At the store, I asked him to share the hand held scanner with his sister. They both liked scanning the items and putting them in the cart. The oldest one was helping to make dinner with me tonight and was interested in picking out the ingredients and occupied himself.  The littlest ones were in constant competition. 

Everything I asked was ignored. I gave him another warning, asking him to stand behind me and to follow along quietly, but he couldn’t control his little body. If I said stand behind me, he went ahead. When I asked him to be quiet, he had a question. When I warned him there would be consequences, it didn’t seem to matter and he just asked for a hug. Good tactics, huh?

He wanted what he wanted and I wanted what I wanted and we were at war. Not really, but do you get it? Did I tell you I was short on patience before we left?

So when we came home, I told him he had to stay in his room for the rest of the night, for disrupting the family and for being disobedient. He still didn’t understand and wanted to be with the family. I don’t think he got the connection between his actions and the consequences that were bestowed upon him. I had him write sentences while he was in his room to explain why he was acting like he was and what he should do differently next time.  You see, it wasn’t just at the store that he was being irritating. He was irritating all day to all of us.

So after we made dinner and he finished writing and begged to come out, I said absolutely not. I told him we’d take a family vote and decide whether we should change the punishment.  All four of us voted no and explained why. All of us were sad with the decision but it was the right thing to do. 

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Learning together…

How do you teach kids how to behave properly without hitting them or giving in? This parenting thing sure is challenging. I hope tomorrow we can start over again and all enjoy each others’ company again. We’re still learning.

Namaste.