Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parenting. Show all posts

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Parents, Life Is Meant To Be Simpler (And Not So BUSY!)

Life gets so crazy sometimes. We run and run and run. The kids are involved in several things at once, we can't say no to the latest commitment, and home is only a place to rest your head. Does this sound familiar?

Life shouldn't be like that. Yes, I know. I can hear y'all now. Kids are only young once. They need to experience all these things. They need to find out their potential. We need to be involved in their things. We need to be active in everything. The kids need to know what it is like to be involved and learn to get along with others.

Stop it.

Life is meant to be simpler.

Kids need to know that their family is also their best companions. Kids also need to know what it is like to hang out at home and be a contributor to the household. Kids need to learn how to keep a home, be content with what they have, be content being home with family, and live a simpler life. Kids need to learn how to work and develop a work ethic. Kids need to learn to entertain themselves instead of their parents doing it for them. We have to model that for them.

Does it hurt them to be involved in activities? No, but kids are in so many things that their activities become the universe in which the family spins around. That is crazy! We have lived this life. It makes every one exhausted, frustrated, and discontented. This isn't healthy for the parents and for the kids.

At one point in time, Shali was in four sports plus the dance squad, speech, theater, and choir for almost four years. In the fall of Jordan's junior year of high school, she was in volleyball, football cheerleading, and dance squad. She ended up being a very sick kid by November from the stress and lack of sleep as well her grades suffered a bit. Shali has two injuries that will haunt her the rest of her life because she couldn't rest them like she should have. The pressure to play was too great for her. The kids went to a small school that needed people just to have teams and my kids did what they could. The stress on our family was very great.

I have learned this lesson the hard way and am very happy we are now in a school district that only allows one sport at a time. However, that rule does not stop the endless weekend tournaments, open gyms, weightlifting, and camps. Parents wonder why their kids get burned out or, as they find out later in life, the kids kept playing to make their parents happy.

What are you really teaching them? To over-commit? To live for a sport that may have no meaning to them after high school? That home is only a place to lay their head at night and not a place to live?

This summer, my son decided he no longer wants to play little league baseball. I am perfectly content with his decision. We have a busy summer the way it is. I did ask him a few times to make sure he was certain. He is. However, I have family who thought I should have made him. Why? He clearly did not enjoy baseball by the end of the season last year. He plays basketball on a traveling team in the winter so he is active in something and he loves it.

We actually like to be home at night. I look forward to having a summer without nightly ball games. Next summer, Paige will be playing junior varsity softball and those games will be at night. We have one summer to rest and relax.  I want to rest and relax and so does my family. We want to have a summer of projects and fun. We don't want to be so tired that all we do is veg out in front of the television.

We as parents can stop the crazy train. We can say no. I didn't think I could, but I found out that saying no to being over-committed, stressed-out, and frustrated is very easy to do. Will other people be mad at you? You bet. Should other people's opinions matter where your family is concerned? No, it should not.

You as parents are in charge of your family and the decisions that your family makes. You should decide how your family spends its time outside of the house. If you want your child in a sport or an activity, that is your choice. We still have sports and activities going on in our house, but I will not make my kids do something that they have already tried. I do want them to try sports when they are in junior high before deciding they like it or if it is worth sticking with. I also want them to be in either band or chorus in high school because I feel a music education is important.

Other than that, I don't expect my kids to be in anything. If they want to be and I don't feel like they are overextended, then they will be. I made some mistakes early on with my older two children that I won't make again. I feel that other things like being home and having a part-time job to be more important for my kids and their futures.

We can make life simpler for our families. We can say no to the busyness, the constant running, and tiredness. We can do this and make life better for ourselves and our families.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, November 28, 2014

Yes, Your Kids Do See What You Do!

This week's weather in northern Iowa has been less than ideal. We never really appreciate a day before Thanksgiving snowstorm. Those have a tendency to make travel a bit difficult.

School was cancelled on Wednesday due to several inches of snow being on the ground already and more coming down. The kids were to go down to their dad's house to have Thanksgiving with him on Wednesday. We already had the day planned, had moved Dane's doctor appointment earlier in the day so they could leave earlier, and Shali had some food made and ready to go.

My kids do not let weather stop them unless it is really bad. I think they get that from their mother. Shali is 19 and Jordan is 18. While they are young drivers yet, they are very experienced in winter weather driving. They both have been through some difficult driving conditions and made it home in one piece.

They decided to leave a bit later than planned and their dad knew they were coming. They as well as him and I kept a close eye on the weather and road conditions.

Here is where I know my kids have been watching what I do and did accordingly.

Jordan made sure everyone had a set of clothes packed in case they needed to spend the night (which they did). She also grabbed water, food, and a gallon of Sunny Delight (why that I don't know, but it is liquids!). She made sure boots and snow gear was packed for everyone. She also made sure everyone grabbed a blanket in case of an accident or car troubles. The two drivers always have a blanket in the car. but more is always welcome.

I do all these same things when I plan to go anywhere farther than 30 miles from home. Most of the time, these things are already in my car except fluids. We have been very cold lately and those things freeze so I grab them when I leave the house.

The drive was not bad due to them sticking to main roads even though that added miles to the trip. They made the drive in daylight. They stayed in touch with both of us parents to make sure they were safe. I texted Paige who was the non-driver in the car to make they were fine. Which they were.

They ended up spending the night to spend more time with their dad as well as the temperatures and wind chill dropping below zero. They filled up with gas before they left their dad's house next morning to get to the next Thanksgiving which was at my parents.

They did all the same things I would have done. I know many parents may not have let their kids go at all, but I think sometimes we let our fear rule our decisions.

And it was just snow.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How Will You Entertain Your Older Kids When The Power Goes Out?

Let's face a fact: most kids are very happy playing with something that is electronic. They would play them all the time if they could. I know the pain of that statement because I have a ten year son who is the same way.

I worried about how he would entertain himself if the power went out and the batteries on his Nintendo 3DS died. I worried about how my two daughters at home would entertain themselves without cell phones, computers, Kindles, and Netflix. I worried about all of us dealing without Wi-Fi.

However, we have had a few times of dealing with this now and they dealt just fine. Why? How?

1. The batteries on various electronic things take a while to die. We also have a few solar chargers.

2. I had the foresight to give them a love of reading. With a flashlight or candle, they can read forever.

3. I never wanted to be the parent that had to constantly entertain her kids. I had them entertain themselves and play with each other (the joys of living on the farm with a homebody mother). They learned to play together. We have disagreements, but they get them worked out quickly without too much parental interference.

What can kids do to entertain themselves without using electricity or power? Realize that I have a 10, 13.5, and 18 year old at home. This list is geared for older kids. When my kids were little, entertaining themselves was much, much easier.

Things To Do When You Have No Power!

1. Books and magazines (Start a library with a variety of books that might spark their interest)
2. Board and card games
3. Legos (My son is quite the fan! He has books and several sets.)
4. Drawing paper and pencils/chalks
5. Painting supplies
6. Crafts
7. Clean their bedrooms - a good lantern or oil lamp carefully used will provide enough light.
8. Clean out school bags
9. Tell stories or read out loud
10. Scrapbooking or organizing pictures - we get a lot of trips down memory lane doing this!
11. Set up the ultimate car track and race the little Matchbox cars
12. Set up a Rube Goldberg contraption
13. Perform some science experiments
14. Teach them to cook without power
15. Play outside if the weather is not bad.
16. Play flashlight tag indoors
17. Put together a puzzle or puzzles. 
18. Play with the pets
19. Take a nap
20. Put on a family play and/or puppet show

Just in case you were all wondering, these ideas were supplemented by my children. They came up with most of them!

What does your kids like to do when the power is out or the batteries have died in their various electronic devices?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Raising Your Kids To Be The Opposite Of Society's Expectations

Some beliefs I have encountered:

Many people believe that kids need a gentle, coddling introduction to being a grown up.

Many people believe that kids cannot function on their own until they are 22-25 years old.

Many people believe kids do not need to have a job while in junior high, high school, or college. They should just concentrate on their studies and being involved. They have the rest of their life to work.

If the kids have jobs, they still don't need to pay any of their own expenses. They should save their money or just blow the money on junk.

Many people believe that kids need to go to college in order to be successful. As long as they graduate with a degree, they will be successful.

Many people believe that it is okay for kids to move back home after being gone for a few years and not have to contribute to the home or pay bills. They need to concentrate on finding a job and saving money to buy a car or a home.

All of these beliefs? They are the reason why we have a generation or two of adults who can not function in our society. They can not work or don't know how to work. They believe that someone else will always take care of them.

I don't know about you, but I want my kids to be independent, respectful, functioning members of society. I love them too much to be anything else. I want to see them succeed. I want to watch and love where life is taking them. That requires me as a parent to help them get to that point.

How do I do that?

1. Teach kids skills while they are young. All my kids learn how to cook and know basic cooking skills. I want to know they can feed themselves. They learn how to do laundry. They mow the lawn. They are in charge of animal chores and taking care of the animals. They also help around the house and do whatever chores I assign them.

2. Teach kids to work. My kids do all the things in #1 to learn skills, but to also work. I don't pay an allowance, but I want them to understand that to get anything you have to work for it.

3. Teach kids to pay for their own things. This is a tough one. When my kids turn 16, I don't buy a lot of things for them anymore. I buy their food, basic necessities, car registration, car insurance, and first vehicle. Other than that, they buy their own stuff. They want to dye or perm their hair? They pay for it. They want clothes, jewerly, and shoes? They pay for it. Their grandparents buy them a fair amount of things, but they refuse to buy everything the kids want too.

4. Encourage kids to get a job. Let me rephrase that: Strongly encourage them to get a job. By telling them they have to pay for the things they want, they will want a job anyway. But I still encourage them to get a job. My girls' jobs (so far) have included babysitter, cook, waitress, bartender, cleaner, camp counselor, teaching assistant, and the list will continue to grow. Has it hurt them? No, not at all. In fact, those jobs have helped them decide what they don't want to do in life.

One of the things that stuck with me at Shali's college orientation was in a parents' session, they encouraged the kids to be busy and to have a job while in college. Why? Because kids that are busy going to classes, working, studying, and being involved with college activities were more productive and had better time management skills. Those kids are also better students and more successful in life.

5. Do not coddle kids. I teach mine from an early age to work out their problems and deal with people themselves. I will always be there to help, advise, and defend them if need be. However, I teach my kids to be responsible for themselves. They have had to explain that they lost homework and library books, were late for school, and/or missed a lesson. If those things were my fault, I wrote a letter of explanation and apology. Otherwise, my kids have to explain themselves.

I also do not take my kids everywhere with me. They stay home by themselves at age 10 or older depending on maturity level. By age 12, they are watching their siblings while I am gone. I do not have daycare in the summer and the older ones are now responsible for the ones that can't drive. They do have wonderful grandparents that help out, but the responsibility is on their shoulders. I do "pay" for them doing this by providing gas money, but I feel kids should have to help out at home.

6. Teach kids that education is important. This one comes with a twist. I do not believe that all kids should go to college. I tell my kids that they should go to college if the career they are going into requires it. However, if they are interested in a trade, then go to a trade school or go to work right away. Military service will always be a possibility. College is not for everyone and they should not waste their time by getting a soft degree that will get them nowhere afterwards.

Kids will appreciate this when they get older. Sometimes they will argue with you on it, but the goal is for them to be functioning members of society that will not want to freeload off of you or the government.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Single Mamas: Life Does Get Better

Dear Single Mamas:

Life Does Get Better.

Someone said this to me when I was going through my divorce and I thought I couldn't be a single mama, full-time working mama, soccer mama, and whatever hat I also needed to wear. I thought life was going to be even harder when I realized I was truly on my own and their father wasn't going to be an active part of their life.

But life got better. And it will for you too.

It is hard to see that when you are knee deep in the trenches. It is hard to see that when you are crying with frustration in bed. It is hard to see that when your child is disappointed and you are powerless to help. It is hard to see that when you are robbing Peter to pay Paul and may need to rob Simon too. It is hard to see that when you have a screaming toddler and impatient, attitude-filled teenager. It is hard to see that when all you need is another person who understands your situation and you think no one does.

Life does get better.

Your children will pass through the stages of life and be off to college before you even realize what happened. Your children will come around you on your lowest day and love you so much you just want to hug them and cry at the same time. Your children will do amazing things and conquer the stereotype of kids who have single parents. Your children will screw up, but learn so much from it that you, yourself, are astounded.

You will go to bed more thankful for your blessings in life that you ever thought possible. You have a great group of family and friends around you that will lift you up, surround you in love, help you in their own special ways, and be there for you in your best and darkest times. Sometimes you find it hard to ask for help or feel helpless, but just ask. Someone will be there for you.

People will talk about you, criticize your parenting, and how you do things. Just ignore them. Most people are going to sit back and admire you for the good job you are doing. You may not know what to say when someone compliments you, but just say thank you. Because there is nothing else to say, but to give thanks.

You may or have already found love again. Hold onto that love with the great strength that exists in your power. Realize that you cannot bring the past into the present so don't bring your old hurts, mistrusts, jealousies, and anger into something that is new and precious. Realize that you are with a new and different person who doesn't deserve that. Give them the chance to prove it.

You are a wonderful person who got dealt a troublesome card, but don't let that card define you. Be the strong woman that we know you are, raise your children the best you can, love ferociously, and leave yesterday where it belongs.

Because life is better. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kids and Finances - What Do You Tell Them?

I had a discussion with a friend a few months ago and we came to a point that we had to agree to disagree. We were discussing what you should tell your kids about your finances. This can be a sticky area for most families. I would like to tell you how I handle finances with my kids and what I do with them.

First of all, I will not lie to my kids about money. If I don't have the money, I certainly am not going to spend more on something for them. Most of the time it is a frivolous want, not a need, and they need to be told no anyway. I simply say that I do not have the money for that item right now, but if they want to spend their own money on the item, that is fine.

Some kids will spend their own money and some will show their true colors by not buying it. I want to send the message that it is not okay to spend my money on something that they would not spend their money on too.  As the kids get older, I have them start buying their clothes, accessories, etc. I will buy them things for their birthdays, holidays, major growth spurts, and beginning of the school year. I will also buy them their necessities, but for other things they want they must buy themselves. This teaches them to budget their own money for what they need and want. If they want to go out with friends, they must also pay their own way.

Secondly, I don't pay allowances. I will not pay my kids for working around the house. They live there too and can contribute to it's upkeep. I see a lot of parents paying allowances to kids for doing absolutely nothing and I don't like the lesson that teaches them. Kids need to understand that money is earned, not handed out freely.

However, I do help with the teenagers when they need to fill their gas tank. I only pay for a fill every 10-14 days because a tank should last them that long driving to school and back. If they go through more than that, they need to fill the tank themselves. Sometimes, the grandparents are generous enough to pay for a tankful, but we like to not take advantage of that.

Next, if we are going through a rough financial patch at our house, I will tell the kids. I will just say that money is really, really tight right now and we do not have room in the budget for anything extra. Trust me, they understand what I mean.

Some parents do not believe in telling their kids this. I do because I want them to understand what is going and why I may be a little stressed out. I also want them to understand that the household budget is the family's budget and we all need to be on board about what is going on. If we need to make cuts in the budget, I will include them in the decision making about what needs to be cut.

The kids need to understand this now so when they get older, they know what budgeting and sacrifice is. Sometimes we need to say no to ourselves so we can do what is necessary to live comfortably. I also think this teaches the kids to be creative at home and find solutions to wants without spending money.

My kids surprise me with the money decisions they make now and how frugal they can be. They also surprise me by what they spend their money on. I do give them some grace on spending decisions because they are still learning and mistakes will be made. Shoot, as an adult, I still make spending mistakes! I try not to, but they happen.

I hope this helps you in some way and if you have questions, please ask!

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Teach Your Kids To Work and Survive in Life

Would you like to hear what is wrong with our country right now?

Most people expect to have their lives handed to them. They expect to have to work as little as possible and get the most money they can. They expect to have grand benefits without having to pay for them. They expect to graduate high school/college and automatically have a better standard of living than their parents. They want really nice things without having to save up for them or work up to them.

Trust me, I know. I once had that mindset. Not to the degree that I see now from young people, but it was there. I thought I could do a little work and get by with it. That all changed when I found myself married with little ones, going to college, and working three part-time jobs just to get by with what my then husband was doing: working a full-time job, going to school, and coaching. We found ourselves knee-deep in debt and struggling to pay even minimum payments.

The good life is what you make of it, but teaching our kids that work is not part of that equation is a huge mistake. Teaching kids to works starts at home with both parents understanding and realizing that this is for the benefit of their children. One of the parents' goals in life is to make sure your kids can make their way in the world on their own. It will be a tough process with some pain, some tears, some pride, and some happiness. There will be arguments and fights.

The main priority for a parent is to teach. Teach your kids to be responsible. Teach your kids how to do the job. Teach your kids to see a job through to the end. Teach your kids pride in a job well done. Praise them for taking initiative in doing a job. Praise them when they have done well so they continue to want to do that job. Give your appreciation when a job is done. Correct them with the job has been done poorly or not at all.

And parents, learn to say no.

Saying no is critical to teaching your kids responsibility. Tell them no when they want things in the store. Explain to them that you cannot afford it or that it is not in the budget to purchase. Telling them no now will teach them self-control for later in life.

Tell them if they want things or privileges they must work for them. Show them how you must work to afford things everyone needs in the family. Show them your priorities: keeping a roof over your head, paying for utilities, and paying for other things like telephone and internet service.

Give them jobs at home. Teach them to work at home. Whether you want to pay out an allowance is your decision. I chose not to, but I kept tally of what my kids did so it they wanted to purchase something or go to a movie, I would pay them then.

When your kids get old enough, encourage them to work outside the home. My girls have all started babysitting for others when they were twelve. I had them babysitting at home when they were eleven so they knew how to look after others responsibly. Shali and Jordan are 18 and 16 respectively and both have been working in a restaurant since 16. They cook food and help wait tables. I showed them how to cook when they were younger, had them making meals, and helping me in the kitchen since they were little. Those skills helped them to get jobs later on. The side benefit to this is that they both know they do not want to spend the rest of their lives as cooks in a restaurant. They enjoy the work, but it is not their lifelong ambition.

Now if the girls want something outside of their basic needs or what I think is over and above what I am willing to purchase for them, they have the option of buying it themselves. They may or may not purchase that item because they must decide if that is good way for them to spend their money or if they have to have that item. What I have taught them in this is that it is not okay to spend my money or other's money if they are not willing to buy that item with their own money. This also stands for going to the movies and out with friends.

This helps them prioritize their money. A tip I got from another parent is to have your kids pay you a payment every month. This will help them understand and be responsible for a monthly payment. He then gives the kids back their money when they go to college. I thought that was a brilliant idea!

Teaching your kids to work, understand prioritizing their needs and wants, and how to live within their means are life lessons. This is not something they figure out themselves when they get on their own without some very painful lessons. The parents' responsibility is to teach your kids to live successfully on their own when they leave home. They will need that taught self-control and discipline to live and survive on their own. Depriving them of that can be a true tragedy.

Do you want that to happen?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Mother's Desire for Her Children

These last few weeks have been crazy, slightly emotional, and full of firsts/lasts. I find it very hard to believe that my oldest daughter is a senior in high school already. Time really does fly and I look at the wonderfully made, beautifully mature young woman that she has become with awe. She is experiencing a lot of lasts with a few firsts: last first day of regular school, last season of high school volleyball, etc.

As her mother, I feel even more responsibility for her to be launched into the world with the character qualities that I want her to have as well as the moral fiber that will make her a strong, wise young lady. I also feel some difficulty in letting her go to make her own decisions. I have never strived to make all my children's decisions, but guide them to wise decisions. I have had to step in and make decisions for them when they do not appear to be heading the right direction. As they get older, I have felt more compelled to guide them in their decisions to avoid making unwise choices.

Letting go will be hard, but necessary.

I am continually humbled by the fact that someone in the universe gave me four incredibly wonderful blessings. I am humbled by this knowing that when I gave birth to my oldest child, in no way was I parent material. I didn't know the first thing about being a parent or how I wanted to guide my children. For many years, I didn't feel as though I should be their parent. I had many little voices in my head telling me I had no business being a parent and what did I know about it and that I was going to fail them.

I don't know how other parents do this, but for me I need to pray often for confidence, guidance, and wisdom. Especially as my kids have come into their teenage years. I pour so much into these kids that I find it hard to grasp that after 18-19 years, I have to let go of them and hope that they will use everything I tried to instill in them.

Will they be able to thrive in the world after they have left the nest? I certainly aim towards that goal for them. I want them to find what excites them and what they feel is their calling so they can be content with the life that has been given to them. I want them to be secure in themselves to make the best choices for them and those around them.

For now I will try to enjoy the firsts and lasts knowing they will lead to greater things in their lives. I will continue to guide them and love them so they know that their mother is doing what she was called to do:

be their mother.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Single Mama Gig

I have had this post cooking in my mind for awhile and not sure how to write it. You see, I never intended to be a single mother. I never wanted to be a single mother. I wanted to be married and have the support of a marriage while raising my children and thereafter.

Life threw me a curve ball. One I wasn't prepared for. One that sent me to my knees and still does. My then-husband did not want to be married anymore. He did not want what we had built together. Now, looking back, I see that we had not really built too much together and how much of our marriage was focused on him. 

But we had four incredible, wonderful blessings together. Blessings that to this day give me so much pleasure and hope for the future that I want to be better for them. Blessings that also keep me going from the time my feet hit the floor every morning until I go to bed every night. 

So I find it disturbing just to say the least when people comment to me that life must be easier as a single parent. 

That I am "lucky" to be raising the kids by myself. 

That I make this single mama gig look easy.

That I must be superwoman for how I do parent by myself.

The truth is? 

I am none of these. I wake up everyday wondering and organizing and scheduling and planning how I am going to get through the day. I wonder how I am going to get to everything the kids have going on. I wonder if I have everything I need to do what I can. I wonder if I have everything covered or at least have someone in the background ready to cover those things that I can not get to. I wonder if I can make it up to the kid whose thing I missed because I couldn't make it. I wonder how the bills are going to be paid every month and still provide for the kids' needs and wants. I wonder if I am going to be able to hold it altogether. 

Life isn't easier as a single mother. 

I have heard some people say, and I am guilty of it myself, that discipline must be easier as a single parent. I can decide how I am raising my kids and no one can interfere with that. Very true, but the flipside to that? I am the one solely responsible. For everything. If I have a doubt about my decision, I get to live with the consequences. No one who can share the burden of a wrong parenting decision. No one who can take the blame with me. No one who can help to figure out how to fix, change, or negotiate the wrong move. No one to share the doubt with. No one to help set the rules. 

Life is harder as a single mother.

When the little voices creep into your head about how life would be easier if you were single, think about it all: your life, your relationship with your spouse/significant other, your kids. Would life be easier or is it just easier to walk away and try to be the single parent? Relationships are hard work, but with kids involved, that hard work becomes worth it. 

If you do not have kids yet, choose your partner well. I wish I had because life would have been easier to have someone by my side each and every day. I am incredibly blessed with the people I have around me now, but life would have been easier if I had chosen well the first time. 

Life is not easier as a single parent.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Friendship Advice for Teenagers

Looking back at my teenage years, I was a horrible friend. I had no idea how to uphold friendships and no idea how to deal with others when I was hurt by them. I know what I did wrong now by watching my teens negotiate their way through friendships. I also want to apologize to everyone I hurt during that time.

I want to pass on some wisdom that I hope helps you.

Here is some advice for you to take to heart:

1. Treat others how you would like to be treated.

2. If you want your friends to listen to your problems, start by listening yourself.

3. Your friends will hurt your feeling from time to time. Forgive quickly and move on.

4. Respect and trust can be quickly earned and given. Respect and trust are not easily regained when lost.

5. You can be friends with lots of people. It is okay. But don't forget those that have been friends with you for a long time.

6. Honesty is the best policy. You will hurt your friends sometimes with your honesty and they will hurt your feelings when they are honest with you. Again, forgive quickly and realize they only have the best intentions for you.

7. If your friends seem to be abandoning you, take a look in the mirror and ask why. Is it them or is it you?

8. Boyfriends and girlfriends will come and go. Do not let them define your friendships and don't let them be an issue in your friendships. Also, do not let them overtake your friendships. You will need those friendships later.

9. Being critical and criticizing your friends will lead you to lose friends. You might mean well, but sometimes advice freely given is not always welcome unless sought.

10. When good things happen to your friends, be happy for them. When bad things happen to your friends, be sad with them. The point: just be there for them whatever the circumstances.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kids and The Public

I just came home from the tractor pulls in Wisconsin. I had a great time and the little break from home life and the kids was just what I needed to get recharged. Notice I said a little break from my kids. I missed them like crazy and wished they could have come, but the thing is...they don't care for the tractor pulls. They would be fine sitting through one show/night of the pulls, but five shows would be torture in their eyes.

Some of the things I see at the pulls and in general public just makes me shake my head. I don't like to condemn other parents for doing what they feel is best for the child and them. I am all for taking my children with me if they would like to go with me. Sometimes I do exert a little pressure to have them come with me if I think a life lesson or a skill could be learned.

I just can not handle the parents who do absolutely nothing to control their kids. Nothing. Case in point: We were sitting in the top row of the bleachers. A young boy of 4-5 years (?) came with his family to the pulls. They sat down in front. The little boy is climbing up and down the bleachers while his parents are talking to the others around them. After about 15 minutes of that, he stands at the top of stairs on the bleacher and screams/yells for his mom.

For 10 minutes.

Do you think she heard him? Do you think she reacted?

No. This little boy continued on until a few people told him to go down to his mother. Which he did. Screaming her name all the way down. Honestly? I don't think she knew he was not sitting beside her until he screamed her name from the bleacher above her. Then she scolded him. The dad did nothing.

I am not perfect as a parent. I have made more mistakes than I can remember to admit. I have lost Dane twice in a store. He thought I went one way when I went another and followed the wrong person. After that happened, I didn't take him shopping for awhile until he could prove that he could listen to my direction and to pay attention. Both those skills are hard for young ones to learn, but totally necessary.

What if a real emergency happens? Are your kids going to know that they need to listen to you and pay attention to what you have to say and what you are doing? I hope so with my kids, but I continue to make sure that they do in daily situations.

Another skill that kids should learn is self-control. That kid screaming from the top of the stairs and bothering those around him? Was that okay? Not in my mind. He should have known better. One of my kids screaming for me like that better be hurt or have an emergency (and yes, running out of toliet paper in the bathroom while going to the bathroom counts). It is extremely disrespectful and very disruptive to those around them.

Honestly, I know he might have enjoyed the pulls, but at some point I think kids might be too young for them. Same thing goes taking kids to the races, concerts, and whatever you enjoy doing that requires behaving in public. If my kids can not behave in public and become hard to control then I will leave with the notion that they will not come back until they can. As a parent, I need to be the one who teaches my kids how to behave in public settings. Not random strangers.

I know how hard it can be to get a babysitter to watch, much less finding one who is reliable and trustworthy. Having family close by helps, but that welcome can be worn out if overused. Sometimes the only solution is stay home or have one parent take the kids who are old enough and well-behaved enough to go.

For the sake of those around you, please understand your kid's limitations and control them in the public settings. I know I think my kids are pretty good kids as well as wonderful to be around, but I want to be realistic too.

I want to treat others how I would like to be treated. I don't want to treat others with my kids' bad behavior so please be considerate of others by not treating them with your kids' bad behavior. If they are misbehaving and I don't see it, I want to know about so I can deal with the situation quickly.

Thanks for reading my rant! Have a great night!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Personal Information Sheets for Kids

The more I learn about preparedness, the more I learn I am not! Welcome to my weekend project: making a personal information sheet (or a life sheet) for each of my children. I do not have anything like this in a file or in the car if needed. The experts also recommend that you put a personal information sheet in each of your kids' bug-out bags. We do not have those either, but I would like to get this part started.

What should be on the personal information sheets? Here is a list:

Child's Name
Phone Number(s)
Parents' Name
Parents' Address (Important in two household situations)
Parents' Phone Number(s)
Medical Information - known conditions, allergies, history
Emergency Contacts
Personal Information: height, weight, eye color, hair color, distinguishing marks, skin color, gender
Child's Photo

I will be making my own sheet, but I have found a sample sheet if you would want to go that route. This sheet included fingerprinting your child. I am not sure I want to do that, but I could see where that could be a good thing.

I also plan to make a laminated card for each of my kids to carry in their backpacks, purses, vehicles, whatnot. I will include a bulk of the information above except I will add hospital and health care center of choice and their dentist information. I am not sure if I will include their personal information.

One more thing about these sheets and cards: make a reminder on your calendar to update at least once a year. Twice a year would be better if you have rapidly growing and changing children.

Join me this weekend in getting this done! If you already have this done, make sure your sheets and cards are updated. In an emergency situation, this could be a life saver!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to School Routine

We are back in school again! I usually have mixed feelings about the kids going back to school, but despite my feelings, we have to get into a routine! This helps simplify our lives so much.

To help our mornings, we like to have our things together the night before. These are things we do to simplify our mornings:

bookbags are packed and ready to go
clothes are laid out for the next morning
shoes are found, accessible, and ready to go by the front door 
showers taken for those who don't worry about their hair or own a flat iron for their hair

In the mornings, we get ourselves ready for the day. Since younger two kids have to be on the bus at 7:00 am, they usually get first priority in the bathroom. Paige wakes up at 6:15 am to get into the shower. She showers, dresses, brushes hair and teeth, and is downstairs by 6:45 am usually. She will also make her cold lunch if the school lunch is heavy on dairy that day. Dane wakes up by 6:30 am if not earlier. He usually gets dressed, brushes his teeth, feeds the fish, and does his daily chore. By 6:55 am, they are usually getting their shoes on and getting ready to board the bus.

Shali and Jordan's routine varies day to day depending on their schedule. They have dance at 6:00 am on Monday-Wednesday-Friday. Shali also takes a college course on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday at 7:30 am. They usually have their bags packed and homework done the night before so all they have to do is roll out of bed, get dressed, and take care of their appearance before they leave. Jordan will take a shower after Paige at home on the mornings they don't have dance or volleyball practice.

After the school bus drops Paige and Dane off and I get home from work, we go over school papers and do homework. I start supper which is pre-determined by the menu plan. We also take care of daily and weekly chores before supper.

After supper, we like to chill a bit so we try to get everything done before supper. Dishes are done after supper and a load of laundry is usually put in the washer. After supper we read, play, watch television, or go to a sporting event. We can spend 2-4 nights a week at a game that Shali and Jordan are playing in which makes our daily routine even more important! When we get home or when we are home, Shali and Dane will take their showers also. Dane is in bed by 8:30 pm, Paige is in bed by 9:00 pm, and the older girls are usually asleep by 10:00-10:30 pm.

My daily routine is pretty much wrapped up in theirs, but I will blog about that next week! Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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