Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Turning One Of The Many Parenting Corners

I had one of those moments this morning where I realised we'd turned one of the many corners in our parenting journey, a kind of "Ah there it is" moment. 

Up until recently we had been struggling a bit with Luke and his attitude and cheekiness, I put it down to the preschool to primary school transition and the adjustments that come with that. I know he found it hard to adjust in the first couple of weeks especially with the restrictions primary school puts on everything else. He had come from a fantastic, small preschool where they had so much freedom to play, learn and grow to the seriousness of primary school with double, if not more, the amount of kids in the class room so we gave him a bit of leeway to get used to it.

I'll be the first to admit, he's a bit spoiled! He's an only child and the centre of our world, used to having our undivided attention and generally getting what he wants. He would always get something in the shop when we went in, it was normal for him to expect it because we always gave it. Now we try to teach him about earning it and not having money at his disposal to buy something when he wants it. 
 He's not a brat and I'm very proud of his mannerly and kind nature but he wasn't used to hearing No all that often so when we started it was another shock to his system.

Things at home were a bit up the air last month too and I've no doubt that affected him but we couldn't let him use that as an excuse. So myself and the OH had the chats and decided we needed to be firm but fair and be on the same page, reduce the shouting when we get frustrated with him because that does not work with Luke. He responds better to us ignoring him until he can behave. 

So when he's cheeky we would say "We can't talk to you when you're being like this. When you can apologise and speak nicely we will start again". He would sulk for a while but after a bit he would apologise and we would start over. 
When he wouldn't do something he was asked, we would withhold something he wanted to do / watch etc until he did as he was asked. 
We wanted him to realise that if he wants to do things he likes he must earn them and that includes doing as he's told. 

I think the turning point where he realised we meant business was last week when he'd been super rude and cheeky, not just to us but his Nan too which a big No as far as I'm concerned. His Nan looks after him while we are at work and I always try to explain to him just how good and helpful that is to us and he must respect that. So he kept it up all the way home in the car and I just put my foot down and said no books and no bath before bed that night , two things he loves - it would be a top to toe wash and straight in to bed. I didn't shout but I was firm and I stuck to my word. This happened 2 nights in a row and where he'd usually wear me down, this time he didn't and I think he realised we meant business. 

We firmly believe in giving him responsibilities, suitable for his age of course, so each morning and evening he must put his dirty clothes in the wash bin instead of on the floor, he must undress himself before bed and in the mornings he must open his curtains and blinds in his room.
 He'd been doing it the last few mornings but this morning it all just happened so seamlessly - he dressed himself into his school uniform without any hassle (we make it into a bit of game), he opened his blinds and curtains and went downstairs and put on his shoes, then, when asked, he proceeded to go and get his tooth brush and tooth paste himself and brush his teeth. It all just happened in a second nature kind of way, there was no asking numerous times, no one was getting annoyed - he's a bit of a messer and the master of delay tactics - but this morning it all just came together and it was wonderful!

I'm not saying it'll be this way all the time because he's still a feisty 5 year old who loves to test boundaries but if we stand firm in our instruction and expectation of him I feel like we will continue this way and just to point out that our expectation of him is not to be perfect but to be respectful and understanding. My Mum even mentioned it yesterday that he was a lot more calm and a lot less cheeky this week. 

In our experience it's about presenting a united front on this, he knows I'm the soft touch and would try and play us off against each other but when he realised we stood firm and aid the same thing, it changed things for him. 
Kids love rules and boundaries, as much as they try to push them and break them, these boundaries give them security and builds confidence and there's nothing like the pride they have in themselves when they have done as they've been asked and earned their treat. Luke loves the praise we give him and stands proud when he gets the reward, be it a treat, some screen time or a simple high five from us. 

Long may it continue....


Thursday, 6 September 2018

It Really Was A Summer Of Fun

I'm not sure how other parents working full time during the Summer months feel but in my 5 years as a parent and working a 5 day week during the Summer holidays I've put myself under immense pressure to make sure we make the most of the time off we have together and subsequently feeling like we need to compensate for not going abroad.

The mother's guilt kicks in about the boy child spending a majority of his time with his Nan while me and his Dad are at work, his Dad working 3 jobs over 7 days this Summer so a bit tougher than previous Summers.

The mother's guilt over the fact that because our jobs are seasonally busy, means Summer is the busiest time, we can't take Summer holidays during June, July and August. 

The mother's guilt that there aren't enough days out with the boy child, with either him and I or as a family of 3. 

Then there's the daughter's guilt (yes that's a thing for me now too!) that I'm asking too much of my parents, mostly my Mum as my Dad is at work, to keep the boy child entertained throughout the holidays. The pressure put on her of having an energetic 5 year old to look after 9+ hours a day 4 or 5 days a week, depending on our work patterns. 

I was browsing my photo gallery on my phone the other day though and while I thought we didn't get a chance to do much over the Summer holidays, I was mistaken. 

I have numerous pictures of afternoons and evenings on the beach thanks to the heatwave that came our way.


There was numerous play dates with his friends and ice creams a plenty.

There was spur of the moment take away suppers from the local chipper with his best friend which was a big novelty for them.

There was two different Summer camps.

There was day trips to local attractions and an abundance of trips to different playgrounds and play centres.

We got to the cinema twice when the heat became too much.

There was family fun days in local clubs that we went to, places where we always bump into someone we know.

There was quality time with his cousins, impromptu days with his Aunty and some much needed quality with his Dad's side of the family. 

I lost count of the times we'd stop off at the local strand on our way home and he would wade into the water in his clothes, going home in the back of the car wrapped up in one of my jumpers (or the spare towel when I remembered to replace it for times like these!)

There was many an evening in the garden until it got dark and movie nights were almost every night. 

Not forgetting the biggest adventure this Summer, going down town at night for the local Regatta where we watched the fire works from the roof top of the local hotel, ate chips by the pier and candy floss that made our hands all sticky, there was rides on the fun fair attractions and a flashing light saber bought that is now wedged down the side of his bed - the most exciting part of this for him was being "down town" late at night while it was dark - it's the simple things eh?!



And in the middle of all that was some chill time, days where he stayed in his pj's all day, snacked as he was hungry instead of the usual meal times, where he strolled between the house and the garden as he pleased in his bare feet with no rushing and hurrying trying to get to where we needed to be. Just the right amount of rest time for his last Summer as a care free preschooler. 

Someone said to me recently that next year now we'll have to make sure we take him away on holidays as he'll be older and all his friends will probably be going away and he can't be left out, or something along those lines but for us and I'm sure some other's that not what the Summer holidays are always about. 
Not everyone can go away on a holiday during the Summer months for many reasons whether it's financial. time restrictions due to work, illness or whatever, sometimes it's just not possible but that doesn't mean your Summer holidays were unsuccessful and I'd hate for anyone to think like this because they didn't get on a plane or stay in a hotel somewhere.

The Summer holidays for us are about letting go a bit, easing up on the routine and restrictions of the school year, it's about making the most of the nice weather and getting out and about to enjoy our surroundings, it's about taking the foot of life's accelerator for a few weeks and enjoying time with family and friends, making the most of the longer days, spending the extra hour in the garden or going for a walk on the green in the evening, having chips on the beach as our dinner and going for a 99 after.




Maybe in the coming Summers we'll manage to get away on holiday at some point and some day in the future I won't have to work a 5 day week and the OH won't be working 3 jobs but for now these are our circumstances and we make the most of them and the most important thing - we've made lots of happy memories this Summer regardless and the boy child was smiling at the end of it and really that's what matters the most. 




Thursday, 21 June 2018

Make Time Daily For Your Wellbeing

As I mentioned in a recent post I was trying to take some time out for myself more regularly and I'm pleased to say I've been doing ok on that front.





There's a number of things that have helped me to focus a bit more on myself and keeping my mind healthy so I thought I'd share them here in case it may be of help to anyone else.


Supplements & Essential Oils:


I absolutely swear by these three items: Magnesium, Lavender Oil and Rhodiola.

Magnesium: This supplement has many uses and benefits which include: 

regulating nerve and muscle function
supporting healthy pregnancy and lactation
maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
maintaining optimum blood pressure levels

 I use this primarily for overall health and well being and to prevent headaches and migraines which I would be prone to. As a high blood pressure sufferer, I find magnesium also helps to keep it normalised. If I stop using it for a length of time I see repercussions immediately and the headaches return. I take to magnesium citrate capsules most of the time but recently gave the oil a try when I began suffering from sleep disruption and restless legs and it has worked wonders for both issues. I rub it into my legs, about 4 or 5 sprays on each leg, after a bath or a shower. 

Rhodiola: So many benefits to this supplement and few which I use it for:

Relives stress
Boosts cognition
Boosts energy levels
Protects heart health 
Strengthens immune system
Rebalances the adrenal gland
Reduces fatigue
Reduces cravings

This was suggested for me to try when I mentioned I was feeling sluggish and tired all the time and felt like I needed to rebalance after finishing courses of pain relief and anti inflammatory for back issues, some pain relief for that kind of pain can really knock me for six and I always find it takes me a while to get back to "normal" again after it. I take these regularly while breaking briefly between each course. I find I am so much more focused at work, energy levels are lot better especially in the evening time when I'd usually begin to slump. It gives me an overall boost really and couldn't recommend them highly enough.

Lavender: Some benefits of this versatile essential oil include:

Reduced anxiety and emotional stress
Improves brain funciton
Improves sleep 
Alleviates headaches
Restores skin complexion and reduces acne

I've only ever heard one person say they don't like the smell of lavender and that's the OH, tough on him though because I have it burning all the time! I think everyone should have some lavender oil in the house. I add this to everything - a few drops in your body lotion, an oil burner in the bedroom, to a hot bath, a few drops on my pillow if I need a bit of extra relaxation at night, the list is endless with lavender. 

I buy all of my supplements and vitamins in Here's Health and tend to stick with the Solgar brand as I find them the best quality. 

Walking:


At long last a pair of shoes that suit me for walking. I've really enjoyed getting out and about on my lunch breaks for a walk recently but with lower back pain I was finding it was taking it's toll of me quite quickly and knew I needed to find the right pair of shoes. I've a few different kinds of runners but a few people recommended I try a pair of these. These are a delight to wear and have really helped take the pressure off my lower back a bit so that I can enjoy my walks in a bit more comfort. 
It really helps to clear the head to get out for that half an hour so and break up the day especially when I'm sitting in front of a computer for most of it. I need to up the ante a small bit more now though 

Music:


I reorganised my Spotify account and made different playlists to suits different moods. My favourite one at the moment is my "Zone Out" play list. All the songs are of a slower beat, more mellow and are perfect for winding down or just zoning out and shutting off for a while. It's important to take that little bit of time when I can to park my thoughts for a bit and just let my mind wander. Sometimes it's  where I get some of my more productive ideas from. 

Overall I have just being trying my best to take some time out for myself even if it's to take a few minutes for a quiet cup of coffee and read a magazine or a few pages of a book. It's surprising how that bit of time out can give me the space to clear my head in order to concentrate on everything else that I need to do.

What do you do in order to take some time out and mind yourself?