Showing posts from February, 2010

How to be a successful parent (or not)

How do we measure what a successful parent looks like?

Today is not a day of particularly great parenting success for me.  In fact I think I have failed.  Yet again!  I dropped my Kindy child at school and as I drove off I saw the other Kindy kids in dress-ups.  Oh no!  It was dress up as a nursery rhyme character day.  But I didn't have time to do anything about it because the oldest child was due at a doctor's appointment.

Yesterday I failed when I yelled at my oldest child for not being ready to go to school early.  He couldn't find his hat and this was my fault (apparently).  And I got really frustrated with him.

Sometimes I feel like parenting is a very long exam.  And it is an exam that many times it looks like I will fail.

However, I do have those days when I think I might scrape through.  My kids getting awards at Speech Day ("congratulations Jenny - your kids did so well"), or a good piano performance ("wow - your kids are so talented Jenny") …

Coping with our children's disappointments

How do you cope when your kids are finding life hard?  They're left out from a social event that all their friends are invited to?  They are in a new class with none of their old friends?  I've had a few of these situations to cope with in the last month.  Tricky stuff.

The beginning of each school year and the establishing of school classes gives me an insight into how some parents respond to the ups and downs of their children's lives.  My friend was telling me about her school when the classes were announced on the first day of school.  There were murmurs of approval or disapproval across the school hall as parents felt happy or sad about the teacher their child had been given.  I witnessed a similar process myself, where parents were either waving thumbs up at other mums across the room or grimacing if they were unhappy.

At one level, I think it is great that parents are this involved with their kids.  They are concerned for the well-being and happiness of their chil…

What are you DOING?

I have discovered that your youngest child starting preschool, marks the beginning of an endless stream of well-meaning comments along the lines of "you mustn't know what to DO with yourself now you have so much spare time".  Usually from either mums with small kids (I completely GET where you are coming from - I have had 'all the kids out of the house envy' for many, many years) or mums who are working.

I was chatting to a friend at play group on Monday who said she was sick of feeling like she needed to be DOING stuff all the time.  "What is the obsession with DOING?",  she asked me.

I know that I've felt a bit guilty over the past few weeks that perhaps I've wasted some of this precious child-free time and not been efficient with it.  Not DONE enough!

It goes back to a post I wrote a few weeks ago about not being a supermum.

I'm starting ( v e r y  slowly) to recognise the value of not always doing.  Last week I had my first migraine.  I…

'Mankind is no Island'

I heard this mentioned on the radio this morning.  If you haven't seen this short film (3 mins) from the film festival, Tropfest (2008) it is challenging, confronting and moving.  All shot on a mobile phone.  Worth a quick look.

'Up in the Air'

Two weeks ago I celebrated my first child-free day with a trip to the movies.  I saw "Up in the Air",  starring George Clooney.

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is employed to travel the country firing people from their jobs.  He works for a company that enables bosses to outsource this unpleasant job.  And it is really unpleasant.  A constant theme running through the movie is the devastating impact that receiving the news of a job loss has on the employee.

However, Bingham loves his job.  He loves traveling.  He loves having his life in a suitcase.  He loves being an executive traveller.  He loves being disconnected from real life.  In fact he gives motivational talks on the side, about becoming successful by freeing yourself of the burden of both material possessions and personal relationships.  Initially, this independence appears glamourous and appealing.

It is not an action packed movie.  It is funny and thoughtful.  Not necessarily all beautifully resolved at the end (…

Over scheduled kids or over scheduled mum?

Apologies to all my readers who are totally over my public processing of the start to a new school year!  Never fear - I will get back into the rhythm of life soon and will hopefully have other ideas in my head!

I realised today that I've become one of those mothers who carts children around to different activities all week.  I've become a soccer mum - without the soccer part.  I've always been wary of over scheduling my kids because I know they need time to hang out at home and just relax and play.

So I've been feeling bad about all that my kids are doing.  Until I suddenly thought about it and realised that individually they aren't doing heaps (enough, but not heaps).  However, when you start multiplying their activities by five children, it is me that has become over scheduled!  I am obsessed with how I'm going to fit it all into a day.  My brain can't seem to cope with thinking much past a day at a time.  Don't ask me about Thursday on Monday - I wo…

Only a certain amount of goodness ... more thoughts

I thought I'd share a couple of ideas I've had about getting through the post-school grumps.  I'd love to hear any strategies that you have.

- In the last couple of years I've started to take food to give them when they come out of class.  Recently, because it has been so disgustingly hot I've been taking a little esky with icypoles for the kids.  It gives them something cold to eat, gives them a bit of energy from the sugar and stops them getting quite as annoyed with each other!  In winter I usually take some home cooked biscuits or muffins.   Or little packets of biscuits.  Just something small that is a treat for them.

- We also walk home as much as possible.  Even though this prolongs the public humiliation aspect of the afternoon, I find that walking home gets a lot of the pent-up energy out of their system.  By the time we get home most of the frustrations of the day have been shared with me and so they're a lot calmer when we walk in the door.

- I try (e…

Only a certain amount of goodness ...

Well, we're back into the school routine.  And part of that routine is the joyous reunion that takes place between mother and child(ren) each afternoon in the school playground.  Children hug their mother as she inquires calmly about how their day went.  Children respond with "O, I had a delightful day of learning, mother dear.  Thank you for asking.  First we did some writing, then we learnt some numbers and then we had library.  My lunchtime was full of enjoyable interactions with my fellow students".

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha - IF ONLY!

The reality is more like this:

Me:  Hi guys.  Great to see you.  How was your day?
Child 1:  (hurls bag at me) Terrible.  Do you have anything for me to eat?
Me:  Sorry, no food today
Child 1:  (yelling)  WHY NOT?!!
Child 2: (yelling at Child 1)  STOP YELLING - you are making me so ANGRY.  No one played with me at lunch today.
Child 3:  (crying)  Child 1 is looking at me - what did I ever do to you?  I hate having brothers
Child 1:  MUUUMM aren'…

What no one tells you about becoming a mum (just for a laugh)

Ever feel like the gloss has worn off being a "mommy"?  This scene from the TV show 'Desperate Housewives' which I watched on Monday night made me laugh.  (Lynette already has four kids, her eldest is about to go off to college and she's expecting surprise twins).

Click on the link - it will take you to YouTube

Two days, no kids, very weird

I've been a bit quiet over the past few weeks because I've been getting my head around the start to a new school year.  It is new for us on a number of fronts.  Our No 4 child has just started Kindy at school and our No 5 has started two days/week at preschool.  I have not had two consecutive days without children for almost 12 years.

Even though I've really been looking forward to this time (and this is the first week of the new routine), I'm still getting used to the shift.  A few years ago I worked that I needed to plan ahead for this time.  I knew that I would find it hard to move into this next stage if I didn't know what I wanted to do with the time.  Which is why I started studying and retraining so I had a plan.

It is certainly not a problem of finding things to do with my time.  There are more opportunities with church, school, preschool and other community groups than I know what to do with.  I also like the idea of working.  But I think I needed to have…