Friday, June 15, 2012

Never and Always

Two commonly used words in the English language.  Not dangerous, profane or offensive right?  

However I have learned in my 13 years of parenthood that I have eaten them MANY times because I was the perfect parent before I had children.

Here are a few examples of my statements over the years:

  • My child will NEVER run around in just a diaper (this 2 year old is vehemently opposed to clothing)
  • My child will NEVER have crusty boogers all over his nose
  • My child will NEVER throw a tantrum in the middle of the store.
  • I will NEVER go out of the house without a bra on,  in my pajamas.
  • I will NEVER yell, scream or spank my child.
  • I will NEVER have a nasty toilet with dried urine on the seat and base (4 boys...enough said)
  • I will ALWAYS read my children bedtime stories and sing them lullabies before bed.
  • I will ALWAYS bathe my children every day.
  • I will ALWAYS have a clean car and NEVER allow for there to be nasty crumbs and garbage throughout the interior.
  • I will ALWAYS have a nice yard and NEVER allow for weeds and grass to overtake it.
  • My children will ALWAYS sleep in their own beds.
  • I will ALWAYS breastfeed my children until they are a year old.
  • My children will ALWAYS nap until they are three years old.

You see what I mean?  It is a teensy bit dangerous to make such generalized statements because these statements are usually made before one is in the circumstance.  They can also be dangerous in that they can be used to judged others.  

It is also dangerous to use them with your children.  In fact this morning my son got out chocolate chips and asked if he could have them for a snack.  He started to open them even after I said No.  I said to him...."If you open that package and disobey me you will NEVER get to eat chocolate chips."  Yes in his whole life he will NEVER eat chocolate chips if he opens that package.  Wow, a shining moment in my mothering.

The longer I parent the longer I realize how things are constantly changing.  Each of my 5 children have such distinct personalities that what works for one child will not work for another.  Something my 13 year old would NEVER have said or done 5 years ago has certainly changed as he hits puberty.  Most of all I think we need to be kind to others, ourselves and our children and not generalize or judge a situation we aren't in.

There are two NEVER and ALWAYS statements I can say with conviction:

I will NEVER abuse or neglect my children and
I will ALWAYS love them fiercely!

What Never and Always statements have you said and look back on and laugh?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Summer lovin'....had me a blast....

My kids get out of school on Thursday.  I am so ready!  I am ready for a break from packing lunches, and school projects and last minute..."Oh Mom I have this massive project due tomorrow" conversations.  The last few weeks of school are absolutely nutso and I have felt like a chicken running with her head cut off lately.

We have a summer packed full of things to do.  Each child is taking a class of some sort to improve their talents and keep their bodies or mind active.  We have tennis class and art class and swim team and dance class, plus piano lessons which happen year round.  It will be lots of running to and fro, but it will also prevent lots of time in front of the TV or Wii.

 I downloaded a "do it yourself summer camp" from Power of Moms that gives some great ideas of giving a bit of structure to your summer.   Each day they earn points by doing things such as reading, writing (a story, starting a blog, in a journal etc), chores, practicing a skill/instrument etc.  At the end of the week they can earn rewards if they have earned so many points.   As a whole they can earn big rewards like bowling or going to a movie in the theatre etc.  I am excited to have something that rewards them for doing these good things.

Not to mention that we will be swimming and playing with friends and learning to sew pillowcases and quilts and learning to cook and building forts, and camping and hiking and a family vacation  and yes there will be some TV, movies and video games as well.  I CANNOT WAIT!

People are telling me I am crazy and that I will be running to and fro too much and that I will be going crazy (already there people dontcha know?).  I say bring it on!  You see our last 3 summers have been less than stellar.  Three years ago I had a miscarriage at the beginning of the summer and at the end of the summer I was pregnant with Drew and was high risk for another miscarriage.  Two summers ago I had a preemie baby who came home from the hospital 3 days before school got out.  He was on an apnea monitor and had severe reflux, we didn't go ANYWHERE, my kids watched TV and played video games constantly.  It was a really bad summer.  Last year my preemie was much better, but still needed two naps a day and hated the water.

This year my baby is 2 and sometimes takes 1 nap for an hour or so.  He still doesn't love the water, but does much better than he used to.  He is happiest when we are busy and out and about. So maybe it's crazy and we are packing too much into summer, but I cannot wait to play with my kids and watch their talents grow and develop and keep them active and healthy.   There will still be lots of down time for them to play and create and be "bored".

Bring on the craziness, bring on more time with my kids, bring on less structure, bring on the memory making!

What are you doing this summer?