Mum or Friend?

Photo on 13-02-14 at 5.57 PMFor those of you who love to read our blog, you will clearly see that Ashlea and I are great friends. We have lots in common and for most of the time we get on extremely well. This isn’t hard as Ash is a great kid (or young lady) and easy to communicate with. However, there are times when I need to put my parenting hat on and I am finding this more and more difficult with her.

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Do you parent your children differently?

IMG_3058While I was out this weekend at one of our many sporting commitments, I fell into a conversation with another mother about my youngest child. Being the youngest of 4, he can be very lazy and I find myself constantly either telling him off or justifying why he hasn’t picked up after himself. I am more lenient with my youngest child that is for sure.

Then I began to think about the way I parent all my children. Ashlea is very easy to parent (at this stage anyway) as she seems to understand what the needs of the family are. If I ask Ash to do something around the house, she gets up and does it, no complaining, no whinging, she always helps out. I have very little need to tell her off.

Breanna (my second daughter) likes things her own way or she will let me know she is not happy. I am constantly telling her to hurry up on school mornings as she is very slow and gets easily distracted. She also has a fiery temper and this has a tendency to clash with other members of the family. I need to keep a close eye on her, gently guiding her in the right direction.

Jackson (my eldest son) is at the age where he loves me and wants to be around me but is trying to pull away to become a man. This makes him behave in a way I don’t always agree with, causing an argument. He loves to push the boundaries, testing just how far he can go before I reel him back in. His favourite trick is to stir his siblings, pushing, pushing until he gets the reaction he was hoping for. Then he claims he did nothing wrong. Sometimes I believe him but all too often, I have to trust my gut feeling, knowing he loves getting a rise from his siblings and bring him back into line.

I have the same rules for all my children but I definitely enforce them differently. Sometimes this brings those guilty feelings back but all my children have different personalities and require different styles of parenting to help them learn and stay safe.

Do you parent your children differently?

cheers natalie

Girls ♥ Talk

Girls ♥ Talk

My daughter is talking to someone online and I’m getting worried because I don’t know the person. What should I do?

Well first off, you need to clear up whether or not SHE knows the person she’s talking to. If she knows the person then, as long as they aren’t someone that is totally inappropriate for a teenage girl to talk to, you shouldn’t worry. Let her have her space online but if you still are not comfortable, talk to her about online safety and making sure she’s being smart. If she is talking to someone who you both know could be a danger, immediately sit her down and talk to her, (not in a condescending way) about the position she may have put herself in and how to be smarter next time. If you are really worried, contact the police. Ashlea

Very scary I know. I love Ashlea’s advice and think clear communication is the first step. We have experienced this situation with a friend and it wasn’t a nice situation. Explain to your daughter that talking to someone online they do not know is like opening the front door of your house to a stranger and letting them inside. Would she do that? I don’t think so. Make her understand that not every person online is telling the truth and she only wants to communicate with those people who will care for her needs – therefore someone she knows and likes.

I give my children freedom online ( well the older 2) but I do spot checks on their accounts. I have told them if they don’t think I will like what they have written, then maybe they shouldn’t be writing it in the first place. Stay open with communication, its essential. A great article from Modern Parent gives fantastic advice on this topic. natalie

Picture Perfect or a facade?

The other day I took my children to have their annual photo with Santa. I have been doing this since Ashlea was born and now have a beautiful collection of 14 years of ‘Santa Pics’. Each year I get out all the old photos and love seeing just how much they have changed. Each photo portrays my children’s personalities and their relationships with each other at that moment in time – scared of Santa, proud to be there, embarrassed by the entire ordeal. Nothing is hidden – it’s a real perception of life snapped in a second.

The recent photo had my youngest (and cheekiest) pulling faces each time the camera clicked. The lady taking the photos came to me shyly, apologising as she simply couldn’t get him to pull a happy, staged face. I laugh and told her I love the faces and to just let him do his thing.

This made me wonder how we think we are perceived by others. Everyone puts on a facade at times, depending on the environment we are in. Most adults have a work image, a family image, a friends image and the list can simply go on. I am not saying people are fake but there are certain aspects of our personalities or outer facade that are more suited to a particular surrounding.

I often get told ‘I don’t know how you do it’ –  with 4 children, studying, working part time, writing a blog and running a household. I know 4 children is a large family these days so I am guessing that is where the majority of the ‘How does she do it’, comes from. Most days flow fairly unscathed, between the taxi service I run (kids activities), cooking, cleaning, working, talking (heaps of that) and socialising (kids have a better social life than I do) – we are very busy. Some days are a little bumpy with arguments, tantrums, exhaustion and forgetting the occasional location of one of my children. Then there are days where I should never have gotten out of bed. It’s these days that most of us (as parents) try to hide from the world.

From the outside, I appear in control and relaxed with most of what life throws at me. And generally this is the case. However, when it all gets too much and I have a mini break down, I believe the best response is to talk about, to let others know that life isn’t always perfect. Putting on a facade that life is always wonderful makes others feel erroneous and maybe they are doing something wrong because their lives do not appear to be as streamlined.

Parenting is one of the most difficult and emotional jobs to do but by being open and honest when things do not run as smoothly as we would  like, makes every parent feel ‘normal’.

Some of my “not so great” parenting moments:

  • Punched a hamburger in anger then threw it on the ground only to create a mess I then had to clean up.
  • Told my kids I had had enough and was out of here, getting in my car and driving away ( around the block and came back to hysterical children)
  • Made one of my boys pack his bag and put him outside, telling him a taxi was on its way.
  • Not allowing my children’s artwork to EVER touch my beautifully decorated Christams tree – telling them it is not tree worthy.
  • Telling my child they will be alright, ignoring their complaints only to find out they had a burst eardrum.

And the list could go on but I don’t want my readers to think I am completely crazy.

Cheers natalie

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