I watched my eldest’s angsty behaviour in silence. A million words could’ve spurted out, but were well contained inside. This time, my heart neither ached nor did it break; instead a wave of calmness washed over me. Whilst the disturbance took over him, I continued being an observer (and offered a silent prayer) for a couple of minutes. Then, I gave him a quick hug and kissed him goodnight without commenting on the sudden outburst. Tonight, I’d let it slide. I believed that was all he needed.
“When our kids are hard to love, we got to love them harder”.
My fun loving teen loves the sense of thrills running through his veins. Stuff that makes his heart jumps and skips a beat are often deliberately sought out. He’s always game for any adventurous pursuits or scary rides at theme parks. This boy rarely thinks twice before getting himself in what a sensible adult considers dangerous.
Then there’s the tween who’s an avid collector of everything under the sun. When other kids played with toys, he started his collection of Barney the dinosaur and The Wiggles VCDs. Since young he developed a great sense of navigation to where the shops can be found in a mall. Each year there’d be something new that caught his attention. Once it was the Beatles and he spent hours googling about their life and looking up for memorabilia on eBay. Thank goodness he didn’t pester us to buy any!
As for Little Missy, she’s an outdoorsy kind of girl who enjoys going about with our neighbour’s boys. Riding her bike, playing footie and running around. After becoming confident to ride without the stabilizers, she coached her friends to do the same. Little Missy often gets annoyed when hearing girls and boys shouldn’t play the same games or be good friends. A good thing though, she has her own mind and is not listening to those party poopers.
My 3 year old bambam, is exactly like her older sister, but much braver and bolder. That’s not really a problem until you realized she’s only a little girl who has no sense of danger…just like her eldest brother!
One thing for sure, we should learn something from the kids. No matter what, be happy in your own skin by doing stuff that makes you feel good.
So, tell me what’s yours?
Whether you’re a mum or a dad, a stepmum or a stepdad, a single mum or a single dad, an aunt or an uncle, a grandma or a grandpa, a sister or a brother, a woman or a man who’s responsible for looking after a child, you’re a parenting idol. Being the carer, you’re known as the parent of the child. A role that comes with huge responsibilities and quite a number of occupational hazards.
Because of the risky lifestyle that you keep facing everyday, your amazing achievements in numerous feats that only a parent knows how, should be celebrated. Such as,
- preparing meals and snacks for a picky eater and a ravenous monster, so they won’t go hungry throughout the day (regardless how the food gets to the table, isn’t an issue here)
- ensuring a clean supply of clothes for daily wear, despite only seeing the piles of washing that need to be done, in the laundry baskets and on the floor
- your expertise in finding lost items from the most treasured underwear to the easily missed minuscule hand of a lego minifigure
- being the most reliable alarm clock that doesn’t run on batteries and can wake everyone at different times, without having to reset it
- a walking and talking dictionary that possibly has a bilingual option, with interchangeable explanation and translation tools
- a Google expert who finds the answers by a simple touch and swipe, and best of all, it’s able to function without wifi sometimes
- a homework helper machine that can provide support and coaching in most areas of the curriculum- when it can’t, the Google expert will step in
- a life skills’ coach who teaches those functional stuff like cleaning up after your own mess, boiling water in a kettle for times when a hot water dispenser isn’t available, taking trash out on collection day, washing dishes before there’s none left to use, turning off electricity when not in use for energy conservation and saving costs etc.
- fixing things using tapes, super glue and whatnots
- DIY, art projects and research work advisor
- kisssing countless boo- boos to make it better and tries hard to believe that it actually works
- highly sought after problem solver who’s on demand round the clock
- a skilful driver, professional chauffeur and bodyguard all rolled into one
Though being a parent can be a nightmare at times, do know that you’re doing just fine by loving and caring for your children in the best possible way. No one should undermine what or how you do it. As a parent, you’re simply wonderful ❤
On Monday, after arriving home from school, Mr Teen related the sweetest news ever. Coming from someone who wouldn’t put any extra efforts for anything academic, he actually volunteered in class to share his PowerPoint presentation that was given for homework. Looks like miracles do happen at the most unlikeliest time. I told Mr Teen how proud I was of him. Though it’s only a tiny step, it makes a huge impact on his confidence. I’m sure.
To my precious brood,
Growing up is a journey heading towards the unknown. In its path, there are plenty of adventures that you’ll recall with great fondness or will leave you scarred for life. Of course there are also the in-betweens. Memories that you won’t be able to remember, but would resurface from a sudden trigger that comes out of nowhere. However, don’t let your fear of the uncertainties stop you from experiencing life fully. Be a curious adventurer and brave through the storms as best as you can, by using all the skills and wisdom that you’ve acquired along the way. Looking back, you’ll feel a sense of pride for getting to where you are.
But, remember: when you’re over the moon and can’t keep your feet on the ground, I shall be there pulling you down. When you feel lost and disheartened, I’ll firmly hold your hand, guiding you until you’re ready to let go. When you’re too full of yourself, I’ll give you a smart slap to pop that bubble, so you’ll be humble again. If you need someone to listen, I’ll be all ears. If you want a shoulder to cry on, I’ll be ready with a hanky. If you think you’re unworthy, do know you’re the most valuable gift- unforgettable, unexchangeable, irreplaceable gift in my life.
Thanks to you I get to taste the bittersweet journey that is filled with unimaginable adventures. Sometimes they’re so overwhelming that I want to call it quit. Sometimes they’re light and fluffy that I keep wishing for more.
I will always be your champion, darling. Never ever doubt. That’s my job, and that’s what I’m good at. Being your champion for life.
Three would do
Four should be more
Loud chaotic days
Messy home endless laundry
Rules get ignored
Deafening screams contagious laughter
Beware troubles brewing
Catastrophe about to begin
Equally troublesome as
Terrible 3 & Snappy 7
Already I’m floored
Four too many, no?
Parenting has its moments. The good, the bad and the ugly. Neither predictable nor understandable, every event unfolds the way it wishes to be. No amount of preparations from attending workshops to self-help books, that can provide the answers to new or seasoned parents on the art of bringing up a child. Trust your own judgement and pay close attention to your gut feelings. In fact, it’s terribly useful to sharpen your common sense for it will be an asset to have on you.
With my brood of four, there’s a basic guideline that I follow for general use. Whether it’s for achieving milestones or disciplining them, I leave some space for improvisation, and I definitely improvised a lot. What seems to work for one won’t necessarily bring similar result with the others. Naturally, taking into account individual’s personality and circumstances, my approach varies accordingly. It’s not a foolproof method but it allows me to make mistakes and deal with the outcome objectively.
Emotional outbursts and moments of dejection are aplenty, but these are normal in all relationships. Crying your heart out is truly the best way to clear the broken system, well that’s how I see it anyway. With the kids, I let them be until they cool down and ready to chat. Sometimes I get impatient too. Sarcasm and angry words would flow without stopping. My bad.
A successful parenting should not be measured by the outward achievements of a child. See what’s within him as a person and how he fits in the society with his faults and all. Has he got the right balance of empathy and selfishness, in order to get along with others, but not being taken advantage of? Can he function as an individual and at the same time contribute to his community?
Perfection has zero value in the real world. So does perfect parenting.
Earlier today, Mr.Teen went off for a netball competition over the weekend with his team mates and he’d only be back on Sunday. When I sent him to the train station, I found it hard to simply let him go and wait for his friends on his own. Of course he insisted that he’d be fine. Why wouldn’t he? So after failing to convince him that it’d be better to wait in the car, called out the last I-love-you, I reluctantly drove away while still glancing at the rear mirror watching the boy whom I had to leave behind.
That brought back to mind the chats we had last night.
Me: No fava beans. Mr.T: Who eats that these days? Me: They’re in mixed nuts snacks. Oh, no nuts. Just don’t eat nuts. That’s safer. Mr.T: (Rolled his eyes) Me: Don’t touch mothballs or anything suspicious. Not even smell. Mr.T: I know! I’m not stupid to do that.
Those were just snippets of what took place between us. He was probably frustrated with being treated like a novice on his first sleepover. This wasn’t his first at all. He has made many trips without me or his dad, and he managed just fine. In fact, there was a sleepover for a friend’s birthday treat at a hotel without hovering parents nearby.
Now, it struck me how trite it sounded especially when I recalled all the things I repeatedly saying. At the same time it’s normal for parents to become a worrywart when they aren’t there to protect one precious child (no matter how super annoying he is) from unknown danger. I have every right to worry how ever much I want to but I must remember to do one thing. Take a chill pill. Mr. Teen told me once to stop thinking negatively about people. A little trust is all it needs.
Oh, did I mention that Mr. Tween had a sleepover at school last weekend? I did exactly the same thing. Reminders and more reminders…the best one I reckon was this: pee before your bedtime. As if he doesn’t know, right?
Luckily that boy didn’t become all annoyed and brushed me off. Perhaps there’s still a little room for patience in him. Must thank my lucky star for this!
At our home kids get to choose what they want to do. They get choices for stuff like having chicken or fish in their meals, wearing long pants or shorts for an outdoor play, joining activities that are outside or at school, getting a rest or playing a little longer etc. The young ones usually start the day with ‘Do you want to get dressed by yourself or do you need my help?’. The usual reply is obviously the former. All kids love challenges especially the ones that show others how capable they are. My 2 years old happens to be quite good at this as she keeps pushing herself to be just like her older sister.
By giving an option between two reasonable outcomes, I’m getting the kids to focus and make an informed decision on what they want. At the same time, this helps them to feel independent and accountable for their choices. My teen and tween boys are now able to express their thoughts better when trying to make up their mind about something. They can reason out, although it may only be ‘reasonable’ to them! Well, at least they are well aware of the impact of that particular choice.
I don’t simply let them do what they want that’s not the case here. This mum can behave like a vicious dictator, but of course, not everything is negotiable in life. Just like rules are created to benefit the society and control chaos, there are certain things that we have to conform without making a huge fuss. And choices come with responsibility. That’s what I want my kids to learn; to become a thinking adult who can make judgements based on a sound mind and not merely doing it ‘just because’.
Things we know for sure but annoyingly keep popping up
- Occasional indulgence won’t make the little ones bratty. Childhood is a special time, so they deserve that extra special treatment. When they know they are loved, they’ll be more appreciative, loving and trusting.
- Boys and girls should do/enjoy/watch/play things that are gender specific because if they don’t they will end up being less masculine/feminine as an adult. Absolute nonsense! Let them explore what they like in order to develop empathy for each other in the future, so they’ll be a better partner/wife/husband/parent. A decent human being.
- Pacifier, security blanket/pillow, thumb sucking for comfort won’t last forever and they are not the cause of clinginess or antisocial behaviour. It actually helps making the child independent and grounded.
- Breastfeeding or formula milk is a choice. Whether the milk is a plant or animal based is a choice. Having said that, some mothers don’t even have the privilege to choose due to health or socio-economic factors, and that is not a choice.
- A growing child’s milestone checklist isn’t there to freak-out new parents, it is a guideline to gauge the growth of a typical child of that age. If there’s any concerns, note it and book an appointment with a paediatrician. Googling then coming up with your own interpretation is a big No No.
- Frustrations and tantrums are a norm from baby to adolescence. Adults have them too but they know how to take control and make it less obvious by not showing it in front of others (though there are adults with bad tantrums 🙄). There’s no reason for a child to act grown-up because they haven’t reached that developmental stage yet.
- Our success as a parent isn’t measured against our children’s spectacular achievements, likewise our failure has nothing to do with their inability to measure up with the mainstream expectations.
Life has always been busy and doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Not having to leave the house for work and staying home don’t make much difference. But it’s a great feeling to be there for the kids completely instead of barking orders and telling them to get on because ‘I’m very busy’. Busy was my middle name when I was a working mum. The time that I had for my kids was pretty rushed. Learning to be in the moment by focusing on what’s happening without worrying (or pretending not to worry) about the passing time takes a lot of self-control. Although there are only four kids (err, five including their dad who should hire a personal assistant for all the reminders that I need to remember), juggling their daily activities and demands can be quite tricky. Thankfully my multi-tasking skill isn’t too bad, so it helps a little. That aside, I’m still struggling and sometimes I let negativity gets the best of me, which can be unpleasant. So what’s the most brilliant pick me up? Call a friend for a chat or leave the house. Just leave. Haha…
Photo credit: loveandmarriageblog.com, momsgotink
Lately at home, I had many fallings out with my tween boy. It would be about the most mundane things like asking him to pack his bag for school or telling him to have dinner or reminding him to start his homework. His negative reaction was as though he was told to do something unreasonably hard. He became obnoxious and rude. Sometimes he simply walked away while I was still having a go at his behaviour. That really gets me all the time for I can’t tolerate rudeness in any forms from anyone.
If I was in a mindful parenting mode, usually I would let it slide and even spoke in my most understanding voice and left him to calm down. After all, he’s a child who’s going through many changes and I’m an adult who should behave with utmost consideration towards a growing child. Since I know the facts behind his irrational behaviour, I should be able to handle this tween tantrum like a pro. Unfortunately that’s not the case for a burnt out mum, just like many others out there who are tired, sleep deprived and lacked of a good rest. So I turned into an ugly monster with a totally repulsive manner. Tsk tsk tsk.
I must admit, as much as I was upset with my son, my uncalled-for overreaction was shameful to say the least. Thank goodness there’s no CCTV to catch the drama because I’d probably be seen unfit for parenting. But I know that’s not true. Raising children is a challenging job that requires compassion (for yourself and the child), forgiveness (accept the imperfections), humour (lighten up, see the funny side), knowledge and skills (read, learn, talk to others) and positiveness (nothing is permanent, better days will eventually appear and it’s all a phase anyway). Not forgetting, it’s important to look after our own needs to be a better functioning parent. A sound mind and body make a lot of difference in the way we handle a crisis 🙂
Back to my tween, he’s popular among his friends for his cool and pleasant ways. He loves jokes and has a contagious laughter that’s just so adorable. The adults find him polite and mature beyond his age…looks like he’s on the right path! In the meantime, I must continue practising my breathing exercise and have faith that this too shall pass. One day I’ll look back and wonder what’s the fuss all about.