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Don’t Just Survive Being a SAHM! The Thriving SAHM Checklist

I like to think that 50 years from now, somebody will be reading this and think how outdated this list is… But for now, it’s reality. We don’t need to just survive, we need to thrive!

Being a SAHM, is hard work, it’s never ending hours, often thankless and undocumented (expect for now we have social media as an outlet for our day to day woes). I once had some lady tell me I was lazy for being a SAHM, and I think my eyes almost fell out of my head! Not only is being a SAHM challenging, but often our pride and dignity get squashed when we compare ourselves to mothers who work. When we see photos on social media or know what our money making friends are up to, it can make you feel pretty worthless somedays. Here you are calling it a triumph of a day for wiping poo off the floor and baking some cookies… and what other people are doing at work, might seem much more glamourous.

And, there are lots of reasons why one parent ends up staying at home with the kids!

But, no matter what our reasons for being a SAHM (stay at home mum or SAHD, stay at home dad), or part time SAHM, these are the things over the years (going on 8) that have helped me thrive. After giving a short poll to my readers, they resonated with a lot of the same… Read the rest of this entry

Children Under 7 Have No Concept of Time: Helping Kids Understand ‘Time’.

Have you ever said to your kid, “We’re leaving in five minutes!” The time comes and they totally blow you off? Or, they legitimately ask you 399 times in the car “are we there yet?” even though you told them that the GPS says 10 more minutes?! Or, thirty seconds before you leave the house, they get involved with imaginary play? Even though you’ve been telling them all along that we’re leaving “in a few minutes“?

It’s because young kids have a very limited concept of time. For babies and young toddlers, you can just about forget about it. They live so much in the present moment, every moment to them is new and fresh. This is why kids can be crying one minute and laughing the next. It’s very beautiful, but can be super frustrating for us adults who are stuck in the world of time!

Don’t you remember, as a kid, how long everything felt? I remember summer vacation feeling like an eternity! And long car trips were torturous because I thought I might die of old age before we ever reached our destination. Or, the reverse. I would go out to play in the backyard, and get lost in time, playing with sticks and leaves and mud. Read the rest of this entry

“A Dishwasher Saved Her Marriage”

Right now, my husband is out surfing, while the dishwasher is doing its magic.

But, it hasn’t always been so magical. A couple years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about my domestic woes. The biggest of all was the dishes… The.damn.dishes. I cook a lot. We had no dishwasher, and my husband worked long hard days and would come home utterly exhausted. I was often the only person who washed the dishes for weeks, sometimes months on end. It was really getting me down. I was feeling resentful. I did everything I could to cut down on dirty dishes, including making the kids share plates if I made them something like toast. I tried paper plates in emergencies. I even tried turning the dishes into a sort of meditation… But, in reality, I felt like a slave in my own home. The dishes had become the bane of my existence, I told her. Read the rest of this entry

The Magic of Not Giving Kids Chores

Think about how you motivate yourself to do chores. Do you give yourself a sticker for making your bed? Or, give yourself a chocolate for folding the laundry? Come on… NO!

Most of us need to be intrinsically motivated to get the job done.

Assigning chores, becomes a chore in itself!

Read the rest of this entry

Dear America, What Exactly Are Y’all Praying For?

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My husband woke up before me and showed me the screen of his phone. “What the hell.” He said. “What the fuck.” I said. We don’t swear much. But this news check required swearing.

Another shooting. More people praying.

Praying for the victim’s peace. Praying for the victom’s families. Praying that another act of ‘senseless violence’ (ahem, domestic terrorism/murder) won’t happen again.

How about we start praying for GUN LAW REFORM?!?! Now there’s a thought! It’s mighty kind of us to pray for victims and their families, but by the time we’re praying for the victims and the families is too late!!!

What if, instead of waiting for these things to happen, and then praying later, American politicians did something to STOP mass shootings from happening.

Don’t pull your bullshit, “People shoot people”. I moved away from America ten years ago and I live in a country with people too. Crazy people, sane people, rich people, poor people. The difference is that in the country I live in now, people don’t have access to guns like they used to. In 1996, there was a mass shooting in Australia and the politicians said enough is enough. They changed the gun laws. They made a gun buy back program to get guns out do the hands of civilians. And guess what? No more mass shootings.

There was no praying. (Ok, maybe there was). Quite simply, the laws were changed. There was no fluffing around. The Australian politicians decided that the right to live was greater than the right to own a gun.

And, people here can still own guns. And, we still have gun violence. It’s stupid. I wish the laws were even stricter. When you do hear of gun related violence, it’s usually associated with some sort of domestic violence.

But no lunatic pulling out a semi automatic weapon killing 50 people and injuring 500 more!

So, America, pray all you want, because I know you’re a prayin’ nation, but please pray for the right thing. Pray that your politicians will keep the guns out of the hands of people who should not have them. The second amendment does not apply to phsycopaths with semi automatic rifles! I’ll pray for you too. And for your husbands and wives and for your children, that your politicians will do the right thing.

 

The “Stop Judging Me” Epidemic

Some parents have become so defensive in their parenting practices, that they sincerely believe someone else’s triumphs are a direct attack on their way of living.

A home birth story turns into you judging another mother for having a c-section story. A photo of your kids enjoying a day of homeschool turns into a dig against kids who go to school. A photo of a smiling mother, happily breastfeeding, instantly becomes an insult to those women who couldn’t breastfeed. A proud photo of babywearing becomes an attack on parents who use strollers. A parent who openly says they will never do ‘cry it out‘, because it goes against their heart and against what all the research says, is dragged over the coals for judging other mothers who do ‘cry it out’.

It’s out of control. It’s ridiculous.

Since when have parents become so incapable of appreciating others experiences? Since when have parents become so unwilling to gain something useful from someone else’s life stories? Since when have parents become so defensive to the point that rather than admit they may have something to learn, they scream out, “You don’t know what my life is like, stop judging me!Read the rest of this entry

Ten Years Ago, I Made a Ten Year Plan

Ten years ago, I was feeling a little bit lost. I think a lot of people go through a rough patch like this at some point. I had a degree, but couldn’t find a good job. Wasn’t happy where I was living. Thought I wanted kids and a family, but maybe didn’t know when or where to start as most of the other areas of my life didn’t seemed to be lining up.

So… I sat down and made two plans. The first was a short term plan for getting things I needed to get done in the next 6 months or so. The second plan was a long term, ten year plan.

I divided my long term plan into different pages. One page for career. One page for family planning. One plan for community volunteer goals. One plan for the type of education I needed to get the job I wanted. Where I wanted to live, etc.

It took me less than a half an hour. When I finished, I folded it up and put it in a special place and felt a lot better. If anything, I had a plan.

And guess what?

Almost everything on that plan came true! Read the rest of this entry

When Babies and Toddlers Go on Strike! An Aware Parent Perspective

My ten month old son was getting a new tooth, and while it wasn’t causing him pain, his latch must have felt different. One day, he sort of chomped/grazed me while he was feeding. I jumped and let out a ‘YELP!‘ On the surface, he showed no obvious response to my reaction. But, when we started having extreme difficulties feeding for the next few days, I knew that he had been upset by my reaction to his bite.

It’s very common for babies and toddlers to ‘strike‘. Most common are breastfeeding ‘strikes‘, or if you’re doing elimination communication, it could be a potty ‘strike‘. (If you haven’t heard of elimination communication, it’s taking your baby to the potty, I wrote a blog post about it here.) Other ‘strikes‘ could be sitting still for a nappy change, getting in the carseat, getting dressed, brushing teeth, etc. I lumped all the ‘strikes‘ together, because while the reason for the ‘strike‘ may be different, the remedies for the ‘strikes‘ are generally the same!

Sometimes the ‘strike‘ seems to resolve itself, while other times, the ‘strike‘ seems to go on forever.

I put the term ‘strike‘ in quotation marks, because it’s not really that the baby doesn’t want to continue with the activity. Rather, babies at this age go on ‘strike‘ because of some sort of unmet need or pent up emotions. This post will talk about WHY a baby goes on ‘strike‘ and what actions you can take to resolve the issue, all while staying emotionally available and connected to your baby. Read the rest of this entry

I Finally Learned The BEST Way to Moisturise My Skin (Cheap and No Gimmicks): Ayurveda

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Ever since I can remember, winter used to mean horrible dry skin for me. Even after I moved from the east coast of America to the warmer climate of the Gold Coast of Australia, my skin was still awful in winter. So dry that my hands and feet would crack and sometimes bleed! I tried using every type of moisturiser and every method out there (or so I thought). Until, at the start of last winter, my ayurvedic doctor told me to start doing daily warm oil massage in the morning, followed by a shower. Hmmm… That was weird, I thought. Put the oil on BEFORE the shower? I was willing to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry

Parenting With Less Wasted Words

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When my first was little, I used to talk to her all day. Almost a steady stream of explanations, questions and observations. I felt like it was up to me to deliver an experience of the world around her, through my eyes. When I watch old videos of us together, I wish I could have lovingly told the ‘me‘ of seven years ago to just be quiet and let her enjoy the new things she was discovering.

I used to say, “Oh, look at the moon! Look at the doggie! Wave bye bye!” ect. Interestingly, she went through a period where she was scared of the moon and of dogs! It was almost as if me pointing these things out to her and drawing artificial attention to them made her anxious! I also started to realise that it gets tiring always explaining, asking and talking!

This post is about my journey in the way I speak (or choose not to speak) to my kids and other children. I don’t want anyone reading this to think that I’m obsessed over every little thing I say to my kids or that I count my words or something crazy like that! It’s been more about the general awareness level and breaking free of the ‘record player‘ (the way we’re programmed to speak to children from our own past experiences). I feel I have a much deeper connection with my kids when I stop ‘talking at‘ them and really consider if what I have to say is actually helping the situation, or if I’m imposing my ignorance or my past, on their new experiences. The journey of awareness of speech is gradual and on-going.

Now, she’s 7 years old, and the other day, she was braiding a belt for her pants that kept falling down. She was putting in a considerable effort into the task that she had initiated herself. But, I could see straight away that the yarn she had cut was too short. For a second, I wanted to ‘save‘ her from making a mistake. I could have told her to stop and consider if the string was long enough. But, I didn’t. I watched. She finished. She realised it was too short. She simply said, “Wow, this is WAY too short!” and bounced away from her project and didn’t try to make another one.

In the short term, my intervention would have meant she would have been successful this time, but what about the next time and the time after that? I guess I could have encouraged her to make another one, right? Wasn’t she disappointed that she hadn’t succeeded? No… Her final product was only a failure in MY eyes. She didn’t have to know about the dialogue in my head! Who am I to say what learning experience she had gained? She had completed her activity and wasn’t attached by the outcome, only I was attached the outcome.

I found that most of the time when I ‘talked at‘ my children (explaining, asking questions, being unaware of their learning journey), I was interrupting a really important learning processes.

My four year old recently learned how to scoot really well on her scooter. By accident, I told her twice how awesome it was that she was scooting so well! (Cheer leader style). She rolled her eyes and said, “Why do you keep saying that?!” Oops… sorry. They’ll catch you in that moment of unawareness and let you know how irritating you are!

Kids complain. We try to reason with them. Instead of hearing them out.

Kids cry. We talk and distract, rather than listen to their hurts and frustrations.

Kids are sad. We try to talk them out of being sad, instead of allowing their hearts to be heavy (with kids, the heaviness usually only lasts for a few moments)

Kids discover something new! We try to explain their discovery even deeper and accidentally make it seem like they might not be able to learn all the answers on their own.

Kids get scared of something. Again, we try to distract or won’t validate their fears, telling them to stop being silly, or to be a big girl, instead of holding them in their space and allowing the fear to express itself.

The same goes for getting kids to cooperate. Let’s says it’s time to leave the park, I say we need to get going a hundred times, but they know that the first 99 times I say it, that we’re really not ready to go. So, I’ve literally wasted my breath. Same goes for put on your shoes, brush your teeth, etc. Unless the sound honestly does not reach their ear drums… they heard you the first time! Whether or not they cooperate is another story.

Over the years, I’ve gotten so so much better at responding, rather than reacting, but it’s hard to break out of ‘react‘ mode! Even people who have practiced some sort of self help/self discipline for years, suddenly find themselves spewing out words of unawareness from their past experiences when they become parents. Children bring out the best and worst of us!

Kids usually don’t need lengthy explanations on life. They get it. But, sometimes they DO need extra explanation. For example this morning, miss. 7 was bouncing on the bed doing flips and splits. Instead of telling her to ‘stop it‘ a million times, I told her “I need you do do your flips and splits in the other room because Marty is getting distracted by all your noise!” So, she went off in the the other room.

While writing this, my 4 year old came to me complaining about her sister. I listened. I told her in a few words that I understand how she is feeling. She left, happy that she was heard. I didn’t have to explain for ten minutes about another course of action she could take that would make everybody happy. I mean, if she had asked me for some advice, I would have given it to her. But, really, she just wanted a shoulder to cry on.

Young children live in the present moment, so there’s really no need for too much explanation, planning ahead, pondering, etc. If they’re ready to absorb it, they will. If they’re not ready, the event or phenomena will simply pass them by.

Although I do talk now with more awareness, I’m not so serious and rigid that I won’t sing a silly non-sensical song to the baby and do silly fart jokes with the 5 year old. I still talk and explain things and point things out. It would be really unnatural and stiff not to! The key is to be natural with my kids and leave those past experiences aside to make room for something new!

If after reading this post, you feel like you want to speak with less wasted words to your children, but you’re not sure of how to get them to cooperate, there’s a fantastic book that I highly recommend, called ‘Attachment Play’ by Aletha Solter.