Time out, time in

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family life / motherhood

Time out. It’s not a thing we do in our household, but I have been thinking of creative ways of managing and modifying the children’s behavior. There’s the no dessert route, the five minutes before bed to catch a show on Netflix route, and the no weekend playdate route. What I have been doing, along with my partner, is rewarding the children on an individual basis when they do as we expect them to. Rewards, I’m learning are quick ways to get the kids to try harder and push harder. I find they don’t do what we want them to just because – it’s never that simple.

They have to copy behavior and actions that create routine, and structure. I don’t know about your kids, but our kids LOVE to eat! I do not know where the food goes. Where do the groceries disappear to? I can whip up a smoothie or guacamole in an instant, and I know there are foods they just behave better with. Like, seriously if there are certain dishes that I make, they will eat, sing, be merry and do all of their chores with no protest. To circumvent this recently, I hatched a plan and told no one.

My plan was simple: do all the fun things this weekend, very little ‘hard line’ discipline, and laying down the intentions, expectations from early… sit back and watch. Wow! Did the kids respond. Homework completed early, chores done without me hassling them, and general merriment was had by all. Family movie night still took place, and there was home made vegan pizza, lots of healthy and fun foods. I wasn’t going to let their possible bad behavior sink the entire weekend ship… after all, I would like some peace and quiet too. So, I just observed and man oh man… they surely were good. Of course they were not perfect, but still I moved the needle a bit. They were cooperative and for that I will institute fun weekends more often.

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Managing all of the children

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family life / motherhood

With three children, aged 14, 11, and 9 – our home is not short of many moods. Most of the time, the children behave as they want to, not as we want to, but we are making progress. Our youngest, K is a sweetheart most of the time. He behaves, follows instructions and does well in school. The problem is that his older sisters are more often than not requiring most of our time and energy. And it is not due to stellar behaviour. K will often lose out due to his sisters behaviors. My partner and I want to change this, so we are silo-ing him so to speak, so he gets rewarded for doing well, and he does not lose out because of his siblings. So, K get to spend some weekend time at his friends’ house, and his sisters will not.

I think we have found a way to manage the behaviour and keep everyone adequately rewarded or punished. Otherwise, what incentive is there for him to continue to do well? Not much if you ask me, and I want him to continue to do well. I want them all to do well. Juggling three children is the hardest thing I have ever done.

Any advice?

Don’t worry about a ting’

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family life / motherhood

That ditty from the ever famous reggae song follows me this week. Worry is useless these days, as I will do the best that is in me, and I will have to be ok with that. Furthermore, worry is a pain in the ass. See, I am doing my very best that I can. I am also coming into my own sense of clarity that I cannot ‘fix’ the children, as I did not birth them. What I can do, is impart my good judgement upon them, and set the tone from the moment that I have entered their lives. Anything before is none of my real business and not actually my fault.

If the children turn out how they are meant to turn out with only taking 25% of my influence, then that is what it will be. If they take 5% then that is what it is too. My job, (that I am comfortable with) is to keep them clean, fed, clothed, cared for and loved. To keep them safe, and to keep them engaged. To expose them to new things, keep them learning, and trying to develop them into people that are healthy citizens and individuals. Now that sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? Well, here’s why it is not – because that is simply what I would do for the children that I give birth to.

What I have realized that I cannot do, is undo their deep psychological issues or traumas or neuroses that I did not cause. I cannot undo the years of what the loss of their mom did to them. I cannot catch them up to speed developmentally overnight. I can only do my best with what I have and the tools I know work best to rear a child. I would take on the world weeks ago, and lose LOTS of sleep. But I know now, that the children are not exactly fully moldable anymore. They are at ages where they can talk back, refuse advice and guidance and show large amounts of insubordination. That is not my fault. Nor do I have to charge ahead feet first, plummeting into the abyss of guilt over everything.

I’m new to the game, and I will always be new to the game, even 5 or 10 years from now. I will do my best, and I will do my best, and that will be damn near good enough. Everything will be alright, and life will move on. Everything will be alright. I have not had them since birth, and I have not been able to influence and rear them in the Kat way. However, that is alright, I am here now. I will do what I can do, and send them on their way in a few years. College, anyone???

I’ll be the ‘stepmom’ type of bonus mom, but with a heart.

A rough week – but it’s getting better

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Hey fam! Things have been a bit light on the blog this week as far as posting goes, since I have been out of commission for most of the week. I have a chronic illness that I am battling and managing, and this week I have not been able to do much of anything. Last week was like that too. After a hospital visit on Monday, I just laid up in my bed, and really just stayed there. Took the painkillers the doctors prescribed me and took a time out. Sleepy. Loopy and all that.

The kids don’t know anything about what their father and I am working through in regards to my health, which adds another interesting element of things to our lives. I am struggling with whether ¬†or not to share some basics of what is going on with the kids. I do not want to alarm them, but when I am irritable, exhausted and holed up in my bed for days I kinda want them to know why. This illness I am battling has to do with my reproductive system and future fertility prospects, so obviously it is very raw and emotional. My partner and I want to have our own biological kids together, the more kids the merrier. So, we are preoccupied with this major thing that the kids don’t know about. Considering their bio mom died from breast cancer, I do not want to freak the kids out. My illness is in no way life threatening.

I’m stuck. Anyway, just wanted to pop in. I have an emergency doctors appointment in an hour, so I need to run.

See y’all on the next post!

Resolution to the setback

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family life

Well, all things must come to a close, no? Finally a certain 14 year old came to me and spoke up about her learning moment that I mentioned on the blog recently. She came in and apologized as teens tend to do, eyes diverted to the floor and speaking in a lower tone than I know she is capable of. I was certainly not giving in, nor was I going to walk her through this one. You see, I do believe that children old enough to travel to the park, library or school alone, are old enough to speak their truths. And we know they do. I do want her to realize that her voice is powerful, in the moments where she is declaring something or owning up to a mistake. That is how we teach children to learn repercussions and also to control their own choices. Self – ownership is key, and I am not wanting to raise no fool either.

She did good, and it was a starting point.

A setback, yet still moving forward

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family life / motherhood

So, A, (My partner’s 14 year old girl) has been doing so well. She has been cooperative, and more pleasant than usual. She has been funny, giggly and downright adorable of late. I mean, 14 year old girls are like hot potatoes, you never know what you will get and if it can actually be something you can handle. So, I play it safe.

By play it safe, I mean – I pay special attention to her, her moods, her filters, her moves around the house. I remember being 14, as it was not that long ago, ahem. But, things were different then. I was relatively mild mannered and I always listened to my mom, until I didn’t. But that is a story for later. Lately, A has been testier than as of late. We were having a few weeks of smooth sailing and the kids have been trying much harder and being more mindful in general.

Well you can believe my surprise when last night she retaliated in colorful form against me and her chores. Of course, Daddy was at work. It always seems like these meltdowns happen when I am the only adult home. But, I digress. For a few minutes, I actually did not know what to do. Fast forward to the next day and instead of railing to my beau that I was rocked by this and I didn’t know how we could actually move forward with this teenager thing… I said to him “Just so you know, I’m not going anywhere. I am here and I am staying by your side, because WE work. Because WE are brilliant together, and a moody, unpredictable 14 year old spoiled brat will not make me get out of the way … not now, not ever.”

For me, that is a big deal. For me, a month or two ago, I would not have been there. I would be scarred enough, and shook enough to keep bailing as an option. Not anymore. My beau is my beau. He is my love, and our bond will remain tight, get tighter and not be broken by anyone outside of the two of us. I have found love and other people’s issues will not move me away from standing my ground. Everyone else, man oh man, they just really have to adjust.

What’s your can’t fail Mom trick?

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family life / motherhood

I have been learning and living during these past three months. I tell you, when I want to calm the storm or readjust a few attitudes, I just cook a bomb-dot-com dinner. Dinner is legitimately my mom trick. Sometimes if I am short on time, I will make guacamole from scratch and throw a few oven roasted homemade chips in the oven and lemme tell you, it works like nobody’s business. My kids simply LOVE guac. Like they LOVE corn on the cob. Like they love an occasional veggie sausage thrown in a meal on the sly.

My whole family is vegan and certain things are just new to their tummies. Certain foods they just have not eaten, and I am here to change that. So, all of the things I miss eating and have grown up on like bbq, cheeseburgers, jerk chicken… I find a way to make it here. It’s a win-win, because I get to experiment in the kitchen and they get to eat new things. If I make my mexican corn salad, it is just about all OVAH in this house. Our pickiest eater definitely asks for seconds.

The kids tend to have more fun, be more silly and the night goes smoother when I make something for them and something for me. Plus, it’s going to make the raw vegan days of the week I want to institute a bit more easy to swallow.

Let’s just say, I am a quick study and I am catching on. Share your Mom tricks with me. What works for you? I found myself giving my eleven year old daughter my iPad a few weeks ago when I did her hair. Never would I have guessed that.