Those 18 years have flown by but what fun we’ve had.
So now you can have your 1st (legal) alcoholic beverage, drive a car and attend appointments without a parent.
It’s a bitter sweet moment seeing you grow up into an independent lady.
We’re so proud of you and everything you’ve achieved. It’s been a challenging year or so for you, losing close loved ones, juggling a new job, A levels, driving lessons and some health issues but despite it all, you just get on with it and give it all your best shot.
You’re an old, wise soul, mature beyond your 18 years, but you’ll always be our little girl!
Motherhood is precious but childhood goes too fast.
Sometimes, you need to prioritise your time with those people and things that are most important to you. As mums we all feel guilty for doing anything other than parenting. But when we are spending Us Time with our kid’s, ironically, we tend to feel guilty for neglecting our other chores.
But even cleaning is clutter.
In my experience, dust never disappears, but our children’s youth does.
There’s always going to be laundry in the basket, dishes in the sink, and dust on the TV.
As long as we are alive, it never ends, so we needn’t feel the housework has to be done before we enjoy time with our children. I know it’s embarrassing when an unexpected visitor turns up and the house is a mess, but living life is more important than looking good to others. Besides, if those visitors are important in our lives, then they won’t mind we prioritise spending time with our children over a tidy house sometimes.
Our children will not always need us like they do now, but the time we spend with them today, will make a big difference that will stay with them for a lifetime, unlike that worn-out jumper that always needs washing and ironing.
We can vacuum and polish until our heart’s content when our children have grown up and flown the nest.
Admittedly, we won’t have as much mess then, but who will we be keeping the house clean and tidy for?
An empty house is just a house, not a home.
Our homes are our family space to feel safe, relax, and play in. Children need enough space for playing with their toys and belongings. Sometimes, games, puzzles, dolls, and figures need to be left out in order for them to pick up playing where they left off last.
They don’t want a Feng Shuied bedroom with books and toys neatly stored away like ornaments just to look at. That’s just a waste of money. And useless, unused boxes of toys gathering dust, just create more unnecessary cleaning.
Enjoy some guilt free ‘Us Time’ playing today because toys that are loved and used often don’t gather dust, only memories.
It’s that crazy, chaotic time of year again, when we spend a couple of months preparing for one big day!
And with so many expectations around the ‘Perfect Christmas’ its no wonder we all feel so overwhelmed.
But here’s some tips for keeping Christmas calm this year.
PREVENT OVERSPENDING AND OVER BUYING
Children don’t understand the financial cost of gifts, they value things on the value they have to them entertainment wise.
They like to play and experiment with toys, which usually means expensive things get broken. So, a good trick is to look at any new toy that we give a child as broken already. This money saving technique will prevent overspending on expensive toys while gift shopping. Making a list of what you’re buying beforehand, also helps. Then, wrap gifts straight away, keeping a note of what you bought for whom and how much it cost, to prevent over spending and last-minute panic buying.
PREVENT OVERSTIMULATION AND OVERWHELM
Routines are key. Children need to know what to expect, when, where and why more than ever during the holidays.
Work things around your child’s regular routine, not around anything or anyone else.
Stick to regular bedtimes and mealtimes, while offering plenty of warnings and reminders of what’s to come.
And spread the joy, anticipation and appreciation for visitors, sweet treats and gifts, over a few days, rather than in one go.
MANAGE YOUR OWN STRESS LEVELS
All that shopping, spending, wrapping and prep can be stressful, so don’t forget to take some daily U Time for yourself to just relax. Whether that’s a soak in the bath after a long day or sitting down with a cuppa, taking time to breathe in the here and now and get organised in your head, reduces stress.
Take our Mumatherapy Stress Checker Quiz now to check your stress levels
This year many of us will want to visit friends and family to make up for last year’s Covid restrictions but the mere thought of this maybe making you feel anxious. If so, plan ahead now to ensure you and your partner are not stressed with one another. Your energy (and anxiety) will rub off on the little ones, so calm kids need calm parents when travelling. But you can still expect some bored and restless behaviour along the way and if you have more than one child, there’ll be squabbling too. This is normal but you can help alleviate some of it by making regular stops for a feed, to stretch legs and take toilet breaks and making the journey a fun experience, by listening to their favourite songs or pointing out the scenery and playing games such as; count how many red cars you can see or spot the mini, and taking along activities such as colouring books or digital devices.
AVOIDING THE EMBARISSMENT OF TODDLER TANTRUMS WHEN VISITING FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
Be proactive in pre-empting your child’s moods and emotions and get everyone in your team. Let friends and family members know your child’s routines and triggers. And to prevent any undue attention, remind everyone beforehand that your child may act childish (kids are childish, so you don’t need to feel embarrassed by other people unrealistic, expectations of your children) and encourage grownups to just ignore any carrot flinging episodes or melt downs at bedtime.
HOW TO BALANCE EXPECTATIONS WITH REALITY?
Keep your own expectations realistic and stay present in the moment and forget what you didn’t do or buy, and stop worrying about how tomorrow will work out.
Christmas is a memory making moment, make happy Christmas memories your child will cherish, and enjoy this time yourself.
Build that Lego castle, watch that family movie together and stay present in each and every moment, that’s the real gift that keeps on giving.
Happy St David’s Day or as we call him in Wales -Dewi Sant, the patron saint of Wales.
His monks spent their evenings in prayers, reading and writing, which sounds like absolute heaven to me. As he taught his followers to refrain from eating meat, today, I have decided to cook the children my favourite leek and potato soup, and of course leeks are his symbol and our symbol of Wales.
CAWL – LEEK AND POTATO SOUP
Peel and dice about 8 medium small potatoes
Melt a knob of butter in a large pan
Wash and chop up about 8 baby tender leeks or 3-4 large ones
Chop an onion
Add onion, leek and potatoes to the melted butter and cook for a few minutes until soft (not brown)
Add 850 ml of vegetable stock and bring to the boil then put a lid on and simmer on a low heat for 25 minutes.
Add a good grounding of black pepper to season.
Take off the heat and then blend. I like a simple hand blending stick or if you’re making under 4 portions you can use a soup maker with slightly less ingredients.
Enjoy with a crusty whole meal baguette or bread roll.
Leeks are also a tasty super vegetable that give us vitamins- C, A, B complex, and minerals- potassium, calcium and phosphorus, providing lots of health benefits such as- cell function, energy and healthy bones. The super starch white potato also offers- B6, B12, C, Folate, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamine vitamins. As well as minerals – magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and iron, good for electrolyte balance, cell and collagen production, bone health and heart function.
MY LITTLE WELSH GIRL
When my daughter was young, she loved helping me to make cawl (soup) and dressing up on St David’s Day. She had a Traditional Welsh Girl outfit. It had a lovely black bonnet with white ribbon that she loved.
She loved it so much so that, she kept nagging me to let her wear it to bed at night.
Of course, this would end up in a huge argument, as I tried to convince her to take it off and put her pyjama’s on!
Then one night, after much debate, I decided to use a little reverse psychology and agreed to let her wear it to bed.
After about ten minutes, she came running out of her bedroom.
Asking me to take it off her and put her pyjamas on, as it was so itchy and uncomfortable.
Job done, I’d given in and won!
When we allow our children to make their own choices, they lack resistance. And when given the option, they usually choose not to do the things, they thought they originally wanted to do.
They must feel free to make the choice though. It’s important that they feel that we have no resistance or strong preference what they do, either way.
They then realize they no longer need to fight against us, as there is nothing to fight about.
When there’s no resistance, everyone wins.
But if we always say ‘No!’
Or we get confrontational, our children will persist and inevitably someone will lose.
Choosing our battles wisely, enables us to identify the times when it’s ok to let them have their own way.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
Our children have a reason behind how they behave. They just can’t always articulate or understand it.
That’s why it’s best to choose our battles wisely.
If we follow the footprints in the snow, we’ll usually find the Gruffalo, but often discover there’s a different story at play.
We need to get a clear perspective of the situation first, by staying Present and Proactive.
This will help us to find out the reasons behind our childrens behaviour, rather than focusing on the behaviour itself.
Then when we discover the source of their behaviour, we’ll know how best to coach them in another direction, or when not to get involved.
You can find out more about coaching your children’s behaviour in my audio book, The Powerful Proactive Parents Guide to Present Parenting, link below.
Lockdown may have kept some of us apart but if you are fortunate to live with people you love, then give them a hug right now (but please, do not hug just yet those who live outside of your home due to Covid-19).
Did you know that a 10 second hug releases oxytocin, increasing your bond with your child and decreasing anxiety?
That’s why this hormone is known as ‘The love’ hormone.
And that’s why, the next time our little ones push our angry buttons, it’s better for everyone to have a hug.
When our children constantly want and nag and fight for our attention, what they’re really craving is that human, loving, connection. A simple kiss, cuddle and a long hug is all it takes to bring us present together, in the moment.
Being a Present Parent means we are not just there physically, but in mind and energy too. We are focused on one another completely. Everything we do for our children is an act of love. Even listening to them chat about their day at school or childcare or reading them a story. Those things all mean more than money or possessions. But we need to be paying attention, or we’ll miss out as much as our children on some (much cherished in years to come) Us Time (you can learn more about Us Time and The U URSELF Routine in my book The Confident Parent’s Guide to Raising a Happy, Healthy & Successful Child and on Present Parenting in The Powerful Proactive Parent’s Guide to Present Parenting, both books are available now from all good book stockists such as, Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble.
Love equals Time and Attention, and that’s the most loving investment we can make in our children’s lives. We can always buy more stuff, but we can never buy more time. Once spent, it’s gone forever.
Love in the moment.
This moment is all that counts. And all those loving moments soon add up!
Our childrens unwanted behaviour is not their fault, they’re not being difficult, annoying, ungrateful or selfish, it’s just more loving ‘Us Time’ they’re really seeking.
It’s not how our children behave or the things that happen to us in life that’s the problem, it’s how we choose to deal with what happens.
Problems and disagreements are part and parcel of parenting, which we can’t eliminate, but we can learn how to deal with and overcome them.
Offering a reassuring hug, kiss or smile is all it takes to repair a kink in the chain of love that connects us.
Disagreements will always occur in loving relationships, but if we take action to resolve things as soon as possible and are willing and able to work through issues with our children, we strengthen our bonds.
I know this can be difficult when they wake us at two am in the morning, we may know that there are no monsters under the bed, but a three-year-old may not.
At those times, particularly when we are tired and angry, we can unintentionally miss the opportunity to give them an explanation, hug or a kiss, and to make them feel better, especially if they are behaving undesirably.
Yet this is when they are crying out for help, and yes, attention.
Ironically, it’s those times when they misbehave and don’t understand their own emotions that, we end up getting upset and angry with them, when all they really want and need is a cuddle.
Each time we find ourselves overreacting, we can stop and try to shift direction, and replace that in the moment reaction with a hug. It means bringing our awareness back to the present moment, and acting from a place of love. Not automatically reacting unconsciously in the heat of them moment, trying to stop our childrens behaviour.
Once upon a time, we were our children’s number one fan, we adored everything they did. Even a poo on the potty was cause for celebration and hugs of proud appreciation, but as they grow, the focus changes.
But is it our children who change, or is it us who change how we view our children?
BONDED BY LOVE
It’s those everyday acts of love such as cooking them tea and chatting about their day, that strengthens the bond we share with our children.
Expressing our love a little longer than expected, reinforces our love.
Next time, try hugging your child a couple of minutes longer than usual and feel the love transmitted back and forth.
That’s our bonds strengthening and reconnecting us to one another.