It’s been a bit of a crazy weekend here at Casa-de-Jess, but all good crazy.
One of my favourite parenting gurus was visiting Darwin and my friend Janie and I were trying to make sure as many people as possible had access to her flying visit and resulting wisdom.
Mel Hayde is the author of a couple of books calls Terrific Toddlers, and I can honestly say with one hundred percent conviction, that these books have changed the way I parent so much, and all for the good.
Everyone should have them.
I’d love to go into great detail about the weekend and all the handy tips I picked up, but I’m going to leave that till next week. This week I’ve got big blogging things planned (you’re going to want to stay tuned!) and so I’m just trying to keep things low key.
I’m fact I wasn’t going to post at all today, but I am, so there. 🙂
Most of you probably know that I am a course facilitator with Growing Families Australia, a Christian organisation that seeks to empower families by providing positive parenting information for Christians and non-Christians alike. Over the last few years of being involved with them, I’ve had so many opportunities to meet different people who have devoted their life to these programs, and are an incredible fountain of knowledge.
In the past I’ve always felt a degree of pressure leading up to these visits because I’m sure that my children’s behaviour should be at a certain level, befitting a course facilitator, and someone who regularly comes on line to bang on about the benefits of heart training. Of course the kids rarely live up to this ridiculous level, and I end up stressed and feeling not that wonderful.
This visit was the first time I’ve felt truly comfortable in where we are as a family. No my children are not perfect, but they are not terrible either. They have faults and areas of weakness, but so do I. They don’t have to be perfect, but we all need to be constantly trying to improve ourselves.
Usually I would prepare for this kind of visit with intensive training, but I didn’t this time around; we just went along as we would normally. And then, to really test everything, I threw the kids routine out the window. I’m talking missed sleeps, being left with people I wouldn’t normally for hours on end, and even being a lot less strict about healthy food consumption, just because of the circumstances.
Amazingly, they all rose to the occasion.
Granted, by Sunday afternoon Ava had reached her limits and was behind tired and grumpy, but on the whole, I could not have asked for better behaved children.
But that’s not the real testament to me.
This morning, Ava woke up at 5, climbed out of her bed and ran into us to let us know she needed to throw up. Boatman got her in the bathroom in time, and so we had minimal clean up, a miracle in itself.
Obviously she was tired and grumpy and only wanted to be cuddled. Her colour was off, her temp was up and she couldn’t keep anything down for a few hours.
Not a great start to Monday.
But what was great, is that my two older girls (aged 6 and 9), took responsibility for themselves. They got themselves and Bailey breakfast, got ready for school, did all their jobs and made and packed their own lunch and recess. Then they waited patiently outside until my gorgeous friend Kate picked them up for school. All while I sat on the couch underneath an unwell toddler.
It was so easy.
What could have been a stressful morning was not, because we have been working on these kinds of behaviours for a long time.
Now the point of this post is not to brag about how great my kids are, it’s hopefully to encourage you.
As a mother I see so many times when I miss things, or make mistakes, and yet because I try consistently, on the days when it counts, I can see the fruit of all my hard work.
Raising kids isn’t easy, and it can feel thankless and unending. But our children are also amazing people who are capable of so much and if we let them rise to the occassion, they usually will. I have no doubt in my mind, that had I pressured them to try and perform, our weekend wouldn’t have gone so well. I honestly believe the success was that they knew the values of our families, and they can put those into practice easily and smoothly.
And really, isn’t that all we want for them?