What Made You Happy Today?

Seriously, think about it for a while. It is so easy to get caught up in all the negative stuff that happens around us. Especially when the everyday is rolling away and chores and errends and jobs and tasks and demands and what-not fills up our days. We get stressed. We get tired. We get grumpy. Sometimes we get bored. I get bored a lot. Then the negativity spiral takes off. Damn it.

Negativity breeds negativity

I read this article explaining how emotions are contagious, the negative once even more so:

“Many experts believe that negative emotions are a lot easier to catch than positive ones. Some believe this is reflective of our evolutionary past wherein being highly attuned to other people’s negative emotions (pain, fear, and disgust) was directly linked to survival. Those who could pick up on someone else’s pain, fear, and disgust were more likely to survive than those who could not.

But – positivity also breeds positivity. Phew!

It most definitely does. Take it from the experts and take it from me, the self-acclaimed negative/positive expert that I am.

Saying positive things. Doing positive things. It spreads positive vibes.

So, am I positve all day everyday? Hell no. I am often the opposite. I am prone to dwelving in my own missery, but that is exactly why I need to do something active and conscious to force the positivity into my life – otherwise it all gets too dark and dull to handle. Worst of all, I can give my negative vibe onto my kiddos.

My bag of little tricks to boost my own and my family’s positive spirit is pretty jam packed. I think I need to use it even more, ay?

Well, this particular trick is a family one, because our family needs to calm the fuck down and be postive every night – we can be such a bunch of whingers otherwise.

What is it we do?

It is pretty simple and something everyone can do every day. We eat dinner together every night and while eating we take turns in telling the other which three things that made us happy during the day. Simple.

Does it really work?

Yes! Focusing on some positive things that we experienced during the day help us to:

1. Start good conversations about the day around the table.

3. Give everyone a chance to get a word in and be heard.

2. Focus on the positives and go to bed with that in mind – or at least we can remind us self that life isn’t that bad afterall.

It might sound basic, but, as you know, back to basic is the new black. Some days it is really easy. Some days it can actually be pretty hard. On all days it is a good idea.

Here are some examples from our dinner table:

Today it made me happy (kids edition)…

…to play with my friends.

…to eat pizza here with you right now.

…to play in the sandpit.

…that I love my whole family.

…to get lollies.

…to swim in the pool.

…to play games together.

And the adult edition…

to paint the bathroom.

…to have a nap.

…to see Lulu take her first steps.

…when you girls played nicely together.

…to finish my assignment.

…to hear back from that job.

…to get the shopping done.

And one that very often goes again around the table:

Right now, eating dinner together.

As you can see, it does not have to be huge magnificent things. It can be, but it can also be tiny little things that made your day better in some way or another.

Have a go yourselves tonight and let me know how you go. Also, be a bit patient. It somehow gets better over time. At least that is my experience.

What has made you happy today?

❤️

Abby’s Class Situation – Update

Last Friday we went to talk to Abby’s principal to discuss the possibility of changing her to the other prep-class at the school.

We made the deal with her, that we would observe Abby at home and she would make sure the teachers did the same at the school.

As the perfect mum I am, I had forgotten the meeting and arranged a surf trip instead. Yep, just hand me that mum of the year reward now, thanks!

Anyways, Josh was a champ and went to the meeting alone, while I took Lulu and Billie to the beach. Hey, I have been to numerous meetings and parent things without Josh, so I think it was completely fine that he did it. And I completely trusted him with the task.

I think we both kinda knew the outcome before hand, really.

On the very positive side, the school has actually taken our concerns very serious. The principal herself has talked to Abby, about her friends in the class, three times during the week. She has also talked to the other students to paint a pattern of their friendships. And she saw one – a pattern. This means that Abby has connected with a couple of other kids whom she consistently during the week mentioned as her friends – and who also mentioned her. All good.

That she still prefers playing with a couple of kids from the other class is okay as long as she starts to feel “at home” in her own class as well.

Our main concern was actually the conservative teaching methods used by Abby’s teacher. This we have chosen to let go a bit. Mainly to keep the good spirit. For Abby’s sake. We might take it up later on if it evolves in a direction we can’t accept.

Bottom line is – Abby stays in her class and it’s okay. At least we made the teachers aware of our concerns and I honestly think they have been more focused on the social integration this past week. I could be seeing what I want to see, but that’s my experience – and I am still happy that we didn’t just let it be.

❤️

Dealing With the Big Bad Mommy Guilt

This past week has been a bit tuff around here. As I wrote in my last post I found out that I do have gestational diabetes and I have just been mentally and physically exhausted, to be honest. This lack of energetic surplus has made me feel like I’ve been a pretty shitty parent. I have been grumpy and my patience has not been able to cope with two small humans’ huge emotions and arguments. Ohh, the arguments(!) So, I must admit that the big bad mommy guilt has build up a bit when I’ve zoomed out and acknowledged that what I am doing is not what I actually wish to do – I just haven’t got the energy to deal with it, really.

That being said, I know that it’s time to adress the bad habits that are starting to build up. Because a lot of it is habit. An autopilot that kicks in when everything else shuts down and right now it doesn’t do me or the kids much good. Luckily I know from earlier episode like these that I relatively easy can adjust the autopilot settings if I remember to focus on it before it’s actually needed. If that makes any sense to others than me…?

If you have a little look at the books I ordered the other day it might clear things up a bit, since they are just a tiny bit reflective of my current mindset…….

Yeah, first step is to acknowledge you have a problem, right? Think I’ve gone a bit past the first step, then. Haha…ohh, dear. If only parenting was so easy as to read about it in a book. The thing is, at least it makes me feel like I do something to move in the right direction. That in itself has a pretty powerful effect on me – and often I do actually get some good insights or even some useable tools from these parenting themed books. Excited to find out if any of these are any good. Or if I will finally learn not to give a fuck, at least.

Well, well!

While I’ve been hitting myself in the head for not being a good enough parent we’ve actually been assured that our children are doing quite alright, nonetheless.

For instance, Abby’s kindy teacher told us that she believes Abby is a very intelligent child due to her way of problem solving, her creativity and her determination to learn letters and numbers. Also, which is what I find most positively surprising, she said that her language is very well developed for her age. This is something that has been worrying me a bit lately, actually. She still struggles with the pronounciation of some letters and mixes up words and such, and I have – of course(!) – compared her to other kids her age and found her language lagging. Now, her teacher tells me I am wrong. Very wrong. How awesome! She says that her vocabulary is quite developed and her sentence constructions are very mature. One proud and relieved mummy, right here.

Then later in the same week her swimming teacher told me that she is doing really well in her lessons – and that she’s really good at correcting her mistakes and working hard to become better. Now, I am not hoping for her to become an elite swimmer. Not at all, actually (do you know how early they – and their parents – have to get up every damn day to train?!). I do, however, hope that she will become recilient, strong and determined to reach her goals whatever they may be. That’s why it makes me happy. And again, proud!

It also gives me a bit of extra encouragement to keep on keeping on.

Because eventhough it all seems overwhelming at times and I feel like this mummy business might not be the right career path for me it reminds me that my children are doing pretty damn good so far – even if I am not a perfect parent 24/7 365. So maybe I should just take a chill pill and try to focus on the positives. I will. I am. Luckily there’s so much to focus on!

I mean, just look at them!

TODAY I LOST IT

Half an hour ago I had one of my least proud moments in my ongoing career as a mum.

I yelled at Abby. I yelled at her because she wouldn’t listen to me. I yelled at her, because she challenged what I said. I yelled at her because she did something very, very natural for a four-year-old child to do. I yelled at her because she yelled at me. I yelled at her because I lost it – and it was wrong of me to do so.

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For some it might not seem like a big deal. I am aware that yelling is relatively normal in some households. For us it is not the path we wish to go down.

Instead we believe in guiding rather than disciplining and constantly correcting. We believe that children actually want to do the “right” thing, sometimes they just don’t understand what this “right” thing is. I do not believe in naughty children. They are simply just immature and need to learn how to behave in our society and we need to teach them. Teach them by doing – ‘doing’ is not yelling at them when they don’t listen. What does that teach them?

Often, in our case, the so-called bad behaviour comes down to one or more basic needs – such as sleep, hunger, over/under stimulation – which has not been fulfilled. In those circumstances our children simply aren’t capable of controlling their own behaviour in a matter that seems acceptable with adult eyes. Can you blame them? How are you acting when you are tired? Or hungry? – Or as we call it in our house, HANGRY!

In Abby’s case today it was a dangerous cocktail of the latter. She was up too early, she didn’t eat much breakfast, and she was bored and under stimulated at home with Billie and me.

But, was Abby actually being ridiculously unfair? Was she over the top annoying? Can I, by any means, justify that I yelled at her like a maniac in a traffic jam? The short answer is no.

The long answer is that it in reality had nothing to do with Abby. She has been waaaaaaay more intense and challenging in the past and there was nothing extreme about her behaviour today.

Nope, it all came down to my own state of mind.

My mental energy level has been relatively low recently, that combined with and partly caused by Josh working nightshift the last five nights has made my mind tired and fragile. From I woke up this morning I could feel that I didn’t have the surplus of mental resources that it takes for me to be on top of things around here. Even tiny things annoyed me and my patience was basically non existing. It didn’t get any better as the day dragged on.

Most days when I feel that way I am able to pick myself up. I eat some good, healthy food.  I put some happy music on. I have a green smoothie. Then I have coffee. Lots of coffee. However, not even the coffee seemed to do the job today and all I was thinking about was when Josh would wake up so I could have a break.

My state of mind combined with Abby running low on several of her basic needs was a vicious cirkel where we kept forcing each other into a worse and worse position.

I basically just hated my life right there. So when Abby pushed my already threadbare buttons again and again, I snapped. I took all my frustrations out on her which I genuinely loathe doing. As we were yelling at each other – about something silly as a wheely bug – my guilty conscience already began to kick in. I knew what I was doing was everything converse of my ideal parenting style. To cut it off I grabbed the damn wheely bug and on the verge of crying I went into the bedroom. All I wanted to do was to throw myself on the bed and stay there for the rest of the day. Doors closed! Instead I woke Josh up and told him that I was loosing it. That I had just yelled at Abby and that I needed him now. Abby needed him. I think he immediately knew I was not fucking around. He went to her and I could hear them talking. Nicely and calmly she explained the situation to him. No screaming. No yelling.

After I had changed Billie’s pooey nappy – because shit always happens – I went to the lounge room to find Abby sitting on Josh’s lap. She looked at me with a bit of insecurity in her eyes.

I sat down next to them and instantly told her, that I was sorry for yelling at her and that it was wrong of me to do so. She looked at me with relief and we were good again. Just like that.

I believe it is important for parents to show their children that adults can make mistakes too – and they should also own it and say sorry. Today I was unfair to Abby. I did not help her when she was struggling, instead I tried to fight her and nothing good comes from that.

I am not proud of myself today, but I am proud of Abby and her level of empathy. She actually felt bad for me – for yelling at her. Little darling.

I didn’t learn anything new today, but I got reminded that I have to take care of myself in order to be able to be the parent that I wish to be, the parent that my children deserve. I tend to forget that.