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A Shout Out to All the Mamas

 

Hang in there, you’ve got this!  I am sure you have heard that before.  Seriously, I want to encourage you to be your best.  When you are exhausted and you feel like you can’t take one more step; pause, breathe and have confidence in yourself.  I know- easier said than done.  If I hadn’t been there before I would agree.  I have been to the end of my rope and thought, no more!  The 2 year old tantrums, the emotional 5 year old, the teenager with, well you fill in the blank here, the husband that wants something that you don’t think you have the energy for.  The time is precious with our family.  Does parenting get easier?  Well on some things, yes; but other things become more difficult.  So maybe you need to take 10 minutes to yourself, or let the house be a mess for tonight so you can get some extra rest.  We are all Super-Moms in our heads.  To be honest some days my cape looks great at the end of the day and other days I only have a thread hanging on.  When mustering up strength when it seems as though it’s not even worth it;  I can tell you it is, give it every last bit you have.  We need to show our kids we are stronger than they are and that we can muster up the strength when things look impossible. What I mean by this is we always have to show them we will win every battle that they come at us with.  This does not mean we can’t take a break and get our sanity/energy rebooted.  This means we are warriors and will always fight for what is right, this includes teaching our kids 100% of the time that they have rules, manners, and we are in charge.  

So again-hang in there, I know you can get through today and tomorrow you will wake up with more energy and power to accomplish another day.  

Stay Strong!

Heather

Kids Always Need Parents

 

 

Today I want to debunk the lies about kids not needing you. For example, you are told that you should go to work when the kids are babies or when they become teenagers or in high school, because they don’t need you as much at that age.  If you are a working mom listen to me carefully; I am not putting you down or telling you to stop.  To all moms who are working outside the home, working at home, stay at home moms; my advice is for all of you!

No matter the age our children they always need, direction or guidance, love, hugs, reassurance, a solid foundation.  These things are what helps make strong, independent, self confident children/adults.  

Let’s start at infancy,  the basic foundations start here.  Take time everyday to comfort, love, talk, sing, or read to your baby.  As they move to toddlerhood, they need direction, discipline, love, cuddles, reassurance.  Play with your toddler let them know you are there.  If you start disciplining and giving time at this young age; things will go much smoother down the road.  School age kids are given more responsibility and they need to know you believe in them and have time for them.  See my key word here, TIME.  So matter what your schedule is your first priority is your children!  

As the kids become teenagers they will need you to be their venting board, some advice, as they are trying to figure out who they are and what they believe.  The hardest years for kids in my opinion.  Be there to hear all about their day, good or bad, or maybe friend issues.  My advice here is to listen and ask if they want your opinion about the situation.  Sometimes they just need to talk about it, then they are fine.  Do not just let your teenager storm off to their room or say they don’t want to talk about something.  I always give my teenagers a few minutes in their room, then I go sit on their bed and have them tell me what feelings they are having; this can be happy, mad, and sad all at the same time.  This is completely normal for kids.  This is the age you can really develop mutual respect to start a friendship with your child.      

On to high school.  Yes the kids are becoming more independent and the schools encourage total responsibility and independence.  These are fantastic things; with the exception we are still the parents and responsible until they are 18 years old.  We are in charge of getting them to school on time, feeding them, making sure they are healthy, calling in absences, making sure their homework is done, and their grades are up to par. So yes our kids and the school still need us.  High schoolers are still vulnerable, still figuring out what they believe, hopefully this is getting much stronger but remember they need guidance since they are typically 13-18 years old.  This is a great time for figuring out who they are and what they want to do in the future.  These kids have a lot of pressure on them.  If they want to do sports, sing in the choir, take art, encourage them.  You are their #1 cheerleader.  They need to know that you have their backs and believe in them.  This is a very important time to have time for them.  Make sure you have time to hug, listen and advise them.  

So at any age do not be afraid to hug, kiss and love on your child.  Kids will follow your example.  The more you invest in your kids the more you will get out of it as they grow.  I truly believe your children will thrive if you build into them.

Follow your heart, not society!

-Heather

#Zfammama #hopealways #Vlogger #Blogger #livelifetogether

Vacation Time

Summer is almost here for my family.  This year my husband has a sabbatical, so he will be off the same time our kids are.  For us this will be a very relaxed, non-alarm summer (except for church of course).  We have some fun trips planned, that are different from our normal summers.

Most of our summers look the same.  Some things wait until daddy gets off work so we can make memories as a family.  We love to paddleboard, camp, go on bike rides, have family room sleep-overs (this is the whole family) and more.  Every summer we make a Zfam adventure list and a Reading Challenge chart.  (These are on a poster board and hung on our back door).  Our adventures are determined by the whole family, some don’t make the list as they are too expensive or unrealistic. The above mentioned things are on the list along with reading, swimming, s’mores, and playing games.  If you decide to do a list tailor it to your family.

  So of course with the reading challenge I have a reward system.  I decide how many books I want my kids to read over the summer.  Each book has to be pre approved for how much it’s worth.  I have some very avid readers in my family, so a 5th grade level book for my child who reads at a 9th grade level is worth a ¼ of a sticker; none of the books are worth more than 1 sticker.  The chart has each child’s name on it with 4 sections: 2 books-4 books-6 books-8 books.  Below each section is a prize like ice cream or going out to dinner(this is our final prize).  So the other stipulation is, no reward is given until all 5 kids reach each goal. (They can continue reading more books and adding it to their chart towards the next  goal).  My children are very encouraging to each other with this challenge.   I like this challenge since it gives me a chance to get some reading in during our time off.   

  I believe in making life an adventure.  This is a year round thing. We go for walks,  sing, and play I spy.  When we go for a car ride that is more than 20 minutes, I act like it is a long way away so everyone needs some water and a little snack.  During time off around holidays we always sleep in the family room a few times, play games, and act like the clock doesn’t matter.  We have fairly strict bedtimes during school, but in summer midnight is always an option=).  Of course you need to take about a week before school starts again to re-train the kids that bedtime is important.  No matter what you do, have fun and remember the little things can leave lasting impressions and great memories.  

Parent to Friend

Balance, that is the main goal here.  Some of us grew up in the generation of the authoritarian or permissive parents.  I believe the best type of parenting is authoritative.  We need to teach our children to respect us and to know we are in charge, always.  Teaching starts very young; by 6 months old you should start telling them no, while still showing them security and love.  Always stay strong when disciplining, even with those sweet eyes looking at you.  Sometime we lose our cool and threaten to throw things in the garbage or other extreme measures;  we can change it by saying “I was frustrated and I am changing the punishment to _____”.  Typically the toys and things our kids have, we bought with our money, so take things away, don’t waste your money.  

So how do we go from parent to friend? What is the right age to do this?  Now is when you start.  When our kids are little, we play with them; this teaches friendship.  When they get older we talk to them about issues in their lives and help and teach them how to deal with conflict. Stop here! {By the time they are in junior high, they want to share with you and don’t always want to you “fix” or advise them on what to do.  They want you to listen and know you are there for them if they want help}.  You still need to ask questions and ask if they want your advice on certain situations.  If it is something big,  please step in and help your child!  We always need to be an active part of our kids lives no matter their age.  By the time our kids are going into high school the groundwork should be laid to start moving from parent to friend.  What I mean by this is your child should have the tools to make their own decisions and know their basic beliefs.  This is not a time to go hands off, you need to be an active part of their life.  You don’t go hands off till they are out of your house; we know there is always room for growth and maturity.  Continue to ask them about their day, their friends, how they are handling and feel about everything.  {This should start when they start school}.  Continue to guide them on religion, drugs, sex, life choices.  It is important at all ages for our children to know actions produce consequences.  So back to friendship; our children need to show respect for our authority and as they mature a natural friendship can occur.  We have to let them make mistakes and suffer the consequences, whether it is from us, a teacher, or another adult in their life.  Better to start disciplining when they are little, than to have the cops do it when they are teenagers.  By setting the foundation while they are young; you will be able to have a lifelong friendship with mutual respect.

*Trust is earned. Love is given.*