Archives

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

New School Year

Today my son started his 6th grade year. Last week my oldest son started his sophomore year of high school and my daughter started her 3rd grade year of homeschool.  What I want to talk about today is attitude.  I personally love summer and having my kids with me 24/7.  I am the parent crying when they go back to school.  That being said, I always have a positive outlook on the new school year.  While my kids are in Kindergarten-6th grade I write a little note to their teacher and give them a starbucks gift card.  The reason I do this is to let the teacher know she is appreciated and I care that she is spending 6 hours a day with my child.  I feel it is very important to be on the same team with your child’s teacher.  Education is very important to all of us as we want our children to succeed and follow their dreams.  I believe if we have a good attitude about school, homework, teachers, and other kids our children will also have this attitude and be able to cope better.  Let me hit on these for a minute.  

School-  I don’t like getting up early but I do it with a smile and focus on something good about each day, maybe it is a Tuesday and I say “Happy Tuesday I am looking forward to hearing what you learn about today.” or “Let’s take a walk after school today”.

Homework- the controversial one; I have an attitude of buckle down and get it done, this way there is time to play everyday after school. Also, sometimes it’s good to change the homework spot for the day; in the winter time I will start a fire in the fireplace and we will sit in the family room to do homework.  When the weather is good we will go sit outside to do homework.                                                                                                                 

Teachers- connect with your child’s teacher; you have your child in common so this is an easy one to work on.  

Other kids- we all raise our children differently so rules vary by family.  Bullying is such a hot topic these days and I think the main problem is that we are teaching our kids to fight back, instead of defending themselves and having empathy.  When we teach our kids to look at others lives and try to understand what they are going through our kids can deal with conflict and mean words a lot easier.  

I’m not saying there won’t be bad or emotional days, we just need to have an attitude of gratitude whenever possible.  Being a parent never stops and we shape our kids throughout life.  I know I would rather have my child smiling and looking forward to the next day rather than dreading tomorrow.

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.  

Tough Love

 

  Let’s talk about tough love. So to begin, when a baby is born our job is to teach them unconditional love. When a baby cries, we comfort, when it’s hungry, we feed it, when it’s scared, we reassure them. As the baby moves to toddlerhood we set major boundaries. We want to keep our babies safe, so we are their eyes and ears. As they grow they have more boundaries and they are more aware of their surroundings, so by the time they are teenagers they have instincts on what is safe and unsafe (for the most part).

 Trust is earned, love is given.

  Tough love should not be turning our backs on our kids. When our teenagers are starting to rebel, they want to see who cares. Chase after your kids always. Grab and hug them when they are sad, angry, or quiet. We have to let our kids know we will always be there for them. Some kids verbally lash out, others like to run to their rooms, while others will just stay quiet and be unresponsive. In all these situations we have to break down the walls and get through their thick little (adorable) heads. For the verbal kids I allow them to speak their feelings and/or opinions and I stop them if they are disrespectful. The runners, I follow, I hug them, sit with them and work through their feelings. The hardest one for me is the unresponsive, I hug my child and then give them options to label their feelings. I ask if they are mad, angry, frustrated? I also tell them I am not moving from here until you tell me what is going on.  Letting your child know you are there no matter what, will change your relationship.

  The idea that a parent would turn their back on a child is awful. Every child has something that is important to them. Start by taking things away and having them earn it back. You set the tone for respect at a very early age. Follow through! If you give a consequence and want to change it (say you said something out of anger, “ I will throw away your dvd if you don’t clean your room”). Change it and let them know that you’re in charge, no matter what your decision. You probably bought that dvd anyways. Explain why you’re making your decisions too, because that will help them understand why you do things you do, and later help them talk to you about what they’re going through. Hugging your teenager might be awkward at first if you haven’t been hugging them all along. I can tell you there have been many studies done regarding touch, people thrive by being hugged and touched. You are the parent and you will always be the parent. Remember what you do will impact generations to come.

Journaling for Kids

Journal

I like to journal about what is going on in my life and my prayers.  I start my kids young in this process.  I give them a journal and tell them to write anything they feel.  I do let them know  I will be reading it.  This may seem like a break in trust and their personal privacy; but I can tell you it  opens the door to more communication, since they can write things that are hard for them to say face to face.  When I was in charge of a music program at my kids school (a volunteer position); I was on the phone an excessive amount (every afternoon for 2-3 hours).  My daughter was in 7th grade and journaled how she didn’t like me on the phone so much and wished she could talk to me more.  I read her journal and then sat down with her to talk about it.   At first she was nervous that I would be mad at her; but I let her know she had a right to her opinions and feelings.  I changed when and how long I would talk to people on the phone.  Another recent time was my son’s journal, it was a message to God about how he missed Grammie; this is my child who is quiet so I took that opportunity to pull more feelings out of him.  I have read about friends, family, and life happenings in my kids journals.  The journals are raw and full of a lot of emotions.   I feel it has helped me to be more open to see things from their perspective. The key to kids journaling is for them to express their feelings and thoughts without judgment.  My advice to you is be opened minded and unoffended as you read your kid’s journals.

*When the kids are little I tell them to draw pictures of how they are feeling

*My daughter enjoys scrapbooking composition notebooks to use for her journals.