A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom


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How to prevent having children who are always “bored”

how to stop your children from always being bored

In the words of my wise grandmother… boring people get bored.

Now I know that is cold, but let’s be honest. In a world where there are 1,583,353 things to do at every waking moment, being bored simply means you are ready for the next thing to entertain you because you can’t be bothered to entertain yourself. I was an only child and still had to go play outside and find something to do. And you know what? I cannot remember the last time I’ve even thought of being bored as a possibility.

I am from the country and my high school friends and I are from a really – and I mean 8,000 people small – small town. I have a memory of us away at college (Go Gators) in a town with about 45,000 college students where we made a few friends from the big city. About 10 of us were sitting in our living room and one of our big city friends said “I’m bored, what are we going to do?” I looked at my small town friends and said, “What does she mean what are we going to do? We’re sitting here talking…aren’t we already doing it?” Come to find out, she meant what kind of activity are we going to do or where are we going to go to eat or be entertained or see something cool. I’m sure we eventually went out, but it really got me thinking. We small town kids were used to entertaining ourselves and thinking of inventive things to do while our big city friends were used to being entertained. What sounds more fun to you? Playing hide and go seek in your cars with walkie-talkies or going bowling?

We were used to being creative and they were used to receiving the fruits of others’ creativity. There is a big difference.  And trust me, one is easier to live with as a characteristic in your children than the other.

1) You are not their 24-hour birthday party paid entertainer. We will love our kiddos and want their smiles, laughter and hugs. Of course, it’s great fun to play horsey and peekaboo and do all manner of things to see them happy when they are babies, but being the nonstop source of entertainment for your child (sort of like your smartphone is for you) will get old very quick. You do not need to be the one to pick out every game, activity, book, Barbie or video. They are opinionated and are discovering their interests so let them have a say. If you have more than one or two children with you at home and they all are in constant need of you to stimulate their brains all.day.long you will quickly lose patience for it all. And we know that losing patience is a one way ticket off the happy cycle.  Continue reading

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What I Learned when my Baby Ruined my Bedding

For some reason the adult bed in the house is our hangout. Maybe because it’s comfy and my daughter likes to stand up and fall down. Maybe because I like to lay somewhere soft now and again. Maybe because I lay them on it before a shower or bath. That is when it happened. I like to put on my bathing suit and take both of them into the shower. In my mind, it helps prevent fear of water and gives them a little fun. I had the toddler and baby naked and ready to get into the shower.  I walk away for five seconds leaving the baby on the bed and – you guessed it – rear escape of recently digested dinner. All. Over. The. Bedspread. Okay, I got it 50% off at an end of the year sale. But it was thick, pretty, and not dry cleanable. I learned a few things after the not-so-disastrous-but-highly-annoying-event.

1) Many of the things we get annoyed at our children for are our own faults. Baby Boy had to go to the bathroom. That isn’t his fault and actually it’s a good thing. I’m glad his system is-a-workin’. The fact that he seriously stained the bedspread is my own fault because I – the adult here – left him there. We get irritated at toddlers for going through our purses, yet we leave them within their reach. We get annoyed at repetitive disruptive behaviors, but we don’t bother correcting or disciplining those behaviors. I heard it said once that most behaviors our children have are our own faults. We are in charge of the correction, discipline, praise, punishment and rewards in the house.

2) White gets a bad rap, but it is actually much more practical. People say you can’t have white upholstery or fabrics in a house with children, but you know what? You can bleach white. You know what you can’t bleach? Teal and ivory suede.

3) It is actually always better to be safe than sorry. Sure, my comforter doesn’t really matter and I can always get a new one. Or, even if I don’t, oh well. The point is that kids are unpredictable, fast and delicate. Too close to the edge of the bed and they could fall. Don’t lock the door and they can go out the front door. I’m not suggesting being paranoid (like I am) but I always tend to operate on a “better safe than sorry” mentality and don’t shortcut. As I said the other day, shortcuts never end well.

4) I have lightened up since having children. Before having children something like a ruined comforter would have made me flip out. I would have been angry passionate about the whole situation and had to take a while to calm down. After I saw the damage, because I heard the disaster from a few feet away, I just laughed. He laughed, I laughed and, well, we just took that shower we were waiting for.

Life is all about the little things that become memories that become stories. Maybe I’ll find another comforter (or doona, as they call it here in Australia) 50% off here soon. And if I do, I’ll make sure it’s white.

A Mother Far from Home

PS – for more What I Learned posts go to the Archives!