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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The difference between protection and over protection

The Difference between protection and over-protection

Perhaps it’s because I am neurotic, paranoid about my children’s physical safety or just because I think too much about things, but the term over-protection has grated on me. I would think “how can you over-protect?” Then, it hit me, when people speak of others – negatively – as being over-protective what they really mean is that the children are being sheltered. Because, after all, protecting our children from harm is a god-given and natural instinct.

Here’s what I think about the difference between protection and over-protection.

PROTECTION IS ABOUT:

1) Health and safety. It is our job to teach our children how to stay safe, remain safe, and act wisely. This will encompass many different things from their infancy to their adulthood. At first, we teach them not to climb on bookcases, the sofa, walk into the road or play with knives, the hot oven or the neighbor’s mean dog. As they grow older we teach them about strangers, how to ride a bike, good driving skills, which neighborhoods to avoid, etc. In the training aspect, I believe we can focus on this fairly heavily, though not to the detriment of other areas of training. Continue reading


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What to do when your children act like they don’t like you

A Mother Far from Home

Because, let’s face it, they will. They’ll give you a dirty look like you aren’t the one who incubated them, delivered them, fed them and changed their dirty diapers. They will act like this one thing – this one little thing that is not even good for them but that they are too young to understand – is enough to wipe out all those acts of love and service.

What do we do when our maternal heart crumbles {or gets angry} because our children act like they don’t like us. Whether for a few minutes, a few hours, or a day or more, the methods are much the same.

1) Be sure that you are paying them enough positive loving attention. In order to effectively weather the storm of “my child hates me…what is the point of it all?” one must be sure their children are not acting out in anger because they feel left out, neglected or not special. Are you spending alone time with them, even as little as 15 minutes a day? Are you speaking to them with positive smiles, positive words and affection? If you are, and regularly, then carry on to the next step.  Continue reading


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The Mother Brings the Calm

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I realized something the other day when I holed myself up in the bedroom to work while my husband was on baby duty. My epiphany really put a lot of thoughts and ideas in a few proper boxes. I’ve been known to get jealous a time or two watching my children play with their dad because they just have so much fun. Laughing and squealing. I even heard of a research study that showed children’s heartbeats speed up when they see their father. Speed up because of the anticipation of fun and excitement that is sure to come. Well. Doesn’t that make me happy I’m the one who makes my daughter clean up her toys, sit like a lady at the table, and go into time out? Wow. Being a mother rocks.

Okay, I jest. No, actually I’m serious. Being a mother does rock. Here’s what happened. I was working and from the other room could hear our 20 month old squealing and laughing and having a great time with her dad. I could tell she was having fun because the decibel of her voice and squeals kept growing. Then, oddly enough, I noticed that she kept getting frustrated too. For no reason, I can tell the frustrated-for-no-reason noise from the others, she was getting annoyed. Then in another moment she’d be happy. Then the next moment she’d yell. She was hyper and having fun with her dad, but at the same time I could tell that level of fun couldn’t last much longer without major tears.

Here’s what it made me think. Continue reading


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What I learned on a one month vacation

One month vacation? There are certainly cons to having a husband in college, but having long vacations are not one of them! Since my family is in another galaxy named Northwest Florida, we decided to take a month to visit. After traveling 24 hours and factoring in at least a few days for jet lag, we knew anything less than a month would feel too rushed.

Things I learned on a one month vacation:

1) Kids adjust better than you might think. Everyone kept telling me I was brave to bring two small children so far from home, but they weren’t giving them enough credit. Both my babies behaved just as well on vacation as at home, and my toddler was the happiest I’d ever seen her.

2) Don’t be surprised if development jumps leaps and bounds. After only a few days my toddler started saying a lot more words and began obeying fairly complicated instructions (for a 16 month old). New environments and new people bring out the sense of adventure and excitement in children. My boss said her daughter started walking and talking on family vacations.

3) Simple things like keeping consistent naptimes, mealtimes, and bedtimes goes a long way towards keeping their moods regulated. It’s not home and you won’t get far trying to simulate everything, but keeping fairly consistent schedules will help them fall into a home away from home routine. Children are happier when rested so avoid the tendency to skip naptimes too often.

4) They’ll be clingy until they’re comfortable. One of my worst fears as a mother living far from her home is that my children will not “hit it off” with my family. For the first few hours (notice hours and not even days) my daughter was shy and reserved. After she became comfortable in her new surroundings she was free to be herself. Around the second week she started to notice the lack of one-on-one mommy time she was used to and became more clingy. Although I couldn’t give her as much time as normal – we were visiting all my long-lost loved ones and friends – I made sure to be the one to do story time and comfort her for her naps and before bed.

5) Some things you have to let go and know that you’ll get back to normal when you return home. In our home every morning she has independent playtime. This is where she goes into her room and plays by herself and is not allowed to leave until I say so (generally around 30 minutes). We didn’t have anywhere childproofed to put her in my home away from home so we let it go. Now that we are back home it has been an adjustment for her to go back to it, but she is getting there. We also gave her much more  candy and sweet stuff than we ever do at home. I am not an advocate of feeding my child junk food but when there are holidays after gatherings after get togethers complete with fun food, I’m also not going to tell her no 235 times that I can eat it but she can’t. She’s on vacation too. Since returning home we are back to our normal eating and she hasn’t missed a beat. Nor did she gain 5 lbs or break out. I think we’re good.

A Mother Far from Home

PS – Click here to read more articles from the What I Learned series!