Category Archives: Toddler Related

The almost 4 year old and her tantrums.

My dear daughter is 4 in a couple of months. We are deep in throwing tantrums over to most, what would seem like ‘nothing important’.

To her, she has all these ‘BIG’ feelings and is struggling to express herself with words.

Tantrums can be exhausting and frustrating to any parent. But ask yourself, how would you explain your feelings if your vocabulary was limited and your brain was overcome and overwhelmed with different feelings and thoughts?

This is a typical day for a developing child. They have limited vocabulary. Struggle with day to day feelings and the smallest things to them can feel like it’s the biggest thing in their world.

Welcome to 3-4 year olds.

For example, yesterday my almost 4 year old had 2 tantrums within perhaps 20 minutes of each other. The first was because her 6yo brother was watching something that she didn’t want to, and instead of her watching it in another room. Miss decided to scream, stamp her feet and yell all kinds of things because ABC kids was not playing.

After we dealt with that in a calming manner, explaining to her that there is another TV that we could put that channel on for her to watch, she decided to calm her ‘Big’ and ‘important’ feelings.

The second tantrum was because she wanted avocado toast just as we were about to leave for her brothers martial arts class. As I explained to her that she can have it once we get back, that was not a good enough answer for her and she proceeded to sit in the pantry and pull out all boxed items, creating a ‘wall’ so that I could not see her. All whilst screaming at me to stop talking to her.

With this I walked away and let her calm down and within a few minutes it’s, she came over to apologise.

These are only a few examples of what we have been experiencing over the past few months. Prior to this, my little miss almost 4, has been quite well behaved and mannered.

I don’t remember my 6 year old boy behaving this way at her age.
Is it a girl thing?
Is it a second child thing?
Or is it simply because my two children are different people?
It could very well be a combination of all of the above, but in any case, I’m hoping that these tantrums start to dissolve soon.

Below is a link that I have found quite helpful.
Hopefully you will also.

Just remember, breathe and know, this is just a phase. You will survive, and you will both thrive from these ‘adventures’.

http://www.essentialkids.com.au/development-advice/development/four-challenges-of-parenting-a-fouryearold-20130402-2h5t9

School age debate.

School age debate.

I know this is a topic, often a spoken about, not always a positive topic, yet a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on. So I thought that I would ‘chime in’ also as recently there was a ‘heated’ debate about it in the kindergarten playground.

I was faced with a confronting and unwelcome conversation last week by a woman that I don’t know. I was standing in the kindergarten playground chatting with other kindergarten mothers about nothing in particular when a mother that I had never met before starting making comments about our children.

See, we all have children who started kindergarten this year, and we also coincidentally have children that are turning 3 this year some boys, some girls. So when this woman passed comment that our ‘babies’ will also be going through school together, I said “that’s great will your daughter be going to kindergarten 2020?”. Not realising I had just unleashed her favourite topic!

She quickly responded with ‘no, my daughter is going 2021, why would you send your daughter early?, I mean sending a child too young has so many negative effects on them, why would you do that to her?”. I almost felt like I was being personally attacked, or that I was making a terrible decision and possibly ruining my dear daughters life.

I was taken aback – which rarely happens, and because of my silence, this woman thought it was her right to then lecture me on all the negative reasons as to why I should wait and send my daughter to kindergarten when she is 5 turning 6. You see, in her opinion sending my daughter 4 turning 5 in the May, is way too young and will undoubtedly end with teen pregnancy, under age drinking, lack of intelligence, slow learning, being left out of rep sporting teams, being easily influenced by others, difficulties with learning and socialising, and her extensive list went on. And on. And on. (Her words)

I was horrified at her response. I mean. This is the first time I’d ever met her. What a front she has to lecture anyone on their family decisions and what is best for someone else’s children. Too opinionated for my liking, that is for sure.

It really put me in a weird mindset, it made me question my husband and my decision and left me feeling quite angry and deflated. This was mind you, first thing in the morning so it played on my mind quite a lot that day. I spoke to a few friends throughout the day to vent and also get their opinions, of whom I value, and they, my friends much like myself, are of similar mindset with the school age decisions.

I also spoke to my little mans kindergarten teacher later that afternoon as this woman’s righteousness was confronting. I wanted to speak to a teacher who deals with children of varying ages on a daily basis and this teacher also, has over 13 years primary school teaching behind her. The kindergarten teacher is also of the same mindset as myself. That is, that each child is individual and ready at their own pace and in their own time.

I think I will have a better idea as to when we should start her in kindergarten once she starts preschool, however at the moment, my little miss who is not yet 3, knows her alphabet, can count to 20, dresses and undresses herself, copies and repeats her big brothers sight words, mock reads books, is extremely social, not shy, is really confident, will sit colour and draw by herself, can hold a pen or pencil with correct pen grip, will listen and take instruction and can sit through a whole movie, I think I will be ready but time will tell.

All kids are in my view, are individual and each to their own, however with this woman’s rant it got me thinking of all the negative effects that sending a child to school 5 turning 6 May encounter.

A few that really stand out to me are,
– Being an adult doing their HSC.
– Being 18, which is legal age to drink in Australia, which may mean the 18 year old who is still in high school, can and possibly will go out drinking. Is drinking whilst at school appropriate?
– Being older and holding a drivers license which at involve having other school children driving with them.
– Being older and influencing younger students mindsets.
– Wanting to ‘grow up’ too young.
– Will they get distracted or bored easily from being older?

Look, I get that this is a very personal topic, I think that either way, sending your child at 4 or 5, if you are raising your children in a way that you feel appropriate and comfortable with, your child will make the right decisions. They will know what is acceptable and hopefully make good decisions. It’s very individual based on each child differently.

I see valid points from both sides, however what I didn’t appreciate was being ‘force fed’ this woman’s opinion and how forthcoming she was with telling me how terrible I was as a parent for even considering sending my daughter to kindergarten at age 4 with her birthday in May.

What are your thoughts?

 

Toddlers and teenagers.

Teenagers and toddlers.

I was chatting with another mummy at a birthday party today and we were comparing stories about our children. I was saying how my little miss is pushing boundaries like there is no tomorrow (hello tantrums ) whilst she was talking about her teenagers.

What we both found interesting was the similarities in behaviour and reactions. My stories also bought back memories for her, from when her children were younger.

I know this may sound offensive, especially if you are a teenager reading this, however similarities in back chat, attitude and general rudeness are uncanny.

During our conversation we shared many a laugh with comparing stories, yet also shared ideas on how we can deal with our situations.

Disrespectful or rude behaviour in both toddlers and teenagers is pretty common. Although these phases do eventually pass.

Not all toddlers or teenagers are rude or disrespectful, but some disrespect is a normal part of both toddler and teenage growth and development. Otherwise known as pushing boundaries.

This is partly because your child is learning to express and test out their own independent ideas, so of course, there will be times when you disagree. Which in return may cause arguments.

You will find that having your child develop their own independence is a key part of growing up and a good sign that your child is trying to take more responsibility.

We both agreed that our children’s moods change very quickly and sometimes for no apparent reason. My two year old can throw a tantrum over me giving her the wrong plate colour at dinner time whereas my mummy friend said her teenager can throw a tantrum with yelling, slamming doors, ignoring her wishes or grunting at her when she has asked for a simple task to be done.

Because of how our brains develop individually, your child isn’t always able to express their changing feelings and reactions to everyday or unexpected things. This can also lead to over-sensitivity, and over reactions that may be seen as grumpiness or rudeness.

Sometimes disrespectful behaviour might also be a sign that your child is feeling particularly stressed, anxious or worried.

As a parent, you might feel hurt, worried and unsure about why this behaviour is happening. Your child used to value your interest or input and perhaps be ‘closer’ with you, but now it seems that even simple conversations with them can turn into an argument. My toddler most definitely hates when I suggest she do something different to what she wants. According to my friend, her teenager has similar reactions when she asks them to make their bed or put their used plate in the dishwasher. My miss, will proceed to tell me ‘no, I not, I no likey you’ whereas her teenager grunt and moans at her over a similar request.

What we must remember though is that both toddlers and teenagers are trying to express themselves. Toddlers generally struggle with words or expressing themselves verbally whilst teenagers struggle with feelings and emotions. Toddlers throw tantrums when they feel frustrated whereas teenagers may feel unheard therefore they shut down and this behaviour can be mistaken for rudeness or disrespect.

Around the age of 13 a child’s brain start to think in a deeper way than it did a few years earlier, they can have thoughts and feelings they’ve never had before which they may struggle with accepting, while some young people seem to burst into the world with a conflicting and radical view on everything. This shift to deeper thinking is a normal part of brain development. As with most things, people will always deal with things differently.

What we both conceded was in both our situations, mine with my bossy, Indepandant, argumentative toddler and her with her rude, abrupt and disrespectful teenager is that if we staied calm during these outbursts the situation was fused quickly.

It is important if your child reacts with ‘attitude’ to a discussion that you stop, take a deep breath, and continue calmly with what you wanted to say. By reacting with aggression or similar attitude, you may find that it escalates the situation. It can also confuse the child as to what behaviour is actually acceptable. If your irrational or aggressive, your child may think this behaviour is acceptable and behaviour in a similar situation.

In a difficult situation try to use light humour. A shared laugh can break a stalemate, bring a new perspective or lighten the mood and tone of a conversation. Being a lighthearted parent can also help take the heat out of a situation – but avoid mocking, ridiculing or being sarcastic. I find that with my kids, if she is in the thick of a tantrum, if I walk away she may escalate or if I change the subject and perhaps put her favourite show on TV it may diffuse her. Whereas my friend said that by Ignoring her teenagers shrugs, rolling eyes and bored looks it also diffuses the situation, but if she demands an apology for the ‘attitude’, it can be like adding petrol to a fire.

During these power struggles with your child, If you are feeling angry or frustrated try not to take it out on your child. They don’t understand what they are feeling and are most likely struggling with your emotions also. What we need to do as a parent is to teach the child, be it a toddler or teenager that their behaviour is not appropriate or acceptable. If you become defensive or agitated your child will then most likely react in a similar way.

Try not to take things that your toddler or teenager say personally. It might help to remind yourself that your child is trying to assert their own independence.

Even though you have more life experience than your child, lecturing them about how to behave is likely to have them stop listening to you. If you want your child to listen to you, you might need to allow them to speak freely to you also. Communication goes both ways and the child needs to feel respected in order to feel valid. Much like nagging, this is not likely to have a positive effect. It might increase your frustration, and your child will probably just scream at you or switch off. As with sarcasm your child may start to resent you and as a parent, I know that I do not want that type of relationship with my children.

Speaking with this other mummy today has made me feel like this ‘terrible two’ situation is easy in comparison to her ‘terrible teenager’. My eldest is only 4 but rest assured I’m planning on putting boundaries in place in hope that he won’t behave irrationally during his teenage years.

What are you experience’s of toddlers and teenagers?

Did or do you have a similar experience?

I’d love to hear from you.

Terrible twos!

The terrible twos!

Well let me just start with OMG….

My precious little girl has recently entered the ‘terrible twos’. Now I’m not one to ‘label’ people or stereotype, but after hearing stories about the ‘terrible twos’, I’m pretty certain that my little miss, has decided to join that club.

Let me start by saying that although I’ve had some questionable days with my 4 year old, nothing he ever said or did is even close to what my little miss does.

Maybe it’s a second child thing?
Maybe it’s a girl thing?

I’ve heard that girls can be more ‘bossy’ and also the second child learns from the first? My first isn’t badly behaved, although he can push boundaries, he is no where near as brave to push me to limits where my miss thinks it’s funny.

I really know when it started, but most days (of late) we have a tantrum of some sort and over petty things? – well things that seem petty to me.

We can have tantrums because I got her shoes that she didn’t want to wear.

She can throw a tantrum because she wanted to do her own hair.

Sometimes tantrums are because she wanted to sit on a particular part of the couch.

Or a tantrum can be caused when I open her snack when she wanted too.

Oh and let’s not forget when I get her the wrong colour cutlery for meal times, and the list goes on…

Anyway, each day is different and I’ve learnt not to expect 100% perfect behaviour all day long. Now I know that kids can’t be perfect, I definitely let things slide, but picking my battles is becoming more of a lifestyle choice.

I understand that tantrums are often sparked by a child’s frustration at their inability to complete a task or voice and explain themselves correctly. The child thinks that they should be able to do on their own things and their own way and when they don’t succeed, it seems like they have failed themselves and in return they throw a ‘doosey’.

On top of this frustration, toddlers quite often get frazzled doing simple things because they do not have the language skills to express their feelings which equates to their temper being shown, therefore throwing a ‘temper tantrum’.

I’ve learnt that tantrums are normal for the development of every child. Each child goes through this (maybe some not as bad as others) however These tantrums will decrease around age 4, once motor and language skills are better developed.

When it comes disciplining my little miss, during one of her many tantrums, I’ve learnt it’s important for me to remain calm and avoid inadvertently reinforcing the behaviour. If I don’t, it makes her worse. Sometimes I feel like laughing of throwing a tantrum myself (merely from frustration) but I keep it together. I am the adult. 😉

If I keep my emotions in check, I find she generally calms down sooner. If my emotions escalate or I yell or get cranky at her, her temper is 10 fold.

I remember laughing at her once and it was like adding fuel to a fire. She laid on the ground kicking and screaming and yelling “I no likey you, go away me now”.

I try not to confront her. Instead, I walk away and do something else, basically I ignore her. I don’t make eye contact or speak to her, I simply wait for her to calm down. This has helped with ensuring her that I am not reinforcing her bad behavior.

After the tantrum finishes I go and provide her with reassurance and guidance. Speaking to her in a relaxed and calm tone and telling her what she has said or done is not appreciated or nice. Sometimes she is receptive, others she just sobs and ignores me. I guess I can’t expect too much, she is only 2.

With each tantrum I’m trying to teach her how to express her feelings through words instead of throwing herself around and screaming.

Reassuring her that I still love her, but not her tantrums then we move on to the next activity.

I thought that having a very stubborn boy was tough, honestly my little miss is so defiant, stubborn, head strong and loves to assert herself. I know it’s only a phase and will soon pass, maybe I will miss it (possibly not) but I know it’s all a learning process for us both.

Have you a strong willed child?

What are your experiences with tantrums and the terrible twos?

I’d love to hear from you. Xx

Growing up.

Growing up.

Today was a tough day for me. Emotionally.

Today I took my almost 5 year old to ‘transition day’ at his soon to be, ‘big School’. Yes my little man is off to kindergarten next year. (2018)

It was a big day for us both. I was emotional because I know he is growing up, and too fast for me. I was nervous for him as we walked into the unknown. The front gates of ‘big school’ that is possibly 10 times bigger than his current preschool. Not to mention the transition that he will discover from going to preschool 3 days per week, to going to kindergarten 5 days per week.

It feels like only yesterday that I held my 3.53kg bundle of love in my arms. Looking down at him longingly and adoring everything about him. From his teeny tiny nose, to his beautiful little fingers and toes and big brown eyes that still to this day, have me mesmerised.

Today showed me just how much my little man has grown up. He may only be 4 (almost 5, November) but, he showed me so much maturity that I was super proud. Im always proud of him, but today I was gleaming.

He took everything in his stride. He was not nervous, he was not scared, he was not sad. He was excited for the path that lay ahead. The smile on his face and his inquisitive eyes showed me just how ready he is for this next chapter.

My heart was bursting with pride for this little man that I am raising. He was such a gentleman when meeting his new teachers and peers and showed me that all the little things that I have been instilling in him, he has in fact taken on board.

Little things like looking at someone’s eyes when they are speaking to you, smiling politely and answering politely when spoken too, raising his hand when he wants to speak in a group setting and allowing his peers through doorways etc rather than pushing and shoving to get somewhere first, being respectful, thoughtful and courteous etc.

Today we bought ‘Big School’ uniforms and his school bag. Seeing him try on his new uniform definitely gave me a lump in my throat, holding back the tears as I didn’t want him to see me cry.

If ever I get a tear in my eye, he is straight away comforting me, asking me if I’m ok, hugging me and holding my hand tight. For such a rough and tumble robust boy, he is such a beautiful soul.

As he stood there examining himself in the mirror and asked me if he looked ‘Smart’. I told him yes and very handsome. He replied “handsome is good mum, but you always say that. I want to look Smart like I know stuff”. I quietly knew that, so confirmed to him, that yes, he most definitely looks “Smart”.

The emotions of being his mum fill me with happiness each and every day. I am not one to struggle with words, but words can’t describe my love and how proud I am of my boy.

I can not believe that my eldest and only boy (who will always be my little boy) is off to kindergarten. His kind soul and caring ways will hopefully see him succeed in whatever he chooses in his path.

Next year I’m sure I will have butterflies swarming in my tummy and tears rolling down my face as I bid him farewell as he walks through the front gate of his ‘big school’.

I know that within all my heart he is ready. He is eager to learn and is excited for his new chapter.

Although he is growing up, I’m very much enjoying watching my little boy grow and turn into such a sweet, humble, caring and loving person.

As his preschool chapter is coming to an end, his big school journey is beginning and I will always have memories.

Where, oh where, have the past 5 years gone? ❤️

Tips for starting kindergarten.

Tips for starting ‘big school’
(Otherwise known as kindergarten)

My little man is starting kindergarten next year (approx 4 months away), and my ovaries are bursting with pride and sadness.

Pride because he is growing into a beautiful little man who has so many great qualities. Sad because he is growing up too fast.

I’ve been thinking about the difference between preschool and kindergarten and what he will need to learn or know before starting his big school experience.

Here are a few tips that I have come up with.

What tips do you have that makes the transition easier?

– Eat in a timely manner
Currently his preschool provides the meals and they all sit down together to eat. They serve themselves and clear their plates etc which makes getting him ready for preschool just that bit quicker. Big school they need packed lunches and I’m pretty sure the teachers don’t go around telling the children to eat, so therefore he needs to learn to eat his recess in that time frame and his lunch also within the given time frame.

They are need to know how to open and close their lunch boxes including lids and various containers along with snap lock bags and cling wrap if the school they are attending allows. Most schools are now ‘plastic free’ which means only containers with lids etc and no cling wrap or snap lock plastic bags.

– Toilet locks and going alone
At preschool there are no cubicles. They all use the bathroom together, it’s unisex and it’s open. I was recently told to teach him how to lock a cubicle behind himself for privacy. Also being able to undo their own buttons and zippers on pants if need be without an adult assisting.

– Belongings
My little guy is pretty good with not loosing things. Good to the extent that if he can’t find something his owns, he gets worried that he will be in trouble of me for loosing it. Perhaps that’s my downfall with getting him to be responsible for his own things at such an early age? They do need to be responsible for their belongings st school because even though there may be a ‘lost and found’. If a hat is left in the playground, it most likely won’t be handed in or have a teacher do the after school rounds and find all forgotten’ items.

– Sharing
Being able to share toys, pencils and other items. Knowing when to give another a turn, and when it’s their turn without having a tantrum or meltdown. I think most kids by the age of 3 have this down pat, however it is a good skill to polish up on prior to being in a larger group scenario.

– Social Skills
Being able to interact with other children and play together rather than simultaneously. I think social skills is important to know, but again these children are only 4 and 5 years old. Are we expecting too much from them? At what stage should we expect good social skills?

– Alphabet and Numbers
I recently read somewhere that children by the age of 5, should be able to count to 30 and know their alphabet? My 4 year definitely knows his alphabet but can only count to 20-25 without getting the sequence jumbled?

– Name writing
Do they need to be able to write their first and last name? Again my 4 year old can write his first name, and really quite neatly. He jumbled up our surname but it also has 6 letters in it. Is this a priority?

– Listening to instruction
Paying attention to the teachers whomever is speaking. Using listening ears and sitting quietly without being easily distracted or distracting others. Now call me silly or naive, but I would assume that most 4/5 year old can still be easily distracted? My little man can sit quietly, but not for hours on end. He will sit through a movie, start to finish but can also be distracted in a group activity. Does this mean he isn’t ready for kindergarten or will this be something that they work with him on and expect that young ones sometimes get distracted?

Can you add to my list?

Or what do you think is important?

Let me tell you where to go.

Let me tell you where to go.

Approx 3 years ago we moved from what I’d know into the unknown. We moved from the eastern suburbs of sydney to the northern suburbs which is dubbed the north shore, but the closest beach is actually about 30-45 minutes away, so go figure.

We moved here for a lifestyle change. We had a 1 year old and were planning on expanding our family. We needed and wanted a bigger home with a yard and area for our children to play. So we made the decision to buy a home that suited our needs but not in our ‘known’ area. We moved about an hour away from our comfort zone to get a bigger house with a large yard at a reasonable cost so that we wouldn’t be in debt for the rest of our time.

At first I will admit it was tough, still at times it is, but we have grown to enjoy our new surroundings and are finding our way.

What I have found though, is that although we have moved into a larger ‘family’ demographic, I’m finding that there are not necessarily a lot of kid friendly places to go, that are not play centres. Or maybe I just have not discovered them?

What I was looking for is somewhere we can go as either a family or where I can take the kids solo or to catch up with friends. Not so much an adult venue, but somewhere that’s nice yet child friendly. Let’s face it, if we are in a family demographic why shouldn’t there be more family friendly venues?

So what I have found are a few places that are now on my regular radar to take my two little people to. These places make me feel welcome each time we arrive. I don’t get snarled at by walking in with my 4year old and a 1yo in a pram. I’m not in fear of judgement of other patrons if my little people make noise and the staff are always relaxed. These places are great in many aspects, aspects that most mothers or parents will agree are important when out and about with children.

Great coffee and menu including food for fussy toddlers.

Relaxed atmosphere.

Friendly staff.

Simple decor.

Affordable.

Don’t mind if little fingers spill food.

Don’t mind if children make noise.

Provide an area for children to play.

Prompt service. We all know kids can get impatient and disruptive if the service takes too long.

So with these in mind, I have listed my favourite places to take my kiddies.

Please note – I’m not affiliated with any of the below. I’ve simply had great service and a lovely time at each of them with my little ones. We actually are regular customers and have not had a bad experience to date (in 3 years).

If you have others, please let me know so that I can try them out also. Always happy for new suggestions.

Piermonte – Terry Hills Flower Market.
http://piemonte.com.au/
This place has an awesome menu and great play area for kids to play that is safe and fenced and in direct eyesight of the seating area so that your little ones can play whilst you eat or have a coffee or juice.

Shores – Hornsby.
http://www.shoresrestaurant.com.au/
There is a cute little kids hub inside the restaurant. It’s got booths for family’s, really yummy food. Great coffee and super friendly staff.

The Station – Wahroonga.
http://www.thestationwahroonga.com.au/
Really good food, great coffee. Not really a play area for kids but the staff are super friendly and easy going and understanding with children and provide pencils and paper for drawing and colouring for kiddies entertainment.

The Fox Cafe – Wahroonga.
http://www.foxcafe.com.au/
A larger restaurant with booths for family’s, very child friendly menu. Great coffee, easy atmosphere, friendly staff and easy to find parking.

Galley Foods – Bobbin Head.
http://galleyfoods.com.au/
On the marina, it’s such a beautiful setting. Super relaxed and again with great food and coffee. They also have live music on most weekends and happy to provide colouring for keeping little ones occupied. You can also feed the fish off the marina whilst waiting for your food to arrive.

Why don’t I answer my phone?

Quite often I have friends call and I just don’t or can’t answer.

For many reasons, I’m changing a nappy, I’m sorting food, I’m playing with my kids, I’m doing my household chores, I’m trying to grocery shop and not buy everything that the toddler pulls from the shelves, the little ones are screaming / dancing / fighting / being noisy in general, I’m at a play date, I’m bathing children, I’m trying to get kids to bed, I’m At a sporting event, I’m scoffing down my meal before being ‘needed’ again, anything….

i will I’ll get back to you though, within a few hours. I’m not rude enough to ignore my phone. 😉

Just because I’m a SAHM (stay at home mum), that doesn’t mean I’m avail 24/7. I’ve often been told that SAHM are often busier than those who work as those employed actually get a lunch break, they can take a shower without an audience, they actually can go to the bathroom without their toddler insisting on sitting in their lap whilst they urinate. They can take 5 minutes to themselves, they get peace and quiet.

Now I’m not saying I’m overwhelmed or dislike any of the above, I actually choose to be a SAHM, call me crazy but I love the chaos and craziness of it all. I’m constantly busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! ❤ 👨‍👧

http://www.mother.ly/work/4-reasons-your-call-to-a-stay-at-home-mom-goes-to-voicemail?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=facebook_page&utm_medium=Motherly

The Happy Mom Pledge by Rachel – Finding Joy

For those that have followed me for a while you will know I have a few favourite bloggers. Finding Joy is one of those. Thank you Rachel.

Finding Joy.
“the happy mom pledge”

Repeat after me.

(and if you have little kids it might take a couple tries simply because you don’t get much quiet.)

I will know that I make a difference. And yes it counts when you get up early and pack those lunches and tuck notes in and wait outside the door.

I will not compare myself to the mom sitting across from me in Starbucks. That mom at Starbucks is probably comparing herself with you too so it might be better if you just said hello to each other.

I will give myself grace when I stumble. Sorry, you’ll stumble. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll burn the pizza. But you’ll get up.

I will find moments to laugh again. And it can be laughing over anything. I laughed at myself when I was headfirst in the dryer attempting to remove crayon because I thought I would be supermom and get all the laundry done super fast and super fast meant not checking nine year old son’s pockets for broken crayons. So I just laughed. And sprayed goo-gone.

I will give myself grace because chances are I won’t do everything on this list. If anyone on here completes a to-do list it will go on the Guinness Book of Mom Records courtesy of Finding Joy. Good luck.

I will not be so hard on myself. That means it is okay if you make cake balls and they turn into cake mush. It’s okay that your birthday decorations are from Target. It’s is way super okay (can we all just stand up and cheer) that you said no to the treat bags.

I will let the tears fall if they need to fall. Behind bathroom doors, on the phone, in the car, as you’re making lunch, to a good friend…tears are emotion…and sometimes they need to fall.

I will be proud of my children. Put their artwork up even if it doesn’t match your decor. Text your teenager telling them that you love them. Be proud.

I will let the handprints be on my windows and not apologize for them. Having kids means having handprints, sticky counters, and permanent marker in places. Like now, in my home, on my five and seven year old sons’ door to their room where they decided to write their name in Black ultra permanent never coming off you might as well buy a new door Sharpie. At least we all never forget which room is theirs.

I will say thank you to the barista at Starbucks.They are your friends. And at Target. And besides that – our kids are watching us. Always always always say thank you as you never know the impact you’ll make on someone else’s life.

I will not be apologize for not having everything together. Please don’t. Then I have to apologize for not having it together and then we’re both stuck thinking that we always have to have it together.

I will go to bed at night tired but knowing I made a difference. If you can remember this before you fall asleep than yes. Otherwise wake knowing that everything you do is awesome. Well, cleaning toilets may feel not awesome but let me remind you of your world if you did not do this. See? awesome.

I will try super hard to not judge others. You don’t know their circumstances. Maybe what is right in your world isn’t right in their world. Love. Don’t judge.

I will try even more super hard to not judge myself so hard. Um totally yes. (Sometimes the baristas at Starbucks remind me of this…see? Love them.) We’re our own worst critics. Enough. The Happy Mom pledge is about learning to give ourselves grace.

I will remember that my kids will make mistakes.When they screw up at school, which they will, and you get a note, which you will, it is not a reflection of your ability as a mom. Kids are human too. Help them with their mistakes and do not take it personally.

I will also remember that my kids do not indicate my parenting successes or failures. See above. Please.

I will remember again that I will probably not remember to do everything on the list. Just another reminder. Remember we’re only human. What matters is that you and I try. Get chocolate and start again.

I will look for one good thing every day. Yes, yes, yes. Please this. Look for one thing. I know life can be incredibly tough and hard and tedious and aggravating, but please look for one good thing everyday. Even if it was that your latte was extra hot and awesome or that your three year old went to bed without fussing. One thing. And three year olds going to bed without an argument counts as five good things in case you were wondering.

I will be thankful. Gratitude destroys comparison, envy, and that pesky part of ourselves that thinks we don’t measure up.

I will be me and will pursue the things I love. Just because you are a mom does not mean that every single thing you do has to do with mothering. Make sure to cultivate your dreams your desires and the things you love too. With NO guilt.

I will not feel guilty for the nights when it’s popcorn for dinner. Or macaroni and cheese from the box with the powder that you mix with milk and a dash of butter. Or chicken nuggets. Or pancakes. YOU GOT DINNER ON THE TABLE. Remember that instead.

I will not let mom guilt bug me at all, in fact.Going back to that mom guilt thing. It’s way way way too easy to feel guilty and to think that we’re not measuring up. Nope. Not anymore. Mom guilt? We’re kicking it to the curb.

I will tell a friend how great a job they’re doing.Starting now. Us moms need to hear from our friends that we appreciate them. Send them this note and have them be a part of this Happy Mom Pledge. No more you versus me versus her. That’s not happy. Unity.

I will see the good in me. After all you’re the only one who knows just what to tell your eleven year old when they’re nervous about that Social test. Or how to cut their sandwiches in the morning. Or where to find the missing shoe or mitten or homework. Or how to deal with slammed doors or I hate you’s and to not take it personally. You are great.

I will know that I am enough. If you forget read this -> Why Being a Mom is Enough

I will try again. And again, and again, and again. That’s called strength.

I will be real. There is no perfect mom in this world of utopian ideals. There is real. And real is beautiful, powerful, amazing, giving, loving, and awesome. So, yes, that’s you.

I will fight for my heart. And that means letting yourself be happy again.

I will love me.

That’s the Happy Mom Pledge.

Will you take it too?

~Rachel

(and to read a Happy Mom Story – read this -> The Marshmallow Story)

Tough days.

I will be honest, today was tough…

I cried on numerous occasions out of frustration and the feeling of defeat.

My very robust and super active 4 year old has been waking about 5am every morning for the past 2 weeks. I am tired.

Throughout the day he is busy, although he can play solo, he has been craving my attention and begging me to play with him. It’s not quiet play though. He wants to play superheroes or Jiu Jitsu. Both of which involve wrestling or jumping around ‘chasing bad guys’. It’s exhausting.

I try to tell myself that he is only 4 and I should relish in his want to play with me, as soon he may not want to, but – and I know there should not be a but, but there is. I’m tired.

I stay up late waiting for my husband to get home which is generally about 9:30pm. He works late most nights. By the time we chat, reconnect and have some time together, it’s about 11pm. Only to be woken at 5am if not earlier.

Running on empty and then having busy days it can get the better of me, and today it did.

I’m usually quite strong and can handle a lot. I take it in my stride, but I’m also human.

Today my little guy pushed all kinds of boundaries. As did my 18mo. They fed of each other’s energy and both were full on.

Whilst we were out at Jiu Jitsu this afternoon my little guy was just being silly and another mother passed a comment, a negative comment that hurt my feelings. I chose to ignore it but eventually it got to me and my eyes welled up. Yep in public, I was so embarrassed I tried to hold it together but the tears streamed down my face.

I had to go outside and get ‘fresh air’. It was hard.

I know he is still only 4. I also know he is pushing boundaries and I need to set some really firm ones.

Today I just wanted to ‘give in’. I had a burn inside me where I wanted to pack both my kids back into the car and drive home. Drive to my safe place where there is no one to judge me. No one to tell me how to reprimand my child. No one to snarl at me. No one to pass negative comments at me. No judging eyes. No looking down your nose at me and No looks of disgust.

I then got this post hit my mail box.

It clicked.

I needed it.

I know I shouldn’t feel embarrassed or threatened by my children’s behaviour, but today I did.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Stop Feeling Threatened By Your Child’s Behavior