Tag Archives: Emotional

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

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.

Should we make boys tough? Or should we be more gentle with them?

Psychology Today posted this very interesting article earlier this month. It’s very much worth the read. My husband is a bit ‘old school’ with the belief that boys need ‘tough love’ in order to make them ‘good men’. He often says I’m too soft on our 4 yo.

As a qualified Juvenille counsellor, Ive learned many things but this was one that I believe is really important. I’m glad I found this article and could share it with you. 💙

Be Worried About Boys, Especially Baby Boys.

Allan Schore discusses the harmful effects of stressing baby boys.

Posted Jan 08, 2017

We often hear that boys need to be toughened up so as not to be sissies. Parent toughness toward babies is celebrated as “not spoiling the baby.” Wrong! These ideas are based on a misunderstanding of how babies develop. Instead, babies rely on tender, responsive care to grow well—with self-control, social skills and concern for others.

A review of empirical research just came out by Allan N. Schore, called “All our sons: The developmental neurobiology and neuroendocrinology of boys at risk.”

This thorough review shows why we should be worried about how we treat boys early in their lives. Here are a few highlights:

Why does early life experience influence boys significantly more than girls?

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Boys mature slower physically, socially and linguistically.
Stress-regulating brain circuitries mature slower in boys prenatally, perinatally and postnatally.
Boys are affected more negatively by early environmental stress, inside and outside the womb, than are girls. Girls have more built-in mechanisms that foster resiliency against stress.
How are boys affected more than girls?

Boys are more vulnerable to maternal stress and depression in the womb, birth trauma (e.g., separation from mother), and unresponsive caregiving (caregiving that leaves them in distress). These comprise attachment trauma and significantly impact right brain hemisphere development—which develops more rapidly in early life than the left brain hemisphere. The right hemisphere normally establishes self-regulatory brain circuitry related to self control and sociality.
Normal term newborn boys react differently to neonatal behavior assessment, showing higher cortisol levels (a mobilizing hormone indicating stress) afterward than girls.
At six months, boys show more frustration than girls do. At 12 months boys show a greater reaction to negative stimuli.
Schore cites the research of Tronick, who concluded that “Boys . . . are more demanding social partners, have more difficult times regulating their affective states, and may need more of their mothers support to help them regulate affect. This increased demandingness would affect the infant boys’ interactive partner” (p. 4).
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What can we conclude from the data?

Boys are more vulnerable to neuropsychiatric disorders that appear developmentally (girls more vulnerable to disorders that appear later). These include autism, early onset schizophrenia, ADHD, and conduct disorders. These have been increasing in recent decades (interestingly, as more babies have been put into daycare settings, nearly all of which provide inadequate care for babies).

Schore states, “in light of the male infant’s slower brain maturation, the secure mother’s attachment-regulating function as a sensitively responsive, interactive affect regulator of his immature right brain in the first year is essential to optimal male socioemotional development.” (p. 14)

“In total, the preceding pages of this work suggest that differences between the sexes in brain wiring patterns that account for gender differences in social and emotional functions are established at the very beginning of life; that the developmental programming of these differences is more than genetically coded, but epigenetically shaped by the early social and physical environment; and that the adult male and female brains represent an adaptive complementarity for optimal human function.” (p. 26)

What does inappropriate care look like in the first years of life?

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“In marked contrast to this growth-facilitating attachment scenario, in a relational growth-inhibiting postnatal environment, less than optimal maternal sensitivity, responsiveness, and regulation are associated with insecure attachments. In the most detrimental growth-inhibiting relational context of maltreatment and attachment trauma (abuse and/or neglect), the primary caregiver of an insecure disorganized–disoriented infant induces traumatic states of enduring negative affect in the child (A.N. Schore, 2001b, 2003b). As a result, dysregulated allostatic processes produce excessive wear and tear on the developing brain, severe apoptotic parcellation of subcortical–cortical stress circuits, and long-term detrimental health consequences (McEwen & Gianaros, 2011). Relational trauma in early critical periods of brain development thus imprints a permanent physiological reactivity of the right brain, alters the corticolimbic connectivity into the HPA, and generates a susceptibility to later disorders of affect regulation expressed in a deficit in coping with future socioemotional stressors. Earlier, I described that slow-maturing male brains are particularly vulnerable to this most dysregulated attachment typology, which is expressed in severe deficits in social and emotional functions.” (p. 13)

What does appropriate care look like in the brain?

“In an optimal developmental scenario, the evolutionary attachment mechanism, maturing during a period of right-brain growth, thus allows epigenetic factors in the social environment to impact genomic and hormonal mechanisms at both the subcortical and then cortical brain levels. By the end of the first year and into the second, higher centers in the right orbitofrontal and ventromedial cortices begin to forge mutual synaptic connections with the lower subcortical centers, including the arousal systems in the midbrain and brain stem and the HPA axis, thereby allowing for more complex strategies of affect regulation, especially during moments of interpersonal stress. That said, as I noted in 1994, the right orbitofrontal cortex, the attachment control system, functionally matures according to different timetables in females and males, and thus, differentiation and growth stabilizes earlier in females than in males (A.N. Schore, 1994). In either case, optimal attachment scenarios allow for the development of a right-lateralized system of efficient activation and feedback inhibition of the HPA axis and autonomic arousal, essential components for optimal coping abilities.” (p. 13)

NOTE: Here is a recent article explaining attachment.

Practical implications for parents, professionals and policy makers:

1. Realize that boys need more, not less, care than girls.

2. Review all hospital birth practices. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a start but not enough. According to a recent review of the research, there is lot of epigenetic and other effects going on at birth.

Separation of mom and baby at birth is harmful for all babies but Schore points out how much more harm it does to boys:

“Exposing newborn male . . . to separation stress causes an acute strong increase of cortisol and can therefore be regarded as a severe stressor” (Kunzler, Braun, & Bock, 2015, p. 862). Repeated separation results in hyperactive behavior, and “changes . . . prefrontal-limbic pathways, i.e. regions that are dysfunctional in a variety of mental disorders” (p. 862).

3. Provide responsive care. Mothers, fathers and other caregivers should avoid any extensive distress in the child—“enduring negative affect.” Instead of the normalized harsh treatment of males (“to make them men”) by letting them cry as babies and then telling them not to cry as boys, by withholding affection and other practices to “toughen them up,” young boys should be treated in the opposite way: with tenderness and respect for their needs for cuddling and kindness.

Note that preterm boys are less able to spontaneously interact with caregivers and so need particularly sensitive care as their neurobiological development proceeds.

4. Provide paid parental leave. For parents to provide responsive care, they need the time, focus and energy. This means a move to paid maternal and paternal leave for at least a year, the time when babies are most vulnerable. Sweden has other family-friendly policies that make it easier for parents to be responsive.

5. One other thing I did not address that Schore does is the effects of environmental toxins. Young boys are more negatively affected by environmental toxins that also disrupt the brain’s right hemisphere development (e.g., plastics like BpA, bis-phenol-A). Schore agrees with Lamphear’s (2015) proposal that the ongoing “rise in developmental disabilities is associated with environmental toxins on the developing brain.” This suggests we should be much more cautious about putting toxic chemicals into our air, soil and water. That is a topic for another blog post.

Conclusion

Of course, we should not just worry about boys but take action for all babies. We need to provide nurturing care for all children. All children expect and need, for proper development, the evolved nest, a baseline for early care which provides the nurturing, stress-reducing care that fosters optimal brain development. My lab studies the Evolved Nest and finds it related to all the positive child outcomes we have studied.

Friendships and Social Media.

When social media overtakes friendships.

I recently had an emotional week where I found myself questioning many aspects of my life. Toying with the idea of starting a business and also had a few events happen that have made me question certain friendships.

I’m quite open with my feelings and some would say that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I had a very dear friend sit me down and give me a reality check, which I must say was much needed.

We were chatting about certain things that had upset me and her honesty was exactly what I needed. She said that I do share a lot on my facebook and instagram pages about what I’m up to and things I’m doing with my two little ones. Her suggestion was to stop. She said I’m too open and that may make people feel as though they don’t need to contact me. They already see it posted, so why the need to contact me?

This gorgeous friend also said that I put too much effort into a lot of my friendships and I should hold myself back. I interpreted that as I may be a ‘needy’ friend but she assured me that’s not what she meant.

She said that I’m the thoughtful one who contacts my friends to ‘check in’ basically. Ask them how they are doing, what they have been up to, and of course, it’s me organising a catch up. My dear friend suggested that I stop doing this also. She said that people just wait for my contact and feel they do not need to contact me or ask how I’m doing as they assume that I will contact them, or they will see on my social media what I’m up to which then allows them to not ‘have’ to contact me. She said many of my friendships are one way. Me putting the effort in and them just taking and not making any effort with or for me.

My feelings were hurt but it made perfect sense. She said that this will show me who actually is a true friend by those who take the time to contact me.

It made me realise, that perhaps social media does allow friends to drift apart?

If it’s all out there to see, why should you contact anyone to see how they are?

I’m an old fashioned person. I like to hear in my friends voices that they are ok. I like to physically see them, have the interaction with them and know that they are ok.

Maybe I’m just a weirdo? Is this weird?

I’ve had a few situations arise where I have been excluded and it has hurt my feelings. Maybe I should just get over it, but then again, why can’t I feel hurt by being excluded? I’ve seen things posted on social media that I was not invited too (not that I need to be included in everything) but certain occasions it’s nice to feel included.

I know that people and friendships change. Gosh I’ve experienced this first hand. When we moved out of our ‘area’ and into a new suburb 45 minutes away, I knew that it would show who I would keep as part of my life and who would no longer need my friendship.

That of course hurt.

I’m the friend who travels to the kids birthday parties in peak hour that are hours away, but I don’t get that in return. I’m the friend who drives an hour to help you settle your newborn baby with my newborn baby on board as you are struggling. I’m the friend who is there at who cares what hour, to listen to your word and comfort you when you feel like your works is about to end. And I’m the friend who offers to look after your toddler and give you rest as you are not feeling well or have morning sickness.

But I wouldn’t change it for the world as I know, that I’ve helped my friends when they have needed to rely on me.

I’ve had friends say 45mins is too far to drive to my daughters 1st birthday party, I’ve had friends cancel on me last minute. I’ve had friends organise outings with mutual friends but deliberately exclude me. It’s those friends who don’t return calls, or texts, or blatantly ignore you, that have hurt me. I’ve felt excluded from many situations. I’m the one who drives the distance with 2 little ones in toe, to visit my friends. Those who are important to me. I make the effort. Is effort to much to ask these days?

So are they friends or are they acquaintances?
Or are they just people who were once part of my life?

I’m trying to understand why some people treat others so distant when they are happy to receive but not put out?

Why are some friendships so one sided?

As I get older and after a few reality checks by my honest and true friends, I’m realising that those who I have called dear friends, are not actually that.

And it hurts, but as the old saying goes, it’s not the quantity but the quality.

I have a handful of good and honest friends who do spontaneously contact me. Just to see how I am, and they don’t want or need anything but to see how I am feeling.

For this I am grateful.

So for the next few months, I will be pulling back. I won’t be posting anything about where I am or what I’m up to. I also won’t go out of my way to contact ‘friends’. This will be my test, to see who actually does care enough about me to contact me. Who thinks about me?

It may be an even harsher reality check for me, but it will definitely show me those who I mean anything to and those who I no longer need to feel that I should be contacting or making an effort for.

Maybe social media does take over our lives?
Maybe I do post too much.

Let’s see how this plays out.

Stay tuned….

Raising a ‘bad ass’ daughter.

I love this.

I think there are great boundaries that girls have to break in order to be equal in today’s society.

I hope that my daughter is ‘bad ass’.

I know I’m trying to instil traits within her that I feel are important.

I definitely encourage being independent, good communication, respect, choices and failures.

We play outside, we hold worms, we brush off dirt if we happen to fall. I make an effort not to mollycoddle her with small incidents that can be dismissed.

I want her to be strong willed, opinionated and be strong enough to stand up for herself. I want that for both my children.

I grew up in a small town and there was lots of ‘bullying’ happening. There was lots of disconnection within many environments. I think having my parents divorce at such a young age helped me to be more resilient and self sufficient perhaps a little ‘bad ass’.

I’m not saying we need heartache or sadness or ‘bad’ things to happen to us to help us evolve and grow. I do believe that experiences help to open our minds and teach us lessons.

http://www.scarymommy.com/tips-raising-empowered-daughter/?utm_source=FB

Emotions.

Emotions and crying when angry.

Emotions are funny aren’t they?

They make us laugh, cry, smile, happy, frustrated, angry, irritated and much more.

I was going back through some of my old study note’s from when I was studying to become a counsellor. A topic that I came across was emotions and how we deal with them. I remember finding this subject quite interesting and one that I actually got great marks in my assessment for. (Quiet pat on my own back )

Emotions can get the better of us and in some cases can cause people to react or act irrationally.

I started reading through these notes and thinking about my personality and how I react to different situations. I know that when I’m extremely angry I cry. I find it hard to control. It’s almost like I get wild sensation come over me and tears come pouring out.

Some may say this is a sweet softer side of me, I’m also known to be quite hot headed and protective. (Yes I can loose it but I’m mainly ‘ticked’ and will become extremely protective, especially of my children or those close to me. I become a Mumma bear and hath have no fury like a Mumma pushed too far! 😉)

As I have aged I have learnt to ‘wind in’ my hot head and be more diplomatic but in some situations my tears still stream with anger. I suppose tears are better than yelling at someone or becoming violent right? I suppose it’s the more mature reaction but, I sometimes feel as though my tears are not seen for what they are (anger) and could be seen as sadness, defeat or fear?

Sometimes children cry with frustration when they can’t describe or control their emotions. They get sad when they don’t get their own way and cry right?

I cry with anger. With my anger, it’s generally because I feel as though my thoughts and values have been attacked, everyone is entitled to their own feelings and thoughts and no ones are right or wrong. We are all different therefore have different values. Who says your interpretation of something is right and mine is wrong? Or vice versa?

The physical sensations when I feel personally attacked or angry are similar to anxiety, which for me include a racing heart and tightness in the body. I loose my appetite, feel hot, feel like my face is sunburnt and feel a pressure in my chest, almost like someone is pushing against me. It’s weird but that’s how my body deals with it.

I have tried for many years to control the tears when I’m angry, but sometimes this emotion overcomes my control.

What I have learnt from negative emotions though is that if we dwell on it or allow it to manifest in us. They will overtake our lives and make us miserable.

Negative emotions stop us from thinking and behaving rationally and seeing situations in their true perspective. When this occurs, we tend to see only we want to see and remember only what we want to remember. This only prolongs the anger or grief and prevents us from enjoying life.

The longer this goes on, the more entrenched the problem becomes. Dealing with negative emotions inappropriately can also be harmful – for example, expressing anger with violence.

Some people can be overly emotional or sensitive, which is fine everybody is different. For me learning about emotions whilst studying to be a counsellor has helped me to understand other people’s personalities a little more. Reading their body language and reacting appropriately to their feelings.

I think the biggest factor for me personally, and what stands out from my studies is that negative emotions also can manifest in personal insecurities, general unhappiness, stress and anxiety which can lead to depression.

I know a few people who suffer depression and are on medication for it. Depression for some is described as a disease. I won’t go into depression as that’s a whole other topic and I could blog about it all day, a subject close to my heart. However emotions are natural, we cannot control them fully and we will never fully understand them.

Emotions are psychological (our thoughts) and biological (our feelings). Our brain responds to our thoughts by releasing various hormones and chemicals into our blood stream which send us into a state of arousal. All emotions come about this way, be it positive or negative. It’s complex and can be overwhelming which can also make it hard to overcome.

What we need to learn to do more is, let go of what has made you angry or emotional – constantly going over negative events preoccupies you and stops you from living in the ‘present’ and will manifest in making you feel sad and unhappy.

Relationships – defining them?

Relationships.

Well let me firstly start by saying – every relationship is hard! Be it a friendship, partnership or marriage. As most of my loyal readers know, I love sex and the city. I watch the episodes over and over along with the movies – never have enough. Sad but true. I recently watched the episode where Carrie is trying to define relationships. I think it’s the final episode where she comes back from Paris with big and it’s right at the end where she meets up with the girls in their favourite cafe and as the walk out it quotes – “most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.’ Carrie – I love this quote.

Anyway – I recently spoke with a friend whom has recently broken up from a long term relationship. They were talking marriage, children, sharing the rest of their lives together. Now they have gone separate ways.

When I asked what was the reasoning behind the break up, as I thought that they seemed so in love, the response was that they were no longer physically attracted to their partner.

I then thought to myself, perhaps the relationship was doomed from the beginning? Yes it would be nice to have a physically attractive partner but looks are only ‘skin deep’. Looks fade and over time what we find physically attractive changes.

I personally believe that you should always be attracted to the personality over looks. Be with someone who makes you laugh, who you can be your true self with and be comfortable enough in their company to sit in silence and just ‘be together’. A friend.

Not that I’ve always taken my own advice.

So what are relationships based on if it’s only physical?

We all eventually age and wrinkle. Some of us even gain weight and get bad skin. How can we sustain a relationship long term if we are only basing our relationships on physical attraction? Are people or couples honestly up for ‘sex’ 100% of the time? Do you not get tired, get too busy, feel emotionally drained, be physically drained, become stressed, feel less attractive yourself or just not be ‘in the mood’? Perhaps I’m the only one?

Relationships take work. They are not easy and they are certainly a compromise.

I’ve always said and will continue to say. At any given stage within a relationship, one of the partners will be more in love than the other. This I think is just a true hard fact.

I believe that you cannot possibly be 100% in love and attracted physically, emotionally and mentally to the same person 100% of the time. I’m the first to admit that I’m not 100%, 100% of the time.

Having ‘things’ in common or having common ground and likes are a good start but what happens when your hobbies or likes evolve. We all evolve as people and change. I know I don’t like the same things as I did 10 years ago. Perhaps not even 5 years ago? So how are we supposed to be happy with the same person for the rest of our lives?

Well we compromise.

We compromise our likes and wants to help make a relationship work.

What happens though if one partner gives more and compromises more than the other? Is this fair and why should they be the only one to compromise or make sacrifices?

I personally don’t believe that in say a 20, 30, 40 or 50 year marriage that both partners are 100% in love 100% of the time. Most relationships have hurdles and hard times and I believe that by having differences you grow as a partnership. You overcome differences and learn more about each other.

So I gave my advice to my friend and I hope that they are thinking wisely about their future choices. Physical attraction will always ‘grow old’. Mental and emotional attraction will change but I think you can build more on mental and emotional attraction.

I ask, what made you fall in love with your partner?

Do you agree that relationships are work?

Do you think that it’s compromise?

How much would you compromise?

noordinarymummy@gmail.com

My life as a mummy of two!

My life as a mummy of two!

So settling into being a mummy of two has been challenging. Loving it, but challenging.

Experiencing the love all over again, smelling and absorbing my new born and still being everything I can be for my 2 year old.

My 2 year old has been a little jealous and understandably. He has had his mummy all to himself for the past 2.5years, now all of a sudden he has to share his mummy and it hasn’t been an easy adjustment for him.

Throughout my pregnancy I was trying to help him adjust, I bought books about becoming a big brother, books about expecting a baby and we would chat about how he is getting a little sister and that it’s very special for both him and her.

I thought he would be a little jealous but I guess I wasn’t prepared for the huge change in him.

Firstly my little man used to be a fairly good sleeper. After night nurses and reward charts I had managed to get him to go down approx 6pm in his own bed, we would read 3 books then it was lights off. My little man would then sleep through in his own big boy bed until approx 6am the next morning.

Since I was in hospital for over a week my husband and mother were looking after my little man. His routine wasn’t really followed and for a few weeks he didn’t like to go to bed and wasn’t sleeping through, waking multiple times per night and insisting on sleeping with me and leaving his bedside lamp on.

The first few nights I was really strict and walked him back to his room, comforted him and helped him to go back to sleep but after 5 nights of the same behaviour I began to feel bad and allowed him to come into my bed and sleep with me.

Mainly because it’s a huge adjustment and in between feeding my little girl every 2.5 hours I have been pretty tired. Also secretly I love snuggling with him and he is my little man, my first born and always will be.

This phase only lasted approx 3 weeks though and now he is happy to go to his own bed, he isn’t sleeping through every night, however most nights he does, and if he doesn’t he is only waking once or twice and I carry him back to his room and he goes back to sleep.

He is really sweet with his sister and is quite protective and loving towards her. If he hears her cry he will come straight to me and tell me she is upset and he also runs to her room and says in the sweetest little voice ‘you ok Mila?’

He also loves to help me change her nappy and I allow him to choose her outfits. I want him to feel involved and part of her life. Although he is only 2.5years old I think that by allowing him to be a big part in the decisions around her will help him to adjust and accept her more easily and not have him be as jealous or feel left out or pushed aside.

My little girl though is a different story, she sleeps very well and I actually wake her to feed. During the day I’m feeding every 3 hours however of a night I let her sleep and she wakes me. She is only 3 weeks old though and I anticipate that this may change.

The dynamic in the house has also changed, it feels complete now. I feel like I’m whole. My little man and my little princess have completed me, of course with my husband. 🙂 I was once told that to have one child of each sex is a ‘gentleman’s family’ or a ‘pigeon pair’ which is apparently quite well looked upon in the eyes of some. I feel blessed that I have been able to create this little family with my husband and also be able to give him a child of each sex.

Being a parent is a constant lesson, I’m always learning more about myself but also about my children. I’m feeling very blessed at this stage in my life.

I’m sure with each step and change in growth patterns with my 2 children things within our home will change also with dynamics and learning. I look forward to sharing these moments with you.

Taming the toddler!

Taming the toddler!

Dressing my 2 year old of late feels like I’m wrestling a crocodile – not that I’ve wrestled a croc but it seems that since he started preschool, a whole new world has begun!

Simple tasks like dressing him is full on with him running around being cheeky and making it more of a game, I get one leg of his pants in then he runs off expecting me to chase him with the only contained leg falling out, back to square one.

Although this is cute and can be a fun game, I’m 6 months pregnant and get out of breath easily and also can’t move as quick as I normally can nor can I manoeuvre myself as well with my tummy! The simple task of dressing that once took 5 minutes now can take up to 20.

He only goes to preschool 1 day per week and has only been a handful of times. This is also his first time in any day care / preschool facility as I’m a stay at home mum and whilst I was working he had a nanny one day per week whom would come to our home and care for him there, therefore he was still in his comfort zone.

So since starting preschool – which I do believe is good for him and will get better, the drop offs are very hard with tears and tantrums from my lil guy and him shouting ‘me no likey preschool’. ‘I go home now’ and ‘peese mummy no go’. Breaks my heart every time! Perhaps I’m just a clingy mum or not tough enough? However I am re assured by the centre director and other staff that he does calm down and settle after approx 15 minutes of me leaving.

I also know that it’s not the preschools fault that he is behaving this way, he is only 2 and being put in a new environment can be challenging for anyone.

On pick up I get the best reception from him with a huge smile then him running towards me followed by huge hugs having both his innocent little arms tightly wrapped around my neck and have him almost climbing up on top of me to get closer then followed by a big kiss. Makes my whole day to get that love from him as I certainly do miss him.

That evening and next day though can be tiring as he becomes extremely clingy and needing with him following me everywhere I go and holding my hand even walking around our home.

This I love, but bed time becomes another challenge with him no wanting to go to bed alone and insisting that I stay in his bedroom with him. If i try to leave I get tears and heartbreak. I think to myself, be tough and just make him stay alone to sleep but then my softer side says, why not sit with him, he is two and he won’t want me to ‘hold him’ for too many more years. Yes he says in the sweetest little voice ‘peese mummy old me’ which means he would like my hand to rest on his heart whilst he falls asleep – bless him.

He has also learnt lots of new sentences, including him putting his finger across his lips and saying ‘shhh, stop it, sit down’ something I’m guessing his teachers must say? And another one ‘umm I dont think so’. Don’t get me wrong I’m glad his vocabulary is expanding and he is learning better sentences however not sure I like those particular sentences coming from my ‘just turned 2 little guy?.

Another wonderful side effect from day care is the lashing out. He has certainly been asserting himself, mainly with other boys and generally it’s a jealous thing, like them playing with his toys or even being too close to me. He has never been an aggressive or rough child but the past 2 weeks have shown me that he can be quite rough with pushing and throwing things.

From studying my counselling course I’ve learnt that it’s very normal for a toddler or child to lash out or behave aggressively when they have a major change in their young lives as they are stamping out their emotions, asserting themselves and also trying to work out how and where they fit into the change.

It’s almost like they are pushing boundaries to see how far they can get, asserting themselves and making their own path. This does settle down but it’s a big adjustment for them.

Should you try to tame a toddler?

My theory is to allow them to show their personality but set boundaries. I’m not going to raise a brat or disrespectful child. My little man already has boundaries and though I do discipline him I also explain why I’m disciplining him and try to help him understand what he has done wrong and how not to do it again.

I’m not huge on smacking but I do believe in time out. I sit my little guy on his bed, get down to his eye level, ask him to look at me whilst I’m talking to him and speak to him in an assertive but compassionate voice. I don’t like to raise my voice but he does recognise the difference in the tone in my voice and that he is in trouble. He then sits on his bed with the door closed for 2 minutes. I then go back to his room and explain again what he has done wrong and generally find that he is remorseful.

I’ve heard that 3 year olds are worse than 2 year olds? Gosh! I love my little guy more than the world but he certainly tests me and keeps me on my toes at times, here is for hoping 3 isn’t worse!

How do you tame your toddler?

What are your experiences?

Is it just us or is parenting an emotional rollercoaster?

Every day brings its highs and lows and unexpected loopty-loops.

There are moments of absolute joy that lift us up and take our breath away. And then there are trying moments such as those when the little one decides to draw all over your nice white walls with black permanent marker that bring us down and also take our breath away.

Yet through it all, there’s something in us that forgives our little ones need for attention and we forget, open our arms, scoop them up and love them all over again!

The uncomplicated love of a parent.

The Wife Drought.

The wife drought!

So for Christmas my husband bought me this book, The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb. At first I was a little taken aback but then read the introduction only to realise it wasn’t an insult as Id originally thought but in fact a compliment.

As most of my readers are aware I gave up my corporate role in April 2014 to be a full time mother to my adorable 2year old and also help with the running around if my husbands 12 year old. We are also expecting bub number 2 in May 2015.

I originally struggled with this as it was not only a shock to my system of loosing my financial independence but also taking on all the household duties which were once shared. Gradually I’m learning more about myself and although I absolutely love my little guy more than anything, I sometimes think about returning to work again and having him in care, however no disrespect to anyone with children in care, I find myself struggling with the thought of having someone else look after him. – another issue I need to deal with in my own head 🙂 and so my conundrum continues.

This book is a great read about ‘wives’ not nessasarily being women but being people who stay at home and run the house or work part time in order to run the house which includes everything from cooking, cleaning, washing, school runs, homework, waiting on the plumber, raising children, after school activities and much more.

It also goes into detail about how many successful men including CEO’s have ‘wives’ which allows them to work late unexpectedly, travel when required, have the ability to sit quietly and read the morning paper without disturbance as they are generally on their way to work in the peace and quite of public transport or perhaps have gone into the office early. They have been able to enjoy a meal without disruption and being able to eat with both hands and not having being pulled in multiple directions or been vomited upon.

Again not that I would change my situation but I sometimes envy a 30minute ‘break’ time to myself to go to the toilet alone, or shower alone, gosh I can’t remember the last time that happened?

So this book puts things into perspective. It states that 1 in 4 women with children under the age of 15 do not work full time. 76% of working men have stay at home ‘wives’ to run the household that allows them the freedom of working late, gym sessions, work travel, unexpected business meetings and come home to a clean house of well respected, well mannered, polite, clean children ready for bed with the wife waiting all day for the plumber or phone guy in between collecting mail, doing washing or groceries and all before the 2:45pm school pick up which leads to after school sports and other activities.

To me it’s saying that men wouldn’t be as successful if women worked as much as men and that most men wouldn’t cope with being the stay at home parent raising children and doing household jobs like women do.

Take a read of the random house review then perhaps grab yourself a copy!

‘I need a wife’

It’s a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it’s not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It’s a potent economic asset on the work front. And it’s an advantage enjoyed – even in our modern society – by vastly more men than women.

Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain.

But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don’t men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that – for men – still block the exits?

The Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb’s inimitable style, it’s full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.

Crabb’s call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that’s long overdue.

– See more at: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/annabel-crabb/the-wife-drought-9780857984265.aspx#sthash.kaNA8q4b.dpuf