Archive for the 'Parenting In Public' Category

Dear Momma,

friendsI meet amazing women all the time. Here in my hometown and across the US I’ve seen mommas who are doing a great job and just trying their absolute best to raise a family without raising their blood pressure. This isn’t an easy job…but somebody’s got to do it and thankfully, it’s all of us.

Dear Momma I met on the running path this weekend –

Thank you for encouraging me to keep trying to become a “real runner” – your words of encouragement meant the world to me. We talked about how your kids are small and things are challenging. You asked if it gets “better” or “easier” as they grow and I said yes. I wasn’t lying but I didn’t want to tell you the truth. The truth is it does get easier concerning the physical exhaustion associated with caring for little people who can’t take care of themselves. But the emotional and mental energy it takes to raise elementary and pre-teen kiddos is truly overwhelming at times. I’m currently in competition with advertisements, trends at school, technology and people forgetting that tone of voice means more than the words coming out of their mouths. I remember being where you and you’ll have more “rough weeks” but hang in there. God is preparing you for the future and every interaction you have with them now will help the tough conversations of the future have an impact because you took time to develop a relationship with your kids now. Everything you do matters. I hope you enjoyed your run and thanks again for sharing your extra bottle of water and offering me some yummy candy :o)

 

Dear Momma I stood behind in the check out line –

I have an honest question for you. That whole “I’ll give you a treat at the end if you’re good” bribe…do you still think that’s a good idea? It must have been a rough shopping trip. I’ve had those too. When people are hungry, tired and super frustrating and all you want to do is get your list of food and get out of there – it’s not fun. I have an idea. Maybe next time your kids would enjoy having a job or responsibility beyond what they SHOULD be doing – being good. I don’t get a reward for being nice to the people at my work but I do it because it’s the right thing to do. Maybe the treat used to work and it was a good idea but after what I saw today I think your kids have you figured out and their working harder at wearing you down instead of bettering themselves. You deserve better – hold your kids accountable and they’ll respect you for it. I promise.

 

Dear Grandma at the park –

I had to smile as you gave that toddler your complete attention. You remind me to enjoy each moment and be fully engaged with my kids. I heard you squeal with excitement when that sweet boy made it down the slide all by himself. I needed our excitement today. Thank you for breathing life into my day by just being you and showing your love.

 

Spring has arrived and I am thrilled to see what God is going to bring into my life…the new, the unknown and the challenging things that will come…the only reason I’ll make it through is because I’m not alone. We’re all in this mothering thing together –

Find a fellow momma and give her a smile – you’ll never know how much it might help her…and you.

You’re amazing!

Kasey

Stop Talking, Start Walking!

kid yelling at momPlease excuse me while I vent.

I don’t mean to offend…but folks, this is getting ridiculous.

I am tired of watching children yell at their mothers.

I don’t care if they are 2, 12 or 21.

When did we decide that our children’s feelings are more important than our dignity?

When did it become okay for children to yell, scream, hit and throw a complete tantrum while their mother sits in front of them asking 101 questions, enduring the abuse!?

We would never allow an adult, another child, or our spouse to treat us that way, so why is it okay for our children?!?!

 

One of the best, most empowering and invigorating things I can do when my kid is losing his mind is to keep mine clear and calm.

The best way to kill drama is with the a quiver full of quiet and calm arrows, ready to be released at just the right time in order to regain control.

 

There’s a difference between refusing to be insulted and refusing to join the chaos. I’m not saying it’s easy – but I think it’s easy to forget why the difference matters so much.

Drama only grows when it is successful in dominating the situation and our attention.

I’ve talked to so many moms who say they “talked” with their child for hours – they just couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

Maybe NOTHING was wrong – maybe that child is very intelligient and has figured out they can keep their parents devoted to their irrational and sometimes imaginary issues by inviting them to join the chaos.

If something really is wrong we should be patient and listen. But I hope we’d know the difference between a child in distress and a child in drama mode. My kids can feel any emotion they’d like but they don’t get to insult me with their actions in the process.

 

We live in a noisy world, but if our phone makes a slight ding – we give it our full attention.  Oh the power we give to technology.

I don’t believe yelling and screaming shows power.

That’s why we work hard to not yell at our children and I would hope we hold our children to the same standard.

What do our children have to do to get our attention? Do they make a slight “ding” or have they learned to yell, scream and throw a fit so we will pay attention?

 

Don’t let your children make you a slave to their emotional outbursts.

Teach them how to manage their emotions without draining your energy.

Model how to express emotions without dominating everyone’s attention.

Allow them to have emotions without allowing them to punish you with their feelings.

Hold them accountable. Even if it takes a while, REFUSE to become a slave to your children’s emotional outbursts and above all things…

REMAIN CALM!!!

 

You’ve got this. Stay strong and think about the future. Let’s walk away from the drama and teach our children how to manage their emotions NOW. If we don’t our kids could grow into young adults who lash out at a world that simply doesn’t care to listen to or respond to their drama. Take the following Bible verse to heart. It was meant to encourage the Jews during battle. I think it also works for moms who are battling the drama that tries to sneak into their home. Whether on the battle field or in our home, we are not alone. God will never forsake us or leave us – AMEN!

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

When Their Brains Turn Off

onoff2It happens more than I’d like to admit.

First my boys will do something truly stupid or completely against how we raised them (like licking the table, shooting each other with rubber bands, etc…).

Next, I will look at them and say, “I think your brain turned off for a minute – let’s think about this for a minute.”

I only use this line because if I didn’t I would say something like, “Quit that!”, “What were you thinking!?” or “Stop it now!”

{side note: asking a boy WHY he did something is like asking a dog why it peed on the rug – they don’ t know, they really don’t}

Tonight was one of those nights.

Matt took the older two boys to football and I dragged our youngest through his older brother’s Open House. It’s our first year with a middle-schooler and I was anxious to hear from all his teachers and make sure I was in the know.

I stopped by the counselor’s office and as we were talking I noticed the counselor’s eyes kept drifting past mine to look behind me. When I finally turned around I saw my 2nd grader jumping up and down on the chair sitting in her office.

I was mortified.

We don’t jump on furniture! I don’t even let them jump on their beds! What. Was. Happening!?!?!

I apologized, he got down and we went to the next class.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was embarrassed and amazed all at the same time. Where did he get the idea that jumping on the furniture of a workplace was okay?

As the science teacher walked us through his power point I started to think about why I was so bothered.

Then I figured it out…His brain turned off and even though I had stopped the behavior I wasn’t certain it wouldn’t happen again.

As we left science he asked what room we now needed (his job was to locate room numbers throughout the night).

I pulled him aside and said we were going to skip the next class. Here’s our conversation:

M: Buddy, do you remember a little while ago when you were jumping on the chair in that lady’s office?

J: Yeah (as he picks his nose and tries to wipe it on the wall behind him)

M: Do you think that was a good or bad choice?

J: (lengthy pause) Bad.

M: I’m wondering if your brain just kind of turned off for a little bit.

J: Yeah, maybe.

M: Do we jump on furniture? Especially other people’s furniture!?

J: No.

M: So, how are we gonna remind your brain not to that again?

J: I don’t know.

M: We’re gonna need to go back into her office and apologize for jumping on her furniture.

{his face reflects the sentiment, “things just got real”}

J: I really don’t want to do that.

M: I know, but when we make choices that go against what we KNOW is right, we have to apologize – it’s not easy.

J: I REALLY don’t want to do that. {tears are beginning to form}

M: Well, we’re going to do it and I’ll be with you. Let’s not make a big deal about it. Just walk in and say, “I’m sorry for jumping on your furniture” and I know she’ll say it’s okay.

As we walk to the office his fists are clenched and he’s moving from sadness to pure anger.

M: Hi Mrs. Smith, it’s just again. James had a quick thing he wanted to say to you.

J: I’m sorry I jumped on your furniture.

She was very forgiving and it was over in 30 seconds. But as we left her office the tears truly began to flow. At the end of the night I told him I was SO PROUD of him. He owned his choice and he made it right.

I asked him if he thought he’d ever jump on furniture again.

His response?

“No way mom! My brain isn’t gonna turn off about this again!”

I am fairly certain I’ll have to pull him off another piece of furniture very soon – but I’m hoping the act of apologizing will influence his desire to keep his brain turned ON, not OFF.

What are some of your kids’ “off” moments?

How do you help their brains turn back on?

Leave a comment – we want to hear from you!

Kasey

Radio Roundup

Video may have killed the radio star, but I’m going to do my best to combine words into sensible statements tomorrow morning and attempt the world of “radio”.

I’m actually really excited – but I need you guys to be on there with me!

So here’s the deal – Jenny is CEO and host of the ChannelMom.com radio show. I love the topics she covers and each week she has fantastic guests including MOPS International CEO, authors, chefs and countless others.

You can even hear old broadcasts via itunes for free – pretty cool huh?!

So here’s how to listen/share/converse with us tomorrow:

From 9:00-10:00 Central Standard Time we’ll be on the air and you can listen by streaming http://channelmom.com/listen-live/ on your computer tomorrow morning.

You can call into the show tthrough the phone number: 303-297-1510

Many of you have already sent in your questions/situations concerning discipline and your kids – THANK YOU!!!

If anyone has another situation or issue you’d like addressed please email me today (smartermoms@gmail.com) and I’ll touch on things tomorrow morning.

Thank you for being a part of this community and being so wonderful!

Kasey

Sidewalk Sprinkler

When I became a mom I was working full-time and found my own “playgroup” of sorts at work.

I was surrounded by bright, successful, funny and interesting women. Some of them were ahead of me in the whole parenting game while others were walking right along with me.

It was great to have my own personal “pit crew” of sorts. I would come to work exhausted, scared or overwhelmed.  After spending a little time with these ladies I felt put back together, ready to head home and love on my sweet baby boy.

When I left my teaching job I actually mourned the loss of camaraderie and connection I enjoyed with my co-workers. I was suddenly alone with two babies and, unlike my work schedule, I had no idea when I’d speak with another adult during the day.

Although I was apprehensive and imagined conversations centering around poop, spit-up and diapers….I went to playgroup.

A friend in our sunday school class invited me.  I was excited to be with these women but I couldn’t BEGIN to imagine what we would have in common.  Up to this point all the mothers in my life were also educators and we shared that common characteristic. What in the WORLD was I going to have in common now?!?!

So we all had kids – didn’t everyone in the world? Just because we had children didn’t mean we’d want to be friends – or did it?

I pulled up to the park where we were meeting and took a deep breath. I prayed for energy and help to find a connection.  I prayed that my children would behave – we had an impression to make!

My 2 1/2-year-old waddled toward the park benches and I clicked the infant carrier onto the stroller.  I was greeted by smiles and it was great to see that these women were truly welcoming me into their group.

After meeting everyone I quickly found myself engrossed in how they connected and talked with each other.  I wasn’t aware of how intensely I was listening until I realized that everyone else’s eyes were focused on something happening behind me.  I was the ONLY one looking at the group.

I turned around to see my son, pants at his ankles, creating a 45 degree arch with his pee.  The worst part was hearing him yell: “Run through the sprinkler!” to the slack-jawed and horrified children staring at him

I think the mothers around me saw my anger rising.  Turning on my heels I was ready to unleash all the discipline techniques I knew. That’s when one of my new mom friends touched my arm and smiled at me.  I was in SHOCK! How could she be smiling!?!

In a kind, compassionate voice she looked into my eyes; “We’ve all been there.  I know you’ll take care of it – but don’t let your embarrassment decide his punishment.  It is kind of funny”.

Suddenly I realized that my teeth were grinding in my mouth and my fists were clenched.  I took a deep breath, whispered a thank you to my new friend and headed toward my son.

That day at the park opened my eyes. I was STILL surrounded by bright, successful, funny and interesting women – nothing had changed except our surroundings.  Instead of a classroom I was in a park.  I had traded in my dress suits for sweatpants and my briefcase was now a diaper bag.

I wouldn’t trade those early days for anything, but I wish I could have learned my lesson without my little sidewalk sprinkler showing my true colors and my obvious need for other moms to help lead me.

I hope you have a wonderful group of women that help you find moments of clarity and joy.  Whether you spend time in a cubicle or a cul-de-sac I know each Mom who comes into your day has a beautiful purpose about her.

Let’s celebrate each other and how gracious we can be; especially when our children enjoy a time of self-expression that brings us a moment of embarrassment.

Enjoy your week and have fun with the memories that are made within it!

Kasey

Well, It Happened…

Our youngest guy, James, headed to his first week of preschool with excitement, energy and curiosity.  I was sad to see my guy start this path toward his formal schooling years – he’s my last baby!  But alas, the day came when I said good-bye and he had a fantastic time with his preschool teachers.

It was the second day of school and as I waited for him to be dismissed from class I noticed his teachers peering through the classroom window and pointing in my direction.

I could feel in my gut that something wasn’t right as one teacher headed straight towards me with a smile on her face, asking if I was James’ mommy.

After introducing herself she said, “I needed to let you know about a little incident we had in class today”.  Suddenly words like bite, lie, steal and destroy were running through my head.  The thing was, James is the most gentle of all my boys – especially when it comes to authority figures.  He doesn’t want to create issues or disappoint anyone.  So I asked, “What happened?!”

She filled me in: “We were having snack and as I sat with the children I commented on how yummy our snack was – that I thought it was my favorite!  That’s when James declared to the rest of the room: ‘Yeah! It’s d*** good!'”

My jaw dropped, how could this have happened!?  Although his teachers were giggling I was NOT!  I immediately began defending our family’s moral values, choice of movies and music…I probably sounded like an overprotective, defensive prude.

His teacher was very gracious and treated the whole thing with humor…they told me they’ve heard everything and not to worry.  He truly didn’t know what he was saying – but I was still focused on the fact that he said it at all!

So there I was, standing in the lobby of this lovely Christian preschool it shock. Maybe I overreacted, maybe I took it too personally – but I just didn’t see this one coming.

Thankfully we haven’t had any more “issues” arise at school (except a couple little girls that have influenced James to request hair gel and cologne) and hopefully it will continue to be that way.

I hope I’m not the only one that’s had an embarrassing or shocking issue arise when my children are under the care of someone else….I just hope that next time I won’t stumble over my words and simply apologize with grace and dignity 😮

If you have a story would you share it with us?  I think it would do me good to hear I’m not alone 😮


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