Sunday, March 30, 2014

3 Things I Want My Kids to Hear Everyday

I've been thinking...dangerous...I know! But seriously, I've been thinking about what my kids will take away from each day. I firmly believe that what we focus on grows in our lives. Each day is a gift and at the end of the day, its done. I will not get another March 29, 2014 again. So, at the end of today, what do I want my kids to remember?

Here are my thoughts on what I want my kids to hear each day:

"I love you!"Simple yet life changing. I want my children to be confident in the knowledge that I love them no matter what they do or don't do, say or don't say. I recently heard someone say that when they were discipling their children they would say, "If you were trapped in a burning car, I would rescue you. I love you that much. Right now, I do not like the choices you are making and for that reason (fill in consequence)." My love for my children is not conditional on them making good decisions. I know that, but do they?

"Let's play!" It can be so easy for me to get wrapped up in the laundry, making breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, house cleaning, grocery shopping and the list goes on and on. However, I have been challenged lately by how much these activities can over take my life. When a pile of housework  stands before me, I am learning to ask myself, "How important is this?" Sometimes the housework is important...if I don't start the load of laundry now, nobody will have clean underwear for tomorrow! Most of the time it can wait an hour while I sit down and play Legos with my boys. And you know what, the laundry is still getting done. The dishes might sit in the sink longer but in the end, they still get done! And my relationship with my boys is that much stronger...Oh the conversations we have over Legos...priceless!

"We are a team." Being a family means being part of a team. As a team we encourage each other. We build each other up. We work together to get things done. In the past few months I've noticed that the boys and I have not been operating as a team when it comes to work around the house. They've been playing and I've been working. Through some conversations together, we've come up with a plan. Our plan is in order to have fun, we need to work together to get the other stuff done. We have come up with some age appropriate jobs for each boy to do that contribute to housework. One of Zane's jobs is to set the table. When he finishes, I thank him for his hard work. I then say, "Hey, doesn't it feel good to be part of the team!" I've notice him stop, think about it and then smile. Because it really does feel good to be part of the team.

My challenge to you: 
  • What are your kids hearing everyday?
  • What do you want your kids to hear everyday?

Hannah is a PCI Certified Parent Coach® and owner of Foundations Parent and Life Coaching. She is passionate about working with parents and individuals who want to build the foundation for a thriving life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Guest Posting on "Made to Mother"

Yesterday, I had the privilege of sharing my story on the blog Made to Mother. My dear friend Wynter has a passion for moms and their stories. Becoming a mother herself made her realize how much she is influenced by the way she was mothered and the other mothers around her. She wondered about others experience and has been collecting woman's stories of motherhood on the blog.

I invite you to read my own story and while you are there, take a moment to read some of the other woman's stories. I guarantee they will touch your heart and make you think more about the powerful role of mom. Each week Wynter posts a new woman's story and each week I am once again reminded that who we are deep down inside is much more important than the unique journey each mother takes.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Poopy Bathtubs

My son pooped in the bathtub today!

I walked into the bathroom to check on him during his bath thinking that I would help him wash up and finish up the bath. My first clue that things were amiss was the wet toilet paper mass stretching from the bathtub to the toilet. At the sight, my toes curled, my heart started racing and the urge to scream, "WHAT IS GOING ON IN HERE!!!!!!" rose quickly to the surface.

An "Oh Quinn, what happened?" passed my lips and he looked up at me with eyes that pleaded to see him and not the mess around him. It caused me to stop and step back for a moment from the situation. As much as I wanted to yell and scream at the disgusting mess I now had the privilege of cleaning up, if I looked closely I saw a boy who knew he had made a mistake. I could yell about the poop and toilet paper and feed the shame and guilt he already or I could focus on him and build our relationship.

We spent the next 20 minutes straining toilet paper and other foreign objects out of the bathtub. As we worked together we talked about how no matter the mistake, he could always come to me without fear of my anger. Sometimes there will be a consequence for his decision that he may not like. But my relationship with him and with his brother Zane is more important than the message my yelling and screaming may communicate.  

Building relationship rather than reacting to the moment is a work in progress for me. As some of you may remember, I confessed to slamming the brakes and yelling at my kids a few weeks ago. My son is 4 years old right now but in a blink of an eye he will be 14 and the mistakes he encounters will be much bigger than pooping in the bathtub.

I am challenged right now by the thought that...
how I respond right now is building the foundation for our future relationship.


Hannah is a PCI Certified Parent Coach® and owner of Foundations Parent and Life Coaching. She is passionate about working with parents and individuals who want to build the foundation for a thriving life.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Rhythm of Thankfulness...Smiling Through the Tears

I'm going to be honest. The past 18 months of my life have been hard. Hard down to the deepest parts of my soul. My heart has grieved as my dream of life and family has been shifted and refined. There have been days that waking up and moving through the simple rhythms of the day have taken all my energy and focus.

Soon after the boys and I moved in my parents I was struck with the truth that even when life doesn't look like what I want it to, there are gifts in that place that must be recognized. Thankfulness is an act of recognition. By recognizing the gifts my heart overflows with hope and joy. Thankfulness has become a key daily rhythm for me and for my boys. It focus' me on what is working in my life and in my parenting.

Every other weekend my boys enjoy time with their dad. Honestly, its been difficult to fall into this new rhythm. Often I want to dwell on the negative...the moments I am missing every other weekend or the stress of arranging our life around this every other weekend schedule. When I do, my heart is heavy and the tears are always near the surface. It is my choice to recognize the gift or not... The gift of time to run without pressure of returning by a certain time, the gift of quiet moments in the morning to sleep, read and journal, and the joy and sweetness of the boy's sloppy kisses and wrestling loudness when they returned Sunday evening. I'm not saying that tears don't rise to the surfaces still but in my recognition of the gift I am able to smile through the tears.

Thoughts for this week...

  • What are the gifts of each day?
  • How will I recognize the gift each day?

Saturday, March 8, 2014

"Trust yourself..."

" know more than you think."

The thought of trusting myself challenges me. So often I look to what society says or what my friend thinks I should do rather than trusting myself. The internet and blogs are teeming with suggestions. When I go there, I am bombarded with "The 3 Words that Will Stop Tantrums" or "Follow these 5 Steps and Your Child Will Be Doing All Their Chores with a Smile." Often I leave these postings feeling like a failure as a parent and at a loss because those three words did nothing to change my preschooler's tantrums and we are still battling over chores.

"Trust yourself, you know more than you think" reminds me that often the wisdom I need lies within. I was created to be my children's parents and when I take a moment to be quiet, my knowledge of what my children need rises to the surface. Knowing myself and knowing my children takes time and being intentional. It takes taking care of myself so that I can take care of those around me. For me, it slipping away in the quiet of the morning to run and clear my mind. It is ending the day writing in my journal. As I write, all of the thoughts, fears, and worries find their way onto the page where I can examine them more rationally and find the wisdom within. What do you do to quiet yourself so you can reach within to the wisdom that lies deep inside you?

Questions I am asking myself...
"What do I know to be true?" 

"What does that truth look like for me and for my family?" 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Brake Slamming, Mama Yelling Moments...

The other day I had one of those out of body moments. It was as if I had stepped outside of myself and as I listened to the words come out of my mouth and saw my reaction to the actions of my children, it broke my heart. Have you had one of those moments before?

Here is the scene. We are late. I have repeatedly asked encouraged my youngest to get a move on and he's moving his own pace. It started with wanting one thing for breakfast and then changing his mind. It moved on to being sad and refusing to eat because he was told he needed to eat what he asked for first. The morning progressed with the more exciting adventure of jumping naked on the bed rather than putting his clothes on. We had just finished a 10 minute battle of putting socks and shoes on... Really! Socks and shoes should take 2 minutes tops...and finally made it to the car. However finding the right toy is a lot more interesting than putting the seatbelt on and now we are late and my patience is gone! In my frustration I started driving before he was buckled in and when he yelled, "Mama, I'm not strapped in" I stomped on the brakes and yelled, "I know! I've asked you to buckle up and YOUR NOT LISTENING!!" The car went quiet and the look in both my boys eyes broke my heart. 

It was easy to justify my frustration, yelling, and brake slamming. I had been patiently trying to motivate my youngest all morning with little success. And during the very quiet ride to school I attempted to justify my actions. I want my child to be successful at getting himself ready in the morning and respectful of other people's needs and time. But that voice deep inside quietly reminded me that brake slamming and yelling are not great tools for helping him get there.

Author Emmerson Eggerich teaches that relationships are built on a cycle of love and respect. His popular book "Love and Respect" teaches that in the marriage relationship, the woman wants to be loved and the husband respected and when love or respect is not communicated it throws us into a crazy cycle. His new book "Love and Respect in the Family" shows a similar cycle between parents and children. Children want to be loved and parents want to be respected. So much of parenting is communication. Yesterday I listened to a teaching by Emmerson Eggerich on his new book. I took away many great thoughts and truths about communicating with my children but one of the biggest "ah-ha" moments I had was when my children are acting disrespectfully, is there probably something I am doing or saying that they may interpret as unloving. The key word in that sentence being interpret. I love my children deeply and most of my choices and reactions are based out of this love for them. However, they don't always know that because of what I do or say.

Let's go back to my brake slamming-yelling mommy moment. My youngest was feeling unloved from the moment he woke-up. His deepest joy in life is play and I was waking him up too late in the morning to give him time to play. Later that day, I went to each of my boys and apologized. It is humbling as a parent to admit you are wrong but so powerful in building healthy relationships with our children. Together we decided to try using the music setting on an alarm clock to begin waking both boys up earlier in the morning. This extra time to play has been the ticket to a happier morning in our house. The sock and shoe battles still happen but not every morning. And he still changes his mind about what he wants to eat sometimes, but by understanding his need to play I have been able to communicate love to him and in return he has been showing respect by getting himself ready with time to play!

Questions I find myself asking lately... 
"How are my actions commenting love and are they being received the way I intend them to be?"

If my answer is no, then "what can I do to better communicate my deep and unconditional love for my kids?"