Friday, 12 July 2013

My Motherhood Gig




For me, being a mother equates to being on a journey - a continuous journey of discovery.

And when I say discovery I'm not talking about discovering your kids' stuff lying all over the house or discovering an empty milk carton in the fridge. No. Not this time. ;) What I'm talking about here, is discovering the depth of your love for your children; discovering how far your levels of tolerance can be stretched; discovering how to hone your disciplining and negotiating skills. The real stuff.

And then of course there's the 'journey' part - the part that involves the continuous introspection, the growth (hopefully) and the improvement (again, hopefully). And honestly? I don't think there's any time that I can say "I've got this thing down" because simply uttering or even thinking that, is almost like issuing an open invitation for the next phase or challenge to come and bite me on the ar*e. Seriously. That there has happened to me. More than once.

I think one of the biggest lessons I've learnt since becoming a mother has been that I can't be afraid to change the way I do things if they're not working. I simply admit defeat and move on. Okay, sometimes that is easier said than done, but I think if you can embrace that way of thinking, this mothering thing can be a very rewarding experience. The times I have done it I have certainly been rewarded for my bravery. (Most of the items on my list below came about because the systems I was using weren't working well.)

And the second biggest lesson I've learnt? Be organized! And I really seem to enjoy this side of things. (I'm a girl who loves a good list, after all.) Here's what I've found has been working for us when it comes to maintaining a happy family life around here (in no particular order):

1. Good storage. We recently upgraded our study to include more storage and clothes hooks so that the kids have a place to put their school bags, shoes and hang up their school blazers. If everything has a designated place then things are organized and life is good. ;) On this note: I'm still in the process of training them to use their lockers properly so that they're not always running around the house looking for their shoes and bags when we are trying to get out of the door!

2. Meal planners. I started using these little charts to get myself organized when it comes to weeknight dinners; and the kids then know what they'll be having for dinner every night of the week. Although I've been told that some of their friends mock them for having this little chart stuck to the fridge, I feel that it helps make the kids feel organized and in control of that aspect of their lives at least. Hey, don't knock the small things. ;)

3. Weekly chore lists. I have one of these stuck up in the kitchen so that whenever it's time for chores, the kids can easily see whose turn it is to do what. I need to start adding a few more chores to this list in the near future, but at the moment it is working nicely as it is.

4. Family activity schedule. I recently bought a lovely glass one that I found at a cute store in Takapuna and got Grant to put it up for us. I use a whiteboard pen on it, so it's easy to simply wipe clean before adding each new week's activities. I've also put this up in the kitchen so that the kids can mark their activities up there too - this helps to avoid all the last minute "I need you to take me to so-and-so's house. I told you I had plans to go there for a sleepover!" when you're running out of the door to take your other child to a party and the third child is going out for a bike ride with dad. Planning ahead is always the best solution!

5. Eating dinner together every night. We try our best to eat dinner together every night, although sometimes it doesn't work out when there are sleep-outs or late water polo and hockey games. It's definitely more of the norm than not, though. I can't say that these dinner times together are always wonderful - there is often grumbling and squabbling that goes on, but at least we've got that time together most days and the opportunity for chatting as a family is there.

6. Individual "dates" with each child. I haven't done this as much as I've wanted to, but I've got serious plans to get this up and running properly when the kids go back to school for Term 3. The times I have done it have been so rewarding. The kids really do enjoy their special time with me - I'm sure it's not only the milkshake and muffin they love! ;)

7. Meals cooked by kids. Now this is something new that I'm in the process of setting up. Each girl has agreed to cook one meal a week! Nothing fancy, just a basic spaghetti bolognaise or something similar. I plan to use these school holidays to go over a few recipes with them and teach them how to make a few simple meals. I'm really looking forward to this new idea taking hold because not only could I do with the nights off but the girls can only benefit from learning some necessary cooking skills. I'll let you know how this all pans out...

8. Squarehub. I got the whole family to download this cute app from iTunes and linked us all together. Basically Squarehub is a 'private family network' that allows it's members to text and private message each other, send photos, coordinate activities and keep in touch. I love trying out new, fun ways of connecting with my family.



What tips have you got for a happy family life? Do you use lists, charts and schedules too?








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