It is one of those weeks, and I dispise weeks like this so very much. I am running on little energy being sick, and when I am normally not tired I am now overtired. And today while I sat on the floor building legos and defending the bridge from the calamity of a 5 year old, I just wanted to go to bed. When I heard the overly loud and today seemingly annoying lawnmowers out the window I just wanted to go to bed. When the little demanding voices began screetching at ear pearcing levels over lunch, and hotwheels and babydolls, I just wanted to go to bed. Alas, this is just part of the everyday living that is tolerated because moments away from any of these given moments, are hugs, smiles, kisses, small accomplishments, joyous milestones... So we carry on. BUT,in my case (since I know I am the only one who feels this way) when I am run down, when I am rushed, when I am off kilter my volume rises, my patience decreases and you better watch your p&q's. Hmmmmm. that mixed in a house of 4 rambunctious sometimes defiant children - well its an oil and vinegar combination. So what's a 30 something mom of 4 to do. In this day and age, its reading blogs, talking to friends, lots of times spent quietly asking for peace, patience and understanding. And then I read this post:
10 tips for being a more lighthearted parent on The Happiness Project Blog.
#1. I do, in fact its something I love to do.
#2. Seriously, I dont do - at all, but I love the change of perspective. I bought a kitchen radio a month or so ago, but couldnt get it installed uner the cabinetry just right and returned it - now I wish I had -because it was with this very thought that I had gotten it. I remember morning cartoons and dont mind if the kids are ready for school if the tv comes on. But always (as in ALWAYS) it becomes a point of contention when its time to rush out for the day. Music on the other hand - we will be giving that a go!
#3. Oh man, suddenly my eyes are blurry I cant make out what this one says, we will just have to skip over it. (yep, my biggest downfall now that I have given up coffee)
#4. This will take some work, but I have always wanted to do it - I think it ties into the elusive #3 though.
#5. Done and loving it! One of the best parenting decisions we have made -ever!
#6 Paradigm shift and I know something that needs to be in the top 3 of my parenting priorities right now. I can be a negative killjoy constantly and partly because 4 questions can result in 4 resounding no's instantaneously.. must work hard on this one.
#7. Well, now see this one just makes me feel better - we are on the sunny road here. I so do this... so live for these moments - have I shared our everyday plate.. Oh I think I have a pic.
#8. Work in progress - recently printed out our rules - very simply stated - easily understood.
1. respect each other and our things
2. no throwing a fit, if you throw a fit, go to your room til you feel better
3. if you take it out you put it up
4. use a pleasant voice and speak nicely
5. be a listener
(these were taken in part from another blog post in my many blog surfing ventures - must find the reference point for you soon)
9. Ouch, the bee stings - and when it does it hurts...
So how did you do on that list... I obviously have my work cut out for me, but I am the kind of person, kind of mom, that i want to see these lists, I want to be reminded of my weaknesses, I need to be. So I can get better, so I can make better choices, be a better example, be a better more effective parent.
One of the blog responces after this post at The Happiness Project referenced a website. And I have to say, I spent a little time over there looking at it. I had not heard of it before and it is Handipoints. An online chore chart and community. What I have liked is the ability to customize each child's chore chart, the fact that the computer keeps up with their points/progress/demerits - etc. And that there is an online community for the kids similar to BuildABearVille which my older two kids enjoy. Here is a screen shot of the chore chart. You can choose from a wide variety of their chores, over 800 actually and you can create your own. I also like that I have access to the overall page showing each of the 4 kids charts, showing their progress at any given point. We can enter their chores together, gives us a chance to talk about being responsible, making sure they understand what is required of them, and reinforcing their positive growth as they meet the goals we set.
Here is a screenshot of the loading page:
You can see here where you can choose from different tasks and goals for each child. The whole feel is friendly and positive. The next screenshot is of the parents page, where at any point, I can check on all of their charts at one time, I can monitor, change, add or delete chores, tasks, rewards, incentives, etc.
I am really excited to get going with this. I have at times had chore charts in various rooms of the house, and thought they may have been effective for a time, the whole process deteriorated quickly, and it ended up being one more thing to have as a hastle between us. I think incorporating some computer time for them, and an ease of keeping up with each childs tasks for me a win-win deal. So check it out.
So, although parenting is hard and no its not always fun and games it is rewarding beyond measure. And I will take the lows with the highs and the speed bumps with the straightaways anytime. I am just one happy mama for being on this road at all. Its a great journey, indeed.
Oh, here is a bad - picture of our celebrate plate. Its a square plate I painted at one of those ceramics places. On the back it has the kids names and says today we celebrate YOU. Aside from using it for birthdays, we use it for everyday celebrations, most recently was when my son came home with a perfect score on his state academic test. I was beyond proud of that accomplishment and he got the celebrate plate at the dinner table this night, and one of the rules of the celebrate plate is that after the blessing, we go around the table and each person talks about the accomplishment, or celebration, or birthday - its a time for the person with the plate to be built up, celebrated and usually by the time all 5 of us have said something nice about the other person, their face is beaming in pride and joy. It's hard to get 4 kids of varying ages to say nice things to their siblings - and our celebrate plate, sure makes it happen easily. Our 7 yr. old dd told her big brother, "you are the smartest kid I know" followed by the little guy in our family telling him, "you are too cool", lol. So they may not get the reason for the celebration always, but to my 9 year old - it didnt matter. He felt it - he heard it - he knew it - in that moment we were proud of him and celebrating him - thats the purpose of the celebrate plate!
Pampered Chef has one that you can buy here. But I like that ours is homeade.