I was listening to a radio show in my car the other day where the host goes out into the streets and asks people questions then helps them take the first steps towards their goals…I’m sure they have a podcast. The question on that particular day was “What is something that you do that is just for yourself?” I thought to myself, …well, I go to…umm, I go for…umm…hum. Ok, so I didn’t realize this was such a difficult question until I really asked myself, and I had a long drive to actually think about it.
What do I do for myself that is purely for me that I enjoy and get recharged by? I have passes for a yoga studio that I really like, but I don’t go very often and when I do it feels rushed and inconvenient. There is a garden center not to far from my home that I love walking through and feel relaxed when I’m there, but again, it’s not a regular thing that I get to do. Oh, I know! I binge watch The Good Wife on Netflix when my kids go to bed, I love that show.
But other than getting to zone out and procrastinate doing laundry, I’m not sure I get much wellness out of that. Maybe I’m just too busy to stop and do something for myself. I’m too busy working and being a mom and cleaning and grocery shopping and scheduling appointments for everyone. When I’m not physically doing these things I’m busy thinking about these things, constantly organizing and planning in my mind.
I have made all of these things such a priority that I think I feel guilty taking time away from doing them and have basically talked myself out of doing something that is just for myself. Though I know this is not sustainable or even healthy I am stuck in this routine and adding one more thing, even if it’s for me, just seems overwhelming! So what do I do to recharge? There has to be something,…I’ll have to chat about this with my friends at our girl’s night next week.
A few months back, I began to set up a plan for my 8 year old to increase his understanding of the multiplication table. Knowing that his class was working on multiplication, I thought I’d help him get a jump on the material so that he could be successful and and as a result, feel accomplished. I created a chart that had some clearly defined goals and then inserted some rewards for accomplishing those milestones. When I introduced it to him, he was all for it. He began practicing right then and there in order to achieve his first reward, which was going out for ice cream. Fast forward two months, and the chart hasn’t been touched since that first day.
Now, I realize that the easy thing to do would be to blame myself for not enforcing a strict routine or plan for him to follow or to blame him for not following through. In reality though, I should really be blaming that chart that I made. That’s not to say that the idea behind the chart was wrong as extrinsic motivation is still a proven method to drive people to succeed, but the main problem with the chart was that it was born from my goals and not his. I didn’t consult with him about the milestones of the multiplication table or even the rewards, and so to think that he would be motivated to achieve it seems a little silly now.
This realization got me to shift my thinking from setting particular goals for my kids to being a part of the goal setting process with them. Through talking with other parents and reflecting on the teaching practices that have been successful in my classroom, I have put together a plan of sorts that hopefully will help us move from telling kids what they need to achieve and focus more on how to get them to develop realistic plans and value the accomplishments that they do achieve. After all, if we want our kids to be independent and critical thinkers, sometimes we have to get out of our way and allow for that to happen.
This is a continuation from a previous article on Reflecting on your childhood. You may want to start with that exercise first if you haven’t completed it already.
Life as an adult and before kids was all about exploring who you wanted to become as an adult. It was also a care-free time where you could sleep in, party all night, go out every night and survive on very little money. Some went to school, others traveled the world, some started a job that they may still be at. This time in our life could have been non-existent (if you became a parent in your teens) or it could have been lasted over 20 years but generally it’s a pretty exciting time in our lives.
Our twenties are usually the time we’re really exploring ourselves and have control of where we want to go. We make mistakes and hopefully learn from them. Reflecting on these years will allow you to remember what used to bring you joy, what you may be missing and what you may be able to let go of. Read the article and complete the workpage below. Continue reading “Reflecting on Life as a Young Adult – Parent Self Help Course”
After I had kids, I felt (and was) a totally different person. I had spent 3 years just surviving having babies. When my son turned two, I remember thinking to myself that my life was completely changed and I had to figure out how to be me in this new life. I went through some soul searching and came up with this Parent Self-Help series with the processes that I found helpful. I hope you will find them helpful too.
Reflecting on your childhood
In the first seven years of your life you are downloading information from your experience and observations of the world. Then as teenagers, we’re trying to figure out where we stand in the world. These experiences become the basis for your beliefs that you carry for the rest of your life. Taking the time to sit back and reflect on your childhood experiences will allow you to understand who you are now. These beliefs are likely to be carried on through raising your children for better or for worse. If you’re aware of them, then you have the opportunity to change any that do not fit who you are and the way you want to parent. Read the article and record your answers on the printable answer sheet located below.
What was the general feeling in the home that you grew up in?
Was the home hectic, loving, angry, distant, joking, calm, etc? Was it a place that you could flourish or was it a place that was detrimental to your growth? The general feeling has to do with how grounded you feel in your life. If you were constantly walking on egg shells as a child around a parent, you may grow up to have issues with trust, communication or need to have everyone like you. Continue reading “Reflecting on Your Childhood as a Parent – Parent Self-Help Course”
I have been involved in child passenger safety since 2010, taking a 2.5 day training course with SEATS For Kids in Ottawa, ON when I was 36 weeks pregnant with my second child. I put on my comfy pants, brought a yoga ball to sit on, tried not to give birth while learning all about car seats and booster seats with a group of like-minded people in the basement of a fire hall, and became what is now known as a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST).
My interest in this field actually started several years earlier when living in the US with my military spouse, and pregnant with my first child. I discovered quite accidentally that if I purchased an American car seat I couldn’t take it back to Canada and use it there. I knew we’d move back to Canada eventually, and I’m practical and frugal, and so I decided I would borrow a Canadian seat from another family I knew. As I made this choice, however, I learned that my friends who already had kids didn’t know much about car seats. I had so many questions, and like most new parents, I turned to friends with kids already for the answers. Cloth or disposable diapers? Breastfeeding or formula? How do you give a slippery baby a bath without dropping them? Why am I now obsessed with my child’s bodily fluids? Why won’t they stop crying? When will they start sleeping?! You know, the usual stuff. But my car seat questions were met with shrugs and nonchalance, and as a safety-conscious rule follower I was perplexed, especially when I discovered that car crashes are the number one cause of death due to accidental injury among kids 1-14 in Canada.