Archive for Parenting

Today this is Single Parenting

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Today this is ParentingI stood in the shower staring up at the ceiling letting the water wash over me until it ran cold.

Averting my eyes from the floor as I knew the stainless steel needed a good scrub and pretending it wasn’t there.

Today this is Single Parenting.

Reaching out to turn the faucet off many times, but hesitating as I didn’t want to leave this comfort, this cocoon of warmth, this moment of respite.

In the mornings in our house, our Showers need to be quick as our Apartment Hot Water tank isn’t the biggest.
So come the weekends (when we are not rushing out to early morning sport, friends or events) I love having long leisurely showers when it isn’t about getting up and ready for the day, it’s just about enjoying the shower.  Today’s shower featured really-really late in my day.

A shower always makes me feel better, even if only a tiny bit, it’s a refresh, a washing away, a re-gathering of thoughts and a small respite from what ever is happening in your life.

I always get a tonne of thinking, planning, decision-making and day dreaming done in my shower.

Today’s shower though…saw me second guessing all the decisions I make for my daughter and I and trying to figure out if I’m just royally messing it all totally up.

You see, my daughter hasn’t spoken to me for most of the day…and I’ve kept my distance purposely to give her some space.

I had made the decision to say no to something she wanted to do and had to tell her that earlier.  I’m more than comfortable with my decision and know this one is right, but it doesn’t make being on the other end of the silent treatment any easier and having my daughter not talk to me still does hurt nonetheless.

But hey, if I was her, I probably would have done the same thing to my Mother, thinking that by me not talking to her that this was going to send her a clear message that she was wrong and that she would change her mind.  Or that this will just show you how much I really don’t like her at the moment.
I’m sure I did this many-many times throughout my teenage years – sorry Mom!

In my shower today I wasn’t second guessing my decision to say no to her request, as I was still confident about that.

I was second guessing if I was “Doing it right”, this “Parenting thing”, this “Single Parenting” thing.

 

Love

 

Things Like:

I’m confident that setting boundaries and having consequences for actions is the right thing.
…But second guess the level at which I set those things and if they are ‘right’.

I’m confident that I love my daughter whole heartedly and try to find ways to show her this daily so that she knows she can always rely on that.
…But I second guess if she will pull on this when she needs it most in the future.

I’m confident that spending the quality time with her, alongside her, being an involved parent, cheering her on throughout her up bringing has been such a huge part in building strong foundations in who she is, how loved she is, how important she is, that she matters.
…But I second guess if it is ever – enough.

 

I’ve been Single Parenting for a really long time, first becoming a Single Parent some 13 years ago now.

For 6+ years of this time I was in a Relationship/we then Married – Single Parent, but then for the last 7+ years it’s been just me completely on my own.

Doing this without backup, without that sounding board, without that support, without that encouragement, without that load share-er and without that ‘hey you are doing ok’ and without that ‘I’ve got your back’.  Let alone the Love part and sharing your life with someone (that’s another post).

Today though, my Shower was my Sounding Board, my Supporter, my Encourager, my Load Share-er and my Back stop.

Sounds cheesy I know, but it was.

It didn’t talk back to me, except to say “awwwwhhhh, here you go, have some more nice warm caccoooney water”.

 

Evening

 

Staying in there for 20 mins right until the water ran out was the best thing for me today.

After getting dressed and ready, my Shower let me go down stairs and curl up behind my daughter and give her a hug.

To which she snuggled into me and said, I’m sorry Mom.

…..scratch that…reality is…..no she didn’t, she shrugged me off, pushed my hand off and grumped something at me!

But, it didn’t matter, I hugged her for a brief moment anyway, let it be and was able to pick up and carry on knowing that as much as I was second guessing myself earlier:

* This to shall pass

* It will be OK

* Tomorrow is yet another day

Today this is Single Parenting :-)

 

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Morning chaos makes way for moments of still

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You know how you read about ‘those’ people who Love mornings and get up ‘on purpose’ at like 5am (or before) to seize the day!

 

Sun flare - Christchurch

 

Yeah, well…that’s not me, I LOVE my bed…love love love it and I LOVE sleep!

My bed is so comfortable, so cozy, each day it is incredibly hard to get up out of it as it’s just so damn good and sleeping is so much more awesome in the mornings – am I right?

I sleep in whenever I get the chance!

That coupled with the fact that I am a serial ‘Snoozer’ doesn’t make for easy mornings and I still struggle daily with the opening of my eyes, sitting up and swinging my legs out of bed.

But, once I’m up, fortunately from then on it’s all ok, I’m off and going.  I’m then wide awake and it’s all on from there.

I also am quite happy to be up and out early…once I’m actually up and out.  But its the getting there that’s tough.  (#FirstWorldProblem I know)

Because we leave for School and Work fairly early, each weekday see’s Miss 14 and I begrudgingly up at what I call ‘Ridiculous O’Clock’ (or seize the day time in other people’s world).

This is so her and I can cycle through showers and still have plenty of time (for her) to get ready.

Because I like to use the bathroom before Miss 14 gets in there, it means then I am 100% ready at least 30 mins to 1 hour before she is.

Parenting for 14 years has taught me, that in our house, our mornings run 98% smoother and easier if I ensure to allow her plenty-plenty-plenty of time to get ready.
If I don’t have to ‘say’ anything to keep her moving and she can get done all of the things she wants to do, it makes such a difference to the ‘feel’ of the day.
(It’s a whole other thing on early morning Winter Sports training days though when it feels like we are leaving the house in the middle of the night!).

So I have learnt, give her plenty of time, even though it means getting up at ridiculous o’clock, but its a compromise I’m ‘usually’ willing to take.

The plus is, I’ve come to really enjoy that extra time I then get in the morning once I’m all ready.

I have found in amongst the Morning chaos, moments of still.

Time to just sit for a bit.

Have some quiet time with God and read my ‘The Word for Today’ and my bible.

Then I aim to work on some writing for a little while.

Have a little calm before the storm of the day.

Last term I found myself leaving more and more chores to “Oh, I’ll just do that in the morning” and when I got to the morning being really annoyed with myself, that I had left those jobs til the morning, as it was eating up all my ‘morning’ time.

It does mean we always need to be completely organised the night before.  Lunch is packed (minus fridge items), bags are packed and by the door, sports bags, extra bags and rubbish is ready to pick up and go.

But today is a new day, the first day back of the School Term and I sit here early once again to do some writing with 45 mins up my sleeve.

I like it :-)

I really hope I can be disciplined again throughout this term to keep ensuring I have this ‘still’ time in the mornings.

Have you found some little pockets of time throughout your day, that give you time to just take some breaths, some moments of still?
How do you make it work?

Update: It’s tomorrow now as I publish this, I didn’t give us quite as much time this morning as I should have, but it wasn’t too bad :-)

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My ‘NFP’ Date

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In last Monday’s post my over-energetic-smile gets a friendly smile in return and the raised eye brow lift of acknowledgment 😉

 

Was this some hot new guy I was waiting on, for a date? ….

 

Well they were really lovely … but no … it wasn’t a guy … and it wasn’t a date … well not in the traditional sense of the word .

This part of Parenting ‘wasn’t in the manual‘!

mynfpdate

 

How did I get there…
…what was I doing there…
…just WHO was I meeting?

 

Well it starts with … Last year Miss 14 started High School at a School were none of her friends were going.

So both her and I were starting the year from scratch.

Miss 14 was making new friends left right and centre in the classroom.  Which meant I also needed to meet all her new friends Parents, Teachers and Coaches some how, some other way.

You see, at her previous School she had been there for 7 years, so we knew pretty much EVERYONE (at least by association) and everyone eventually knew us too.
Yes it took time to get to know everyone in the beginning there, but when the kids are only 5+ years old even as a working Mom, I was still up at School alot and made an effort to get to know the other kids parents, not just her friends.

So when it came to inviting them to our house or Miss 14 getting invited to theirs, I already knew them and knew if I was happy for her to go, or because they were only little you were ‘dropping them off’ so would be invited in for Coffee etc…

Yes, new kids arrived at the School, but in no time at all you ran into them at School, or when you were picking up or dropping off at another friends house or at Sports Practice.  In no time you knew them too.

 

Cut to starting High School, you hardly go INTO the School for anything anymore.

 

You don’t stand outside the classroom waiting for them to come out at the end of the day (they would love that wouldn’t they!!!).  So you miss all those normal opportunities to meet parents.

There is so much more simply ‘dropping off and picking up’ that happens and the kids are even more independent getting themselves around more places.
If Sport is played during the week after School, not many parents are able to get there to watch.  So you don’t meet them there either.

Did you notice a huge shift in Parent involvement once your kid went to High School?  I would love to hear about it in the comments below what changed for you.

Even weekend sport, I have found less parents on the sidelines watching.  With High School being bigger, there was also less of a chance Miss 14 was in a team with any of her close friends anyway.

 

 

But she was busy making so many NEW friends (which is nice) with Teenagers I didn’t know and where I didn’t even know what their Parents looked like, let alone had had a conversation with them.

Then the invites started to roll in and especially the Sleepover invites.

Miss 14 would ask, “Can I go to Regina’s house for her Party and Sleepover”. 

I would like to be able to say Yes, but the Trouble is, I haven’t met Regina yet and have no idea where she lives or who her parents are.

I want Miss 14 to have great friends, have lots of fun and to get chances to relax and let her hair down with her friends, so of course I WANT to let her go.

BUT, how can I agree to letting her go when I’m completely blind.

In true Teenager fashion she assures me “They are not Axe murderers or anything and their Grandmother lives with them, so they must be ‘fine”! 

Yes, you could take a chance and meet the Teenager and the Parents ‘when you drop them off’…but if something doesn’t sit right, it’s a bit late then to have ‘reasons’ to turn around and leave again.
Also with many of the girls living quite a distance from School they mostly are all together catching Buses/Trains home anyway, so your not taking them there.

 

So, what’s a Mom to do…..?

 

Cue … “Man Up” (or Mom up in this case) and make a phone call to say Hi and arrange to meet them, the parent, first.

(NB: I’m writing a post on roughly what I might say when making a Cold call/Phone call to a New Friends Parent – eeekk!! and will post that when it’s ready.)

Even though I have worked in industries for years dealing with new people all the time and worked in the new Guests area of church making conversation with complete strangers…actively making it happen to meet these new friends parents is still a huge step out of my comfort zone.

I can be such a scardy cat about stuff like that!

Can you relate?

But, whats my other options?:

• Say no you just cant go – that’s not fun!

• Wait for the new parent to come to me, not so likely.  (and that’s also just a cop-out)

• Say yes to a huge unknown and feel really uneasy about it, potentially putting Miss 14 into a situation that may not be good and that I wouldn’t be happy with.

So, I may be wrong, but arranging to meet with the Parent first is the only way I could see forward.

What do you think?  Was this the right idea?

I make a point to introduce myself to Teachers, Coaches, Tutors and parents whenever reasonably possible.  So that those people know that I am involved in Miss 14’s life and that I give a damn and that opens up those avenues for if they ever need to talk to me about anything that there is one less barrier of not knowing me.

 

 

I have now had NFP ‘New Friends Parent’ dates with many Moms now (and often met the Dad’s, siblings through them latter).
They have all gone really-really well and I have really enjoyed getting to know them. They have also been mostly really appreciative that I had made this happen as it put them at ease too.

I also mention to all the Mum’s that I meet, that they are welcome to call/text to check the plans/details the girls make with me anytime, I don’t mind at all.
One, because organising Teenage Girls is incredibly difficult to lock down (like herding cats) and two, because again that further helps to open those avenues of communication.

 

So, how did THIS particular NFP date go? …

 

With my over-energetic-smiling and my eye brow lift of acknowledgment?

Awesome.

Even though I was strangely really nervous and picking imaginary fluff off my dress, fidgeting around and over-energetically-smiling every single person that rocked in that door.

We had a great chat, got on really well, worked out we had an unbelievable amount of stuff in common and both her and I left comfortable that we now knew each other and were happy for the girls to keep spending more time together.

It also gives me 1 more person, who now isn’t any longer an un-familiar face, to chat with when we go to School events when I feel like a Fish out of Water  !

 

Do you allow your Child/Teen to go to Parties or Sleepovers when you haven’t met the Teen or the Parent/family yet?

What have you done to work around this in your family?

Did I do the right thing?


 

 Regina, fictional friend name based on Mean Girls 😉
Our real *Regina was actually really nice, I like her alot and she is nothing like Mean Girls Regina!

That’s another Post – How to handle School Events as a Single Parent…for those of you who have been there, it’s not easy.

Sorry to disappoint those of you that really thought it might have been a date with some hot new guy…even though I wrote it like that, on purpose, to make it sound really unambiguous…but it was fun writing it like that…

It is weird though as the nerves were of a similar vein that I remember from the last time I had a first Date…some 13+ years ago…OK, that’s just a little shocking adding that up just how long it’s been since I have been on an actual date!!!!

 

 

 

 

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I walked in & scanned the room looking for that un-familiar face…

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I walked in and scanned the room looking for an un-familiar face… that might ‘seem’ familiar.

Someone that would maybe catch my gaze, as they too were also looking for an un-familiar face…

over-energetically-smiled at the person near the counter thinking “that could be them”, but with no ‘eye brow’ lift of wonder (you know, the universal sign for ‘are you them’) I figured it wasn’t them.

That one was a little OLDER than I was expecting anyway… 😉

 

 

I continued further in and found a seat near the corner, but facing the entry so I could each see each person as they came in.

Not knowing at all what they looked like was proving really difficult, in hindsight we should have arranged a “I’ll be wearing a red top” type identification system.

Every person that came in, I made eye contact with and then did the over-energetic-smile, but nothing yet.

I was happy to sit there, as I was early…as always.

But what surprised me was I had nervous butterflies in my stomach, like you get when you are meeting someone for the first time!

I found myself re-adjusting my dress, my scarf and picking invisible bits of fluff off my lap.  Then doing the dreaded “Wonder what they will think of me” internal dialogue, until I berated myself to “not over think this and just chill out”!

Finally, they walk in and my over-energetic-smile gets met with a friendly smile in return and the raised eye brow of acknowledgment.

Was this some hot new guy I was waiting on for a date? ….

 

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What makes you Happy? – International Day of Happiness

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international_day_of_happiness
I like Pina Coladas …

Getting caught in the rain …

I’m not much into health food …

I am into champagne …

In actual fact, I’ve never had a Pina Colada, I think I must try and have one soon 😉
But I dooo like a bit of Champagne!

The 20th March, today in the USA (yesterday in New Zealand) is known as the:

International Day of Happiness

 

So I ask you – What makes you Happy?  Maybe its…

… Singing Celine Dion in the Shower … Michael Flatley doing his thing … Gherkins with Peanut Butter … Cars in Ski’s … Wine Coolers?

 

I thought I would share some of the things that Make me Happy!    Read more

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