Tag Archives: mother

Home Early – High Expectations

Today my children were all sent home early from school. Not because they had done anything wrong (phew!) but because of the weather. A snowstorm loomed and the school district issued early dismissal.

I squeezed all my chores into a two hour window, although my tennis workout had to be forfeited, and had big plans for my children’s early arrival from school. This is what I planned…

All homework was to be completed as soon as they got home. After that we would all take the dog for a long country walk(in the freezing cold). Arriving back at home we would bake cookies and then each child would complete half an hour of reading (not comicbooks but a proper intellectually stimulating novel or text book). Any children with outstanding school projects would dilligently work on them while I prepared dinner.  We would then eat together as the dog snoozed and the fire roared.

This is what has happened so far…

My kids arrived home and proceeded to chase each other around the house, yelling and shrieking. Their laughter soon turned to tears as one or other of them took a tumble or bump.

My younger son retreated into his bedroom to play with his Lego. My older son, after incessantly tormenting his younger sister, hooked up with a buddy online, also released early from school, and began creating some new world where characters buy and sell coal while defending themselves from attack (or at least that’s what it looks like to me).

My daughter decided to have a long, and much needed, bath. Afterwards I attempted to style her hair with hair products, which didn’t go so well. After a bit of a disagreement on hairstyle options, my daughter settled down to watch something funny on TV. I made a cup of tea, in which I dipped two Oreos and listened to my daughter chortling.

Eventually I took the dog down to the garden and collected the eggs from my rather bedraggled looking chickens. When I came back my younger son greeted me in a cowboy hat, riding an imaginary horse.

I’ve yet to make dinner so there’s still hope that we may all sit round the table but it could get fraught later because as far as I know no-one has done any homework!

I used to get frustrated when things didn’t go as planned but you know at the end of the day, it’s been a nice afternoon and I’m happy to say I have, at this moment, three calm, contended children.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a happier parent when I stop lamenting how often things don’t go as planned and instead, happily, take things as they come…

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Your parenting legacy

Growing up, on the rare occasions we would go out for dinner, my family and I would invariably encounter a surly waitress. You know the sort: plonks the menu on the table with a sigh, takes your order as if it’s the most boring thing in the world and practically thumps you one when you ask for extra cutlery! I exaggerate but you get the idea. 

When this situation arose, my Dad would say something like: “A prize for the person who can crack a smile from the grumpy waitress!” At which point my sister and I would groan, sinking further into our chairs. 

Next time the waitress would appear at the table, my Dad would make a comment along the lines of: “Bit busy in here tonight.” Often this would be all it took and we’d watch the waitress relax, her face softening with a small smile.

If she was a tough nut to crack he’d try again. Maybe put a fake snake on the table next time she came around. (You need to know that it’s usual for my father to carry props like this around with him – he has been known to put a glass eyeball on his plate in the hopes of successfully rising a squeal or two!) Or maybe he’d balance a fork on his glass, anything out of the ordinary to get a smile.

If all this failed and our waitress was particularly dour, he would say, with a twinkle in his eye and a cheeky grin: “Are you having a horrible day?” I don’t think I’ve ever seen this technique fail! A comment like this would completely disarm our server and from then on she’d be putty in our hands…and full of smiles!

My Mum was the same. She’d often strike up a quick chat with people here and there as we did our shopping along the high-street. An old man waiting to cross the road for example or the woman in front of us in the check-out queue.  She was always, and still is, ready with a smile or a nod. Especially with elderly people. “You should always say hello,” she’d say to me. “You might be the only person they speak to all day.”

As a kid I would find the whole thing hugely embarrassing. I would roll my eyes at both my parents and wish I was invisible.  It was mortifying. I didn’t get the point at all.

But as an adult I do get the point and I find myself doing exactly the same thing as my parents. What’s more I do it in front of my children who find it just as insanely embarrassing as I did. “Why do you always talk to the check-out girl!” My daughter will hiss as we leave the supermarket. “Do you know that man at the gas-station?” My son will ask. “I’m just trying to be friendly!” is my reply. Because what harm is it to smile at someone or pass the time of day? It costs nothing but gives so much more. 

So as I happily watch my children writhe in humiliation (an unexpected joy of parenting I find) I realise that this is part of my parents’ parenting legacy. As a mother of children still pre-teen, I tend to think of parenting as a relatively short period of time, while my children are living at home and need me to wipe their noses or buy their shoes, but it runs much deeper than that. It’s in everything we do, every decision we make and it lasts a lifetime. 

So why not teach them the value of a smile or a friendly hello instead of how to argue over a parking space? Why not teach them the beauty of giving someone the benefit of the doubt instead of rushing to take offence? Why not teach them how to extend a hand to their fellow man rather than how to pick a fight?
What will your parenting legacy be? 🙂

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Ode To The Looooooooooong Summer Vacation!

Late-night playdates

Makes for late-night critters

Balmy weather

And barmy mothers!

😉 Ella

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