If you are enjoying school holidays with your kids, it’s probably taken you a few days to switch out of work mode and into holiday mode, if you are lucky enough to have time off with your family. Reminding yourself to be present with your kids and watch them grow by playing with them, as they jump their silly’s out, is also a great stress relief for you. So, let your hair down and have childish fun these holidays! I’ve not slept much these holidays thanks to my youngest who is growing so fast and she gets me a up a few times a night to enjoy her progress but I have had lots of fun enjoying special time with my big girl (5).
Like most mums, I’m learning every day how to be a parent (just starting with that and hoping for good!). Let’s face it, every day is different and every week is a new “stage”! You may know someone who knows everything about being a parent - but they are not YOU and your life, is your life!
Earlier this year I read somewhere that we need to, “Honour the Relationship, Not the Task!” And I believe this important piece of advice has changed my relationship with my eldest child. I practise this little mantra while mentally juggling the household chores and parenting. An example is the battle to get ready for school in the morning whilst sleep deprived and cereal all over the floor, getting smooshed from one end to the other! Not to mention that I aspire to leave the house fully clothed without morning breath, gross I know, but I gave up make-up long ago to save time.
“Honouring the Relationship and not the Task” means to put your relationship first and to have in the forefront of your mind, how you feel about each other (I love this child). In my case I don’t want to seem like a bossy, controlling, shouty mum, so I’m practising compassion and empathy for my eldest and taking a bit more time to be with her when she needs me. I try to make the mornings as least stressful as possible by being organised for both of us. It’s a challenge and takes practise and I know other parents have stressful mornings too, so I’m always looking for new ways to save time and not stressing about what still needs to be done.
I’m the first to admit that sometimes in my sleep deprived state I suck at this but I remind myself to try harder next time and not beat myself up, it’s not their fault the tasks are endless and I’m exhausted!
5 things I do to make mornings run smoother.
1. Lunch boxes made the day/s before. I make school lunch boxes on Sunday and Tuesday so I know they are ready (in the fridge) and I don’t have to add that to my morning to do list.
2. Sunday night, school bags are packed and put into the car for the week ahead.
3. Each night the uniform or clothes for the next day are put out at the end of the bed. Usually this is done when the kids are getting ready for bed with a reminder to get dressed in the morning.
4. Spare hats and water bottles in the car. It’s annoying to arrive at school and know you left the hat or water-bottle at home. Spares in the car always come in handy.
5. Coffee to go! My favourite reusable cup is never far from my side in the morning.
Another valuable thing I have learned this year as a task orientated person and working parent is that my choice of words can help make daily tasks go smoother with the kids. I have switched my language to include more “Could” phrases. “You could eat your breakfast now”, “You could put your shoes on now”, “You could brush your teeth now”!
Could versus Should phrases help reframe statements and therefore kids will feel like they have a choice and more readily participate in what you are asking them to do. This strategy has helped me immensely in getting my 5yr old on task in the morning and participate in chores at home.
We cement trust with our children before they are 7 years of age. And if they trust you, they are less likely to have issues in adolescences, as they will share more of their life with you, and hopefully talk to you about their emotions. This is not my parenting tip but actual research that has been done by professionals and it feels sensible to me. I want to be the best mum I can be, so my kids look after me when I’m old, so I’m a firm advocate for that. “Honouring the Relationships not the Task” is an important part of building trust.
I’m reminding myself of this again as the holidays wind up and we approach the downhill run to Christmas (aghhhh!). I hope it’s a good reminder for you too.
Thanks for caring and sharing.