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When mummy threw a tantrum 

I couldn’t breathe! My head was pounding, I was hungry and thirsty and just needed a break. Both kids had been bathed and fed, the house has been tidied. I had had a full day at work, virtually no sleep since Tiger was born 7 months ago and huge deadlines to meet. I just needed a break. And then it happened. They called for me…..each in their own way – all at the same time. 

I felt my insides turn, my head spin and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to scream or cry. Why did everyone always need me? Can no one make a decision? I didn’t want to decide what to eat, or what to play with or what to watch. I wanted to sit in the dark and stare at my phone or read a book or shower without someone needing something.

I heard myself scream….but it was more like I was watching someone else scream. I told all of them to leave me alone, then I stormed around in a circle and moaned about how no one ever put anything where it was meant to be. I didn’t make eye contact, I didn’t “adult”, I tantrumed!

I felt little eyes and big eyes open wide. I saw first concern, then confusion and then irritation, but I didn’t care. I stormed off to the car and proceeded to start it. I drove out the gate, 2 streets down and then turned back and sat in the parking lot and cried. Honestly this is not the first time I have felt this way and I don’t know why I feel this way either. I don’t hate my responsibilities, I don’t want a break from my kids or my husband – I just don’t want to adult all the time. 

I walked back into a house filled with toys and things piled where they shouldn’t be. Back into a space where eyes watched me, while loving hands hastily make me a cup of hot tea and little hands played with my hair, all to the tunes of Frozen. I walked back to drooly kisses and absolute love. And I decided that I could adult for just a little bit more….maybe!

K

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10 tips to help you discipline effectively!

Are you struggling with tantrums, sudden bursts of anger and slamming doors? 

Did your once sweet angel suddenly become a little gremlin who screams and cries for the smallest thing? 

Are you worried because you are not that great with discipline?

If you answered yes to any of the above, fear not! Here’s 10 of the best tips for handling those very stressful situations like a pro!

1) Don’t do what they do

I know it’s tempting to stamp your foot right back at them, but try your best not to. If they scream, go quieter. If they hit, move back. Allow the anger to unfold and do not say a word until it is done

2) Involve your child in the choice of discipline

Ask them what they think should happen if they break the rules. My 5 year old “chose” the naughty corner for the 1st step, a sad face on her reward chart if the behaviour persists  (which means no surprise on Friday) and finally the most serious consequence – a toy gets put into the charity box and gets given away on Friday  (and she cannot decide which toy it is).

3) Be consistent

You at your significant other need to have a chat and you both need to stick to the same game plan. No good cop, bad cop this time! Also, enforce the same rules all the time. There is no free day!

4)  Encourage good behavior in ways that promote good behavior 

Try not to bribe your child to do things. We are all guilty of promising them extra screen time if they shower immediately or a toy on Friday if they stop shouting at the mall. Rather encourage good behavior by reminding them of the consequences e.g start moving the chair to the naughty corner or bring out the reward chart and a pen. It also held to remind them of the time they did what they were meant to do and how proud/happy/amazed you were.

5) Be fair

We all have bad days. Don’t hold your child to higher expectations than we hold ourselves to. They are only just learning to control their feelings and play nice, and they have off days, tired days, quiet days, etc. Discipline when it is needed only and do not bring up past issues as reminders if no issues currently exist.

6) Be careful of labelling them

Choose your words carefully. We create the labels that our kids will internalize and live. Saying ugly words out of anger is not ideal and should be avoided. Inc out, 

7) Be the change you wish to see

Children learn what they live so let you actions towards them and others always reflect what you want them to emulate.

8) Remember you are shaping the future

Above all else, remember they are little people growing into the parents of tomorrow. And they only stay little for this long.

9) Too much of anything is bad

Too much screen time is as dangerous as constant correction or too much sweet or processed foods. Limit anything that might adversely affect the way your child, or you think. Remember too much screen time for you is just as bad. I recently saw a 2 year old at the mall push his mums phone away so he could look at her while he spoke!

10) Embrace family time and instill values 

Eat together, play together, make eye contact, put away your phone or tablet when you are around your kids. It’s amazing how loved you feel when someone looks at you and gives you their full attention. Establish your family values by using a simple starting point: In this house we…..heres ours….

You are doing great!

Manic Mummy

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Mother Day- The difference between a mother and a mummy 

I woke up this morning to Pup (who’s 5, going on 16) staring me down. She was sitting on my bed in her doctor’s dress up outfit, with my new blue stilettos on her tiny feet, and tapping a notepad. Clearly annoyed that I had slept passed 6:15am, she brushed a curl away from her eyes and announced, “Mother, what would you like for Mothers Day? We need to plan you know!”. 

With Mother’s Day swiftly approaching and Pup being the planner that she is (she unfortunately gets that from me), this conversation was expected. What was unexpected was how much the word “Mother” affected me. When did I go from “Mummy” to “Mother”, and why did this have me almost in tears?

I gulped down my coffee as I pondered what these words meant to me, and the significance of Mother’s Day as a whole. To me a mother is someone who has children, but a mummy is someone so much more. A mummy is the one who gives hugs that lasts forever, always accompanied by a back run….mmmmmm. A mummy keeps all your secrets, even the one about that time you broke dads sunglasses when you were 8. A mummy  is always in your corner – with pom poms and cheesy noodles (yes, that’s my favourite meal – extra cheese please). So why for goodness sake was I now Mother?

Now, Mothers Day was always huge in my house growing up. My mummy always got a handmade card and a pressie (never flowers, she doeant like to watch them die). My brother, 9 years my junior (the kid’s Uncle Bravo ) would make her coffee (with cold water of course), and she would diligently drink it without a single gag. Hunky Hubby isn’t the best present buyer ever (experiences win over pressies in his book), but he will always make sure I have my favourite meal (he’s a chef ladies!) and that he’s home early….and Pup and now Tiger will grow up celebrating the day as a pretty big deal. To me, Mothers Day isn’t about validating the world’s best mother, or even being overly gushy about all the good deeds that have been done. It’s a day of reflection, a day to be thankful simply that you had a mum – be it a mummy or a mother.

The relationship might have been a fairytale one or perhaps more like a horror movie or well cast drama series, but hey, life’s not perfect and people are people. So, on this day – reflect! Look back with gratitude that you lived the joy, or look back that you lived through it, but be grateful to the person who gave you the chance to experience it at all. 

I asked Pup if she could please call me Mummy again and gave me a lopsided smile. “Of course….you are my mummy for always”. Such a sweet word from the one that made me a mother, and created a mummy in me.

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10 best pieces of advice about life as a mother

So recently at a colleague’s baby shower, as I sat with a group of always entertaining ladies, the topic of kids came up. As usual we chatted about our experiences and shared some giggles, followed by a few awkward moments  (and raised eyebrows) when we realised just how different we react in situations (yes, you know who you are!). 

Now, there is no doubt we love our babies (yes, fur babies count too Lady Unicorn), but the things that come out of our mouths sometimes could not be imagined by the best authors – and our tales are true!

Later, I pondered how motherhood makes us do and say the strangest things. As mom’s we do it all the time. We often find ourselves in situations that are hilariously ridiculous, but we do what we need to do for our kids. We line up to meet purple dinosaurs that talk and dance, we hit inanimate objects when they “trip” or “hit” our babies and we kiss mud covered everythings to make them feel better. That’s part of the joy of motherhood, it makes us do things we never thought we’d do! 

So often we stumble into others in similar situations, and share a little wry smile as we wrestle with shopping bags and balance the tantrum throwing toddler and the I PAD toting 5 year old. I love those little moments when I catch the eye of someone and understand fully and completely what they are going through, or when your best friend looks at you like you are in the middle of total chaos but it really is just your happy family being “normal” (I feel you Merry M!). 

So, here’s some of the advice that I’ve been given by well meaning parents who have “been there and done that”:

1) This too will pass- no, really it will. And soon another stage will emerge scarier than the last, and that will pass too.

2) They are only that age once, enjoy them

Thanks for this one and I really am trying to enjoy them in between the whining and moaning and questioning.

3) They mature so much in a year!

This one is surprisingly true. There is a huge difference between a 3 year old and a 4 year old. Its weird because the changes are not that evident later on, but the first 8 years are crazy!

4) There will be time to breathe in a few years – and then you will have your next one!

5) Big school is not as fun as you think it will be. 

I thought it would be easy. Parents learn and mature as much as the kids do and it’s not always an easy process to transition to the uniformity

6) Discipline is pivotal. 

Yes, I know that but it’s hard! I’m not great at disciplining when it comes to my baby, so it’s been quite a ride finding what works for Pup. Some choose to deter with a firm hit on the diaper, some (like us) choose the option of the naughty corner combined with the reward chart and still others think up more creative ways – including a pet gate and a “shocking” outcome  (yes, yes I’m talking about you Madam A!).

7) Your marriage changes forever – make it for the better. 

Kids change dynamics. Don’t stop being a team. Love him more, give her the support she needs. 

8) Fill your cup before you can help others.

I learnt this only recently (after Tiger was born). With Pup I basically learnt to live on air and love. Sleep is still a scarce commodity but at least I make sure I get my monthly massage and I take 2 hours on a Saturday to do what makes me happy- scouring the 3nd.hand stores or working on my books.

9) Don’t lose yourself

Being a mum adds to your essence, it does not strip you off your identity

10) Don’t overthink or worry so much that you stop having fun. Laugh loudly, dance in the rain, ignore the laundry and the dirty dishes to cuddle and relax

Good luck with your journey, enjoy the ride!

K

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10 lessons learnt from my in laws

So, my in laws recently arrived from halfway across the world and have been with us about a month now. They had not seen their me or their son (Hunky Hubby) for 6 years, and it was the first time seeing Pup (5 years) and Tiger (4 months). I must say I was a bit nervous not knowing what to expect. It has been a magnificent reunion and I have learnt certain lessons that I will carry with me for always.

1) Retain your innocence

My in laws are in their well into 70s, and I really am in awe of their ability to just “be”. They are truly honest in their interactions and they impart a certain aura of innocence. Nothing is ever said in malice and nothing is taken too seriously. Conversation is light, words are simple and the emphasis is always on what went right. It make me realise that somewhere along the way I had started taking life way to seriously and stopped enjoying it!

2) Marry for companionship 

I watch them together as they sit in comfortable silence, pray together or help each other prep a meal, and love the ease they interact with. Obviously this has been perfected over the years, but it is evident they truly enjoy each others company. Even little annoyances are handled with good humour and a good measure of respect. Its more than love, they genuinely care for each other. I have learnt that we should keep talking to each other, not at each other and that marriage is a wonderful journey that keeps getting more exciting – if you nurture it. What amazing role models for marriage!

3) Kids will be kids

I’m actually talking about Hunky Hubby and I here….his mum and dad treat me with such love and tenderness that it literally brings me to tears. When I am tired or hungry or a combination of both they go into parent mode immediately and without a sound food is brought, and full attention is on me. Feels good to be a kid at the tender age of 35. I am lapping it up. I will always be sure to love Pup and Tiger the same way……never intrusive, never invasive, always supportive.

4) Silence doesn’t mean anyone is upset

I’m not sure why but I have always associated sudden silence with someone being upset. I have learnt that it probably just means they are busy doing something else or just having a quiet moment. It’s been amazing to not have to think about the emotions everyone else might be feeling, and walking on egg shells, and to be able to just get on with being me! I never have to ask if they are ok, because they never make me feel like they wouldn’t tell me if they were not!

5) Laugh loudly and freely

Why do we often lose the ability to truly laugh? The overly joyous moments become fewer and fewer replaced by the need to seem in contril. Since my in laws have come to visit I find myself laughing with reckless, wild abandon again….head in the air, belly aching kind of laughs. Their joy is infectious I guess! I’m a big kid laughing at funny noises Pup makes or at the weird sound that came from the blender, instead of the usual “what was that sound?”. I like this me!

6) Don’t sweat the little stuff

I found that I have stopped asking why, and I have lost the need to always be right. I’m not sure when it happened but when it did I felt lighter and kinder and happier. No more random bickering, no more questioning of everyting, no needing to know every detail. My in laws never ask too many questions or try to give advice. They accept that some things are a certain way (like my routine with the kids, the Sat as-much-TV-as-you-like rule, etc) and go about their merry way enjoying these moments as if they approve 500%. One of the most powerful lessons to date as been this one.

7) Do the things you love

My mum in law loves gardening and my father in law loves reading. He naps in the morning, she naps in the afternoon. She’s a adventurous eater, he isn’t. They do not try to adapt these preferences. They each do what they enjoy doing and embrace their differences with ease. They have never raised their voices to anyone or used a harsh word. Everything they do….they do with love.

8) Enjoy life!

At their age they have such gusto and passion for life. They truly enjoy each day, savour every morsel of food and appreciate the little things. They have such patience with the kids (and us big kids too). In the month they have been here there has not been a single sideways glance passed between them or a single moody moment, it’s like living in a zero judgment zone – enlightening!

9) Love equally

Never once have I felt side lined or overlooked. I have had some quiet moments and even then what I got in return was a back rub and hot tea! When Tiger and Pup bring their chosen loves into my home I will treat them as I have been treated….with love, acceptance and not an ounce of judgment or superiority. I am a lucky lucky lucky girl!

10) It’s ok to be different 

I have yet to meet 2 people so different and yet so alike. Any difference of opinion is acknowledged and accepted as a point of view and that’s it – they move on. They have, through the years, determined who is good at what and an immediate balance is seen. They are not clones of each other and neither is trying to change the other. 

Sigh, I am going to miss them terribly when they leave but they leave me changed in ways that they probably will never realise. I guess this is my way of thanking them for making me a better wife, a better mom, a better me! It really is possible to love your in laws!

Love

Manic Me

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Kids party etiquette – what NOT to do when hosting

Pup’s parties are always a source of great excitement and we really go out of our way to make sure it is memorable for all. Memorable does not mean costly and often my little DIY customised bits are the ones Pup and everyone else loves the most!

Recently though I have noticed a few weird trends when being invited to other kids birthday parties. For example, we get invited to these “awesome parties” with “amazing things to do” but have to pay for all the activities on offer. Now, I understand that it’s a way to cut costs and keep the fun, but what about the parents that did not budget for it? And what happened to the old fashioned notion of paying for your guests? You did invite them after all – and they did bring an awesome gift!
So here’s my list of do nots:

1) Please don’t send invites to school if you are not inviting the entire class. Some little kid is going to feel really left out and your child might feel really bad. Rather send digital invites to your child’s friends parents. I’m sure the teacher will be happy to provide email addresses or at least forward the invitation on

2) Please specify it is a drop and go or if the parents should stay. This makes it less awkward at drop off

3) Please advise the total possible cost for activities at the party if you are asking the other parents to pay. This way they can make an informed decision. I would rather invite fewer people and pay for them.

4) Please mention if there will be no food provided so that I can either ensure my child has a full meal beforehand or buy a meal before I leave (if it’s a drop off). A hungry child fueled by candy alone is a grumpy child

5) Please choose activities that are fun, safe and age appropriate and advise if an activity requires certain clothing or if the activity is outdoor (e.g. sunscreen, sun hat, close toed shoes, etc)

We will continue to treat out guests to great food, great fun and great memories. I feel that a party is a party when you arrive and are pampered as much as the birthday child is. 

What are your thoughts?

Love

Manic Mummy 

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10 Steps that made me a better mummy – The 10 day mum challenge

Are you ready to bring fun, laughter and joy back? Let’s be honest, we tend to get lost sometimes in a sea of “no” and “don’t do that” and we forget to just let go!!!

This has made a world of difference for Pup and I. No tantrums to date since Day 1. Each day includes an activity that you need to do but keep the momentum of the day before by incorporating elements of that day too.

Day 1

No raised voices. If your surroundings are loud, lower your voice so that your little one has to look at you to understand. No screaming across the room or across the house either (we all do it!). Make sure you are looking at your little one when talking 

Day 2

Start a spontaneous tickle fight and end with a long hug. Add kisses and maybe a pillow or two for more fun!

Day 3

Say these 3 things a few times today. Make sure there is eye contact each time 

  • You are so kind and thoughtful
  • You make me smile
  • Mummy is so proud of you

Day 4

Eliminate the word no. You cannot say no at all. Find alternatives.

Day 5

Cover up in blankets and watch the stars for a few minutes before bedtime. Cuddles and/or conversation about aliens or the planets are welcome. Make a wish upon a star!

Day 6

Watch a movie together with tons of snacks. Pause it when someone needs to use the bathroom or when there is an interruption….this shows you are invested in this activity. No cellphones allowed!!!

Day 7

Prep some flour and water and let them mix it up and play either outside or in your bath tub. No, you may not say “Don’t make a mess”. You may say “let’s see how we can keep this inside the bath/container/basin”

Day 8

Have a silly face competition in front of a mirror

Day 9

Switch your cellphone off from the time your child comes home from school to bedtime or from the time you get home to your child’s bedtime. If you are home executive, switch your phone on vibrate when baby is awake and only answer urgent calls. No social media.

Day 10

Reward you and your little one by making a list of the changes you have seen over the past 10 days in you and the kids. 

Now repeat!

Let me know how it goes!