What a month. I can’t believe how quickly March disappeared, and now here we are in April. The middle of April!
Since I posted last, I have been one very busy mumma. The last week of school was full of activity. The two older girls went to school camp, Bethy turned 10, we had two family parties to celebrate Bethy’s birthday over that weekend, the week before camp was all about Parent/teacher interviews, our very first Sunshine Coast bloggers group met for the first time, and I have had a teeny bit of time to work on a project I am wanting to spend more time on. Not to mention, in amongst the chaos of life happening all at once – the usual parenting and domestic goddess issues still need to be dealt with.
Sometimes I wonder if my goal for simplicity is practical? Is it realistic?? Obviously my ultimate goal is simplicity, but its a process, and I’m starting to think that my goal for simplicity may need some tweaking?
The year 5 and 6 camp!
(Hubby with Bethy on the day the girls went to camp)
The two older girls are in year 5 and 6 respectively, and the last week of term one was their school camp down on the Gold Coast. They not only survived the camp – they loved and enjoyed it! They were a little nervous about going to camp, but our kids are homebodies, so I wasn’t surprised. Amy came home saying it was ‘bittersweet’ – she loved camp, but she also wanted to be home with us. So cute…but where did she find the word bittersweet?
Camp is a wonderful right of passage experience for most kids (mine included) as they grow up. I love that they are forced to challenge themselves, do activities that will stretch them beyond their head knowledge. Both girls came home saying that they learned to surf (they learned the basics), which is amazing as we have tried getting Amy on a board many times without success. The power of peer pressure can be used positively occasionally. While I really missed the girls (and enjoyed just having the two younger kids for a week), I knew they would come home feeling a little more grown up than when they left, and by the Friday, I must admit, I was well and truly ready to pick them up and take them home.
Time with Chanel
While the two older girls were on camp, we decided to have some special time with Chanel and Jaden. It was a perfect opportunity to sow some significant time in Chanel and Jaden, while the two bigger girls were off having a blast at camp. Its not often in a large family where you get to have significant time with each child individually. So this was a brilliant opportunity. I spoke with Chanel’s teacher to make sure we would not miss any significant work while she was away. Thankfully camp was the last week of school, so it made it easier to schedule that special time in for Chanel.
Chanel is our third child and was severely in need of some one on one time with her mum. Obviously she needs time with her dad too, but I knew she desperately wanted significant time with me. She was our baby of the family for quite a few years before Jaden arrived, and I must admit that it’s a lot harder these days to fit in one-on-one dates with the kids at times. Our little guy demands a lot of my attention, which in turn limits me at times to have one-on-one time with the girls. While the girls were on camp – this was a perfect time to grab that time with both hands – so I did!
Week 10: Operation Chanel
We went walking, practiced riding her bike, a little op shopping, swimming, chatted about life, took her body boarding, read together – among many other activities. The goal was to really connect with Chanel – so we did. It was wonderful and peaceful on so many levels. It was wonderful to have the time to really get to know Chanel at where she is at this time in our lives. The two older girls were having a blast at camp, so there were no children acting out in jealousy or whinging about how unfair it was. Sometimes parents have to do what parents have to do!
The time spent with Chanel was well and truly worth it. I had a chance to really find out more about her as a person. Chanel was free to chat, and so she told me many things about school – what she liked, what she didn’t like, who in her class drives her crazy, her plans for business when she grows up (famous hairdresser, skin and hair care products, fashion designer and fashion store), among a multitude of other things. I enjoyed listening to her chatter, and I must admit that I made the decision right there and then that I would make it a priority to have more special one on one times with each of the kids. While it is easier at this time to have one on one times with Jaden, when the girls are at school, I am going to make my time with him more about him – less about my household jobs (even though I will have to do them at another time).
The Bike Riding lessons.
When Jaden was two he was given a balance bike for Christmas, and while it has been a well loved bike, Jaden has actually now outgrown it, and has decided he would like to give it to his new baby boy cousin (arriving later this month). For some reason before our first official day of ‘teach Chanel to ride a bike’ had begun, I had not seen that Jaden’s back balance wheel bearing had broken and really was not ride-able. It made our little bike riding adventure a little tricky as Jaden seems to have a little allergy to walking. All is fine if he can ride his bike – but if the bike is out of action, he seems to think that ‘mum’ will carry him – and the bike!!! No. No. No. This was not going to work. I told hubby that I was going to get the situation sorted as I wanted to go walking and not have him wanting to be picked up all the time.
We needed to go to the store anyway, so we had a quick look at Target. The right bike for Jaden was not there, so we headed over to Kmart, and it was here that we found ‘THE BIKE for Jaden’. Lets just say that Jaden rode that ‘demo’ bike like a crazy man. Keeping up with him was slightly challenging! Then we had to explain to him that his bike is in a box. Try reasoning with a now tired 3 year old boy. I’m looking forward to when he is able to rationalise and reason.
Jaden’s bike is awesome. It has a parent handle coming off the back of the seat so that if I need to redirect him, I can. Its such a genius idea – I wish I came up with the idea. The only trouble is, that he rides his bike with such gusto, which in turn means that he picks up speed. I feel I have to almost run to keep up with him. This could be considered a good thing – considering I want to lose weight and speed means I am almost running, but its not an easy feat to keep up with him at the moment. I will have to work on this with him. Golden beach is a brilliant place to go as it has the long winding pathway right next to the beach.
Each day we took Chanel and Jaden down to one of the beach pathways to practice riding, I loved it. I had walked miles over the course of the week – and I felt better in myself by the time we needed to pick up the girls from the school on Friday afternoon from camp. We had a brilliant week overall and the best part was that she really opened up and shared with me her concerns.
What I found myself thinking about during this week
One of the issues I found myself thinking about was that I often tell my kids they can come and talk to me and their dad about anything and at any time. We have an open door policy to talk about any topic that one can think of talking about, but I think our children may actually receive mixed messages from me sometimes.
What do you mean…I hear you asking?
Well sadly, I must admit that I get really busy in what I need to do around the house, for the kids and hubby, and then I find I get a little engrossed in what I am interested in – my blog, health, wordpress tutorials, webinars, email and social media can all distract me, life in general can be busy. While I am always trying to make more time for the kids…I think I allow my interests to sometimes overshadow the kids. I was reminded over the course of the week with Chanel and Jaden that enjoying the kids and being out in the fresh air is actually a fundamental absolute, rather than a ‘when I get time’ attitude. It was a fantastic week, and I think it was fantastic because it was mostly internet free. Its good to have a holiday from technology. I admit I did look at my email – but that was only every second day.
As a result of me not dying from lack of time on the internet – I have decided to spend less time on line and have a few rules for myself. It probably sounds as though I lived online before hand – I didn’t, but I do feel that I was online longer than I want to be. Yes I want to still have time reading about what I want to learn, and what interests me – but I am setting myself some rules for myself, and I must I say that I feel as though I put a few things into perspective again.
I think I may need one of these to help me! I would change a few of the goals….but the general idea is good!
Here is my perspective!
We have one chance at parenting, and the kids have one chance at a childhood. What do I want them to remember from their childhood – a mum who was too busy and interested in her own life, OR a mum who had outside interests – but had the time to sit down, chat, and make them feel important?
Yes the kids are forgiving, and resilient – but why test the theory? What I imagine for the future is that we have lots of funny growing up stories, strong relationships and resolve, I want them to know inside/outside and upside/downside, that they were loved and cared for, and for this to happen – mum needs to be present and connecting with each one, in each of their love languages each day.
Strong and good memories are made when families have fun together, so we are going to visit more playgrounds, spend more time at the beach, plan more bbq’s and picnics, socialise more often with friends and family, ride our bikes, scooters, skateboards, go roller blading, walking and going out to kick a ball. Family fun does not have to be expensive – there just needs a plan.
I want my kids to be apart of my life, and I want to be included in their lives. My blog is important to me, and I do love reading and researching ways to improve my health, but its important to remember, families who plays together – stay together.