Tag Archives: Parenting

The Guilty Mother

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Monday morning and the usual chaos ensues. Only this morning it is my responsibility, with my husband heading out early for a morning meeting. He has just spent all of last week single handedly managing the mornings while I worked six early shifts straight. Even though I had to get out of bed at five fifteen a.m, six cold mornings in a row, I definitely know who had the best mornings.

So today it is my turn and it starts with the usual, the middle child attempting to fake something that might get him out of school. Hey it’s always worth a try, right? They still don’t get how hard core their mother is. Typical emergency nurse, they barely get to the doctor, let alone a day off, and they know my criteria. If it’s running it needs to be green, if it’s bleeding it needs to be spurting and if they are crying, then at least they are still breathing. So as usual the thermometer decides if he gets a day off school. Anything over 37.6 they stay at home, anything less they are going. You can’t argue with the facts. The 36.2 reading this morning ended that argument.

Then the middle child again, “Can I have tuckshop?”. Me, “No, I have already made your lunch”. You would think that would be the end of that, but no. He then spent some time searching all the spots that loose change might be placed and eventually came up with ten dollars in coins. What the hell, I was never going to go scrounging for that anyway. It wasn’t worth an argument but I made him take his lunch box too, saying only buy big lunch. Because everything else in there can be used for tomorrow. My eldest daughter is looking for her uniform, that is in the same place every day. Youngest child needed his sports gear packed for the day and he then spent some time practicing an oral presentation in which he is a politician running for office and his catch phrase is “I’m Bob and I’m not a slob”. What the hell, I’ll listen to it ONE more time, at least he’s practicing it. Unlike middle boy who you would never know even had one due.

Whilst in the middle of making breakfast the cat has jumped up and vomited on the cork heat mat in the middle of the table, causing the eldest and youngest to begin dry heaving. I could see the middle child’s mind ticking over that option to get out of school. But it wouldn’t have worked, I sent him to school Friday after a fake vomiting episode.

Just then hubby walked back through the kitchen door to give me a quick kiss goodbye before he left, at the same time I had just picked up the cork mat and turned towards the door to remove the cat vomit. Luckily collision averted as he drew back in horror and went around to the side for a goodbye kiss. As we walked out through the garage he was giving me some tips on how to get the vomit off as I dumped the whole lot into the bin. There was a look of questioning on his face which disappeared as I said “did you really want to eat with that on the table ever again?”. Good point.

So as we get into the car twenty minutes behind schedule eldest daughter is complaining about the rubbish on the radio stating “When I get a car iPod connectivity will be a prerequisite”. Youngest child realises he doesn’t have his art book and needs to go back and get it whilst middle child yelling at youngest saying we are too late already and we don’t have time to go back. Eldest daughter has now “googled” cars and is trying to give me spec’s on a cute little red one and youngest is near to tears because this will be his third strike and it will mean a Friday after school detention for him. Meanwhile middle child giving youngest child lecture on same, as eldest wanting to know where Boondal is and is it too far to go and look at a car (that we are not buying for another eighteen months!). I try to explain to youngest boy that he needs to be more responsible and that the school doesn’t like mums to bring things to school when you forget them, because they are trying to teach you how to be responsible.

Luckily we arrive at the boy’s school. As I drive off I realise we never really confirmed if I would be bringing the art book back. I think he has gotten out of the car thinking I will. Then on to my daughters school where she is dropped off late. It doesn’t take long for the tranquility of only peak hour morning traffic to be broken by a phone call, through the hands free of course, but I can also see my phone screen light up with a little red car! Confusion ensues as I am trying to comprehend how from looking at a car web site the owner has now got my phone number? And is calling me. I tentatively answer only to find that it is my son calling from the school office to say he has forgotten his diary and I need to bring it up to school for him when I bring up his brother’s art book. Earlier lecture forgotten apparently.

And as it turns out, I also have a new wallpaper of a little red car, on the front screen of my phone!

All the way home I struggle with the “Will I or won’t I” decision. I really don’t want to take these books to school because they need to learn the consequences of their actions and that when I am telling them to pack their bags the night before that it is a good idea. When I return home to the debris of “morning” and see these required items sitting beside where their bags had been, and frustration wins the day. I decide to txt both boys to say I’m not bringing their books up to them. I feel sick with the guilt of not making the effort. I believe in the long run it will be a good tough lesson but I feel terrible that they will be in trouble. Then I think, it will be his third time so he deserves it. A boss in the future won’t give him three chances.

So as I send the txt’s I here a phone “beep” coming from the kitchen. At that point I need someone to “beep” me out”!!!!

So I decide to call the school office and tell them that my boy’s will be coming in asking for these books. The lady in the office completely gets it and agrees with me and she will tell them I’m not bringing them up. Unfortunately I still feel like the worst mother in the world right now. Let’s hope that tomorrow morning, today’s lesson is in effect.

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Stay safe, be happy,

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Life Begins at Forty.

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IMG_3136If you have been reading from the start you will know that my blog has come about by my personal musings and some significant milestones and rites of passage of some family members and myself, one of which is me turning forty. Well I have finally reached the forty milestone. Which my older sister-in-law tells me is the “easy one”. And I have to agree. I have enjoyed and embraced the lead up and first month of turning forty. I believe a big part of this is attitude and a little bit of scheming on my part. I have already talked about having had my children in my twenties and my mindset has always been “life begins at forty”. See the “About” section above.

Due to a fantastic opportunity for my husband to attend an overseas conference with his company we engaged the help of my mum and dad, and abandoned our three children for three weeks and travelled to Dallas Texas, for his conference and on to New York and Hawaii for my birthday. So in my mind this very exciting trip was intricately linked with turning forty. I think Pavlov did experiments on his dog exactly like this.

There were so many firsts for me. I had only been away from the kids for one night twice before. I had never travelled overseas before and haven’t even been to all the states or capital cities of Australia. A little bit boring I know but when all my friends were doing the backpacking and traveling thing I decided I wasn’t very interested and bought my first house instead. Being a country girl from a tropical climate I experienced the cold of a New York winter and saw snow for the first time. I travelled in the biggest aeroplane I had ever been in and did the longest long haul flight in the world for my first trip. My husband did all the planning and had lots of surprises and exciting activities for us to do whilst there. Some of the highlights were visiting the old school book depository where JFK was assassinated from, seeing the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Centre Memorial site, seeing artworks by Picasso, Monet and Van Gough at the Guggenheim, seeing a show on broadway, riding the New York subway, climbing a volcano and visiting Pearl Harbour. I also have to say the shopping was fantastic.

Of course I missed my children and they missed us but they were lovingly cared for by their grandparents and they now have a little more appreciation of the effort mum and dad go to for them. My parents have also realised how much time and effort we put in, and appreciate all the effort we go to for all the things our kids do with school and sport.

Another great thing about getting older is the long service leave that has accrued on your payslip for the last twenty something years. I added three weeks of this to my holidays this time and I am sure the eight weeks leave I have taken has helped me feel so relaxed and happy at this time in my life.

So bring it on. Loving life. Loving forty. Wouldn’t ever want to be younger than thirty ever again. Happy, healthy, financially secure, with good friends and a happy healthy loving family, what more could anyone ask for? I’m a very lucky lady and I know, appreciate and give thanks for it everyday.

Stay safe, be happy

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The mother lie detector test.

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My children cannot lie to me. Pinocchio_LyingThey can try. But I can always tell a lie. For years now if I don’t believe something or I am trying to get to the bottom of who’s telling the truth, when they are both standing there saying “he did it”, I always ask them to look me in the eye and tell me they didn’t do it. Or what ever statement would be appropriate for each situation. Only the child telling the truth passes the test. I have always instilled in them the honesty involved in having them look me in the eye and tell me the truth. Equally when they are trying to convince me of the truth they will say to me “Mum look me in the eye while I tell you so you know I’m telling the truth”. I amaze even myself that I have manipulated them so perfectly that there is nothing that they can get by me, if I only ask. The give away is that they cannot keep a straight face and after several attempts at “I did not push him over” etc. each with a smirk or a giggle they finally confess.

Recently whilst I was driving, there was the usual bantering argument going on and then one boy yells “Aaaah, mum he pulled my hair!”. Now to me that cry of outrage sounded over the top and put on, and this child had tried this several times recently. I didn’t know which one to believe, one saying he did it the other one saying I didn’t do anything. When I finally parked I turned in my seat and got them one at a time to say to me “He pulled my hair” and “I did not pull his hair”. As it turns out hair had been pulled and the offender was in trouble. My perpetrator son then made me suffer his lies about five times as he attempted to beat the lie detecter test. When he finally realised his attempts were futile he threw his hands in the air and said to me, “Mum you should go and work at the courts and the judge could just say to the criminal “look Bernie in the eye and tell her you didn’t kill your wife. It would save them a fortune”. I had to laugh, he was so exasperated.
Now the next stage of this experiment will be to test how this works on the teenager. So far it is still a fool proof method. Of course it will only work if I know what I need to ask, I will never detect a lie if it isn’t spoken out loud. As yet it has never been truly put to the test in a serious situation. I don’t think there has been the need for her to lie yet. Only time will tell. At this stage she  is still telling me all sorts of interesting information that most 15 year olds would not be sharing with mum. However as I live in the real world, and was once a teenager myself, I know the time will come, I think the key will be to ask questions. Lots of questions!!
Stay safe, be happy,
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Teenagers,Technology and Trust.

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Teenagers,Technology and Trust.

I recently had a friend of mine ask my advice about what we do regarding our daughters laptop use. Her daughter will be getting one next school year.
All of the advice given to parents says, keep computers out of kids bedrooms. Then they get to grade nine, aged fourteen and the school laptop program kicks in. Provided by the school, paid for by parents, each child is given their own laptop. This is to be used in class, used for assignments and used for homework. It has Internet access and school based programs and filters. You really can’t say no thank you, we won’t have one. The school then has several guest speakers visit and talk to the kids and the parents about Internet safety. Most of which is quite frightening.
Our daughter up to this point had been doing homework at her desk in her bedroom. Driven there mostly due to two little brothers and the household’s evening noise and chaos at the dining table and lounge room. So her bedroom is where the laptop was being used. One of her first assignments after being given the laptop was done as a pair and this required our daughter to be talking to her friend over the internet whilst doing the assignment together. Back in my day we would have needed to be driven to our friends place to do the assignment together. It would have been a combination of chatter and work. Which was exactly what was going on online during this assignment too.
My husband and I discussed this computer being in our daughters room, neither of us was very happy about the position we were in. To follow the advice of the experts we needed to remove her and the laptop from her room to the dining room table, have no television, and keep two boys settled and quiet until 8:30pm every night. She would also spend many nights studying and working on assignments until very late and that would mean one of us should stay up and supervise what she was doing. Technically we should have been able to see her screen and be able to see her working. Imagine  for a moment changing your evenings in your household to this extent. Possible but not desirable.
Our daughter has always had our trust, she is mature, smart, sensible and reliable, she understands that she has our trust and she realizes that if anything happens to change that then the activities she does and the freedom she enjoys will stop. She also gets good grades at school and in the end what we decided to do in our household is to allow our daughter to have the laptop in her room. We reiterated all the safety information we could and let her know that if her grades dropped or anything happened that was inappropriate then she would be removed to the kitchen table.
Two years later she has continued to get mostly A’s and she continues to have our trust too. With so many things in our children’s lives once they are out of our sight and supervision we leave them open to all the same risks we worry about online so I believe that it is important to teach your children appropriate strategies and actions, keep an open line of commutation and talk regularly with your children about what is happening in their lives and what’s happening with their friendships. I have also been the instigator of dinners and contact lists with her friends mum’s, we are becoming good friends and we are able to share information with each other and we have all seen first hand what a great group of girls they are. We are all very lucky.
I trust my daughter to go to the movies and spend time with her friends, knowing that her behaviour will be appropriate and responsible. I know she is not going to engage in behaviour that she knows I won’t approve of because she also knows that those things are either stupid, risky or unsafe. When out with her friends, just like when using her laptop in her room, she has the potential to be approached by a stranger, or someone who is not who they say they are. What I have to do is trust her to respond appropriately in either case. As hard as it is to let them go we cannot keep then locked in the house all their lives. And I know that this will probably be a controversial opinion but we allow our daughter to use her lap top in her room because we trust her to respond appropriately and know that she will speak to us if she ever has a problem online.
What strategies do you use in your household to monitor your children’s use of technology?
I would love to hear what you do!
Stay safe, be happy,

Technology in the Bedroom???