Friday, August 28, 2009

On Juggling and Surfing

Written by Guest Blogger Audrey, from
Kids property of Krista! lol

As a mom of 6, I know many think my situation can't be like theirs. After all, SIX kids has to be nearly impossible! I must be insane, running to and fro like a lunatic all day! I must have some mom secret no one else has! How can I juggle a home business, homeschooling and keeping a home, not to mention keeping hubby happy? I'm SUPER mom!

Ha. Nothing could be further from the truth. Or, perhaps, It is ALL true. I'm going to give you some big secrets. You won't find this in any supermarket self help book, e-newsletter or $10 e-book online. Oh, and I'm not a P.H.D. in child "anything", so you may not want to bet your life on this advice. Here is advice #1, and it's not even my advice, a friend got it from a mom of 300 in the park one day.

You're going to screw it up. Yes. Somewhere along the line, you're going to do it wrong. Now, get over it. Move on, you have too much to do to worry about whether your kids will need counseling because you didn't bring them to enough play dates or have a perfect home.
Next piece of advice. This will help you deal with advice #1.

Your kids will love you anyway. My mom always told me, if you give them equal parts love and discipline, they will be balanced. They are not keeping score, you'll just know. This brings me to the next advice.

You have to discipline your kids. They will not break. They actually appreciate knowing who is in control. This goes beyond "please don't touch that stove or run into the street." This means when you say "wait", they wait. When you say "ask me once, and don't whine", they do it because they know you mean what you say, you'll do it, on your time, when you can. This does teach them to respect other people's boundaries. This will be painful at first, but the best training I ever gave my kids was that they better not carry on once I say something. It takes longer with some than others, and consequences were quick and sometimes painful (no, not just spanking), but it works. This sounds harsh, but things run smoothly when, 1. they do as they are told immediately and 2. they all pitch in, even the 2 year old. This way, I can be freed up to give them what they actually need. Give them as much responsibility as they can be taught, you'd be surprised. Everything I do here, I ask myself, can THEY do this? Everything they ask for, I say, you can get it yourself, or you can wait.

Capable, responsible children are trained, they don't just appear. Next advice.

Pick your battles. You've heard this. I mean everywhere. Do I NEED or WANT this. What are my priorities, kids with impeccable matching outfits, clean rooms and the ability to NEVER bicker? Or kids who are polite, helpful and can work out their problems themselves without fisticuffs and screaming? Refer to the last advice on this. Teach them the boundaries of interpersonal behavior with you and each other, and stick to it! It may take until they're 18, but, well, it's our job. For ourselves, do we CARE if the house is immaculate, or will this wait? Sometimes I wish I had time for manicures and salons, but usually I'd rather just not go out. I have shoes to make and the kids have teen group, plus I MUST have dinner on the table every night. Learn how to say "no" everywhere in your life.

A confession: Sometimes I stay up until 2 am, JUST to get some alone time. Socializing online is addictive, I'm sure you all know. My biggest hurdle to reach before school starts is to know when to STOP, and go to sleep. I can keep making shoes, promoting, tweeting. All night. Must stop doing this.

One last thing. This is a huge issue for many women I talk to. It may be controversial for some since we've been weaned on feminism, but for 20 years it's worked for me with boundless returns. And I've seen the opposite NOT work. It's about our husbands. They're men, so it's simple. If the hubby/partner situation is a problem in juggling home/family/business/sanity, stop and think. Do you fill his love bank with what he REALLY needs? Because honestly, it's simple with most reasonable men. They need very little, really. Do they come home to the chaos we've dealt with all day? If we're working, they understand, most of the time, but if there's food on the table, a little love and attention ("I APPRECIATE your help SO much honey, you're my HERO!!"), goes a long way, and to not have to listen to the minutia of each small issue we're totally wired to deal with amongst our friends and female relatives. If you need something, just ask for it. They don't need the story, or hints, or resentments, it doesn't work anyway! Another great piece of advice, and this is a HUGE secret; if you want something done, start doing it yourself. Even if you can't. In the end, either you will be proud of the work you did, or he'll jump in and help. Men are doers, not listeners. Think of the teacher on the Peanuts cartoons. That is what we sound like to most men.

Disclaimer: This advice does not cover each situation and is not meant to. We all need to know how much we can handle, and handle what we take on. My daughter will not melt if she doesn't have dance lessons, and hubby will have to iron his own shirts. I have boundaries, you know.

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