Thursday, April 21, 2011

Good Morning!

The Peaceful Housewife

So I know I'm always beginning my posts with "I'm new to GBD..." so I'll try to avoid that start ;) Today I woke up just feeling *different*. I can't really explain it, I have just felt really in touch with my children today. I know I have quite a few lovely GBD mamas out there saying prayers for me, and they were truly felt today.

For the first time, I felt like I was truly "Conscience Parenting" (I know that terms been coined by others, but it really fits what we're trying to do.) I was catching most meltdowns before they happened and gently breaking up fights. The first half of my weekday it's just me & Sydney then my boys trickle in one at a time. During the time it was just the two of us I made a conscience effort to really watch her and anticipate when something needed to change. I responded quickly to and sometimes even before her cues (whoo hoo!!) I didn't complain when she asked me fifty bazillion times to "help her" use the rest room. I don't know why this is one of my buttons. Perhaps it's because she always asks the second I start doing something or maybe it's because it often seems like it's every. five. minutes. Seriously! But today, she barely got out "Can you help..." before I was up and heading to the bathroom to hand her toilet paper. I made sure she had food before she asked and hit meltdown "I'm huuuuungryyyyy!!!" level. I intervened when she decided the dog was a chair. All in all we had a great day. And this set me up for success when the boys got home.

The sky opened up the second I pulled into line to pick up Tyler from Kindergarten. We made a quick giggly dash from the van to the front door trying not to get soaked. Today, when Tyler asked if he could play on the computer, the second he walked in the door, I responded, "Give me a chance to think about it and I'll let you know soon" rather than "we just walked in the door!" He was so patient with me that I allowed him. They had a few little, ahem, disagreements and instead of getting frustrated I did a variation of "you hit, you sit". I took the most upset of the two to one couch and sat the other on the second couch, reassuring that I would be right back to hear his side of the story. They both shared their story and looked at each other's boo-boos, in the end they made up. It was amazing!

When the big boys came in, the littles were in a great mood. I'm really working on Kurt & Tyler learning ways to let the other know what their boundaries are and when they need to be left alone. (They are so much alike that they really seem to butt heads sometimes.) They had one negative moment that was quickly "fixed" and got along great the rest of the day. Anytime I would hear someone raise their voice or say something negative towards a sibling I would simply say, "watch you words" or "think before you speak".

What a difference it makes when you've decided ahead of time that you are going to handle each situation gently and try to consider what's going on inside your children before taking action. Today was a beautiful day! I would have missed out on a lot of positives, had I ignored those early morning feelings.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When does it get easier?

I am having a seriously emotional day. The tears have been free flowing. There hasn't been a day that's gone by since discovering gentle discipline that I haven't wished I'd discovered it sooner. It's just so hard starting fresh when half of your children are already teens. I want so badly to NOT be punitive that I find myself struggling to not be passive. I feel as though I spend so much time researching what gentle discipline is *supposed* to be yet I have no idea how to put it into action. I know it's going to take time, it's been less than 6 months since giving up punitive measures. I'm so not a patient person. When I want something, I want it NOW!!

I'm feeling like such a failure as a parent. What if it's too late to make a difference? I want all of my children to have the same opportunities and to feel equally loved. I'm grateful to be starting early (still not early enough) with my 2 youngest, but feel so bad for my big boys. I have so much love in my heart for my family and all I want is the best for them. I've tried explaining the changes and that punishments are no longer on the table. My boys are very intelligent and have such amazing hearts but I don't think they *trust* this change. How horrible am I that my children don't believe that I am willing and truly desire to change because of my love for them? How do I assure them that this change is real and help them achieve the desired goals of gentle discipline? To me, those goals are to love themselves and others as Christ has loved us. I want to help them to make the right decisions because deep down they know they are right, not because they don't want to be caught. I want them to take the feelings of others into consideration in the decision making process. I want them to be honest with their own feelings, especially to themselves. They should know that it's ok to be mad, frustrated, disappointed, or to merely have a different opinion than others.

I sound so whiny. Me, me, me, I, I, I...*sigh* The enemy knows when to attack, doesn't he? This time will pass and I know I will eventually find my stride, but I sure wish it were sooner rather than later.

Lord, protect my heart. Guide me to make the right decisions for myself & my children. Help me to correct past mistakes and help me to forgive myself as You have forgiven me. Amen. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Natural Parenting Blog Party


I am new to the world of "natural parenting", so I was honored to be invited to be a part of this blog party by the lovely Dulce de Leche. I'm learning, and in some cases re-learning, how to follow my instincts so I'm really looking forward to reading these blogs.

I'm glad that to have been given a list of questions to get me started.

How many children do you have, and how old are they?
I have 4 beautiful children: Chris - 16 (next week), Kurt - 14, Tyler - 6, & Sydney - 3.
Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent?
I have an amazing husband who I've been married to for 8 years. I was, however, a single parent to Kurt for 6 years prior to being married so I have a perspective from both sides.

What are your “hot button” parenting issues?
I hate to hear people cuss *at* their children. It drives me crazy! I also hate when parents speak badly about the other parent in front of the children (especially in situations where the parents aren't together.) I feel this puts unnecessary guilt onto children and makes them feel the need to pick a side.

Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting?
When I was pregnant with Kurt I thought breastfeeding was *icky* (I was 16) but am so glad to have been able to experience that with each of my biological children <3. I never thought about homeschooling either but I'm super excited to be starting this fall with Tyler. I've also been making a lot of dietary changes that my kids are none to happy about but I know it's in their best interest.

Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices?
Dulce de Leche - I was blessed to have met her a few years back and had never heard of "gentle parenting" before. I just kept reading her posts on facebook and discovered that *this* was the parenting of my heart and the way God wanted me to raise my children. Thanks to her, I also found GCM which has helped to fill in the blanks.

If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use?
Tyler-loving & wild (sorry, he really needs 2 words)

Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change?
I regret not finding GBD soon enough and parenting punitively in the past. My 2 biggest regrets (I know it said one, I'm not good at directions) are 1)not breastfeeding longer & 2)circumcising my boys because I didn't know there was another option.

Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at?
I wish I didn't get frustrated so easily. Yelling, or loud talking, is something I struggle with and wish I *didn't* struggle with.

Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day?
Asian, yummy! I hated it as a kid, but now I cook it at least once a week. My family likes anything spicy. I also love chocolate and would eat it all day everyday if it were free & wouldn't make me fat, *sigh*.

Vanilla ice cream or chocolate?
Vanilla. Not sure why, since I love chocolate so much, but I don't really care for chocolate ice cream. I don't mind it mixed with other stuff, but don't like it by itself. My fave is Ben & Jerry's Phish Food it's a mix of all kinds of goodies.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Pepsi. I know how bad pop is and HFCS, but I love my Pepsi. And brownies from QT (a local convenient store.) May have to send my hubby to get one of each. :giggle.

If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be?
ALIAS. I know it's not on anymore, but it's an all time fave (guess where my daughter got her name.) I also love BONES. I could never be in front of a camera though, waaaay too shy.

Well that's me, in a nutshell. Looking forward to reading and learning more from all the other fabulous blogs.