Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No You Don't

I don't know what it is lately, maybe it's the water, but my daughter and some of her friends have been testing limits like crazy!  My parent friends have been telling me that their children have been breaking rules at home and at school and all I have to say is, "ugh, the terrible 2's!".   My child has been told that toys are not for throwing, but she will take one of her Little People, look at me and smile and throw it.  If that's not testing limits, I don't know what is.

So I took out my go-to parenting book again (How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk) to refresh as it had been 6 months since I had flipped through it.  And in the first chapter on "Helping Children Deal With Their Feelings," I realized that I was doing the same things that the authors had been guilty of at first-negating your child's feelings!  Since I had last read this chapter, my child had just turned 2 and was not talking as much so it didn't really apply.

Now that she is talking ALL the time, I have found myself, gasp, telling her what you're not supposed to do, telling her she isn't feeling something!  For example, the other day she was taking a bath and she said, "mommy the water is too hot!"  It was cold to me so I said, "no it's not, it's cold" because I wanted her to get in the bath.  I was basically sending her the message that her mommy is not listening to her and not accepting her feelings or opinions.

And no that's not my only example, I have found myself telling her she is wrong about certain things lately.  And I know she is 2 and a part of it is me wanting to teach her things, but it's important to first acknowledge you have heard your child, and then let them know if there is a limit to set or give them a choice.  So in the bath example I should have said, "I know you think it's hot and you don't want to get in the bath, so let's put some more cold water in it and then we can test it first!"

I love this quote from the book: "When kids feel right, they'll behave right!"

                                                     "And how do we help them feel right?"

                                                     "By accepting their feelings!"

Here are some of the quotes from the book that sound a lot like what I've been doing. Yikes! 

Child: "Mommy I'm tired"
Parent: "No you're not tired, you just woke up"
Child: "But I'm tired" (whining)
Parent: "You're not tired, you're just a little sleep. Now it's time to get dressed"
Child: "No I'm tired!"

Child: "Mommy it's hot in here"
Parent: "It's not hot, it's cold"
Child: "No I'm hot"
Parent: "It's cold, keep your sweater on"
Child: "No I'm hot"

Or.. watching your child cry, "Why are you crying? You don't need to cry, there's no reason to feel sad."

It's so easy to quickly dismiss our little one's feelings and opinions, but being heard and understood is going to go a long, long way with them.  I always try to put myself in their shoes too, and if my husband told me I was wrong in that I wasn't tired, I shouldn't feel mad or sad, or I'm not cold, I would be one unhappy girl and probably throwing some sort of adult temper tantrum :)

So yep, once again I have made some parenting mistakes, as a child counselor.  But I see it as a learning experience and so glad I at least recognized what I was doing so I can be more aware of it from now on.  And it's going to be one of many, many mistakes I will be making.  Yeah, just wait until the next post :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

New Facelift

It's official! And no, I did not get plastic surgery, The Counselor Mom got a facelift! (Although all of these sleepless new baby nights are causing me more wrinkles).  Sporting a new blog look is always fun. But this time around, I decided to give her a FREE facelift.  That's right!  My template is free, my hosting is free (courtesy of Blogger) and my sponsors are free.  Making the switch was a little time consuming, hence the lack of posts the past few weeks, but it was all worth it!

As a frugal, stay at home (SAHM) mom, I really needed to save money here as I love writing and blogging but it was an added expense I wasn't ready to pay again this holiday season.  I am so glad that I was able to accomplish this!  And I am super happy that Blogger allows you to post ads- it makes it much easier than going the Wordpress route!

So what do you think??  Any advice, criticisms, suggestions? 
Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hallmark Storybooks On Sale!

Just a quick post about an amazing deal for the holidays!  I love the Hallmark Recordable Stories and we have a few in our house that my daughter LOVES.

Right now on Amazon you can get a few for more than HALF price at 13$ each.  Yep, half off as they are normally 30$.  Get them before they sell out!

Hallmark Santa Claus is Coming To Town Recordable Storybook with music (12.99$)


Hallmark Frosty the Snowman Recordable Storybook with music (12.99$)

Hallmark Books - Counting Kisses Recordable Book by Hallmark (12.99$)
Thursday, November 1, 2012

An Open Apology to All the Moms I've Judged Before, (guest post)

Today as I was reading my friend Chelsea's blog, Paisley Leather, I came across a post of hers that was, well, there's no other way to put it, absolutely fantastically amazingly heartfelt about mommyhood!  As you all know, the theme of my blog is mostly about how even as a child counselor I am not a perfect mom and make mistakes.  And after reading this post about judging moms, I just knew I had to have her on here as a guest blogger!

Chelsea is an amazing writer (she was an English major) AND has the cutest little girl Laila.  Who, I might add, has almost the same birthday as my Luna because we met while they were both growing in our tummies, while their mommies took the same Birth class together!

An Open Apology to All the Moms I've Judged Before

My friends, I'm not really sure what an "open apology" is... I tried to google it but I just found a lot of open apologies published on the Internet. Including one to the entire country of Iceland. So... that didn't really help me much. But, if an "open apology" is one in which the apologizer's heart is open and naked and splayed out for all to see, then I've appropriately titled this post. This is my genuine and heart felt apology to all the mothers I've judged in the past. Here it goes.

- To the mother who ignored her tantrumming toddler in Target: I judged you. I'm sorry.

- To the mother who carried her toddler, kicking and screaming, out of the mall with one arm while dragging a 4(ish) year old child with the other: I judged you. I thought to myself "Oh, those poor children." I'm sorry.

- To the mother who's children have terrible table manners: I judged you. I'm sorry.

(Here's a big one. SUPER ouch on this one.)

- To the mother who's child was so shy, she wouldn't speak to anyone. Let alone, crack a smile: I judged you. I thought you ought to teach your child to be friendly. I'm sorry. I'm so so sorry.

- To the mother of the set of twins who used to bite me in Kindergarten: I judged you. You really should have done something about that. But perhaps you tried really hard. Perhaps the biting thing was a heartbreaking issue for you. I shouldn't have judged you. I'm very sorry.

- To the mother of the 4 year old who still used a pacifier: I judged you. I'm sorry.

These are just a few examples of mommies that I, in all my righteous wisdom, have judged. And I had NO IDEA. Zero.
Of course, I never would have said any of these things aloud to these mommies. I never would have wanted to hurt feelings. I'm too "nice" a person for that... But I certainly thought they were missing the mark. I definitely thought that I could do better.

I am so so sorry.

Last week was quite possibly my worst week as a parent. It was a really really hard week. Let me just start by telling you what happened on Monday. After a very busy weekend as the Maid of Honor in a friend's wedding, I wanted to spend a lot of sweet, quality time with Laila. I told her we could go to Baby Bounce, which is storytime at the public library. We've been going since she was, like, 3 months old and we love it. It is a serious blessing. When we got there, though, Laila was not simply not obeying me. She was doing silly things that she knows not to do like putting the shaker egg in her mouth. Which is, my friends, totally gross! A million little toddler hands have been on those eggs and you know how children are... they're little carrier monkeys. No one likes having a sick 2 year old up in the middle of the night so I was trying to avoid her catching a pesky autumn cold. I told her 2 times NOT to put the egg in her mouth and, when she did it a third time, I said, in my best Authoritative Mommy Voice, "If you put that egg in your mouth one more time, Laila Grace, we are going home." And do you know what she did?! She looked right at me, y'all, and put the egg in her mouth.
An instant later, she took it out, squared her eyes on mine and said, "You're supposed to take me home now."


And do you know what I did? I majorly and completely Mommy Failed. I didn't take her home. Can you people believe it?! I DIDN'T take her home. I know. I know. You're all shaking your heads right now and judging me. It's okay. You're allowed. For this one moment, you're allowed. I judge myself!!

Here's the deal: I didn't want to leave. I was totally intimidated by the thought of being alone at home with this child. I was tired. I was overwhelmed. I was weak.

And, ultimately, it was unfair to Laila. Because she needs to know that her mommy is a woman who will keep her word. She needs to know that she cannot blatantly disobey and get away with it. She needs to know where her boundaries are so that she can feel secure within them. She absolutely and completely NEEDS me to follow through.

About 5 minutes later, I said to her, "Laila. Right now, Mommy is having grace for you. Grace is when you do not get the punishment that you deserve. You deserve to be taken home because you disobeyed but I am having grace for you and letting you stay at Baby Bounce."

Sounds good, huh? And, yes, grace is a concept that I absolutely want to teach. But, in this case, friends, it was a cop out. I can admit that. I was simply too lazy to follow through. And I was scared. Of my 2 year old. Sheesh.

On Wednesday, I status updated (See how I made "status update" a verb? My english degree entitles me to take such liberties) my feelings: "Parenting a 2 year old is really tough work. There is little room for weakness, double mindedness or distraction. I had better get it together. Seriously."

That particular statement was born out of the realization that, on any given day, my personality is given to distraction, flightiness, inconsistency, forgetfulness... It's all part of my charm! Hee hee. And, back in the day, when it was all about ME, the consequences of these tendencies were born by myself alone. And for the most part, the consequences weren't so bad...  BUT when you are parenting a 2 year old, you simply aren't allowed these sorts of luxuries. It turns out that it is really hard to be a Type B Mama. Can I get a WITNESS??

And, to think, all those years, I watched. And I judged. And I thought I could do it better.

(Dramatic pause)...

So, all of that was the bad news.
Here's the good news:
Taken from excerpts of conversations with two sweet friends:
Last week (AKA, the Week from "H" - "E" - "Double Hockey Sticks"):

First piece of good news: Someday, they will have 2 year-olds of their own.
Okay, j/k about, like, the sweet revenge part... But, no, seriously.

Second piece of good news: The effort and the heartache that is required to train them at this point is going to reap a reward. Our children will be better people. Our daughters will be better women for the good seed that we've sown. With blood, sweat and tears. Oh, the tears.

Third piece of good news: Even when we mess up, we're modeling humility and repentance. Our daughters will learn to be forgiven but they will also learn how to offer forgiveness. I always say that the most important words in a marriage are not "I love you". They are "I'm sorry" and "I forgive you". If I can have a hand in teaching Laila the power of forgiving others, then I will be investing in her future marriage. And that is worth it's weight in gold.

Yes, my friends, I do believe that the Lord is using these days. To build character, strength and patience. To tighten the bonds between Laila and I. To make us more like Jesus.
And I welcome it... mostly.

In the meantime, Mommies that I've judged, please accept my apology. Accept my heartfelt and genuine apology. And if you are a Mommy Judger, REPENT! Turn from your evil ways!! Recognize that nobody knows what it's like to be someone else, to "walk in their moccasins", as the plaque in my Granny's kitchen used to say. Let's encourage each other. As women, as mothers, as wives, let's take the energy we use for contempt and use it in love and grace instead. Let's help each other, build each other up, walk arm in arm, sing Kumbaya... Okay, we don't have to sing Kumbaya... but, seriously...

" Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."
1 Peter 4:8