ARE WE RAISING A GENERATION OF SPOILT KIDS? 

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I know this will make me sound ancient, but back in my day, kids had more respect for adults. As a child you only spoke to adults when spoken to, you would never have the audacity to back chat and you did what was expected of you because that’s what you were told to do.

Perhaps it was because we feared our parents! If we didn’t do as we were told or were rude, they could and would hit us, usually with whatever kitchen utensil was closest.

I’m not advocating hitting children but I think we are raising a generation who are very familiar with adults and with that familiarity comes a lack of respect for their elders. There are also no harsh penalties for misbehaving so kids push the limits without worrying about the consequences!

Kids these days have such comfortable lives they expect everything to be done for them. In my kids I notice a lack of appreciation for all they have and a lack of work ethic to earn money to buy things they want – they just expect they can ask for things and it is their right to receive them. Even when I give my kids the option of earning extra pocket money through doing additional chores, they generally choose to not take up that opportunity because of the effort involved.

The other day I was talking to a friend, questioning where I have gone wrong, as I’m trying to raise well-adjusted kids. I was relieved to hear that she suffers the same frustrations with her kids. Maybe it is a phase they will grow out of, or maybe it is a generational thing – just as our parents before us probably think we are a spoilt generation.

Perhaps the solution is to send our kids to a remote village in a third world country so they can see how fortunate they are in their everyday lives and maybe then they would have some appreciation for the privileged lives they lead. 

Realistically I think the only thing we can do is to be consistent with our values and hope that our kids will mature to adopt these in the way they live.

 

Do you feel like your kids sometimes don’t show you the respect that you deserve or that they are too spoilt? What have you done to address this?

 

 

(Photo courtesy of stockphoto, freedigitalphotos.net)

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PASSIVE SMOKING

It was a clear and warm Autumn day and I felt so blessed to be out walking my dog along the lakefront, breathing in the fresh air whilst watching others out also enjoying this lovely time of year.

As I walked towards a young mum with a beautiful baby girl in her pram I had to do a double take. She was holding a cigarette whilst pushing the pram, and I watched as the smoke from that cigarette wafted straight into her baby’s face.

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I felt anger well up inside me as I struggled to understand how this mother could choose to fill her lungs with poisonous smoke. If it’s not bad enough that she doesn’t want to care for her own health, it is just wrong on every level to inflict passive smoke on her infant child.

There is an analogy for smoking that I use when talking about the habit with my kids. I ask them if someone told them that licking toads would make your breath stink, may give you cancer, could reduce your lung capacity, may give you premature wrinkles, would cost you thousands of dollars a year and you would become addicted to it, would you think it is cool to take up licking toads? Of course they say ‘No!’

I struggle to understand with all the health issues and the cost of smoking (it literally is money up in smoke!), that anyone in this day and age still smokes. If there was ever an incentive to give up smoking, wouldn’t the health of your innocent baby be reason enough?

I’m sorry if I have offended any smokers, but that baby can’t stand up for her rights and any decent mother wouldn’t put her child in a situation where she is exposed to having to breathe smoke into her pristine little lungs.

 

 

 

Image courtesy of tungphoto, freedigitalphotos.net

TO NEW MUMS & THEIR CHILDLESS FRIENDS  

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A childless friend of mine commented to me the other day that when she caught up with a mutual friend who is a new mum that our friend had nothing to talk about except the baby. Whilst the childless lady was open to discussing the baby, she felt there should be a time limit on how long a mum can talk about the ins and outs of her baby. She questioned whether she really needed to know about the texture and frequency of this little cherub’s bowel movements?

Now I’m really torn on this subject because I have stood in both women’s shoes. As I explained to my childless friend, when you spend every waking (and sleeping) hour of the day caring for a baby you don’t have much else going on in your universe. You do tend to be focused wholly and solely on your baby, and heck who doesn’t want to hear about an embarrassing exploding nappy episode? If our friend had just moved house or started a new job, then she would be focused on talking about that subject. It makes sense that we talk about what we are experiencing.

However, I’d like to point out to the new mums that the world hasn’t stopped turning just because you had a child. Your childless friends miss the ‘old’ you who could laugh about common experiences and discuss topics that are more relatable to the greater community. They are also living life and might like to see that you are interested in what is going on in their lives, as much as you are intensively focused on yours.

I guess all I can say is that friendship is a two way street and whilst we are all guilty of being self indulgent by talking about what is monopolizing our time, we need to make time for our friends as they are a great support network and will hopefully still be around to hang out with you once your kids grow up and don’t need you 24/7.

Mums – keep your baby focused conversations for other mums who can empathize with your situation and make sure you keep a bit of the real you available to nurture friendships with others not on the same journey as you!

 

Do you think there should be a time limit on talking about your baby, or do you think that a friend should want to listen to anything you have to say? Let me know your thoughts!

 

 

(Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net)

IN THE NAME OF ART  

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My eldest daughter has an art assignment due this week where she needs to create different textures and display them, then photograph people’s reactions to the textures. Some are nice to touch (soft faux fur, chenille yarn and cotton wool), others are interesting (lego, bubble wrap and fake grass) and others are a bit gross (sticky double sided tape and pre-chewed bubblegum).

My husband has a real aversion to gum and can’t stand the sight of anyone chewing gum. He gets high and mighty when pointing out black splodges of old gum on the pavement and rants about how all gum should be banned from society. He is such a gum Nazi that he has banned the kids having gum since they were young, so this week the kids have all been reveling in ‘assisting their sister with her artwork’. 

Our home has become a bubble gum chewing factory, with all the kids eagerly munching their way way through roughly 50 packets of mixed gum. Needless to say my husband is revolted by the texture being created, but that is the reaction my daughter is looking for when she finally displays her ‘artwork’.

Art is so subjective – what one person feels passionate about, is not necessarily the way another person reacts. I guess the same can be said for life, like my husband’s strong dislike for gum and how most of the world sees gum as an innocuous confectionery.

The art assignment is now complete, with the textures ready for display, so I will have to burst my kid’s bubble of happiness (mind the pun!) and explain to them that there is once again a moratorium on bubble gum in our home.

CHICKENPOX

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Who would have thought that I would have been so happy when my daughter caught Chickenpox? After all, my children had all been immunized against it, so I never expected that any of them would have contracted the disease.

But every cloud has a silver lining! Our family was holidaying in a Club Med Resort on a tropical island where all your food, drinks and entertainment are included in the accommodation fee. After a week of fun in the sun, we were almost at the end of our trip when my daughter broke out in small red blisters on her torso.

They looked suspiciously like Chickenpox, so I consulted the medical staff on the island who confirmed this diagnosis and then ordered that she be quarantined by staying in the room. To ease the boredom, they then delivered games, DVDs and colouring-in to the room to help keep her amused.

As Chickenpox is a communicable disease we weren’t allowed to fly, so I was forced (they really had to twist my arm!) to stay at the resort until her spots dried up. Imagine having to spend an extra week in a tropical resort fully paid for by travel insurance – life can be cruel (hehe!)

We would sit out on the balcony relaxing in the sun, watching people dancing by the pool (if you’ve ever been to Club Med you will know the attraction of watching people participate in choreographed dances). If we tired of this we would play games or read together. In fact, it was lovely one on one time with my daughter, who coped extremely well with the discomfort of the itchy disease.

I would periodically leave the room to fetch snacks, drinks or meals. As far as nursing sick kids goes, this was the very best case scenario!

By the time I was starting to get over being stuck in paradise, my daughter’s little red spots scabbed over and we were able to fly home.

Unfortunately, a few days after we returned, my son broke out in spots. This time I was stuck at home with him, without the entertainment of dancing tourists to keep me amused and I had to do all my family’s cooking and cleaning. It was really inconvenient that he couldn’t have broken out with Chickenpox whilst we were still at the resort!

Luckily the vaccination seemed to work for my two older daughters, as they never contracted Chickenpox. I can’t imagine what my mental state would have been like if all four kids had come down with it one after the other! There is a limit to how much time you can spend confined in one place – even if that place is a tropical paradise!

 

(Photo courtesy of papaija2008, freedigitalphotos.net)

HAND MADE WITH LOVE  

I wish I had been a fly on the wall when my son’s teacher reviewed the hand made Mother’s Day card he so beautifully created for me this year.

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I’m not sure that I can show my face at school again, after my son decorated the card with a bottle of champagne and a glass. The glass was even decorated with an olive on the side, which makes it a James Bond’s martini kind of a drink – something that I don’t recall ever having! I’m sure the teachers laugh that he must have an alcoholic for a Mum for him to choose champagne as something near and dear to her heart! The funny thing is that I rarely drink during the week, only when I socialise on weekends. Maybe I need to put a note in my son’s diary to clarify this to his teacher.

What is also embarrassing is that he wrote the brand ‘Jacob’s Creek’ on the bottle. Couldn’t he have at least upgraded it to ‘Moet and Chandon’ instead of labeling it with the cheapest bottle of wine I drink?

My daughter also made me a beautiful card, which she tastefully decorated with flowers – at least her teacher may still have a shred of respect for me!

All jokes aside, I felt very loved on Mother’s Day when my children showered me with presents and hand made cards to show how much they love me. I’m lucky to have such gorgeous kids, even if they sometimes drive me to drink! Wink, Wink!

SICK KIDS

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I’m afraid that on a scale of one to ten for caring for sick kids, I rank maybe a two, or three at best.

It’s not that I don’t want to take care of them (of course I would rather take care of healthy kids) but I struggle to be that rock that I know I should be. Particularly if there is vomit involved. 

At the sight, sound or smell of vomit I tend to start dry retching. This renders me totally useless to offer any assistance beyond trying to find a bucket or cleaning products to help. Thankfully my husband has a much stronger stomach, but I feel that emotionally I’m letting the kids down. I should be there stroking their backs and holding back their hair, but instead if I hang around, I’m vying for room over the bowl to purge myself!

I’ve had a daughter home sick for the last week, and whilst I was full of sympathy and kind words for the first few days, I must admit I’ve reached my limit of tolerance to how many grunts, groans and moans to which I can listen. She has given me a running commentary on exactly what symptoms she has, every second of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I feel sorry for her and I have done all that I can to help ease her symptoms but unfortunately I don’t have a magic wand that will instantly make her better. I’ve tried distracting her but she is totally absorbed with her illness and has no room to concentrate on anything other than how she feels at that moment. 

I’m just crossing my fingers that her dreaded lurgy doesn’t get passed to everyone else in the family because I’m not sure how I would cope with dealing with this another five times.

Needless to say, I’m trying everything in my power to ensure I don’t come down with this bug as I can’t call in sick and stay in bed all day. If I did, who would take over being Mum’s Taxi? 

On a serious note, it has made me stop and think about people who live with a child with a prolonged chronic illness and how draining it is not only for the child, but also the family members living their lives around it. It must be such a challenging experience for all involved.

It’s such a pity when we become mothers we are not given an instruction manual for raising our baby, together with a magic wand we could wave to take away any of their pain and suffering.

 

 

(Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net)