Dress for Success

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My daughter recently finished her high school education and attended a formal dance held to celebrate her cohort’s graduation.

In the months leading up to the dance we were busy with preparations. We purchased a gorgeous navy blue sequined gown that she loved, but a few weeks out from the event, she learned that several other girls were planning to wear navy blue dresses that were similar.

She hurriedly purchased a new dress – a long, vibrant red backless gown, so that she would look unique on the evening.

On the day of the formal she looked stunning. Not wanting to sound biased (although realistically of course I am), she looked like a model that had just walked off a catwalk. We are so proud of her achievements and the amazing lady she is becoming.

After the evening, my daughter looked into selling the navy gown she hadn’t worn. She found a Facebook page where not only can you sell dresses but you can rent them out as well. She has since sold the navy gown and has rented out her red dress twice, covering the purchase price for both dresses.

I’m thrilled that she has been so proactive and that she has made money from items that would otherwise be gathering dust in the wardrobe for years to come. I have never thought that dresses were assets from which you could draw an income – maybe there is a business model there to be exploited?

It makes me wonder what the future holds for my entrepreneurial daughter when she is able to use a dress for success!

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The plan vs reality

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I think parenting is a constant battle of coming to terms with the reality of a situation when it doesn’t live up to your plans.

In a perfect world we could predetermine our child’s behavior and the way in which we could deal with that behavior, but as with every aspect of life, we need to remain flexible and be willing to adjust the way in which we parent to suit the circumstances.

What works now, won’t always work and what works with one child won’t necessarily work with another.

The other day I met a new mother who said that before she had her baby she had decided that her bub would be fully breastfed and under no circumstances would she co-sleep or use a dummy. It turns out that to keep her sanity she now does all those things, but I think it shows resilience and flexibility to be able to change tact to find ways that work for you and your child.

I worry that too many people seem to shame parents for their way of parenting when we should support each other and understand that we don’t live in a perfect world with perfect children. We have to just do the best we can and not be too hard on ourselves if things deviate from our original plan.

There’s no right or wrong in parenting, there is what is just what is right for you at the time.

All parents are winging it and trying their best, so relax and don’t be so hard on yourself if things don’t turn out the way you originally planned.

(Photo courtesy of nenetus, freedigitalphotos.net)

My son’s heartfelt message on Mother’s Day

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From the moment your belly swells with the new life inside, you develop a primal love for the child you are carrying. A love so pure you will accept the excruciating pain of giving birth, put up with sleepless nights and spend your life ensuring your beloved child is loved, safe, secure, educated and entertained.

Mother’s Day is the one day of the year your child is encouraged to show you how appreciated and loved you are. This year was the first ever I didn’t receive a glitter covered macaroni necklace or a kitschy ‘World’s Greatest Mum’ mug. This year my husband purchased a great gift on behalf of the kids, so their only input was a hand written heartfelt message in a store bought card. My nine year old son’s message will be forever etched in my mind:

“To Mum, hope you have fun. P.S. Can we go see Mall Cop 2?”

After all the dirty nappies, sleep deprivation, cooking, cleaning and playing mum’s taxi, that was my son’s heartfelt message!

Luckily he does still cuddle me and spontaneously tells me that he loves me, otherwise I might have had to put him up for adoption after his effort this Mother’s Day!

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

CHILD CRUELTY

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Sometimes, regardless of everything we have chosen to teach our kids about manners, etiquette and kindness, our children’s behaviour goes totally against the way in which they have been raised.

I recently watched a little boy at the park hit another kid while his mother watched on mortified that he was capable of this cruelty. I just heard a story of a child calling another kid names, only to have their Mum intervene to get the child to pen a written apology for his actions and tonight I witnessed my own daughter exclude her little sister for no apparent reason.

As much as every parent tries to teach their kids compassion, loyalty, kindness, empathy, sharing, manners and etiquette there are times when those lessons go unheeded and you are left wondering where you went wrong.

It’s hard to watch this happen as it makes you feel like you have failed as a parent, but I guess all you can do is show consistency with what you expect of your kids and hope that it sinks in.

I have great admiration for the mother who made her son write an apology because it shows great humility and hopefully her son will think twice about being cruel in the future. Similarly, the mother whose son hit another boy made him apologise and shake hands with the other kid to teach him how to settle a disagreement.

As parents we like to see the positives in our children, however when we take off the rose coloured glasses, we see that most kids have at one time or another done something insensitive or rude to another person.

Children on the whole are quite selfish creatures and it is a parent’s job to try to direct them and teach them how to behave in the hope that eventually they will understand the impact their words and actions have on other people. So if you have ever cringed at your child’s behaviour, just know that you are not alone and that all parents are trying to raise their kids to be the best people they can be. Unfortunately sometimes kids need to learn through experience for our lessons (aka nagging) to sink in.

(Image courtesy of Prawny, freedigitalphotos.net)

IT TAKES SELFLESS PARENTS TO RAISE AN OLYMPIAN

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As we are not far off the Winter Olympics, I’ve been thinking about all the hard work and effort that goes into qualifying at that elite level of sport. Of course the athlete competing has spent hours upon hours honing their skills and must have the aptitude and attitude to succeed, but it’s their parent’s selfless support that facilitates their child being able to follow their dreams. Without their parent’s encouragement when they were young, it would be near impossible to succeed at such a high level.

 

Think of all the training sessions these athletes had to be driven to and from, not to mention competitions locally, nationally and internationally! Add to this the money their parents have forked out to pay for training sessions, travel and equipment. These parents have forgone their own personal time to focus their energy (and money) on preparing their children to become the ultimate athletes they are.

 

I have multiple friends whose children are gifted athletes and playing in representative squads of their chosen sports. My friend’s social lives are nearly non-existent as they spend all their free time ferrying their kids to games and training. The higher level they compete in, the further it seems you have to travel!

 

So whilst it is an amazing achievement for these kids to reach these extraordinary levels, the unsung heroes are the parents who prepared them and supported them in their quest for greatness. They don’t receive medals and certificates in recognition for their sacrifices – instead, their reward is the pride they get from their children’s success!

 

 

(Photo courtesy of digitalart, freedigitalphotos.net)

 

THE PRESSURE TO BE THE PERFECT PARENT

When you cradle your precious child in your arms for the first time you are overwhelmed with such a pure love – a devotion that will last a lifetime and will see you go to extreme lengths to keep your child safe, nourished and loved. It is at this time that the pressure begins for you to become the perfect parent.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect parent and the pressure from media (and honestly ourselves) leads us to feel guilty that we are not fulfilling every possible facet of the job description to our best ability.

The truth is, parenting is hard work and there’s no training, no sick days, no appreciation and no pay! Love our children as we may, there are days when we would all eagerly swap our kids for a sun lounge by a resort pool! That doesn’t make you a bad parent; it just makes you human.

The nagging, discipline and chores involved in raising a child don’t always allow us to be the sweet, loving, fun Mum that we all aspire to be. 

As a parent we have to juggle running the household, caring for kids, supporting our partner, assisting at school, playing taxi for extracurricular activities, helping with homework, managing sporting teams and maybe even holding down a job too!

So if at the end of the day, you have managed to keep your kids out of harms way, fed them, educated them and had time to give them a kiss and cuddle, then I think you are doing a stellar job!

When you next see someone expounding the virtues of certain gourmet meals, education techniques or extraordinary craft projects, don’t feel guilty that you are not the perfect parent instead be proud of the effort you put into raising your kids. Maybe one day (or at least on Mother’s Day) your kids will thank you for all that you do for them.

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Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net