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Could You Go 24 Hours Without Saying No To Your Kids?

Gymboree Sale On Now!

How many times do you think you say NO to your kids every day?

Five times? Twenty times? A hundred times?

I bet if I kept track, it would be in the triple digits. Easily.

Sometimes I say no to them before they can even finish a complete sentence.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot.

Because Number 6 is giving me a serious run for my money lately.

He’s super defiant, and I find myself embroiled in power struggles with him way more often than I’d like to be.

I’ve been trying to pinpoint the source of the issues I’ve been having with him. I believe there are a few main reasons he’s such a challenge right now.

And one of them isn’t that he’s being a tool.

It’s the way I’m talking to him.

I tried to be very conscious of this yesterday. I paid attention to our interactions.

Mommy, can I ride in the car without a booster seat?

NO.

Mommy, can I have some orange juice?

NO.

Mommy, can I have two granola bars?

NO.

Mommy, can I play on the iPad?

NO.

Mommy, can I stay home instead of going to the Y?

NO.

Mommy, can I have one of those juice boxes?

NO.

Mommy, can I –

NO.

Yikes.

These are just a few of the times I said no to Number 6 yesterday.

Forget about all the rest of my kids.

Between all of them, I very, very easily say no hundreds of times a day.

So when I ask my kids to do something, or, more accurately, when I tell them to do something and they automatically say no, why am I surprised?

I mean, it only takes one time for you to let a shit! or a fuck! slip out for your kids to memorize that word and use it at every embarrassing and inopportune time possible.

So what are we to expect when they hear us saying no hundreds of times a day?

I have become what Positive Discipline would refer to as a no monster.

I am no-ing my kids to death.

And that immediately builds the foundation for a power struggle. And power struggles are exhausting and infuriating.

Obviously we can’t say yes to every single question our kids ask.  We need to set limits and boundaries.

But how can that be done without saying no?

Well, I am going to focus on the following three things:

First, I’m going to do my best to stop with the demands. 

I’m getting better at this.

What do you need to do to be ready to get on the bus? has been MUCH more effective for me than progressing from:

Go get your shoes.

to

I said go get your shoes!

to

Didn’t I just ask you to get your shoes?

to

Why are your shoes still not on?

to

HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO ASK YOU TO GET YOUR SHOES???

Next, I’m going to try really, REALLY hard to ask questions that can’t be answered with yes or no. Those just invite the power struggles.

Instead of Can you help me bring something in from the car?

I’m going to try something more along the lines of What do you want to carry inside? Your swim bag or a bag of groceries?

That gives Number 6 a choice so he has some control and it also gives hime an opportunity to make decisions.

Finally, I’m giving myself this challenge. I’m going to try not to say no for a whole day.

Yep. For a whole day.

I will find a way to either give him choices, or to say yes.

Before you lose your shit about the saying yes thing, hold on.

First, as far as the choices go, instead of saying “Get ready to go to practice” I’m going to try:

“It’s time to get ready to leave. What do you want to do first? Pack your swim bag or eat your snack?”

When it’s time to get out of the car, (one of the things that drives me f&%$ing insane because he takes like five million years to get out) rather than barking, “Hurry up and get out of the car!!!!”

I’m going to try, “How many seconds do you think it’s going to take you to get from the car to the front door?”

We’ll see if we can make it fun instead of turning it into a battle.

Now back to that saying yes thing. I don’t mean I’m just going to give up and let the kids do whatever the hell they want.

When I tell Number 6 it’s time to get ready for bed and he says,  “NO! I DON’T WANT TO GO TO BED!”

I’m going to try “Yes, I can understand you want to stay up, but it’s time for bed! Now what do you want to do first? Brush your teeth or put your pajamas on?”

That’s a whole lot different than saying, “GO UPSTAIRS AND GO TO BED.”

If your kids are giving you a hard time in the defiance department, take a look at how you are talking to them.

How many times do you say no to them every day? It might be more than you think!  You might be unknowingly inviting the responses and behavior.

If you find you are in the same boat as me, maybe you can take the just say no to saying no challenge with me.

Think you can make it through a whole day without saying no?

I don’t know if I can, but for my sake and Number 6’s sake, I’m sure gonna try.

 

 

Gymboree Sale On Now!

 

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Mom, is Santa Claus real?

I have been waiting for you to ask me this question.

This is a question lots of parents have a hard time knowing best how to answer, because Christmas is such a special and magical time of year.

And I want you to believe in magic. Forever.

So…

Is Santa Claus real?

To answer that question I need to tell you a story first.

Almost two thousand years ago, a kind and generous bishop named Saint Nicholas (who lived in what is now Turkey) devoted his life to helping the poor and the sick, and in particular, children. And he would secretly give gifts to people in need.

Even though he didn’t let anyone know he was responsible for these gifts, eventually someone figured out he was the person giving them.

And after that, whenever people received an anonymous gift, people said it must have come from Saint Nicholas.

When Saint Nicholas died, people continued the tradition of secretly giving their children presents one night each year, because this spirit of giving gave hope to everyone, especially people who had many reasons to feel hopeless.

Saint Nicholas helped people believe in miracles!

Hundreds and hundreds of years would pass, and the story and legend of Saint Nicholas would spread to countries all over the world.

In the Netherlands his name was Sint Nikolass. That named eventually changed to Sinter Klaas.

And when the story of Sinter Klaas made it to America, his name eventually became Santa Claus.

He brought joy to people who otherwise may not have experienced joy. He was an example of real life love and kindness. He was an example of the true meaning of generosity and kindness.

And he helped teach people how it feels even better to give gifts to people than it does to receive them.

And now Santa Claus lives on in each one of us.

Now you are a big part of the magic, too. Because now you are someone else’s Santa Claus!

Just like Saint Nicholas was, we are all responsible for spreading hope and generosity and love.

And now this time of year has become even more magical for you.

Because you are now in on the secret, too.

And now you can be a part of making other people as happy and as you are when you wake up on Christmas morning.

So is Santa Claus real?

My answer to your question is yes.

He was a real person thousands of years ago, and today he lives on in all of us.

Now let’s think about who could use some magic this Christmas!

Because we are all Santa Claus, and it’s our job to help spread kindness and generosity to them.

And now that you are in on the secret,  you will see that the true magic of Christmas isn’t in what you have waiting for you under the tree, but in what you leave waiting for other people.

(But don’t let anyone else in on the secret. You don’t get to do that until you are a mom or a dad 😉 )

 

Check out this super cute set and and tons of other cute stuff out at Betsy Boo’s Boutique — my fave place to shop online!

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Hey! Our relationship sucks! Let’s have some kids!

This morning I read an article online about a couple who is going through a divorce after 10 years together.

Unfortunately, there are children involved.

Halfway through the article, I read this quote:

“The relationship was going poorly for six years,” he admitted on The View. “We went through with [having kids] in hopes that the relationship would get better and that having a family would make it better.”

I’m not sure how people come to this conclusion.

Especially people who are over the age of 30.

I watch a decent amount of reality tv. And I love the competition shows.

I love Project Runway.

And Top Chef.

And Chopped.

And, I’ll admit it, The Bachelor.

And every person on those shows always says, “I’ve watched this show before so many times, but I had NO IDEA this was going to be so hard.”

Let me tell you something.

Having kids is the biggest fucking reality show you are ever going to be on.

Yes, there are some incredible highs that being a parent provides you with.

But the lows can be pretty effing low.

Loooooooooowwwww.

If you are in a shitty relationship now, chances are, it will always be shitty.

Tumultuous, unhealthy, and unstable relationships don’t often repair themselves.

And if  a couple does manage to turn things around, I’d be willing to wager large amounts of money, or even one of my children, that it wasn’t because they added a third party into the mix.

Unless the third party is a seriously ass-kicking therapist.

Even if you aren’t a parent now, you have probably been in a situation where you have seen a really overtired child.

And then you have heard the mom say, “She was up really late last night.”

or

“He didn’t have his nap today.”

Those kids are screaming.

And thrashing.

Unmanageable.

Out of control.

It’s not really any different when you’re an adult.

An exhausted adult does not handle situations, conversations, or differences of opinion with a level head.

And when you become a parent, you enter a phase of your life that you do not leave for at least 18 years.

Sleep deprivation.

It doesn’t end once your kid sleeps through the night.

Yes, when they are babies, you lose a lot of sleep doing middle-of-the-night feedings.

But when they are toddlers, it is physically impossible to get enough sleep to make up for the exhaustion resulting from chasing them around all day. And from attempting to maintain your composure as they systematically destroy your house.

And when they start school, you spend your days driving from place to place, activity to activity. You are up late helping with homework. And buying shit that they forgot to tell you they would need to bring into school the following morning. Then once you manage to finally get into bed, you lose sleep over whether or not you just permanently scarred them by screaming at them in a moment of complete exhaustion.

Then when they are in high school, you lose sleep because now they’re gaining independence. Where are they every minute? Are they doing drugs? Are they having sex? Are they prepared to enter the real world?

Adding children to an already crappy relationship will only create a much more challenging playing field for the parents.

The things you fought about?

They’ll still be there. Only now you’ll have about 2 minutes of conversation in you before you are transformed into that thrashing, sleep deprived, he-didn’t-have-his-nap-today child.

Actually, that’s wrong.

With the addition of children, you actually have about 14 uninterrupted seconds to communicate with your spouse.

Because much like picking up the telephone, the minute you and your husband or wife attempt to have a conversation about anything of substance, a child will appear demanding your attention.

And he or she will not go away.

Ever.

The lack of sleep isn’t all.

If your relationship with your spouse is in trouble, then you are disagreeing already.

Add in a kid, and you have increased the number of things to argue about exponentially.

You get to fight over how to discipline him.

How to feed him.

How to bathe him.

How to speak to him.

How to clothe him.

How to reward him.

How to….

Yes!

It’s true!

There are so many wonderful things to fight about when you become a parent!

And we haven’t even gotten to the financial aspect yet.

Don’t they say that the number one thing couples fight about is money?

Well, you may be in luck with this one actually.

Because once you have a kid, you won’t have any money left to fight about.

Nope.

You won’t fix your shitty relationship with kids.

But I feel pretty confident in saying, that it’s definitely a great way to make it even worse.

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Unless you are positive all of your kids are sleeping, silence is NOT golden.

I am almost halfway through this Lose to Win thing.

For six weeks I have been pretty focused on that.

And for the last 3 weeks, I have been going to the Y in the morning and then again at night on most days.

My father has been amazing.

He comes up every morning to babysit Numbers 5, 6, and 7.

And they aren’t easy.

My husband has also been amazing.

For two reasons.

One, he’s been extremely supportive and understanding.

Because my house is a complete shithole.

It never really looks good, but right now it’s especially bad.

And he hasn’t made one comment about it.

And two, on the days that I go back to the Y at night, I usually take Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 with me.

1 and 2 play basketball in the gym, 3 and 4 go to swim practice, and I work out.

So as soon as my husband walks in the door, we walk out of it.

And he’s left at home to get through dinner, bath, and bedtime for the little ones on his own.

So before I go, I try to at least make sure that dinner is ready.

I know there are a lot of dads who never do any of the bathing or bedtime crap, so I know how lucky I am.

Last night while I was at the Y, I got a text with this picture attached.

pillow

You may have seen it on the facebook page.

Someone made this comment:

How could anyone shred a pillow up like this, to this point, without someone noticing? lol

Do you know how long that took?

Approximately 2 1/2  minutes.

While my husband was in the kitchen, spooning dinner, that was already cooked, onto plates, Number 6 did that to my pillow.

Do you know how long it takes to cover a chair with a bottle of conditioner?

conditioner

Less than a minute.

Or how long does it take to completely unfold all the laundry you just spent a half hour folding?

clothes

 About 20 seconds.

How about putting a load of laundry in to be washed?

laundry

That probably took a little longer.

Like 3 minutes.

The sandbox in the living room may have taken a whole 5 minutes.

 DSC09736

And dumping a whole box of cereal onto the floor?

cereal

or chopping your sister’s hair off?

bangs

So she looks like this?

bangs2

Mere seconds.

So how did my pillow get shredded to that point without anyone noticing?

Let me send this kid over to your house for an hour, and you’ll have your answer.

innocent

Sure, he looks innocent enough here.

But trust me.

Looks can be deceiving.

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