Thursday, October 17, 2019
I have been a preschool teacher for a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time--almost a dozen years. My first students are in high school now, and I am still at it. And before jumping into the profession I dearly love, I was busy raising my (and my husband's) own four children. So as you can guess, I have had a lot of time to study, observe, and reflect on children.
My husband and I decided early on that we would not allow our little monkeys to rule the roost. We enforced bedtimes and a code of behavior that included no back talking, no physical violence, and in general a helpful attitude. We didn't always succeed at this but the love and respect grew over the years of effort, and the chores always got done before bedtime. No excuses.
As a preschool teacher, I find my students bright, engaging, funny, caring, sweet, and impossibly cute most of the time. I enjoy each and every minute that I get to share with them. I marvel at their triumphs (like coming to school sans blankie--when the first week we had a hard time putting blankie down to do anything). I swoon when they are willingly kind to each other -- sharing a toy or a turn with another classmate. I praise their paintings and block towers, and gladly help them put on their coats or wash their hands. They are amazingly capable and enthusiastic learners with kind and loving hearts.
So here is my struggle these days...PARENTS! My littles are blessed with loving and devoted parents. So what is the struggle, you ask? My preschool parents either have no energy or no knowledge of how to PARENT their children. The ringmasters have left the tent, and the monkeys are running wild.
They leave it all up to me. Do they teach them manners? Nope. I do. Do they teach them to follow instructions? Nope. I do. Do they even require them to look up when they hear their name? Nope. I do. And the list goes on and on. The bar is so low on the behavior that they accept, that it all falls to us in the classroom to corral and wrangle these little ones into a semblance of order.
We could never allow our preschool class of over a dozen children to run wild and do what ever they want every second of the day. Children would get hurt, the noise level would be frightening, and the environment would prove impossible for any sort of learning. But I am quite sure that many of my families allow this at home. This lack of parenting in the long term will be a detriment to these children. Children who grow up lacking all boundaries continually seek boundaries. Boundaries show a child who is in charge, which in turn make children feel safe and secure. Children raised without any boundaries or respect for their parents, have a higher likelihood to be depressed or indulge in risky behaviors in their later years. The research to prove this has been done, and I personally have seen it in my many years.
I wish I could figure out where this laissez-faire attitude towards parenting is coming from. These are parents who are by all accounts well-equipped. They are married, educated, and financially secure. They are lovely people. They are involved and helpful. But they don't seem to have the stomach or drive or backbone to parent. They cannot find the strength to make their children listen to them. They seem frightened of the result of being an authority in their children's lives. They seem to duck and cover rather than expecting that their child(ren) listen to them or follow any code of behavior. I am mystified.
When did parenting stop being a verb? Where have all the ringmasters gone?
I know parenting can be daunting, but that's why it's important start small. Expect a child to listen when her name is called. Have him make his bed every morning. Give them real consequences if they don't listen but also give real praise for what they accomplish. Have simple expectations of your children and their behavior. This will help them through the years. I promise it will.
And it may just keep me teaching preschool.
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
What Every Working Mom Needs to Know
There’s no question moms have a stressful lifestyle. Surveys confirm it.
American families report being very busy these days, with moms still
handling the majority of the housework, even when both parents work
That’s why self-care is so important. You certainly can’t tend to other
people’s needs if you never set aside time to address your own.
These tips will help you do so. Even if you have a busy life, you can use
them to make self-care part of it.
Self-care must be a priority, and you should treat it like any other daily
responsibility. By scheduling self-care, you’ll remind yourself this is an
important task, and not a mere luxury.
Get the Kids Involved
Busy moms lack the time for self-care for many reasons. A major one is
simply the fact that so much of their time is spent with their children.
Luckily, there are ways to enjoy self-care with the kids. Working out?
Try having your little ones join you. This helps you fit a workout into
your schedule while also promoting a healthy lifestyle for your children.
Or, maybe your idea of self-care involves enjoying a good meal.
Getting the kids involved when making dinner, especially
healthy kids meals, will go a long way it. As they get older,
they may be so experienced in the kitchen that they can handle
certain cooking tasks without you even asking for help.
Combine Enjoyable Activities
Working out is a key aspect of self-care. Exercising regularly
boosts both your physical and mental well-being.
However, self-care should also involve participating in activities you
find enjoyable. Find time for both in your schedule by combining
them. Although you may have to try a few different activities before
finding one you genuinely enjoy, there are many ways to exercise
while also having fun. Try options like yoga, dance classes, walks with
friends, and any other type of physical activity that sounds appealing
until you find one that fits your tastes and lifestyle.
Wake up Earlier
While you do need to get proper sleep to stay healthy, that doesn’t mean
there’s any harm in waking up a little earlier than you normally do.
Busy moms often find the best time for self-care is in the morning, before
anyone else is awake.
This is particularly worth keeping in mind if you enjoy the types of
self-care activities that require silence. Meditating or reading a book
can be tough when the kids are up and about.
Find Substitute Activities
It is important to be realistic about self-care. When you become a
mother, some of the activities you once enjoyed may not be
practical anymore. You simply may not have the time or money
That said, don’t make the mistake of assuming you have to do
without those types of activities entirely. You can still find ways
to modify them for your new lifestyle.
For example, maybe a day of self-care used to involve shopping
for a few hours before enjoying a nice dinner at your favorite
restaurant. With a mom’s schedule and budget, that may no longer
be a regular option. However, you could still spend a day doing a little
online shopping, prioritizing getting one item you truly want instead
of several in order to save money. Rather than going to a restaurant,
treat yourself to your favorite meal at home. Maybe you can even
convince your spouse to make it!
Is it the exact same experience as your old self-care routine? No, but it
can be a satisfying substitute.
Most importantly, remember that you’re only human. A busy mother
is expected to do quite a bit for others every single day. Don’t forget
how important it is to take care of yourself as well.