So this week came to pass and just following Hood #1’s birthday, is my birthday. I spent the day on the beach with my kids, about my favourite thing to do. Since then a day at the dentist and a day painting a giant wall… turns out this week my gang and I are taking time off school to volunteer… volunteer week is well on the way and deserves a whole ‘nother blog post but actually I digress this is my birthday post the post each year where I say something a little bit different to my usual blog posts.
You know when they say… “Children do what you do and not what you say” well this was the year that I really tried to put that concept into to action, I really would like to be the mum whose children “Do what she does, not just what she says…
Se7en + 1 Ways that My Kids Do What I Do and Not Just What I Say
- Treasure your Friendships:
- Sleeping for the Win:
- Reading Just for Fun: This was the year of reading for me. I have always been an avid reader… but for a while I got lost in reading just review books and it felt like work and it looked like work and worse, it was work. This year I was determined to regain the love of reading for the sake of the book. Picking up a book and reading it through just because I wanted to read it. Everyone says that your kids need to see you reading, that you need to lead by example… this is true, and I have never stopped reading. But I have a feeling that is more important that your kids see you reading because you enjoy it… you know dinner running late because you mum is reading one more chapter in a sunny spot is a good thing, not every evening but some evenings.
- Saying No Just Because You Are Saying No: I always thought that you said yes to requests, unless you have a good reason why you can’t do something. It turns out that you can actually say no, because you have something better to do. I have always accommodated folk, pushed and pulled our schedule to fit folk in that wanted to stop by for any and every reason. Often cutting into our afternoon quiet time, because hay… maybe someone needs to us more than we need a little peace and quiet. Actually, while sometimes it is a yes and their are friends that I would totally rearrange my whole life for… not all things are that important and sometimes I am going to say no to a pressing request from someone for my time, because actually I would rather be sitting in the sun reading through a pile of library books with my kids. In the scheme of life, just another day and just another pile of books… but in the scheme of making memories… I have priorities. So I have started to say no to a few things things even when “if I rearranged our entire lives” we could fit them in. I have started to say no, and letting my kids know that I am saying yes to them rather. When I say I will help a teen with math at such and such a time, then that is an appointment, and I will say no to someone who wants to stop by and ask about teething, or anything really. My kids need to know that much as I am happy to help folk, if I have set aside time to be with them then that time is theirs.
- I Firmly Believe That How We Speak to Our Children Becomes their Inner Voice:
- Maintenance and Lots of It: We live in a house. The ongoing mystery as to how we accumulate stuff in our house never ceases to amaze me. I have this vision of a pristine home with one or two busy looking projects out, to demonstrate that actual humans live here. Turns out my vision and our kids’ vision are not quite the same thing. Maintenance is ongoing, one of those things we like done and not so much doing. I am not the best at it, but I have to consistent for my kids to master this. Maintenance is something I am so working on… turns out a little bit every day is key.
- Doing Stuff Together:
- Getting Outdoors: How often my kids play outdoors, while I am indoors getting supper ready, or indoors blogging, or in doors doing a bazillion “important things.” Turns out on those days when I really want to sleep late, when I really want to lie in, I have to get up and get out there. And after two years of dedicated hiking I am winning, just the other day one of my hardcore “Do we have to?” kids told me they have started to love hiking for the sake of it and not simply to get to the end of it. That’s huge!!! Our kids need to see us trying difficult things and succeeding, hiking is a good place to start, because it can be as easy or as difficult as you are able. The thing is, we don’t need books to tell us how we need the great outdoors, we know it makes us feel so much better about everything, we actually just need to get outdoors. Some hikes are a race up the mountain, and others are an amble along the beach to a bench with a view… it doesn’t matter what it is, ours began with an evening amble… Big dreams and high mountains really are reached one step at a time.
When your children are small friendships revolve around play-dates… my kids are older now and respect that I have friends that are important to me… in fact they love that I will go off for coffee with a friend from time to time or a “walk and talk.” The thing is, and it is hard to believe when your children are all small, there comes a time when your friendships will no longer really on the “who, what and where” your kids are… there does in fact come time when your friends are the perfect little sanity saver in a day. Nothing beats a good friend that knows your heart and stands by you through everything. The more your kids see you value your friendships the better they are at their own friendships… I have found this to really be a case of what they see they do.
Catching up with tasks that have been left undone, ticking things off your to do list, and struggling through fatigue to do stuff you said you would, isn’t nearly as important as getting enough sleep. Nothing you do or even blog about is that important. There is nothing you can do well when you are tired that you can’t do so much better when you have slept. My kids sleep all night, mostly, they do….. and so there is no excuse for me to stay up other than I have lost my way to bed. I am mastering gently steering myself to bed and making sure I get a good nights’ sleep. It is a magical thing, when I sleep there is nothing for my kids to stay up for and they tend to just go to bed too.
The Nature of our homeschooling life is that I am my kids’ teacher… and that means a lot of our conversations go something like this, “Have you done your math yet, can I help you with your geometry?” “Can you read to me while I cook dinner?” it can be all very dry and functional… I have to make time, and remember that kids need real conversations too – every single day. Time is one thing, but matters of the heart quite another… That sounds a lot easier than it is… it is so easy in this world to speak as we are spoken too… but with kids and especially older kids you have to consciously decide to talk to them as they should be spoken too rather than as you are spoken too.
With eight kids ranging from five to eighteen it isn’t always easy to find things to do together. Shared memories are the ties that bind us together. Boardgames believe it or not, are not as easy to play with a heap of kids, they are great for one or two kids, but not eight. Reading has been a fabulous way to create shared memories and reading together is one thing we do a lot of… we have all wandered about in the 100 Acre Wood together and we have all tumbled down a rabbit hole… we have traveled the world and survived many trials, all from between the pages of a book. I am making the effort to make sure that they hear the stories I grew up on, cultural literacy and family literacy is a real thing and I want to keep it alive and well… not by making them read through a pile of books (how does that work anyway), but by reading with them and aloud to them. I am the voice that reads to them, while they are eating breakfast and lunch, I am the voice the voice that washes poetry over them while they stop the day for cocoa’o clock. It is my privilege to be that voice and I can only hope it inspires them to be the same voice for their children one day.
Turns out there are so many things that I would like my children to do because I do them… rather than just because I told them too… the list is endless in fact. But I have started with one or two things and I am slowly working my way to including better habits, nothing awesome and incredible… just a lot less bossing around and a lot more action on my part. I’m better for it and so are they…