All posts tagged marble jar

Get a life – Not your kids’

I love this post. Please read it. I share her sentiments.

Five Reasons “My Kids Are My Whole Life” is a Stupid Thing To Say

On Zoe’s first day of school, she bravely, with only one glance back at me, walked through the school doors and into her life as a student. No crying, no gnashing of teeth, no clinging to me. That was 13 years ago. She has loved almost every day of her school life. Why? Well, there are several reasons.

  • School is for her. And because school is for her, she took ownership of it and of her experience while she was there.
  • I didn’t interfere with her experience that first day.

Next to me, on Zoe’s first day of school was another mother with her daughter who was clearly distraught. The 5 year old was crying and then screaming, and then pouting. She climbed up on her mother leg and up into her arms until her mother was holding her, almost like an infant. The 5 year old began to talk baby talk and the mother cooed to her using the voice we reserved for our newborns. When it was time for the child to walk into school, she couldn’t do it. In fact, it took near 15 minutes for this child to make it through the doors (parents were not allowed in on the first day – smart thinking on someone’s part).

Later, as we gathered for our instructions on how to be good PTO mothers and Room Mothers, the woman turned to me and said, “I noticed how easily your daughter went into school.”

I nodded and smiled.

“The thing is, my daughter and I have, how do I say this, a very deep and special bond and she NEVER wants to be away from me. Our love for each other is deep. Really deep.”

I froze. Back then, I had even less tact than I have now. I turned and looked at her and said, “You have got to be kidding me? You think that drama was a testament to the love you have for each other. Ha. You might want to talk to a few folks and get a reality check.”

I stood up and walked out.

She never spoke to me again, but that’s okay. I was pissed. I got over being angry and even tried to make eye contact with her, but to no avail.

5 years later, I happen to see this woman and her child on another “first” (dance class this time) and to my astonishment, the daughter pulled the exact same stunt, only this time, mom looked embarrassed.

I felt for her. I felt for them both.

No mother, intentionally ties themselves to their kids in unhealthy ways, but it happens. So, as the article above by Leslie Irish Evans suggests, take a step back, question your motives, decide if what you are doing is more for you than the child and then take a page out of our kid’s life and “get a life.” You will be happy you did and so will your kids.

As the author suggests, replace the statement “My children are my whole life,” with “My life is deeply enriched by my children.” Feel the difference?

If you need help making this transition and noticing character traits and qualities about your children that enrich your life and you appreciate, the Marble Jar app is just the tool to help you shift your perspective and increase your awareness!

Get out of the Way!

Every day I am inspired by nuggets of wisdom from Vicki Hoefle, Creator of the Parenting On Track™ program.

Yesterday it was. “If you want your children to have faith in their abilities, first you, the parent, must believe in their abilities.” I have heard this 100s of times and yesterday I experienced its power.

Here is how it played out.

My husband was away on business and I offered to drive the older kids (13 & 15) to town before school, so they could meet some friends for breakfast. I would come back home and make another trip to drop off the younger ones (9 & 6) at the elementary school.

The morning was humming along – kids in the shower, getting ready…5 minutes before I am scheduled to leave, I announce to the two youngest, that I will be leaving with the two oldest and back in time to drive them to school.

The 9 year old – starts to pitch a fit – I mean pitch one. I had a moment where I thought “I have to tape this, because nobody will believe this is happening – I don’t believe this is happening.” She is screaming, “I can’t do it, I NEED your help.” Now mind you – I have been teaching this child the skills necessary to get out of the house on time, prepared for school in the morning since she was 2 and she has been practicing for the past 3 years, solo. I really have not “helped” this child for the past 3 years, in any aspect of her morning routine.

I personally have practiced the skills of disengagement, as she has on occasion attempted to draw me in with her “cheap” drama. She is an amazing dramatic actress. Now for those of you who don’t believe that these types of fits are cheap drama, and that this poor child needed her mother to tend to her…..read on.

I stick to my word, as we are a family that practices following through. And I tell my daughter that I have faith in her abilities and that I have no reason to believe she can not handle preparing herself for the morning. I attempt to kiss this child who really looks like she is in the middle of an exorcism – and am forced to retreat in order to avoid a kick to the belly. She is invested – full body invested.

I kiss my other child who is sitting on the big overstuffed chair by our woodstove, looking very cozy I might add and watching her older sister intently.

I lock the door behind me and head out.

As I am driving back into our driveway some 25 minutes later and about 45 seconds from the door, I call from my cell phone.

    “Hello.”

    “Hey babe, it’s Mom.”

    “Hi Mommy, we are having a snack of hot chocolate, grapes, cheese and pretzels.”

    “Excellent, what else do you have to do to be ready for school?”

    “Oh nothing, just clean up our snack, put on our boots and our coats.”

    “Ok, do you think you can do that in 30 seconds?”

    “Yep.”

    “Ok, I’ll meet you outside of the mudroom door.”

    “Ok” she says. “Do you have the key?” she asks.

    “Why yes, yes I do.”

    “Ok good, because I will make sure the door is locked and don’t want you to be locked out when you get home.”

    “Thanks, I’ll see you soon”

I am so grateful for these girls. I appreciate how resilient, clever, tenacious, and capable they are. As powerful as this moment was for us, it’s entirely possible that 4 days from now, when we come together for our regularly scheduled Family Meeting, I will have no memory of it and I will forget to appreciate these amazing daughters of mine. So, I will take the necessary steps to imprint this memory in my being and remember it for Saturday.

In May of this year, I will have access to an amazing iphone app developed by Anna Rosenblum Palmer of winwinapps inspired by Parenting On Track™. This app will be called Marble Jar and will have a Bright Spot feature that will enable me to record this moment on my phone and easily access it tomorrow or 4 days from now at our Family Meeting. Imagine being able to stop & record the remarkably wonderful things our children do, rather than always trying to figure out how to fix the mistakes they make? Priceless and soon to be available at your fingertips.

Yowza!! I have practiced for the past 10 years showing faith in my kids and trusting in their abilities along with taking the time to train and support them and it is paying off in spades. I am so grateful that I was able to let go of & look past the screaming, the kicking, and the near miss to my abdomen and walk away.

I was reminded AGAIN, of how capable my kids are at getting themselves ready in the am and of their attempts, to at times, convince me otherwise when they are feeling discouraged. I am also reminded that the best thing you can do for capable kids – is step aside (get out of the way) and watch them soar!