Friday, 9 March 2012

It's not them, its me

As the mother of Bob, Pete and Burley I am more than familiar with the stress of getting children ready for their day at school. I have had my fair share of mornings that involved me screaming at the kids, them screaming at me, them screaming at each other, everyone ending up grumpy and running late, and me feeling like the worst mother in the world for two hours after they had gone to school. Yet I felt there must be some better way, a way that would mean everyone went about their day feeling happy and calm.

Since giving up my workaholic ways 2 years ago I have been struggling to do normal everyday things. Getting out of bed is one of those things. In the second half of last year it was rare for me to make it out of bed before 8, and only then to make myself presentable to drop the kids at school. It was left up to the #HSP to get himself and everyone ready, a task he did because he loves and supports me, but a task he did not enjoy. It was stressful for him, stressful for them and resulted in a lot of arguments.

I also noticed that Bob was not eating breakfast everyday. It was a nightmare to try and get her to eat breakfast, to find something that she would choose to eat. I do not allow ridiculous sugary cereals in the house so I couldn't even bribe her with those! I know that not eating breakfast was the start of my weight, health and body image issues so it concerned me greatly.

So before Christmas I made the decision that when the new school year started I would get up early every morning. I would remove the stress and pressure from the #HSP and get the children ready in the mornings myself. I also decided to start making breakfast everyday to make sure everyone was fueling their brains for optimum learning potential and to make sure Bob got back in the habit of eating breakfast every day.

The added bonus of me deciding to go walking every morning at 5:30am (as part of the 1 Million Kilo Challenge) is that I am up and moving before they are finished dreaming. I have managed to keep this up for 5 weeks so far (except 2 days when I had a cold) and the difference it has made to our mornings is astounding. There have been a couple of mornings where they have had to make their own breakfast (usually cereal or porridge) but most mornings they get either grilled cheese and tomato on toast, french toast, baked beans, fruit smoothies or fried or scrambled eggs. On weekends I try and make pancakes or a full cooked breakfast (bacon, eggs, baked beans hash browns etc) at least one morning and the other morning they fend for themselves.

On top of this I made the decision to go back to making their lunches for them. In the past I got them to make their own sandwiches, a task which seemed to take eons for everyone to get through. Now I make all three (sometimes four if I do one for the #HSP) and only ask them to pack their extras, 1 piece of fruit and between two and three snacks from our snack box. This means that the lunch making process is now over and complete in no more than 10 minutes, and without any fighting over who was using what and who got in who's way.

By forcing myself out of bed and by making the choice to do these few simple tasks I have three much happier kids and one much happier husband shaped person! Each morning everyone is ready by 7:45 at the latest (the boys school doesn't start until 8:30). Everyone leaves the house so much happier and less stressed. Everyone seems more relaxed and less argumentative with each other.

However the most wonderful thing for me is that Pete, who has had constant (anxiety driven) behaviour issues at school since pre-primary has yet to be in trouble this school year (I'm frantically knocking on wood as I type this). He is like a different boy. He still has his occassional tantrums and defiant episodes (hey don't we all) but on the whole the difference it has made to his demeanor is amazing!

So I implore you, if something in your life isn't working, instead of feeling sorry for yourself, thinking things will never be any better or blaming others, look at what things you can change and maybe you'll be surprised by the results! I certainly was!


Jane said...

I bet the morning walks are doing wonders for your head too! I always find that a walk and is a wonderful way for me to clear my head and de-stress, leading to a much nicer me....! Good on you for keeping it all up so far!

tif said...

It is also nice to share my walk with my mum, it means we get some one on one mother daughter time every day and a chance to talk about things without being interrupted!

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