There is no doubt about it, 2020 was a rough year. For many of us! The covid-19 outbreak has shocked us to the core, and while I never expected high changes when the clock struck midnight to arrive into 2021, I am hopeful of a better year.
That being said I couldn’t mark the turn of a new year without thinking about my favourite moment of 2020. There were some incredible highs even in the toughest of times, and one of those times was our baby girl being born. She really has slotted into the family like I never thought possible.
After trying for a few years and the sky gaining three of the brightest stars, we didn’t need to wait anymore. Our baby girl joined my husband and I and our two boys, and we couldn’t be happier. That was my moment. The 3rd of March 2020. Before the lockdown and schools shutting, before all of the craziness. For a few weeks it was normal. While it hasn’t been the first year of her life I expected or planned, it has certainly still been one to remember. I have made a video of our year if you fancy taking a look at some of the other memorable moments.
Here’s to 2021 and whatever it has planned for us.
When I first became a mum, I had huge expectations of exactly the type of parent I would be. There were moments where I used to think the TV wouldn’t be a babysitter, that my child wouldn’t be using an iPad, and let’s not forget the visions I had of my child eating only nutritious food and wouldn’t be the chocoholic he is today. But fast forward to today and I am not that mother, far from it. There are things that have turned out great, but there are situations that I assumed I would react differently to.
1. Mum guilt will never leave you
Being in some form of lockdown due to Covid-19 since the end of march has taken its toll, there is no denying that. Mum guilt would always rear its ugly head every now and again, but this year has certainly taken the biscuit. This week has been half term, and in tier 3 restrictions mixed with typical Manchester weather, it has been tough. We have had to stay at home. With our baby being 7 months old, she’s full on right now, and with a 7 year old boy that wants stimulation and attention, I have felt stretched. The guilt has been unreal. Logan has spent way too many hours playing fortnite, and not enough time spent with me. The mum guilt reached a climax come Halloween, with no trick or treating allowed, I genuinely felt like I’d let my son down. It wasn’t my fault. It was out of my control. But yet here was the guilt once more. I ended up creating some sort of make shift spooky Halloween bath time surprise with slime. Logan seemed to love it and it eased the guilt momentarily. Mum guilt will never leave you, but know this that there will be times when it peaks and when it subsides. Don’t let it get to you!
2. You cannot fight your sons battles
We are at that stage right now with Logan where he is loving playing video games and talking to his friends online. Fortnite is the game of choice, and while I am not so keen on the game itself, or the amount of time I let him play on it, queue mum guilt once more, it certainly got us through lockdown and times after school where I have felt torn between my children. The one thing I have had to learn, especially this week it seems, is that I can’t fight my sons battles. As much as I want to. Being kicked out of games, hearing them say to leave him out. It’s not easy. Don’t be fooled, Logan can be just as bad, but all I want to do is put that headset on and say stop it! I can’t fight his battles. He needs to learn that actions have consequences, and subsequently that things won’t always go his way. I know I have more battles of this nature to come, and will have to resist the urge of interference again in the future.
3. Meal planning helps, do it more often
There has been way too many nights this week that I have scrambled to the cupboards wondering what I am going to cook for tea. It’s a short and simple solution, meal plan. Write it down, stick to it, and shop in advance. When I do it, and I stick with it, there is less stress, less pressure. Will I ever learn?
4. I am not a Pinterest mum, and that’s okay
Who else scrolls through pinterest and gets many ideas of crafts, bakes and play inspiration thinking that they can do the same? Me! Am I the only one? Pinterest is a great site. I love it. But I have to be honest, I am just not a pinterest mum. I long to be able to do the crafts, and create the wonderful things I longingly browse through on a Sunday morning. However, I just can’t do it. This week I tried to create my own wrapping paper for my husbands birthday. Hand prints of Logan’s and Luna’s footprints. In my head, it was going to look amazing. While the end product looks, at best, mediocre, the carnage of creating it was something else. Logan was easy to sort out. He did his handprints, then straight in the bath. Great! Luna was more difficult. How do people manage to get wonderful prints of their babies hands and feet? It ended in tears, me and Luna. The thought was there, I guess.
5. That no matter how terrible you think you are, your children don’t have the same view
Tonight, as I tucked my son up in bed, I apologised for being such a rubbish mum recently. I’ve not had much patience recently, and I have felt so guilty because of the current situation, the changes in his life, and well, having a new baby has stretched me more than I thought it would. He simply said that I wasn’t a rubbish mum, that I was the best mum ever! He loved his slime bath that I panic ordered through Amazon Prime, he’s loved having extra time on his game, and he understands more than I give him credit for that things are hard right now. I’m the best mum to him, he’s happy with me, and well, what more can I ask for?
So there you have it, five things on motherhood this week. Have a great week ahead.
If you haven’t seen on my Instagram yet, the latest news for our family is we are finally expecting a child after a very long journey. I plan on writing up a full post about the first trimester and sharing some thoughts about the whole experience, but for now this blog article is about an entirely different subject. Reward charts and discipline.
My little boy is now six years old, and he is thriving and loving life. Just as he should be. However, these last few weeks and months I have begun to notice a shift in his behaviour. He was pushing buttons and testing boundaries, he was ignoring warnings and just doing what he wanted. I’d shout, I’d threaten punishment, but the truth is, this didn’t even phase him. Why? Because he knew I wouldn’t follow through.
Changes needed to be made
A while ago we took Logan to the doctors because we found that he was developing certain tendencies and twitches in his behaviour at home. The doctors advised us that he had what she described as a “Type A Personality” and that he thrives off praise and being told he is doing well. It made sense once we thought about it as we knew he loved to hear he had done well and and continued to do something just to hear that praise.
We realised that negative language didn’t work well with Logan, and that he was more in tune with positivity. So we changed the way we dealt with things, and for a while it worked. But the main issue specifically lay with me, I was too soft.
I will admit that I am the type of mum that likes an easy life. It’s a busy day anyway, and if I can get things done quickly, avoid confrontation and arguments swiftly, then I will, just to get through the day. However, the problem with that was Logan realised that he could get me to do anything, and that really he was never told off for doing naughty things.
Things need to improve
With a baby coming next year, I realised that things needed to change, and so I got thinking, chatting to friends and family, about ways that I can encourage better behaviour, a nicer environment at home and more independence from Logan. So I came up with a few methods and to be totally honest with you all, they are working. I thought I would share with you what I have been doing but do check out my Instagram page and also IGTV for a video discussing this in more detail.
To be honest I have tried a reward charts in the past and they have given me varied results. They worked well, but not as well as I had hoped. I realised that I may have been over complicating them in the past, so I tried a more simple approach. At Logans school, they use a reward charts system and give out “dojo’s” for good work and behaviour, the difference is the teacher decides what is worthy of a Dojo. So I applied the same principal with gold stars at home.
There are many things he can get a gold star for. Eating his meals, getting dressed himself, good behaviour, kindness etc. At the end of the day myself and his Papa will chat with him and decide how many he has earned that day and what for. We may even highlight it at the time if we think something was worth a gold star. His aim is to get to twenty stars on his reward charts and he earns himself a prize. He’s loved this, and is already working out what he can do to earn more gold stars and his behaviour has improved.
There are a couple of things that I have changed when it comes to discipline. I usually would get to a stage where I would shout, which didn’t leave me feeling good or actually make any difference with his behaviour. Sometimes I would threaten things like taking an iPad away etc and then never following through with it. It was doing me no favours really. So having chatted to friends and family, I decided to try out one technique.
If Logan is doing something wrong, I would give him a warning. If he continues then the punishment would be thirty minutes of no technology. The TV goes off, he can’t use any of his devices, nothing. He can play with his normal toys, he can do his homework, and read etc. But tech is a no go. This actually felt like it could be a punishment for me as well as Logan, as the TV is always on in our house. Guilty!
However, it wasn’t so bad when I did actually have to follow through. He moaned a bit, but then he just got on with it. The thing is, since that one occasion I haven’t had to do it again. The warning seems to be enough at the minute.
We will also take away gold stars from his chart if he misbehaves. So we do have the choice between the two options. I guess it depends on exactly what he is doing to govern the type of punishment or discipline he will get.
Overall these things have helped our home life and routine, and also improved Logans behaviour. He will always be an energetic lad. The one thing I have realised is that all children are different, and that not every child is angelic and as well-behaved as I once thought. It’s good to talk. Because let’s face it, motherhood can be lonely at times.
Let me know what systems work for you in your household.