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A blog to support, encourage, and mentor at home moms in all aspects of home making and family life.

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Friday
Apr012011

Story Time

We all know it's good to read with our kids, but who says story time has to be right before bed?  Sometimes by the time you're tucking them in, you're too exhausted to even think about reading a story.  Don't beat yourself up about it. 

If you're too tired to read with them at bedtime, try having them climb in bed with you in the morning for a snugly story time.  In their bed before nap time, or have Daddy sit and read with them on the couch after dinner while you're tidying the dishes.

You could kill two birds with one stone and read during bath time, which is always a nice way to settle kids down before bed, where the warm water calms them a little. 

When our oldest was very small, after breakfast she would sit on my lap with her little cardboard nursery rhyme books, and we would often read for over an hour.  Of course reading the same books day after day was certainly repetitive for me, but holding her on my lap, having her pudgy little hands turn the thick pages while her little baby curls tickled my face was dreamy.  She couldn't talk yet, but she knew all the actions to her little books.  

Although she doesn't remember those days together, when she sees the books, she can remember the rhymes, and 21 years later I can still feel those little curls on my face.

*****
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*****
Our next Apron Strings get-together is;
On:                    Friday, April 8th
At:                      Life Church/WRCA                

                            2265 - 152nd St., Surrey
Time:                10:00 - 11:30am
Little Guys:    Child care is provided






Friday
Mar252011

A Love Letter To Motherhood

Lately I've heard from two different young, newlywed girls, how people are telling them to have their fun now because once they have kids it's all over.  How hard it is, how frustrating it is, how you don't have any time to yourself.

How sad!  Is this really how people feel about parenting?  About motherhood? 

My question is, why? 

It baffles me that something so wonderful, so valuable, something people long for, and often spend years and thousand of dollars trying to attain, is regarded as being so onerous.

Yes it's hard, yes it can be frustrating, exhausting.  Yes it will take all your time.  But since when have these been bad things?  Since when has something so valuable been expected to come for free?  

 

It baffles me that something so wonderful, so valuable, something people long for, and often spend years and thousands of dollars trying to attain, is regarded as being so onerous. 

 

After all these years of being told we had to get out of the house, get a career, earn a living, have we some how come to think that mothering was some kind of cop out?  Something one did only if you were incapable of the others?  That it was for the mindless and therefore must be simple?  Maybe.  


I was told recently by a mom in her 30's with two young boys ages, 2 1/2 and 5 months, "I have a degree in Psychology, I have run groups for teens, I've taught classes for parents, I thought this was going to be easy!  I should be really good at this."

Well easy it's not.  But awful?  Who's promoting this completely false information?  If things aren't going well, change them.  If you're feeling overwhelmed, let's get you some help, some support.  This can be wonderful.  This can be the most rewarding thing you'll ever do in life.

Mothering for me has been a life long love affair.  

When I was little I played it.  When I was a teenager I imagined the day I would become it.  As a newlyweds we dreamt of it.  For the past 20-some years I've lived it, and now as I stand at the precipice of empty nest, I mourn it.  And through you and this blog, I relive it.  Each wonderful, silly, exasperating, exhausting, funny, touching, soul warming moment of it.

In my minds eye I can go back through holding them as infants, nursing them, sitting on the floor outside their closed bedroom doors in the middle of the night, breasts flowing with milk and eyes flowing with tears as they were left to cry themselves through the night, learning to sleep through on their own. 

Their first steps, first words, first hurts. 

I can picture couch cushion forts, backyard musicals.  Holding her, my heart breaking, while she cried because her best friend now wants to play with someone else, and "doesn't want to play with me."  Laughing myself silly when, after 45 minutes in the toy room, she came out fully decked out, head to toe, in a Captain Hook costume of her own design, complete with a tin foil hook and a rolled, black construction paper wig. 

When I look back on these years I am filled with thousands of happy memories.  Not that every moment remembered was a happy one, but looking back, seeing the whole picture, makes me... happy.  And not just happy, but the kind of joy that makes your chest swell and twist.  An emotion so pure and primal it's hard to name. 

 

After all these years of being told we had to get out of the house, get a career, earn a living, have we some how come to think that mothering was some kind of cop out?  Something one did only if you were incapable of the others?  That it was for the mindless and therefore must be simple? 

When I look at the two young women who are leaving my home, marrying wonderful young men, never to call my house their home again, where, while they slept I could pet their sweaty little heads and kiss their soft cheeks, my chest twists with pride and grief.  I am so proud of these young women, so happy for them, so thrilled with the men they've chosen.  But will I miss it?  Do I wish I could have it all back, to once more hold them sleeping my arms, teach them how to ride a bike, tell them the facts of life, take them to have their ears pierced, their braces off.  To once more sit around the dinner table all together knowing that it would happen every night, and not just once a week?  Yes.  I do.

And that's the trick life plays on us.  We wish the hard stuff away, never realizing how truly wonderful it is when we're in it.  

Don't wish it away.  And don't fear it.  Motherhood will challenge you, absolutely.  Will you make mistakes?  Of course.  Can you plan it, make projections, forecasts, will you be evaluated and told how well your doing?  No.  It's a thankless, "payless," 20 year job.  But it is most certainly not with out reward.  There is nothing on the face of the earth that I value more than the years I spent raising our girls.  And nothing I am more proud of. 

Tonight, before you go to bed, pet their sweaty little heads, kiss their soft cheeks and take stock in all you have.  Tucked up, under your roof, for years to come, because sooner than you realize, they'll be gone.

Friday
Mar182011

Disciplining In Public

 


It breaks my heart when I see a parent berating their child in public for everyone to hear.  Imagine if you saw a husband going off on his wife at the mall.  You'd be mortified.  Why is it any different with children?  Wouldn't their little spirits be crushed just the same as an adults?  Of course they would.

Discipline is a private thing.  It is not something to be done publicly.  It is also not something to be done loudly to show others that you are equally disgusted with your child's behavior and that you're going to "show 'em who's boss".  This attitude leads to parents loudly correcting their child in public while looking around to be sure that everyone sees how powerful and dominant they are.  It's awful.

If we go back to "Crying Cops", you know that you have the authority, there is no need for bravado.  And there is certainly no need to humiliate your child.

If you are in public or another person's home and your child is behaving badly, quietly take him to a private place and calmly explain to him that he needs to stop behaving this way, or.... 
Or we'll go home. 
Or we'll go out to the car and you'll get a spanking. 
Or you won't get to watch your TV show tonight. 

Whatever, so long as it's not an idle threat, your child can smell one of those a mile away. 

And that's what it comes down to in public or at home.  Do your children believe what you tell them will happen if they don't behave. 

Are you willing to follow through even if it interferes with your plans for the day? 

They will test you certainly, but it doesn't take many times of calling their bluff for them to learn that you mean what you say, especially if you start this when they are young.

Be fair to them.
Don't keep them out for hours and hours.
Don't keep them out through nap time.
Don't expect them to sit through a two hour lunch.
But also remember that they are capable of behaving nicely in any situation for a short period of time.  You shouldn't have to get a baby sitter just to buy groceries, and you shouldn't have to suffer (or cause the rest of us to suffer), a badly behaved child in public.

Just like discipline at home, public discipline is about calmly letting your child know you're not happy with his behavior, what will happen if he doesn't behave, and the willingness to follow through.  Do this consistently and it will become less and less necessary to discipline them at all.

 

Saturday
Mar122011

Let's be "friends"

Hi Everyone,

I found out from the members at our meeting yesterday, that they weren't receiving notifications of new posts.  So!  I've started a Facebook group called Apron Strings.  Please join!  I will be linking each new post to this the group page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!
Shonna

Thursday
Mar102011

Minister of the Interior

Wikipedia defininition: An interior minister (sometimes minister of the interior, minister for home affairs or internal security minister) is the member of a country's government typically responsible for policing, national security, and immigration matters. In some countries, matters relating to the maintenance of law and order and the administration of justice are the responsibility of a separate justice minister.

Policies, security, immigration matters.  Sound like your area of jurisdiction?

You are the Minister of the Interior.  You are the Minister for Home Affairs.  Whatever comes into your home or happens within your home is up to you.

Let me say that again.

Whatever comes into your home or happens within your home is up to you.

Think about that for a minute.

The culture within your four walls is a world unto its own.  Neither the media, nor your kid's friend's parents, nor the school your children attend, nor that latest trend, rule your home. 

You do. 


You. Do.

I don't tell you this to encourage a heavy hand, the opposite!  I tell you this to encourage you to take a minute, a day, a weekend, to just stop.  Stop the madness and think.  

What do you want your home life, your home culture, to be?

Go back to your priority mandate.  (Apron Strings 'Crystal Ball', February 3, 2011).  Are you living it?  Does the culture within your home reflect it?

Is your home hairied?  Are there more words of scorn than words of encouragement?  Does the TV negate any attempts at conversation over the dinner table?  Are your children at odds with each other all the time?  Is whatever the crowd doing dictating what you allow your children to do?

Why?

Stop for a minute. 

Would you like a harmonious home?  A home where your children speak kindly to one another and enjoy each other's company?  Would you like dinner time to be a time when your whole family sits down together and catches up on the day.  Would you like to finally be able to say "no" when your child's friends invite him to do something you disapprove of?

This is possible. 


All of it.  

 
But it doesn't come easily.  Or naturally in some homes.  First and foremost, must come your children's realization that you and your husband are in charge.  You are the Ministers of the Interior, and you more so than him.  He is out all day, concentrating on the demands of his job.  Your job is to create a home life and a home culture for your husband and children.  This is a huge, all encompassing task.  Don't ever let anyone tell you it comes easily.  Don't ever think that you can drop the kids at school, spend the next 5 hours shopping, lunching or at the gym and expect to have a well run home you're proud to give your family.

A happy well run home takes organization, intention of purpose, self discipline on your part, the consistent discipline of your children, showing respect to your husband, and so on and so on.  It is a big job.  An important job.  A job with no instruction manual and often very little support.

But I'm here to encourage you.  If you're unhappy with the culture of your home, change it.

Over the next several weeks and months I will be giving you suggestions, recounting what worked in our home, what I would have also incorporated now that I have the benefit of hindsight, and some good old fashion home making tips to help make the practical running of your home easier.

I want to support you in achieving the home life you want, the home life you want to give your family.  Don't ever let anyone tell you it's easy or make you feel unambitious for being an at home mom.  Trust me, it's a long run, but come graduation time, come time to walk your daughter down the aisle, if you can look yourself in the mirror and with tear-filled eyes know in your soul that you did it well, that you did it very well, you will count yourself one of the luckiest people you know.