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Parentally tired: A must read article 

Are you a tired mum or dad? Exhausted from the daily grind of parenting? Feel like a slave to miniature sized humans? On the rare occasions you get a night off do you prefer to sleep?

I recently watched Bad Moms and there is a scene where one of the characters tells the others that she fantasises about having to go to hospital for a week – because someone cooks, someone cleans, and all she’d have to do is lay there. I have to admit, I’ve had the same fantasy in the past! Just some me time, PLEASE!

Well I’m here to tell you I no longer dream about hospital stays or needing time out. Don’t get me wrong I still need mummy nights out it’s just now they are so I can socialise, not escape ‘parenting’. 

HOW did I do it?
Just as in the movie Bad Moms, I handed over responsibility to my kids!! I encouraged and forced them to be independent and, here’s the secret…. TAUGHT  THEM DO THINGS FOR THEMSELVES!

Which meant I had to STOP DOING THINGS FOR THEM!

At age 8 kids are capable of being taught to cook. Lots of mentoring and hours goes into teaching them kitchen safety and how to cook a few dishes but after a few months all they’ll really need you for is the shopping, and putting things into and out of the oven or stove top help. They do can do the dishes, while you might have to do the dirtier or heavier pots and pans, least the most part gets done. And the looks on their faces, the pride at their achievement and their contribution. It’s a huge milestone for them and they relish it.

Then as they head to the preteen years the 11-12 age group, they can begin doing their own washing too. This one event has saved me so much expended energy because now it is their responsibility to make sure their dirty clothes make the dirty washing basket pile and then their responsibility to get them washed, dried and brought in and put away. Not only does it take the stress off you, it’s training them for real life and teaching them independence and responsibility – and aren’t they two pretty high up there goals of a parent.

My teens are about to learn how to do the family budget, meal plan for the week for three meals  a day and snacks, and then do the shopping – learning about value rather than cost (They already know this but I”m about to send them out to do it on their own). I will still do it most of the time but I think I’ll make it a once a month event where they do it. I have two teens so maybe together to start with then once a month they can take turns doing it.

Younger kids can alleviate your stress and fatigue by being responsible for their own play areas, making their own sandwiches and lunches. Obviously under 6’s need a lot more supervision and mentoring but they are very capable of contributing to the household such as: putting their own toys away, keeping certain areas clean, setting the table and clearing it, feeding pets, helping unpack groceries, making their beds….. I’m sure you can think of a few things too.

Mum (or Dad) is not synonymous with slave or maid. It means mentor, love, nurture, guide, protect and provide. Sure there are things our kids can’t do until certain ages and that’s our job to do those, but there comes a time when us doing certain things for our kids is more about us needing to be needed.

Lazy (loving and purposeful) parenting creates respectful, grateful, responsible and independent kids and teens. #parentgoal

Give your kids the best in life while simultaneously easing the pressure on yourself. Share with us your tips to ease the fatigue, exhaustion and pressure of parenting.

Love

Jo
​Mentor Mumma

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Work from home – for bonus rounds add kids!

14102187-10154175840149279-6948260611991850268-n_origThere comes a time in life where you decide to chase your dreams.

That dream is different for all of us.

For me it involves working from home and writing, a LOT! Which I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I’ve worked from home for the past six years as a Disability Assessor and Relocation Consultant so the family is used to mum at the computer.

Now that they’re older it’s far easier but boundaries did have to get put in place such as when mum’s at the computer she’s working, only disturb if the house is on fire or you know you want to tell me about that absolutely hilarious joke your friends friends dogs brother told you on the way home!

When the kids were younger and needed a lot more attention the key to working from home was to prioritise time and become the time management queen. To increase the difficulty factor I’m a single mum so no back up, no cavalry, just some awesome friends who step in and have the kids for me occasionally and now the girls are older, it’s Dan I farm out occasionally for sleep overs.

My top tips for working from home with kids is:
1. Kids come first HOWEVER if you don’t work you don’t eat, so set the boundaries early on. If kids are still toddlers work in their nap times and create ‘play alone’ time or find another mum with kids the same age and swap, she have them one day and you the next, thereby giving you both a 6 to 8 hour block each week in which to work (although you’ll be tempted to sleep, don’t!). Clear boundaries between play time and work time.
2. Know your WHY. Why do you do what you do? What do you work from home? Why are you doing the work you’ve chosen? Chase YOUR dreams (you’re worth it!).
3. Time management: Learn to prioritise. Learn what distracts you and remove it. Learn what motivates you and gets you in the flow. For me it’s listening to motivational tapes on youtube. Find YOUR thing.
4. Head down, backside up and hustle and grind until you’re where you want to be.
5. Have a ‘debrief’ zone, an area that you can let your mind rest and relax and come up with new amazing ideas. Mine is the one pictured above.. my back dec.

When I had 3 kids under 6 including a newborn I finished my psych degree without any help. When he was a toddler and the girls at school (and me running up there for this show or that parade every ten minutes) I finished my honours degree because I found another mum where I entertained her child and mine one day and she had them the next day. When the kids all hit school age I was able to work from home and found Nirvana.. the work life balance. Now Dan’s 8 and the girls teens I feel like a production machine but the ‘quick get it done before they wake up’ mentality is still there and so I can get things done super efficiently, which I consider a super power developed after many many many late nights of ‘fitting it in’ in between the kids.

Decide what your priorities are. Decide what your dreams are. And go for them.

You’ve got this. For another perspective on working from home in a Network Marketing environment and without kids check out: Timothy O’Neil’s blog 

Love

Jo


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August 21st, 2016


Socialise your child… Socialise yourself.

sDavid Wolfe’s meme “The Original Facebook” paints a picture of togetherness, interacting and socialising.  Why does it appeal? Because as humans for the most part we crave connection, belonging and finding ‘our tribe’. Especially so for our kids and more so for our teens. 

I hear from parents whose children have trouble making new friends and the first question I always ask is ‘how many friends does your child see you connecting with, in person, on a regular basis?’.  And I don’t mean watching you on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat etc etc every night! I mean in real life, in the flesh, face to face?

If parenting is about mentoring then that also includes socialising. Have your friends over for wine and cheese, or cuppas and cake, have other families over for bbq’s or games nights or  if you dont’ know people just start inviting the mums or families of kids in your kid’s class over, you’ll be amazed at how others are craving the same.  You will get rejections but you’ll soon find reciprocation. If you get anxious or are worried about people coming to your home, how about catch ups in the park or at the beach or your areas local tourist spot. We are so blessed to live near the beach so we do a LOT of catch ups there – especially when the kids were younger, that way you can invite more people. In summer we do a ‘shout out to those in one of the kids classes ‘we’re heading to the lagoon at 3pm for an early bbq dinner.. bring your own and join us til 6’. We’ve had times where one other family shows up, we’ve had times where about 8 turn up! The kids have a ball, and adults get to socialise too. As they enter teen years it becomes a bit harder to do but we still have regular ‘group’ catch ups. If you make it a late afternoon event that can be a way of having a lazy dinner too – bbq in the park, no washing up, no mega preparation, perfect.

Obviously children with anxiety disorders and those on the Autism spectrum have their own set of issues around socialising.  With more and more children being diagnosed as on the spectrum there is a greater need to mentor the kind of socialising that appeals to them, that doesn’t frighten the crap out of them and helps them build compassionate and genuine friendships. If your child isn’t on the spectrum then what a great opportunity to help your child befriend someone from their class who is, and who is probably eager for friendships. I know their parents would appreciate it more than you could ever imagine.

Get your socialising on people… it’s how we teach our kids correct relational etiquette, appropriate interactions, and the fun, support and happiness that arises out of genuine friendships, including compassion, forgiveness and personality differences. The bonus is you get to socialise too, you get to maintain friendships or build new ones while simultaneously having adult time, laughs and hopefully some good wine.

Spring is just around the corner, the perfect socialising time of year.

Love

​Jo

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Bad Moms Vs Real Mums

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 Bad Moms – the reality of Motherhood, not bad Moms. The title sucks, the movie rocks.

Without giving spoilers the premise of the movie is DO LESS as a Mum to ease the burden on yourself, and in the process raise amazingly responsible and independent human beings who are loved beyond measure.  And isn’t that the goal of a great parent – growing responsible, independent and kind humans.

I  don’t like the title of this movie. Sadly, there ARE bad mums in the world and in Australia they are the Mums (and Dads) who make up the cause of the 320,000 notifications of child abuse in Australia each year! These are the parents who do not do right by their kids. The rest of us are just day by day, hour by hour doing our best, winging it, hitting goals more than we strike out (which we do a fair bit of too).

I would hate to see the movie breed the notion of real mums as bad mums! 

Bad Mums:

  • Physically harm their children
  • Deprive their children of love and affection
  • Put others before their kids, usually a new boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Starve their children or feed them crap (no nutrition therefore little brain and body growth)
  • Leave them in the care of other unfit humans or leave them unattended at young ages
  • Allow people into their children’s lives who abuse them – physically, emotionally and sexually
  • Scream obscenities at them
  • Allow their kids to get away with disrespectful things and then blame the authorities
  • Don’t encourage, set expectations or mentor their children in anything positive
  • You get the picture.

Real Mums:

  • Protect their kids but teach them to stand up for themselves (resilience training)
  • Provide for their kids (But have them do their bit too)
  • Support their kids (and expect support in return)
  • Feed their kids nutritional meals (and occasionally cereal for dinner, maccas and pizza!)
  • Give their kids consequences for crappy behaviour or actions
  • Set boundaries and expectations and teach a work ethic
  • Give their kids chores and age appropriate responsibilities to foster independence
  • Lose their shit and need time out … occasionally
  • Have support squads they can reach out to for those times
  • Swear! Often under their breath…. occasionally (or more often depending on the hormone level of those in the house that week!)
  • Invest in their kids education and extra-curricular activities
  • May or may not volunteer at school, may or may not work outside the home 
  • Are not perfect, don’t pretend to be, nor are our kids but their kids are loved

Let’s not idolise bad Mums. Bad Mums need guidance and mentoring but rarely accept it or acknowledge the need. Bad Mums make up a great percentage of the 320,000 notifications of child abusers in Australia each year.

Real Mums on the other hand are just that, real mums doing the best they can for their kids, losing their shit occasionally and raising healthy, relatively well adjusted responsible and independent kind humans while enjoying girl’s nights out, time out, wine on occasion and a sleep in every so often.

I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen the movie but one of my favourite scenes is between Amy and her son,  around who makes breakfast and why. Just perfect.

Highly recommend the movie. Here’s to all the Amy’s out there – doing our best, scoring more goals than we do misses,  but when we do strike out sucking it up, venting to our support squad and moving on because our kids are loved, supported, protected and provided for and are genuinely good people (even with us as their mums!).

You are doing a great job, keep that up xo Next week’s article will be on HOW to do less as a parent and have a happier home :) 
Please share this article around with your friends.
Jo
​xo


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Little boys…. 

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Boys. They really are from a different planet. After two girls I was a bit shocked by the difference a boy can bring to the family dynamic. One minute they’re WWE wrestling and full of testosterone and angry outbursts, the next they’re in bed not feeling well with me rubbing Vicks on his back and in his sweetest voice saying “thank you mummy I love you mummy”.

Little boys can melt your heart one minute and send you to the pyschologist the next because you threaten to throw them down the stairs if they have one more hissy fit. Maybe that’s just me? 

​I know it’s not. I’ve spoken to many mum’s of 7 and 8 year old boys and the one thing we all have in common is the rollercoaster ride these little bundles of love and testosterone send us on. 

With Dan we had to remove sugar and dairy from his life and that eased the tantrums up. They then came back again (mostly because we got lax and I put two and two together to realise he doesn’t cope well with unknown situations – sure hope he grows out of that one!) That’s when we sought professional help. As much for him as me. After just a few visits of the psychologist talking to him on his level and man to man all seemed well in our world. There are still the occasional outbursts (usually when I’m interrupting his precious TV time with a chore which he’s learnt means more chores!) but for the most part he’s either started to outgrow them or learning to handle his own emotions better.

I have a friend, Donna from the Global Nobles is having her baby tomorrow. She already has two gorgeous girls. Only the universe knows if it’s boy or girl.

In case it’s a boy here’s a little note:

Dear new mum of a boy,

  • You will be surprised at how much more protective you are of your son than your daughters. I can’t explain it. Mum’s will tell you the same. The same way Dad’s are of their daughters.
  • You will be surprised how from an early age he will know which buttons to push, regularly – the good smiley ones and the omg what have I gotten myself into, ones.
  • You will be grossed out by his ability to pee standing up from an early age while simultaneously doing number 2’s. Clever little things as toddlers they are.
  • Your heart will stop beating if he’s unfortunate enough to suffer from croup and spend countless 2am shifts at the ER having adrenalin shots, but then when the adrenalin hits and he starts asking the nurses in his most charming voice for yoghurt or you know chocolate, you’ll laugh through your sleep deprived delirium. And you will do that through so many of his adventures.
  • You will wonder what the hell is going on during his first night terror or sleep walk as so many boys seem to. This too shall pass (and Google can answer all the questions you’ll have on WHY for the love of all things good do these things exist!).
  • You will be amazed at just how much nasal exploration goes on. I don’t think they outgrow this one.
  • You will be amazed how around age 7 his feet stink worse than the sewer on a hot day and if shoes are removed in the car it will cause the occupants to convulse with dry reaching and heaving.
  • Farts are here to stay. Get used to them. The smell. The sound. The laughter.
  • You will be amazed at his fascination and inquisitiveness. You wont’ know what it is until he decides but during the toddler years you will no doubt watch countless reruns of the same shows like Wiggles or Thomas or Cars and then just when you’ve got them the complete set of that he’ll ‘grow up’ and be at school and eagerly getting into sport or another obsession. He will spend hours exploring, inquiring and trying new things or the same thing over and over and over and over.
  • If your son is sporty you will soon enjoy the plight of ‘soccer’ mum whether it’s league, afl, soccer, etc. Cold night time training sessions, early morning rises for games far away but the glint in his eye, the pride in his colours and the mateship you’ll see him experiencing will melt your heart (you may even sign up to be Team Manager.. it has its rewards, the top one being HE will look at you with those big eyes and tell you he’s proud you’re his team manager – the same way he does when you volunteer in class or go on excursions with him).
  • You’ll be amazed at how resilient and strong he is one moment, and how much he still needs and wants you, his mum, the next.
  • As he gets older you’ll do all the age appropriate responsibility and independence instilling and he will thrive, and revel in his new found skills and abilities and his confidence will soar.
  • Your heart will break when his breaks when people, usually adults let him down. 
  • You will cringe at the adventures he gets into.
  • You will be beside yourself at the things he THINKS he can do (such as climbing on two storey rooves to retrieve balls or fitting down drain pipes to retrieve balls – all the exciting things include balls, apparently).
  • Your heart will melt when out of no where he gives you a random hug and kiss on the forehead and tells you he loves you.
  • And all this before he discovers girls, cars and expensive toys!
  • You are in for the ride of your life. Stock the fridge. Stock the first aid cabinet. Get the emergency numbers in your speed dial. Align yourself with fellow mum’s of boys.
  • Your days will never be the same again, thank god for that – for it will be occasionaly the worst of times but for the most part, it will be the absolute best of times. 
  • Enjoy the ride. I am. xo

Jo
xo


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Respect –  Vital for parents to role model, teach and expect.

Respect. Having high or special regard. 

How do we teach our kids and teens to have respect for themselves and others?

We start early in life by helping them respect themselves first and foremost.
When someone respects themselves it’s inevitable they will respect others.  

We build up their self esteem and confidence, we praise them on their strengths, help them realise their weaknesses and accept them. We help them see that in other people. We all have strengths. We all have weaknesses. We teach them not to take notice of labels and rise above them.
We teach them that we teach others how to treat us by what we expect, and when we expect and give respect to ourselves and to others, that’s what we predominantly get.

One of the biggest problems I’ve heard parents have is that their kids don’t value or respect property or finances. That’s because you haven’t taught them to!

Children and later teens have chores because they live in the home and are a part of a family. Then there are additional responsibilities and chores you can get them to do in exchange for money. Respect starts when they’re toddlers learning please and thank you (which is respect and gratitude tied up together). Once they are earning money and this should be from around 5 or 6, they then use this to pay for things for themselves. For example in our house if we go to the movies the kids buy their own movie tickets and I’ll buy the snacks, or vice versa. This teaches them the value of items. When they know the value of something they are more likely to respect the experience, the item or the person. If we go out to eat we will have had a conversation prior around what the bank balance looks like and what I’m expecting to pay, therefore they know ahead of time to respect the family budget. Be open and honest with them and you’ll be amazed at how this is mirrored back.

We teach respect by giving responsibility to our kids from a young age and building on it as is age appropriate through the years.  

We also teach respect by role modelling it.

Although you are your child’s parent, you are their mentor. We have a rule in our home that if you wouldn’t talk to a friend that way don’t talk to each other that way. We tend to become nonchalant with those closest to us and inadvertently treat them in disrespectful ways, ways we wouldn’t treat a friend.  If you want respect you must first give it – not just to your kids but to others too.  I’m often astounded at the number of kids I give a lift home to who don’t think to say thank you – so my common phrase is ‘You’re welcome” to which they automatically reply ‘oh thank you Jo’.

There’s a great saying that says you can tell the calibre of a person by how they treat the waiter. Teach your kids to respect everyone by you yourself respecting others and expecting respect in return.

Expect respect. Give respect. Your kids will see this and emulate it, and when they don’t increase their responsibilities so the message is clearer.

I’ll leave you with this poem, maybe you can print it out and place it somewhere everyone can read it regularly. We like to put quotes and such things behind the toilet door where there’s a captive audience.

Please share the blog and help others help themselves xo

Jo 
​Mentor Mumma
xo

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Teaching our teens that loving our friends sometimes takes courage…

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The teen years bring with them some pretty heavy subjects our teens have to deal with. The past few weeks I’ve spoken to parents and concerned mentor parents about several situations regarding their teens or friends of their teens. And the common theme is their teens are concerned about getting help for their friend because they’re concerned it will be seen as ‘dobbing’ because the friend has begged them not to say anything.

We MUST raise our kids to know that sometimes you have to love a person more than they love themselves. Some times you have to be courageous, be brave enough to go against what a friend is asking or demanding of you and seek help on behalf of that friend. Sometimes their life will depend on it. Maybe not immediately but sometime in the near future.

This takes a lot of bravery and inner fortitude not just for our teens but for us as adults too. We worry about crossing the line. We worry about interfering. We worry about being labelled ‘dobbers’ or even  ‘judgemental’.

What our primary thought should be is:
If ‘I’ don’t love this person enough to get them help, who will? 

And that’s what mentor parenting predominantly is about. Mentoring our kids first and foremost but then their friends too.

It takes courage from our teens. It takes courage from us as parents. But at the end of the day it takes love to change a generation and sometimes love is dressed up in approaching the right authorities, sometimes love is dressed up in having conversations around taboo topics with our own kids but also their friends, sometimes love is dressed up in removing our teens from a situation and seeking help on behalf of the other party, sometimes love is dressed up in ‘betraying’ a trust in order to get the right help for them,
sometimes love requires something of us
beyond anything we ever expected.

I am so blessed to have amazing mentor humans in my life. Some stories I’ve heard this past month have required parents to protect their own children from friends, some have required  parents to encourage their teen to demand their friend get help (or they will do it for them), some have required overcoming fears of retribution in order to seek help for a friend, some have required going straight to the authorities to ensure the safety of a teen (even if the teen didn’t see the danger themselves), some have required bravery, but all have required the action of a mentor (be that another teen or another parent). And that is mentor parenting love.

Now is a great time to have a chat with YOUR teen or pre-teen about this topic,
loving our friends enough to do what’s right for them
(which for friends going through something isn’t always what they think they want or need). Looking out for our friends and their needs. What real love is – doing the best for ourselves and others.

If you know a teen or young adult who could use some professional intervention, I highly recommend Headspace who are a Government established centre for youth mental and health wellbeing support. Whether for your child who may need support to support their friend, or for their friends in need.

You guys in the Mentor Parenting tribe are doing an AMAZING job. I am so so proud to call many of you friends, and those I’ve only met via messaging, I’m so glad we found each other. This generation of teens is in great hands. I absolutely love your work, your courage, your commitment to your kids and other’s kids.

Sending a tonne of Love this week,

Jo
xo