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Do you find Christmas stressful? Here’s some tips to ease the burden…

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Firstly have you joined our Facebook group yet? Parenting teens (and preteens) with Mentor Mumma. Join us here 

Christmas. You either love the festive season or loathe it. 

If it’s the latter, you need to ask yourself why? Do you feel it’s too commercial? Do you think it’s lost sight of the true meaning? If that’s the case, in your world who’s let that happen?

I know when the girls were much younger I got lost for a while trying to fill Santa Sacks and little girls dreams to my wallet’s detriment. And then there’s been times in the past where cash has been low and I’ve had to be inventive. And then we’d move house and I’d pick up all those dreams ..some broken, some used once, some never used, very few truly loved and adored and cherished and I realised. ‘I’ had lost the meaning of Christmas. 

So along this parenting journey, and perhaps because mine are now that bit older..I’ve got two teens and an 8 year old who still believes in Santa, it’s become easier at Christmas time and far more enjoyable. Because I have made it so. 

The secret.

Aligning my beliefs and values with what happens at Christmas.

I am a parent who treasures memories and sharing experiences with my kids, so our past few Christmases, have been predominantly experience based. Santa sacks still exist because of Master 8, however Santa has become quite ingenious. ‘He’ gives the kids things they need for the upcoming school year – pencils with their names on them, character erasers, etc etc and things like hair gel (all 8 year olds apparently need this by the tonne!), hair products for the girls too, face creams, novelty items that have practical uses like torches for when we go camping, undies and socks, new PJ’s and day clothes etc.

And under the tree from me… experiences that we can enjoy together. Experiences that add value to all of our lives. Experiences that create memories we’ll all have forever. Memories that don’t break the bank or my value system.

In my latest Ask Mentor Mumma #002 I mention the Christmas Calendar. It’s a brilliant idea I saw somewhere a few years ago. You take an upcoming year’s calendar and each month you plan a family event to share together. This is brilliant for two reasons: 1) you have a year of family experiences and memories to create, and b) you don’t need to find the funds to pay for it until that month. Honoring it is imperative so make sure you’re able to do that before you put them in the calendar. Do a calendar for each child and whilst they’ll all be the same you can also schedule in one on one time with each of them in theirs too. They will love it.

Please don’t create memories of Christmas being a stressful time in your family’s life. Instead establish your own values and make Christmas fit with that rather than what ‘others’ do or you think are doing.

Life is short. As the saying goes: 

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And so too for your children. 

Make the decision today to decide what YOU value most about Christmas and make that the primary goal of this year. If you’ve got preteens and teens who’ve been spoilt rotten and gotten all the latest gadgets in the past, you may need to do some preliminary groundwork prior to the big day. Talk about what YOU value about Christmas, ask them to start to think about what THEY value about Christmas, and it may mean you need to apologise for losing the way through materialism and that you want to show them a different way. Whatever fits for your family. 

I’ve heard of some parents taking their teens to midnight mass, then to volunteer in a homeless shelter serving breakfast before going home for family lunch and gifts. I’ve heard of entire families forgoing gifts in order to go on a Christmas cruise or holiday of a lifetime together making that their gift to each other, I’ve heard of families who have a special savings jar and whatever is saved from January through until November is ALL that is spent on Christmas, not a cent more – sometimes that jar has been used to invite friends with no family over for a family feast. There are so many ways to do ‘Christmas’. Choose yours and put some meaning back into Christmas. Any stress there is in Christmas, YOU have put there. Therefore YOU can remove it.

I’ve also heard of people who put things on rent buy options. I”ve heard of families who extend the credit card in order to do Christmas. I’ve heard of people borrowing to do Christmas. These are recipes for failure and put so much stress on you and your family and well into the new year.. not a great start. Please don’t do it to yourself or your kids. You all deserve better and THIS IS THE YEAR to start demanding better, of and for, yourself and your kids. Don’t let stress in and it’s you who holds to door opened or closed on that one. Put measures in place for next year to alleviate the stress even more than this year. You all deserve it.

55 sleeps to go. 55 days to create lifelong happy, joyful, stress free family memories for you and yours. I’m looking forward to hearing the stories of how you are making Christmas an amazing experience in your household.

If you’ve got a teenager or young adult in the house our book Beyond School: Practical Tips for Teens is just $20, life changing and perfect for their ‘Santa Sack’ or under the tree. A gift that will keep on giving for the rest of their lives. Order yours here

Give us your tips on creating a value and memory filled Christmas for your loved ones.

Love
Jo

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Quarter Hour of Power: How to get the entire family cleaning the house without a fuss…

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Mentor Mumma has had some fantastic messages this week asking for advice around a whole range of topics. Not sure if it’s the stage we are in the school year (nearly there) or that Spring is in the air, or the impending, only 9 more Sundays until Santa comes, AGAIN! This week’s main questions were around getting the house cleaned, getting kids to help with chores and maintaining a decluttered home with kids.

I’m a minimalist at heart. My kids are not. This proves a bit of an issue at times but for the most part we live in harmony.

Every now and again I’ll walk in the front door and wonder when we became such a feral family. And that’s when I do it. My secret weapon.

I call everyone who lives here into the living room. We wait for everyone to turn up. I then look at the clock. Today it was 12:45pm. I then announce that for the next 15 minutes EVERYONE is to work making the house respectable and we do not stop until it is 1pm. The teen girls (Miss 14 and Miss 13) are good at knowing what needs doing, master 8 I will give specific tasks. Then for 15 minutes we just go for it. It is truly amazing what can be accomplished in such a short burst  of time with everyone on board.

After 15 minutes I’ll call out and congratulate everyone and we all stand and marvel at how quickly and easily the place was tidied, decluttered and swept out. Well done gang.

It wasn’t always that easy. This too has been a mentoring instance. In the early days when the kids were all younger I would delegate either specific jobs or state each person had to do 5 or 15 things in that 15 minutes (depending on their age and what needed doing). For those who thought they could slack off they soon learn that meant you got EXTRA chores. Arguing about extra chores got extra extra chores and so on until they learnt and I do recall hearing from a certain miss  on several occasions when she was winding up to argue with me “oh never mind it’s not worth the extra work’. hehe well learnt my darling.

We all live here. We all make the mess. We all contribute to keeping the house clean and decluttered. Life gets in the way and some times it just gets away on us, and that is when the Quarter Hour of Power is absolutely perfect. Such a little investment with such a big return.

I also use that method in other areas of my life to get things done. Concentrated bursts of power and effort really do bring about fantastic results.

I hope you and your family can implement the Quarter Hour of Power and see results in your home.

On a practical note this is how today’s went for us. I called the kids into the living room. Told them WE  were doing a Quarter Hour of Power until 1pm. Mr 8 I allocated the upstairs bins, tidying shoes and vacuuming the bathroom. I cleaned the kitchen bench and bathroom. Mr 8 wanted to squirt the Ajax so he also helped with cleaning the bathroom. The girls got to picking up papers, putting things away in their rightful homes and then I allocated sweeping the lounge area to Miss 14 and the kitchen area to Miss 13. Master 8 then informed me he’d also cleaned the toilet this morning! (I must ask what prompted that.. not sure I’m game though!).

So it’s really that simple. Assemble the family. Explain how it works. Ensure at the 15 minute mark you call out and congratulate everyone. Set an alarm the first few times because you want to keep the kids trust that it is just 15 minutes and you’ll stick to your word. Some days will require two Quarter Hours of Power. Do them a few hours apart. I find this works best.

If you’re expecting your child/teen to do a chore they’ve never done before you may have to mentor parent, that is show them how to do it properly the first one or two times. 

Happy spring cleaning everyone. 

Remember that on a weekly basis all kids and especially teens should be contributing to the household chores. Some are because they live there, and some are for extra money so they can learn the value of ‘things’ and learn to pay their way. As I’ve mentioned before all of mine (Miss 14, Miss 13, Mr 8 and Miss 20) take a turn once a week (they have their own nights allocated) where they choose the menu, prepare the meal and do all clean up afterwards, then there’s feeding the cat, kitty litter and garbage bins. On top of those there are a multitude of chores they can do to earn money such as loads of washing earns $5 (wash, hang out, bring in, put away), housework (broken down into different areas and jobs), cleaning out the car, garden work, etc. Check out our freebies page for the 13 things to teach your kid before they turn 13 FREE Ebook.

Have an amazing week, and if you haven’t joined our Facebook Group yet come on over to https://www.facebook.com/groups/1142716355786806/ 

Don’t forget with just 9 Sundays until Christmas Beyond School: Practical Tips for Teens is perfect for the teenagers in your life.

Have an amazing week everyone,

Love 
Jo
xo

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Have you taught this to your kids/teens yet? You should!

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It is imperative.
Life making and changing.
Essential.
I’m talking of course …………………… *insert drum rolll * ……….. of …………………………………………………………….. ………………………………

Good foundations AND resilience!

On a recent work expedition to Melbourne I had the opportunity to visit the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. Something I’ve long wanted to do before they all disappear. However it seems I didn’t have too much to worry about. The erosion taken to create the ‘apostles’ took thousands of years, and the ‘apostles’ that remain have been there for thousands of years. Nonetheless, the place is spectacular. Spell binding. Magical. Amazing.

When looking at the surroundings you begin to get all philosophical. Why did so much erode away? And why did it stop where it did? How is it the pillars that stand are still there? What makes them so resistant to the turmoil around them? How is it the flora around the area has adapted and thrives in such harsh conditions? How are those pillars still so strong?

I was blessed to be there with Alice and her Uncle Ivan. He’s a wise man who commented, “It’s the strong foundations that helps make them resilient”.

Think about that.

STRONG FOUNDATIONS HELP

MAKE THEM RESILIENT!

WOW. Mind blown! Yes. 

Just like these amazing pillars who are resilient to the forces of nature, none of us can withstand the onslaughts of life without having strong foundations.

How do we give our kids strong foundations? How do we teach resilience? There’s much controversy over whether you can teach resilience, it’s thought that some are born with  it but many need to learn it.

How to give your kids/teens good foundations:

  1. Unconditional love and support through all their crazy phases.
  2. Strong guidance (not control but freedom with guidance)
  3. Teach them self love, self respect and respect for others.
  4. Put responsibility on their shoulders that they gain confidence in themselves and learn to become independent while supervised by you, their amazing mentoring parent.
  5. Give them wings to fly and a safe haven to return to.

How to build resilience into kids/teens:

  1. See above, PLUS,
  2. Stop bloody doing everything for them!
  3. Let them face adversity when it enters their lives. Support them and give them guidance where required but let them fight their own battles, lest they grow up with no resilience at all.
  4. Let them suffer consequences – the bad but also the good. Choices mean consequences. Good choices bring good consequences. Bad choices lead to negative consequences. Let them learn this lesson.
  5. Parent with the end goal in mind – raising loving, independent and responsible resilient human beings who have solid foundations.

Have an amazing week, and remember: 

Parent with the end goal in mind – raising loving, independent, responsible and resilient human beings.

Dont’ forget to check out our ebook and physical book resources at www.mentormumma.com/shop. A HUGE thank you to everyone who’s bought a copy of Beyond School: Practical Tips for Teens and/or copies of the ebooks. I’d love to hear your feedback and how they’re helping your family. Email us at mentormumma@optusnet.com.au

Love

Jo
Mentor Mumma
xo

PS One of my fave pics from my visit 🙂

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Punishment vs consequences….

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If you haven’t got your FREE copy yet head to  www.mentormumma.com/freebies.html   This ebook will give you some goals to head for in preparing your preteen for the teen years, or if your kids are already at teen age then no better time to start than now.

Today I put out the inaugural Ask Mentor Mumma. The topic was consequences. I wanted to reiterate that the consequences for not doing chores has to directly relate to the chore not being done. I’ve had a couple of emails since putting the vid up with people asking specific questions so thought I’d answer them in a blog for everyone because pretty much we’re all dealing with the same things just in different forms.

  1. Not doing chores but gets pocket money.  If they get pocket money in exchange for chores and it’s a battle make it more real life. Get a diary, and each day they DO their chores they right it down, if you have to remind them all the time about the chore, they have to do the chore and DON’T get paid! At the end of the week they get paid for what they HAVE done and not a cent more. This works well when you also set the expectation that they pay for their entertainment. Eg when we go to the movies the kids usually buy their own ticket and I’ll buy the snacks. That kind of thing.
  2. They just won’t listen. I’m guilty of this.. from my kids. We have a rule now if you want my attention you have to touch me on the shoulder and gain eye contact. I know we are all living really busy super fast paced lives but I think the art of communication and contact is being lost and in its place we are frustrated, easily angered and down right pissed off that our kids don’t listen.  How about for a week trial the communicate via touch on the shoulder and eye contact. I am very confident you will see a change in reactions and listening skills.
  3. He won’t make his lunch and would rather go without if I don’t make it. Fine. That’s his choice. That’s his consequence. You don’t make your lunch you go to school without any and how you feed yourself there is up to you. See you when you get home but I’m not making your lunch you’re 13 years old for goodness sake! Same goes for breakfasts.
  4. We tried the cooking at dinner but it just takes so much longer. Yes, yes it does.. initially. But after a few weeks they’ll get the hang of it and you’ll be free to do something else with that two hours and he/she will be learning a great life skill, contributing to the family which in turn builds gratitude and respect.

I absolutely love feedback. I thrive on your comments and your messages, so thank you thank you thank you to the gorgeous peeps who take the time to comment, send me messages or texts. You make my day, and your feedback reiterates why I do what I do. I want to see lives changed for the better, I want to see parents, in particular mums, living their best lives and their children too. Life’s too short not to.

Love your work Mentor Mumma tribe. Thank you for giving back mwahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Tomorrow is the Mindful Money Expo..excited.. have set my goals.. and a little bit nervous too (just like anyone who puts themselves out there is). Game on!

Love 
Jo
xo  <

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Kids crave this….

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I started doing this a few years ago and the kids absolutely love it. I think you and your family would benefit too – if you don’t already enjoy it.

One on one time is so rare with each of our kids yet they crave and love every second of it.

It all began years ago when the gorgeous Donna W took her girls away for a mummy daughter weekend, and her hubby took their son away for boy time. Brilliant idea I thought, I”m going to use that! I’m not at the go away stage as my kids are younger but we do the regular one on one mummy daughter/son dates at this stage and the kids LOVE it.

I try to fit one each for each of them every month. As a single mumma that’s not always easy but we manage it, and they love it as much as I do.

It can be an elaborate night/day out or it can be as simple as taking just one of them to the shops and getting them a special treat and having a chat in the car. The possibilities are endless.

The only ‘rule’ is that you are 100% in the moment, 100% attention on that one child and 100% present for them during your one on one time. Put the phone down or away (after the obligatory photo that YOU are in, of course) and focus on them. Listen to them. Make lots of eye contact.

And make sure you keep it even – you don’t want them thinking you have favourites. When you’ve done it a couple of times each they will all learn and realise that they all get a turn and mum/dad spoils them all equally, just not at the same time.

Would love to hear how you’ve created one on one time in the midst of the turmoil that is life with your kidlets. And if you haven’t started it yet, give it a go this week. You all deserve it.

I’m loving that you guys are getting heaps of value out of the weekly newsletter (If you’re not on the list yet scroll down and enter your email and you will be..easy as 🙂 ), and if you’re still looking for a Christmas gift for a teenager check out  Beyond School: Practical Tips for Teens in our shop

Have an amazing week everyone,

Jo
Mentor Mumma