Try this for fun today!
LOVE. We all have it. Beginning at childhood, birth. It's called a heart. Then, kids grow. Sprout. Soak it all in. Learn. And... It starts with us, adults. Teaching Good vs. Evil. Breaking cycles of madness while creating circles of joy.
Adults. We need to get over ourselves. Breathe. Model better. Be better. Do better. Love better. Seek better. Listen better. And hating .... far less. Hate is anger. Anger is normal, but there's a difference between getting angry and being angry. Getting angry happens to you. Being angry, defines you. Why let it? Hate is such a strong word. It's a lie, cover-up. Fear and frustration you hide within you for reasons only you need to figure out and let go of.
Be a joy. Be light. Be love. Or please, just....Be silent.
Take a note from my sleeping child next to me so peacefully. Just be. And, at sunrise?? Wake up tomorrow, better. Happy. Smiles. And full of innocent life. Sins happen. Forgive works.
In her 4 year old words when asked why she's so sweet....her response? "I just love people." That's it. That is it.
I didn't teach her to say that. I teach her to DO that. I try my best to model loving people. Not holding grudges. Our family is full of so much diversity on all sides...religious beliefs, ethnicities, financial statuses, opinions, age gaps, cultures, and lifestyles. Yes. Hispanic, White, African American, Puerto Rican, German, Brazilian, Redneck, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Non Denominational, and undefined... our family together, we are ALL. It doesn't make a hell of a difference in my child's eyes. Why? We are love. Family by all means. Blood, marriage, extended, and yes even adoptions. It is a diverse love. I love her. She feels that. That's how we learn and live. We act and feel. Her mom has the attitude to just love all people. Not that I agree with all, or like everyone's choices...some I actually feel sorry for... but we don't have to be okay with their choices, their hate. We don't have to return that hate back on them. Or even like their opinions. Forgiving others doesnt make what they do or did okay.... it makes us okay. God is watching. He's got this. He will handle it. He is love. Hell is under ground for a reason. Heavens above. Why? God always wins on top.
Then, what do we do when hate and violence happens to us here? First of all. We Stop. We expect better of ourselves FIRST. As I teach all of my children....with these exact words. "Worry about yourself. You are in control of your own actions and choices. It's okay to have awlful moments, but we want to be better than that."
Here are 3 strong words that need to be said to ourselves every night before bed and every rise with the sun. And I'm guilty. I need to remind myself of these too more often.
Pray. Love. Be.
Happy dreams beautiful angel.
Good night. Tomorrow is a new day. Dont try to be perfect. God is only. He tells us, Just be better. Love Him, and.... Love thy Neighbor as thyself.
WELCOME TO THE NUT HOUSE!
(Where We Always... Love, Smile, & Pray!)
To PARENTS and those that STARE at our CRAZY!
To all parents, who get starred at when our kids are acting imperfect. It is okay, your kids are okay, and you are okay. Life happens, just keep on keeping on. Excuse that person that is starring at you.
With love and honesty. Ready or not, here it goes.
So, for that person, that just couldn't help themselves to keep on starring at me and my children today at the restaurant. Please excuse you for starring at our crazy.
2 hours later, I am writing this quietly in my office, and my kids are being perfect angels in their bedroom playing together nicely. See, the chaos earlier at lunch, was just temporary. Sorry you got to stare at that side of them. They are really good kids. We all have our moments of insanity and chaos in life, no matter how big or small.
Fellow Parents, Can I Get An Amen??
In public, we bring our kids. They act like kids. We parent them (sometimes beautifully done, and sometimes we are looking crazier than our kids are acting - I am sooo guilty of this one!). And what happens? People stare. This happens too often, at least in my life. And, it is so annoying. I said it, yes. I am annoyed. I am exhausted trying to please others. And, I am doing my best.
It is good to note the DIFFERENCE between these 2:
There is a huge difference between starring at "kids being kids," while the parent is preoccupied or not attentive - and starring at "kids being kids" while the parent is trying to parent. I am shouting out for the later of the 2.
Starring is Not Polite.
Starring at a parent being a parent to their children whatever the case, is not polite. To me, it feels like I am being judged. Like having to walk on water to care about the opinion of yours as I am parenting, you are transparently telling me with your wide-eye stare, "wow, you're nuts." Nope. I'm trying to be a parent. I'm tired, and okay, during our circus show I can definitely feel like I am going nuts at times. But, I’m not nuts.
Then, as you continue to stare, I start over-thinking in my head while I am trying to parent my children whom are already giving me a hard time, "well what if they are offended or my kids are bothering them?" I begin to care and have empathy for a complete stranger that quite honestly, got themselves involved in my parenting business to begin with, because of their choice to stare at us. I didn't ask for you to stare. Your feeling with your stare, and my feeling to have to think "what are they starring at and thinking of my kids chaos" - is totally unnecessary. My 4 year old throwing a tantrum in public is enough feeling for everyone in the room at that point.
Instead, I re-evaluate how I think and feel in my own head after the "feelings" go away, and you keep starring at my circus.
You are offended at disruptive children? We are offended you are offended at our kids. You are the adult. At one point in your life, you were a child too. And we are sure, you were disruptive in public at some point.
Empathy is polite. Starring is not.
To the parents that get starred at, keep telling yourself this:
I am a parent. I will fully and whole-heartily parent to the best of my ability. My kids will be kids, so please let us do our thing. I am confident in my parenting abilities. Even when I'm about to totally lose my BLEEP, I got this. Help to remind me to parent my child first, and worry about not worrying about those people starring at our craziness later.
When kids act like kids in public, two things happen.
They either are perfect angels (AKA – Good!), or at other times, a total circus train-wreck show for God and everyone to witness!
Good news for those of you that stare, you get a ring-side, free ticketed seat. Enjoy the show. However, parents with kids that are being kids, be sure to give them a good show. Title it: "Please Stare at My Circus."
I am the parent jumping through hoops on a unicycle while juggling fire. My kids are the clowns (and depending on where we are at, they might be the tightrope walker, lion tamer, magician, or ringmaster). My parenting body is feeling like that ring of fire I just jumped through. And as a finale, my kids just lit this whole public place up with fireworks. Yes, we are quite a show, aren't we? Glad we can entertain your life.
Stare at me while I parent my children. I mean, we are in public right? Freedom. Rights. We all have rights. You have the right to stare at us. My kids have the right to be perfect, or a total pain in the you know what. And yes, even us (the parents) have rights too. We have the right to be a parent. Regardless of what you (the starer) thinks, or the opinion you have behind those wide-open, glazing eyes. We all have rights, indeed.
But, if you want to stare, here is a really good thing to keep in mind. As we are parenting our children being disruptive or not making perfect choices because they are small children. Please remember we are doing our best. When you stare continuously, it adds so much frustration and tension (aka: Anxiety) to us trying to parent our children. Not to mention the huge amount of frustration and patience it takes to just be a parent in the first place without any outside influences.
When I am trying to quiet my child for 30 minutes in the grocery store because they did not get their way with that chocolate bar on the candy isle we had to go down to get our apple juice, please stare at us. I will continue being a parent, telling them no, while they scream. Why? Because saying "no" to my child is okay, and I will not reward this bad behavior. They are not hurting, so no need to look and wonder "what is going on, is that child being hurt?" They are just being a kid, and I am being their parent.
When I am trying to get my child to sit quietly in their seat at the restaurant and wait for their food. Please, stare. I will continue to parent my child by giving them crayons and paper, or allow them yes, to play on my iPhone, all while explaining to them that their food will be out shortly. Why? Because sometimes parenting means teaching children what it means to wait, and ignoring bad behavior. And, if you stare at me walking my child (very fast with a purpose) out the front door to "have a talk," and then back inside in 5 minutes. If you are wondering "what just happened?" I just got done being a parent.
When my children are crossing the street without me, and I am screaming at the top of my lungs at them to "get back over here, get out of the street" - please stare. I will continue to yell at my kids to "get over here," and when they do, have them sit on the sidewalk for a time-out (or "thinking time" whatever you prefer to call it) for making such an "unsafe choice." Then, I will continue to teach my children how we look both ways, and walk safely across the street with an adult. Heck, I am the parent that might even make my children practice how to walk across the street 5 times the right way, until they learn. Please, continue to stare at that demonstration too.
So, for any circumstance when my children are acting horrible, crazy, chaotic, or like perfect angels in public. Please, know that yes, you have the right to stare. Just as we parents have the right to remind you kindly, that it really annoys us. And makes us feel completely, awful. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances. Like parent failures. We are not failing, we are parenting and doing our best.
Kindly and gracefully, we have 3 Tips, instead of Starring.
KIND TIP #1: STARE AND SAY A PRAYER! This means what it says. If you do want to stare… great, power on! All we parents ask while you are doing so, is to please say a small little prayer for us while we are parenting our “out of control at the moment” children. You can stare for as long as you wish… as long as your prayer is for our sanity and patience. Don’t forget to please also say a prayer blessing for our children. Thank you!
KIND TIP #2. SUPPORT US! This DOES NOT mean to try and tell us how we should be parenting, no, we aren't asking for that. And it also doesn't mean to try and parent our children for us. Again, we are parenting our children! This just means it is okay to give some assistance; without over-stepping your boundaries as a stranger. And yes, there is a fine-line to cross.
For example, this one guy did this when my children were doing that "street crossing without me" situation mentioned above. He went up to them (while others were bystanders staring at me), and said to my kids, "Hey, y'all better listen to your mommy and get out of the street." Just a little support. I totally appreciated that. And, my kids listened to him and got out of the street. (Especially when they haven’t been listening to me because I am a record on repeat in their ears). Then, I continued to parent my children with a consequence and lesson talk in safety.
Thanks to that guy. Why? Because sometimes, it does take a village, and it does impact children more when complete stranger’s step-up to support the parent (key word: SUPPORT). When you see a parent "stressed out" or dealing with their kids just being kids - be the grace, not the judgement.
Like that other time my children were bouncing off the walls & fighting with each other, literally, at the grocery store. Because why? The person who stares has no clue. Good thing I am their parent, and I knew why. They were exhausted which makes my children act like total hyenas. However, knowing this, I still had to stop in the store on the way home to get a few things and really did not have any other time to do it. So, I gathered up my energy, let my kids be kids, and took on the store with 2 deliriously small children. Instead of starring, this one lady in front of me at the check-out line who was probably in her 70's was quietly listening while keeping her eyes pointed in another direction, as I was telling my children (for the 50th time), "Leave each other alone, when we get home you will both have to go to your own rooms and lose playtime." I was now exhausted myself, feeling defeated, and completely DONE! When the lady was finished paying, she turned around to look at me and the kids for the first time, and said very gracefully, "You're doing a good job momma. Keep it up. They are good kids."
Oh my-lanta. Support. Love. I just won as a parent. Tired, turned into triumph. Just a few positive words from a complete stranger, during a time when you're about to lose your shiznet because your trying to parent your kids being kids. Thank you to this lady. Not to the lady behind us for starring in awe & shaking her head back in forth, as if my kids were ruining her day.
The Real Truth
If you are a parent, have been one, know someone that is, or have parents yourself... kids will just be kids. Parenting - some days, some moments are hard. Most, are absolutely amazing and great. And, your child's "behavior" whether perfect angel or crazy hyena - won't be that way forever. That is parenting. Let it roll...
KIND TIP #3. If you can't say a prayer OR keep the boundaries to support the parent while they are parenting, then please, just STOP STARRING!
It is actually very simple. Look up, look down, turn around, walk away, or play on your iPhone. Just stop starring at us. Unless, it is a supportive stare.
We know, we know. Our kids are bouncing off of the walls right now, screaming, or fighting with their sibling. And, as a parent, I have been actively being a parent to them handling it all. I am exhausted. Telling them to stop, taking things of value away from them, and giving consequences for the past 4 hours (heck, somedays, may be 8 already).
One thing I will not do, is provide any excuses for my kids being kids. Or me being a parent. Their parent. They are not perfect angels and they are not hyenas, they are just kids. And I am doing my best. I do not care if society thinks I should parent a certain way. I do not care if my kids do not like how I parent. My job, is to teach them about life. To prepare them for the next level of life. To know what it means to try and always keep going in life. Crazy, circus show, or not. It is part of how we learn, grow, and adapt in our lives. That is why they are kids. And that is why I am a good parent.
I am a parent first. Not my kids friend. We will have plenty of time to be friends in 20 years. Right now.... I plan to love my kids enough, to be their parent now, and a best friend then.
During times of chaos - what can Parents do??
Don’t try to be perfect. What society thinks parenting should be, I guess? There really is no set manual for parenting. Just so long you are trying, actively doing, and engaging with love (sometimes, mine is tough love!).
We all make mistakes. Just do the best you can do with what you have at the time. Parenting is not perfect. Your kids aren’t perfect. The people starring are not perfect. The good news? You can be perfectly imperfect at parenting, and your kids will still love you.
I have stopped to hug my child to calm them down. I have tried to reason with my child. I have given rewards or have yes, guilty, bribed them with candy or incentives. I have ignored tantrums. I have yelled. I have talked to them in a calm manner; explaining how and what and why and all of that good "parenting talk stuff." I have called their father (or other parent) to let the kids "talk to them" and see if that works. I have listened to what it is they want by not talking to them, but rather being an ear so they can "use their words" to tell me what it is that is making them act this way. I have taken things of value away as a consequence for bad behavior. I have rewarded good behavior. I have put them in time-out for 1 minute per their age.
I have used positive and negative redirection, given warnings, natural consequences, changed my tone of voice, tried to distract unwanted behavior to desired behavior, used love and logic, and all that other good stuff my 2 college early childhood educational degrees taught me.
But. At times, none of it has worked it.
What do you do now?
It is during those times, is when you pull out the “Parent is Winging It On Board” bumper sticker to literally stick right to the front of your forehead. For all to see. Do not feel shamed for when you are just being a parent. And during those times when you feel like a “bad parent”, all you can do is be good at being bad. Keep rockin’ – Put your big parenting britches on and begin again.
Kids, just will be kids. The chaos won’t last forever… until it happens next time. And, it doesn’t last forever. What is forever is you as their parent, and your consistency of parenting.
That is the key to handling these hard times… be consistent and always, always follow-through. Give love, model behavior, do not reward undesired behavior, set expectations, and keep on keeping on.
Here’s to a Very Great, No Good, Wonderful Chaotic Day!
So please, to those who have front row seats at our family circus, excuse you while you stare at me actively parenting my children.
Sometimes, some days are just like this. Kids will be kids. Even in Australia.