Its been too long since I last blogged...not sure why. Sometimes life gets away on us, and it reminds me to slow down. Take some time. Reflect. Soak it all in.
Over the holidays, I tried my best to keep the gifts down to a minimum. I have seen so many people spoil their already spoiled children. I'm not saying they are "bad" kids or "bad" parents for doing so...it just gets a little grotesque.
My kids are far from perfect. And I try my hardest to deal with poor behaviour properly and constructively. However, my kids would NEVER hit, bite, or scratch an ADULT. They haven't even done that to other kids - minus the hitting part. I get that kids hit. But it needs to be stopped. Ellis and Jenner are both firecrackers. They are both busy. They keep me on my toes. They keep me on edge. They keep me sane. They keep me. In their little hearts. That's where I am. And I try everyday to wade through my own BS and show them how to be good people. And some days I fail. Some days I want to give up. But most days, they are good, kind kids. I will never forget whe Ellis raised his voice at me in front of my closest friend, and she turned around and said "Don't you speak to your mother like that in front of me!" And that little bull-headed four year old raised his voice at HER. Well, that was it! As stubborn as he is, she kept at him CALMLY and would NOT be pushed around by a child. And I intervened when I could (I was driving) and reaffirmed what she was saying. And I had to ask him several times to apologize to her. He forgot how. And I kept on him, and so did she. And finally he said sorry. And he meant it. He loves her. She doesn't take any shit from any kid. And my kids STILL love her. This goes to show, that even if you don't spoil your kids until your house is cramped full of toys, that they will still love you.
We can buy our kids anything they want. But we DON'T. Because that is not the point of LIFE.
Life is about learning. Loving. Growing. Respect. Exploring. Playing outside. Cuddling. It's about PEOPLE. Family. Friends. Quality Time with those you love.
I am putting this out to the universe. I do NOT want more TOYS for my kids. I will get them toys for their birthdays. ONE toy each. I might get them clothes. And Christmas, Santa is the one who puts gifts under our tree. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, friends - save your money. Do not dump toys on us. I feel like toys are useless gifts that get played with for five minutes and fought over for three.
Up until Christmas morning there was no gifts under our tree. Every single person who came to our house asked "Where's all the presents!!??" Astounded that there were none.
I said "Santa brings the presents".
And on Christmas morning, he did. And there were TEN. Four for each kid, and two to share. There was clothing, a couple toys and play dough. And the damn playdough is my saving grace EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Have you ever been at home with your kids, and one of them says some rude remark that a smart-ass adult would make, and you actually catch yourself having a little chuckle? Now, has that same child ever said that same way-too-old-and-cheeky-for-a-child-remark in front of another adult? Have you ever noticed that adults reaction?
I really don't that our generation, and the ones following us, are actually putting in the parenting time they should be. A lot of us use sitters, nannies, day homes - and that's absolutely fine because its a necessity that both parents work in most households. I know there are damn good people out there who watch our children for house. But there are also low quality caregivers. There's even low quality parents. I just can't fathom being a parent that doesn't use time outs, or doesn't use some sort of discipline. And I don't mean the biting or hitting them back kind of parenting. Because THAT is not parenting, that is bull shit. That teaches them nothing. Well, no, it teaches them revenge. I have seen so many parents say "Do you want me to do that to you?" and then they do. And every time, I bite my tongue. Biting your kid doesn't make them stop biting. Giving your kids toy after toy after toy, doesn't make them less spoiled.
Say no once in a while. Put them on a time out. Allow them that time to reflect on their errors. If they don't understand it now, they will later. They will be better little people for it. Consistency. That's was they need.
We need to respect our kids, we need to give them the skills to be GOOD, honest, hard-working people. Not little brats that no one wants to be around. My kids will tell me if there are kids they don't want to play with. And it's because of their behavior. If my four year old and two and almost three year old can see that some kids aren't the type of kids they want to be around, what do you think other adults will think of them?
I really hope we can all open our eyes soon and see that we don't need to spend money on our kids for them to have a good life. I hope I have the strength to do that. How easy is it to buy a little toy car just to make your kid happy while you're trucking around a cart full of groceries at Superstore? Why not let them have their fit, and talk to them, explain to them that there is a difference between wants and needs. We NEED these groceries in this cart, so that we can eat and be healthy. We WANT that toy car because we like things that are shiny and new, but we already have ten different versions of that car, so we don't need it.
My kids have TWELVE flashlights. Twelve. I've never bought them one. They have more flashlights then I do, because I figure I don't need any, since they have more than they need. I can't even begin to guess how many toy cars they have. Or stuffed animals. Or holiday socks. Or clothes.
I like productive toys - like colouring books and playdough, or puzzles. But we have MORE than enough of that stuff to last us over the next three years.
So what do my kids need?
That's just to name a few. Not one "thing" was on that list. And I hope to keep it that way. And it is going to be SO hard. And there will be days that I know I will eat my words. But I am going to try as hard as I damn well can to stand by it.
Over the next little while, I will be picking through the boys stuff with a fine-toothed comb. Items that are duplicates, useless to them, or they no longer use will be donated.
I will also be implementing a no-buy rule for family and friends. A gift I, myself, will be giving to my children, nieces, and friends' children, will be money. Five or ten dollars for their birthdays. And that is something I will accept for my kids. But NO MORE.
They can let their little bank accounts grow. And when they head to college they can have access to it. Or if they want to buy themselves a used vehicle one day.
I am going to give my kids experiences and create memories around TIME SPENT with family, as opposed to MONEY SPENT on stuff.
Welcome to 2013, a big shift is coming, in more ways than one. And it is going to be awesome!