I am Ignoring my Kids, how about you?

I can’t be the only mom with selective hearing right?

 

I am trying to write a blog post.

My youngest two daughters on the other hand think that it is time to sit in my office and paint their nails.

Their nails, right now, while chattering no, make that, shouting at each other.

While I am trying to write.

While I am writing, because I have gotten good at the art of selective hearing.

It’s not just for men any more.

I am not really listening to them.

I am doing my utmost to ignore them.

Seriously I am tuning out the noise as much as humanly possible and just listening for some key words/sounds.

Mom, which can be continued to be ignored for at least an additional 30 seconds.

Accident, now that requires instant investigation.

Synonyms are oops, darn it, did you see that said in the right tone and I’m sorry.

But the general fighting/squabbling, -wait I mean talking – that can be ignored.

Completely.

So I can write this. For you to read, while you are probably ignoring some strange chattering sounds your kids are making.

Unless you are reading this in silence. If that is the case then you had better STOP reading. RIGHT. NOW.

Because we all know that if the kids are awake and with you, sounds of silence need to be investigated.

Unless of course they are teenagers.

But even then if there are any other teenagers involved I plan to investigate. Because you never know. It may be perfectly harmless. But if it’s not then I want to know what is going on.

Right Now.

But as long as I can hear them. As long as they are chatting/fighting/making noise, then I can write this for you.

Is it any wonder by the time my hubby comes home at night my ears are tired?

My auditory load is overwhelmed?

That if I have to listen to one more fucking word from my kids I might explode?

Okay the last bit isn’t EVERY night. Just sometimes.

When is playing outside without wet icky stuff tracked inside my house happening?

Wait can you hear that?

I can’t either.

Time to find out what is going on!

Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
You can follow Chase here on this blog, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Cabin Fever

What does a wicked cold front for weeks plus two blizzards and holidays equal?  Why Cabin Fever of course!

 

It has been an interesting re-entry into the world and introduction to 2018.

Starting before Christmas we got wicked cold weather here in Maine, and when I say wicked, I mean highs not getting above freezing and single digits in Fahrenheit people (which trump’s Celsius when describing the cold any day)!  Which means my kids have been inside.

For weeks.

Inside.  I have four kids remember?  At 11, 9, 4 and almost 6 that is a lot of people taking up space.  Oh and my hubby was home between Christmas and New Years as well.  Which means six of us and the cat in a three bedroom two floor house.

Yay.  That’s interesting.  What I realized last week as we were facing a Bombogenesis which is just a hurricane out of season that dumps a shit tonne of snow and wind and then scoopes arctic air from you guessed it the Arctic – that we have full blown cabin fever at my house.

Yes, it’s only the beginning of January, and therefore seems way too soon for such a malady.

But here let me list the symptoms:

  • Way more girl-on-girl fighting than normal, and some of it getting physical.
  • They are actually bored with what they are allowed to watch on tv
  • New colossal games are organized, and then soon abandoned with the pieces strewn everywhere
  • Parental tolerance and patience flew out the window a long time ago
  • The words “I don’t know what to do” are spoken often because they know if they say “I’m Bored” chores will be handed out
  • They are actually wanting to do things they normally put off just to have something to do…

And we are only in the single digits of January.  The local weather forecasters suggested that this winter we would be front-loaded with snow and storms early on, and so far that has panned out.  I am just hoping that they are right about the front-loaded part and that maybe by say the end of March we will be done with the white stuff.

Wait the end of March?

That’s fucking months from now.

I am going to need more wine, beer, and books.  Oh and maybe a better set of noise canceling headphones.

Yep that should do me.  And hours behind a locked door.  Yep that’s good.

That should help me get to spring

And lovely MUD SEASON!

 

Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
You can follow Chase here on this blog, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

When Popularity Really Matters

Sometimes kids swear.  Instead of being appalled, Michelle Thompson, Ph.D., JDsuggests we listen and by doing so we just might get more of an answer to how our teenagers are doing than simply “fine.”

 

I just spent the week away from my family and all went well.

For Veteran’s Day, my 13-year-old son had some friends over to play games with him and alleviate the loneliness of being an only child. And come over they did, some friends from his school soccer team.

My partner removed herself from the room to give them space to play.

What a great thing!

And she was appalled at the language they used. Yep, his friends are swearing (lest she thinks any foul language is my fault . . .), and they’re not interested in anything else aside from video games and their phones. No discussion of girls, pornography, or drugs.

We’re safe for the next 5 minutes. Then again, most of them are still pre-pubescent.

My partner was a little upset though because she chafes at foul language.

I LOVED using foul language the minute I could when away from home when I was 12.

But that’s not the point. No matter how difficult it seems to have these young people over, it is critical. For a family who has not the patience to homeschool, this is the only way we get a more unvarnished window into their lives. What matters to them? Why does it matter? What are the challenges? What are the joys?

I know that I can’t get answers to these questions asking “how was school,” as the proverbial “fine” gets me NOTHING. He won’t swear like a sailor when checking in!

But hearing how they play with language, what they are focused on, what they love, and what they hate matters.

Right now, they love foul language.

We get to debrief with James about what they’re saying and hear what he’s thinking.

I told my partner to think of this as a big old research project. She’s an academic. We love research. Let’s do it!

The window is closing in terms of us getting to have James and his friends with us. I want to keep it open as long as possible. I want our house to be where the kids hang out. I want to listen in on what they’re doing and saying. This could be the key to heading off any future difficulties.

Michelle Dionne Thompson, Ph.D., JD is the Founder and CEO of Michelle Dionne Thompson Coaching and Consulting, a primarily coaching business that works with women in law and academia to set and meet aligned goals sanely in the midst of insane industries. A recovering lawyer and a historian, she also teaches college and is writing her first book, Jamaica’s Accompong Maroons (1838 – 1905): Retooled Resistance for Continued Existence.

Going on Retreat

Leaving my kids to go to a retreat.

 

Twice a year I leave my girls.

I go to a business retreat that in the beginning lasted two days and now lasts three days, so I am gone for two nights.

And I do this about every six months.

The first time I went to retreat which is usually about an hour and a half from my house I actually drove home for the night between the two days.  It was exhausting since I needed to be there at 9 am.

Ever since then I have stayed either with friends or sharing hotel rooms with other people at my retreat.

This week I leave again, and my parents have come to town to stay home with the kids.  Instead of my husband having to take time off of work.

And while my youngest is now four and no longer a nursling anymore, it is still bittersweet to walk away from my kids for three days.  They always grow up while I am away and vocabularies get bigger (I swear) and they have so very much to say and….

Meanwhile, at my retreat we do a lot of inner and outer work, understanding why we do what we do, making deep and meaningful connections, laughing, crying, sharing hugs and so I am usually emotionally wrung out by the time I get home.  And the girls are ready to be all over me, and I am ready for hugs from them.

But there is something special about coming home that first night, after all the hugs and stories, and we have finally gotten the kids sent off to sleep.

When the world feels right, and all I want to do is curl up with my partner

and go to sleep.

Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
You can follow Chase here on this blog, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup

If the saying “you have to put your oxygen mask on first” drives you crazy then read on as  Jodie Thornton shares some of her parenting experience from life as an Australian.

 

I really do worry that my eyes might roll right outta my head when I hear “you can’t pour from an empty cup”.

As if I don’t realise that having a full cup is more fun than being exhausted and exasperated.

Or perhaps that the sleep deprivation or parenting overwhelm might have wiped the very idea of self-care from my memory.

And I’m sure as hell it implies that I’m just not using my time well enough to make space for meditation or massage or manicures.

The phrase leaves me silently screaming over the web to the Super Judgey Parenting Expert that while you don’t know me buddy, I can assure you that I actually do like to look after myself.

These neat little servings of guilt in the “fill your cup” advice sneak their way into nearly every parenting resource.

Every time I came across it, I would search for a way to squeeze some more time to do the things that fill my cup.

But so often when I took time out it made things harder.

I would spend time with a girlfriend and then not have the laundry done and someone’s clothes for school or work weren’t clean or dry.

Or I’d take a long bath and fill that needy ol’ cup all the way to overflowing.

Then somewhere between leaving the peaceful bath and being greeted with yoghurt handprints on my beautiful pyjamas my cup was back to empty.

Again.

Like some kind of torturous Groundhog Day.

I couldn’t escape this crap-nugget of advice.

Even when I was looking for parenting advice that was completely unrelated, there’d be an article or paragraph about how you just needed to make the time to fill your cup by letting your partner do more, accepting that it’s not going to be done the way you like it, blah blah blah.

But you see, addressing my perfectionism and managing my anxiety through control is a big ass project and I’m not sure if you’re picking up on a theme here but…

I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT RIGHT NOW.

Never wanting to let an expectation go unmet, I focused on making the cup bigger, so I could last longer between refills. In theory.

I took up meditation, read all the advice about how it was so unnecessary to have a short temper with small children because the behaviour is developmentally appropriate, made daily mindset commitments – it’s exhausting just remembering it all.

Everywhere I turned, there was a list that went on and on about how the problem was always me.

That my kids could never be fulfilled if I wasn’t.

It was my inability to stay calm or my inability to make time for massages or my lack of knowledge about normal childhood behaviour, that my mindset was off, that I wasn’t grateful enough.

I realised the truth eventually.

There isn’t a finite amount of water for everyone’s cup.

It isn’t a zero-sum game.

Our cups aren’t filled by someone else’s cup being emptied.

Best of all, the fullness of my cup – or stark emptiness, as the case may be – did not make a single iota of difference to my ability to raise my kids with full cups.

I fill my kids’ cups by meeting their needs.

And empowering them to meet their own needs.

And supporting relationships with their siblings and relations and friends – all fantastic cup-fillers.

I finally learned that the choice isn’t limited to either their cup or my cup.

Sadly, it can also be neither.

And thank fuck it can also be both.

So many parenting experts implied or stated outright that parents simply must learn how to help themselves first.

And yet, I found that sometimes when I was profoundly sad that I had no freaking idea what I needed – just for me – that I STILL had the power to see what they needed, provide it for them and watch their cups fill alllll the way up.

Sometimes my cup is filled from seeing theirs fill. And sometimes it isn’t.

I am keenly aware that the more I learn to deeply know myself that I have more and more ability to help my kids to deeply know themselves.

At the same time, I also see that my kids aren’t as dependent on me modelling self-connection as it might be assumed.

Because I do a fucking good job of protecting their self-connection in the first place.

We’ve grown up in different times, with different attitudes to emotional awareness.

I have better parenting advice at hand than my parents did.

Their self-connection isn’t waiting for mine to be healed because it was never broken in the same way that mine is.

I sure am on my way to knowing who I am, what I need, how to serve myself and how to openly receive support.

My kids aren’t waiting for me to get there.

They’re further up the road, walking their own paths, at their own pace, in their own way.

And we’re cheering each other on.

Jodie Thornton is the Founder of Through It All. Her work is focused on connecting people to their power to change the world by knowing who they are, what they want from life and how to make it happen. Jodie works with parents and young people to provide them with the self-connection, communication skills and support they need to lead potent lives.

 

Jodie lives in Canberra, Australia with the love of her life and her four children, who are 18, 15, 3 and 1.

The Gifts of Healing

What gifts can breaking an ankle bring?

 

I broke my ankle on 6 August 2017 for the second time.  Different ankle, then the last time 17 years ago, but I still broke it.  And just like before, it still came out of nowhere.

The first time I broke my ankle I was 19 years old and taking my first real vacation from my first real corporate world job.  I was at a pumpkin festival with family swinging out on a rope swing and falling into a pit of packing foam.  I was doing it with an over 6foot tall guy and he wasn’t hitting bottom.  But of course, on the last time, I swung out, instead of swinging and landing on my back I managed to get a leg tucked under me and the only metaphor I can use to describe it was that it felt like someone had stepped on my ankle and compressed it like, when you step on an aluminum can.

That was a huge break, breaking both my tibia and fibula and needing surgery and a long recovery.  I still have a plate with 7 screws on the outside of that ankle and big long screw on the other side, and scars to show for it.  But I did eventually recover.

And there were gifts.  I read the first Harry Potter book in 24 hours and then proceeded to read the next two (all that were currently published at the time), I had the opportunity to “wake up” and realize that I did not want to stay working in the corporate world anymore and that I really wanted to go be a camp counselor or park ranger and have an adventurous life.  I left my job about six months after healing, got a job at my old Girl Scout Camp and then went to France with my Dad who was attending a conference, which in a long way around led to my visiting New Zealand and getting engaged.

So this August when I was hiking a local trail that my family and I have hiked many, many times before (including at least a half dozen times this year) while also with one of the neighbor kids, I was completely taken by surprise when I slipped on some wet rocks and fell, having first one ankle tuck under me and then hearing a loud pop from the other ankle.  I pretty much knew instantly that I broke it.  But there was getting down off the hiking trail that had to happen first.  Hiking boots saved the day.

This fracture has been much different from the first.  In part, because it is a stable fracture, the bone has stayed in alignment and so it has simply been a matter of providing support while my body works on healing the bone.  Did you know you can walk around on a healing bone?  My first broken ankle had required surgery and 6 weeks in a cast followed by 8 weeks in a walking boot.  So far I have skipped surgery, had an air cast for six weeks but was able to start walking without crutches about 3-4 weeks and am now spending six weeks in a lace-up brace that I can wear with or without my shoes on.

I know there are other gifts to have happened during this break.  I can’t see them all yet (hindsight truly is better for somethings) but I know the reorganizing of my fall has brought gifts with it.  One of which being that I no longer do the dishes or much to do with the laundry, that my older two girls have added that to their responsibilities.

As I heal more fully I expect to start to realize the other gifts have been given.  Healing comes in many forms and sometimes we have to break something first.

Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
You can follow Chase here on this blog, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.