I was emailed a copy of Deborah Carroll's book "Raising Amazing Children (While Having a Life of Your Own)" for review. The title intrigued me right away. As a stay at home mother to 3 little ones, I often feel as if I have no life for myself. My days are full of little clothing to put 3 little people in each morning, diapers, potty training, cooking 3 meals a day, feeding 3 mouths a day, cleaning up after 3 meals a day, not being able to see any of my floors because they are covered with toys, picking up toys, breaking up fights, kissing boo-boos, encouraging a million "try agains," and the list could go on and on. Just in that short list, do you see anywhere in there that it says "Time for mommy?" Nope. Not once. And if I continued the list, you still wouldn't see that!
This book is not only written well, but there are great ideas, tips, and reality checks for parents contained throughout. A lot of the things it mentions, I already do occasionally.
"Take a moment to consider the things you are doing for your child currently that he or she could or should be doing for him or herself. Do you pick out his clothes? Three-year-old children can do that. Do you do her laundry? Children of about age 8 or 9 should have laundry responsibilities. Who cleans his room? Children of all ages from 2 on should have a hand in that. Even little ones understand the putting away of toys when playtime is over. Ask yourself if you are really helping your child by doing these things or if you're enabling her to continue depending on you for things she should be learning to do for herself."
Merasia has really proclaimed her independence a lot lately and wants to choose her clothes every day, and usually as soon as she wakes up, when I am barely awake myself! I usually pick out 2 or 3 options and have her choose from them, because otherwise she would never get dressed or certain outfits that are meant to go together as a pair i would like to stay together and not be mismatched, and she would be a complete mess! I just can't let go of all of my control yet...someday, I will but not right now. But hey, letting her choose from 2 or 3 different options is a big, new step for me so I give myself credit for that!
She loves dressing herself and I let her go for it, only asking me for help if she puts something on backwards or can't get her arms in her shirt just right or something. I do all the laundry in the house because the kids are too small to do that right now, but I think I will do it even as the kids are older, because it's the one chore I absolutely LOVE doing. ;) The twins do, however, help me sort the laundry and sometimes help me put the stuff in the washer and switch stuff to the dryer but those times are rare because our laundry room in the building we live in is down in the basement, where we have to go outside to get to it, and I usually get laundry done when they are at preschool or daycare as it's easier.
The twins are at a good age for helping pick up their toys, but I still clean the majority of their room on Tuesdays when they head off to daycare. I just like to reorganize and go through toys and other items on my own, but they help tidy up and pick up toys in the living room and other areas when they are done.
I feel that even with these few small steps, I am paving the road for independence in later years for Connor & Merasia, (even Mason at times!) and I take great pride in that.
This passage from the book also stood out to me:
"I remember once hearing a parent say that she cringed each time she heard the sound of her son's plastic building bricks being poured out of the can and hitting the floor. She had an actual visceral reaction to that sound. It made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. She tensed her entire body and it immediately put her in a bad mood. Why so strong a reaction? Because she knew that when her four-year-old son was finished playing, those little bricks, what seemed like thousands of them would be strewn everywhere, all over the floor waiting for her to scoop them up and put them back into the can, only to be dumped out again later, starting the whole sordid cycle again. She hated that toy, she hated that sound, and for a few ugly seconds, she wasn't that crazy about her kid or herself."
This used to be me completely! Mason got a big bag of building blocks for his first birthday back in March. I would cringe every time I heard the rattle of that bag followed by the blocks pouring all over the living room floor. It was such a chore to even THINK about picking them all up at nap time, because I knew picking them up beforehand would result in them being dumped out all over again, and I knew I would be the only one picking them up. Now, however, I don't mind it. We got a small plastic tote with a cover for all of the blocks so the baby can't get into them on his own if we don't want him to at any certain time, but since the twins got tubes in their ears, they can hear us now, so they hear us ask them to pick the toys up and do it without any issue. Mason helps pick them up sometimes too, but he likes to put a couple in the tote then take them back out, so we are working on it! ;)
I think it was at this part in the book that I truly understood the title. Enforcing positive discipline in children and having them help with regular household tasks allows us parents to have a life of our own. We aren't consumed with the children and all there is to do and clean around the house or around the kids. We are able to have a sliver of our own life amidst the chaos.
This book gave me such a wake up call. In order for my children to grow into mature, responsible adults who aren't dependent on me and their father for the rest of their lives, it's important to instill certain values, morals, beliefs, and discipline into them at a young age. We all want to get this parenting thing right, but the truth is, we are not perfect. No parent is perfect, and never will be, and we shouldn't want to be either. We are all doing our best, and nobody ever said child rearing was easy. But I don't want it to be easy. If I wanted parenting to be easy, I never would have entered into it to begin with. I LIKE the challenge that comes with this job. (Yes, I said JOB.)
Deborah's book is a MUST read for parents everywhere! I would highly recommend it to everyone, and I can assure you 100% that you will feel refreshed and encouraged after reading it and will come away with something positive.
Check out Deborah's online writing at her website:
You can get Deborah's Kindle book here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0077F8ZTE