back to parenting basics

Steph sent us a care package to encourage quiet creativity – Poet was happy for a good few hours / grass, hair, bow and Peppa
 

After reaching out to my village (you included) I realised: I’ve lost my parenting way. I don’t intend to sound dramatic or down-trodden – not at all. But in the midst of my emotion and vulnerability it became blatantly clear that I have disregarded my values and relaxed my boundaries and it’s not serving my family well. With such a realisation comes an enormous sense of relief – the root of the problems are obvious.I took the tv away and yes, it was a drastic move, but it has worked wonders. Perhaps what has been most confronting is the amount of times I have caught myself thinking: “I’ll just turn the tv on for 15 minutes whilst I send these emails/make this phonecall/prepare dinner…” Clearly I was relying on it to make homelife easier for me – a quick fix that, rather ironically, created complications in the long run. So the big, black screen is in the garage with a towel over it and I’ve created beautiful space in the loungeroom. How have the children reacted? Surprisingly well. Yes they have asked for it and I’ve taken to explaining clearly and and calmly that I didn’t think it’s the best thing for us right now and that perhaps we can read a book, go outside, listen to music instead. At the moment I have no desire to bring it back and so it stays, out of sight and out of mind.

Che and I have spent the past few days discussing our emotions and how we can express them without hurting others. The simple art of conversation has helped immensely; talking one-on-one without distraction. Why did I not realise that his sadness over Daniel is coupled with the overwhelm of a brand new school routine? I’ve been so busy and so caught up in missing Daniel that I haven’t been very present – it took a screaming, angry six-year-old to tell me that for now, I’m the only parent and I’m desperately needed. I need to step up and in doing so, get back to parenting basics – talking, listening, encouraging good manners, discussing boundaries, expressing endless love.

The past few days have been happy and relatively calm. I’m so grateful for all the comforting, wise comments you left earlier in the week – I read each and every one and gained strength from your words and experiences. Thank you.

In other news…

  • It’s Friday! How did that happen?
  • Daniel is in Manila (Philippines) and today he visited the city’s largest garbage dump where local kids are learning how to grow and sell their own food.
  • I’m in the midst of a wardrobe purge. Stay tuned for a garage sale on instagram in the next few weeks. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
  • I’ve been eating eggs every morning and I’ve noticed a big difference in my energy levels.
  • The last few nights have been a little cool – a welcome relief.
  • The house smells of eucalyptus and peppermint – a lovely mixture for your oil burner.
Have a lovely weekend, friends. See you on Sunday for 6/52.
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Showing 26 comments
  • aluminiumgirl
    Reply

    So positive! Good for you. Keep on keeping on.

  • Kacie
    Reply

    So happy the absent-tv has worked for you.

  • Lyn Stewart
    Reply

    Good job! Parenting is such hard work, you do what you can, the best you can, done well it is the most selfless of acts and yes sometimes totally thankless but oh the rewards when for a minute, for a second it goes right and you can see the light bulb going on! And yes, as in all things communication is the key its not a myth talking to your kids does work. Not just when they are young but older too.

  • Imogen
    Reply

    Go girl! x

  • Audrey
    Reply

    Yay! I have definitely noticed the difference in Teddy when I take the extra minute or two to explain to him what I mean when I say 'no' – your post is a timely reminder as I feel as if my Fridays become 'frazzled Fridays' very quickly! I think tomorrow is going to be a tv-free day…

  • Kathy
    Reply

    I must admit when we (our family of 3) is out of sorts it has to start from the top….if I am calm, it filters down through the family and things generally are calmer even if they are not. I admire you about the TV, I'm not that brave but I do know it would be a good thing to do but I don't want to. My friend did a "no TV every Wednesday" which gave them the time to connect as a family and play board games or whatever. It was a big thing at first but then a small thing. I have today just ordered some organic essential oils from Twenty8 as I am reading about the benefits of these in your home and right now with the adjustment to a new school I think these would really help our family. Hang in there…My "Hands Free Mumma" book arrived yesterday so will have to make time to read that as I know it will help. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  • Aimee
    Reply

    Happy weekend 🙂 Sounds like you've got everything covered parenting. Sometimes we just need a bit of a re-jig to centre and balance things xxxx

  • Denise
    Reply

    Your husband is in my country! 🙂

    See you on 6/52 then, Jodi. I'm now back-reading your posts and I must say, I truly love how you write. ♥

  • Mary
    Reply

    Oh Jodi, how wonderful to hear! Well done you! Hope you all have a lovely weekend x

  • Annie777
    Reply

    Hi Jodi, sounds like you're doing an amazing job with your children, keep up the good work. Like Denise (above), I'm reading all the stuff that I've missed before I stumbled across your blog recently, via The Beetle Shack. So glad I DID stumble too 🙂

  • Cirque Du Bebe
    Reply

    This blog has fast become my weekly read. Its very relaxing coming here. I gave away our tv over a year ago and have never ever looked back. I find it incredulous, but not so surprising when people ask me what I do to unwind at night. Um, sew, read, draw, paint, cook, eat! My two little boys have never asked for it back. Our dining room table has a permanent stack of sketch pads and pens and their play spaces are not dominated by bloody Jimmy giggle in the background. If I get desperate, I have a dvd on the laptop, where they occasionally watch a few select favourites (peppa, shaun). I too wondered how I would manage without my in house 'babysitter' but it didn't take very long for my kids to find their own way entertainment. I think we all just assume a tv is a necessary part of a household.

  • Jasmine
    Reply

    I love reading your blog, you write beautifully and the thought that you give to parenting is incredible. Your children seem very lucky to have you as their Mum — honestly, the amount of thought you give to all of your parenting actions and how mindful you are of how important conversations are is really, really wonderful. Good luck!

  • Dre @ no frills mum
    Reply

    So glad you've found calm and happy again in your home! I admire your bravery in removing the tv from the house. We often have tv free days here and love them. Would love to get rid of it full time but with a 'fly in fly out' husband (away five days a week) I need it for those 'the 17month old is tired and hungry and dinner is almost ready but she's hanging off my leg and I don't want to burn her' moments! 😉

  • Bron Maxabella
    Reply

    Stripping back to the bare basics is often what we need. Not to add, but to subtract. I AM SO GLAD to hear that you feel back in control. x

  • lili nfolks
    Reply

    oh I can already feel peaceful moments through your words… I did the same thing with TV about one year ago… and that was so ggo for us… Thanks to remember me the basic parentings, it always help 🙂

  • jasmine
    Reply

    This is really encouraging to me! Thank you!

  • Yellow Finch
    Reply

    I have found that for my family, tv (and diet) have a huge impact on our daily life and routines. In the past, I have cut tv completely and the results are amazing! Now, we save it for weekends as a special treat and use it as a family activity. No more shows for kids, but family movies with lots of cuddles and popcorn. For me, it is such a struggle because my boys are in school and my method of parenting is so different than others. They constantly question why I don't allow tv, or when I do why I set a timer, and why we don't eat fast food or candy. They claim "everyone else does." Parenting is always a battle! Have a great weekend. xoxo

  • Engracia
    Reply

    So glad things have settled for you & your family, I have always found that voicing our worries always helps. Have a happy calm weekend.

  • Joanna
    Reply

    Good for you! We left our tv at our old place when we moved recently, and even though I miss it sometimes, I do enjoy that it requires me to be more creative, more present, and that I get lots more stuff done in the evenings (although admittedly, at 36 weeks preggo, most evenings are still spent on the couch with iview or a book!). Anyway, happy to hear that things are happier and calmer in your house! You're doing great! xx

  • Michelle
    Reply

    You are one switched on mum!!! I love reading about your trials and tribulations x Thanks for sharing.

  • Nancy Cavillones
    Reply

    We gave our two girls iPads for Christmas last year, then my oldest started kindergarten the following Fall, so I instituted a weekend-only rule for iPads. I noticed that during the week, they were more creative, and played with each other better. I've totally fallen off the bandwagon and need to get back on it because they spend more time buried in their iPads than I'd like or is healthy, probably!

  • bestof2sisters.com
    Reply

    Oh, so beautifully written, as always. I find you incredibly inspiring and brave, what a wonderful Mum, and person you are.

  • Kate
    Reply

    Such great reflections inwards, though sometimes difficult and painful to endure, will allow you to expand that much further into personal growth and peace. You are doing a wonderful job as a mother, as an inspiring woman. Don't ever forget that. Lots of love to you and family 🙂

  • casso
    Reply

    Hi Jodi – as always, lovely to read about the adventures of your family and the road you take. How great are eggs? I try to eat them every morning as well. Combined with some Meredith Dairy Goats Cheese and/or jalapenos and/or pickled gherkins, I am always happy at the start of the day! Eggs are so perfect for using as a base for all of these fantastic condiments stealthily lying in wait for you in the fridge as well. I keep meaning to pick up some sprouted bread too (normally I have scrambled eggs on a piece of cheese to give me even more protein).

    Good luck with the no tv. We don't have tv but we have a television and we all sit down together on a Friday evening to watch The Amazing Race together. We get to talk about the countries they visit, the way in which the successful teams communicate (it's a great lesson in how to communicate by what they *don't* do 😉 ), and the children have really embraced it as an event.

    We also have Monday night dinner – we light candles and sit around the table (which we do every night except Friday anyway) and we start our discussion by saying thank you to someone else in the family for something they've done in the previous week. As with any tradition the children embrace it with enthusiasm and love and it gives a structure to the week as well.

    Good luck with your solo parenting journey, it sounds as though you might be starting to breathe that fresh air again. xx

  • katiecrackernuts
    Reply

    Oh these things are so hard to juggle and patience, as they say, is a virtue that always seems in short supply.
    Daniel's time in the Philippines must be interesting and confronting – but also inspirational. I see and have the great opportunity of working with amazing men and women doing amazing things as UNICEF workers around the world. The recent emergency in the Philippines and the ongoing work done there before, during and after an emergency to ensure children have the same opportunities as our own to be happy and healthy can be both confronting and inspiring. There are some amazing human beings walking among us.

  • Ariella
    Reply

    If you don't mind me getting sappy for a moment, considering I don't know you, I'd just like to say that I'm so happy to have stumbled across this blog. As I have started making changes in our home and with my children, it has often been hard to focus on the end goal that I have imagined but never witnessed. Thank you for letting me witness small pieces of your life.

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