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{ Motherhood } What my 8 year old taught me this week...

Can you learn from your kids? ABSOLUTELY!

So here's the thing...

I have been very relaxed in parenting with my 8 year old daughter with what she does at home. She can pretty much do what she likes, when she likes, unless it's dinnertime etc. I'm like this because I trust her to make good decisions and she is well behaved, pleasant, happy and she likes her own time and doing her thing. 

Well, so I thought!!

Click the picture to read the amazing support and comments from our Instagram community of mums, who know only too well how it feels to get letters like this from their kids. I feel supported and encouraged in my journey with them and I thank them very much for tips and advice :)

Click the picture to read the amazing support and comments from our Instagram community of mums, who know only too well how it feels to get letters like this from their kids. I feel supported and encouraged in my journey with them and I thank them very much for tips and advice :)

It appears I have given her TOO MUCH space and freedom and my focusing on our 3 year old, Bam Bam, has now turned into sibling rivalry to a degree.

I discovered this in the week, when my daughter left a letter on my desk at home. It a folded piece of A4 paper in a card style, it had "Mum" on the front with a love heart underneath it and a border with love hearts in the corners drawn in lead pencil.

Then I opened it up and inside it read:

"Daer Mum, I hope you know that I do lave you but sametimes I fele like you do not lave me. I fele like you lave David more then me. From Jaz xxxoooxoox"

my heart sank...

I often found myself asking if she would like to do anything with me; like draw or paint, play Littlest Pet Shops or My Little Pony, but she always says "no", followed by "I'm bored, I want someone to play with". So I do the internal facepalm, as you do!

I try. I really do try.

So when I posted the letter on my online communities Facebook and Instagram, I was inundated with support, advice, tips, love and hugs. I am so grateful for the wonderful support and while it felt like a stab in the heart, just how she wrote it amazed me how compassionate she is towards my feelings. Even starting her letter with "I hope you know that I do love you.." is a truly authentic and caring line to start with. She's softening the blow, naturally, without any coaching. I think she is going to do well at writing, when she nails it. Obviously, she has some skills in words and grammar to learn (as to do I!!!!!) but she has done this really well.

#1 Expressing Feelings

This is one of the first thing she taught me this week, that she can express her feelings better through words on paper than verbally. Similar to me. I am a words of affirmation type, I express much better in writing. This is going to be a wonderful gift to her future as an adult and I am so pleased she shared this with me.

#2 Fearless Communication

She also taught me that she is not scared of me (can't imagine why she would..!) but she feels comfortable to express how she feels without fear of retribution or fear of me getting angry, because she knows I won't. This is a great because her comprehension of our life and family is key, her knowing that she is safe, loved and listened to is key, however she delivers her concerns to us, they are valid, they are listened to and worked through. This teaches me a thing or two about approaching my Hubby with things I am concerned with because I know he will never get angry with me if I raise them, but I have been holding back because I hate conflict.

#3 Mothering Has Hardened Me

She taught me that Mothering has hardened me up. I'm no softie, in fact I'm the "bad guy", you know the one that is always asking if teeth are brushed, school bag ready, putting clothes away, stop playing the iPad, come to dinner etc. All very normal everyday routine stuff really. But I take that role and work with it the best I can. Hubby is not so authoritative when it comes to the kids to be honest, he does discipline which is good but sometimes the communications aren't as parenting as my style. If I was like that, nothing would ever get done LOL (Respect to my man, he does his best in his own way, we're a team, what he lacks I pick up, what I lack he picks up). So I guess in my mothering I can learn to take a softer approach when it comes to Jaz in particular and not so "I'm the Captain of this ship you must listen to me and do what I said when I say it!" Then again I won't be no push over either, I need to learn that happy medium. There's no real manual for all of this, I will do what I can. I'm grateful that she taught me this so I can improve myself and our relationship.

#4 Her Position in the Family

She feels she's not as loved and important as David. Ok so, she has taught me that I need to communicate better in terms of David's needs more regularly. Ask for her help to get him ready of a mornings or to help me keep him entertained. I've learned that I need to do more fun stuff with them both together so that she understands his limitations. With her natural compassion and empathy, she will see just how much help he needs in various things and may help her understand why I spend more time running around after him. My hope this will help her feel more relaxed and understand it's not me loving him more, but tending to his needs, because he simply needs more help. This I hope will help her feel like her position in the family as the eldest and more competent child will be more established and respected and loved for what she can do within the family with us helping each.

#5 More Mother and daughter time together

My little Artist this morning, dad's old t-shirt, mummy's handy work spatter paint using IKEA paints and accessorised with whatever we could find :)

My little Artist this morning, dad's old t-shirt, mummy's handy work spatter paint using IKEA paints and accessorised with whatever we could find :)

This is a big one. Usually on the weekends, Hubby takes the kids to the park or the shops on his own for some Daddy time. We also go out together on outings to the beach or park somewhere nice. But as she gets older, she body is changing and her need for mummy is getting more important. She has been such a Daddy's girl and I kind of accepted that, not realising just how much she has changed and what her new needs are. So she has taught me how to be a better mum to her because she is sharing what she needs from me. Having more time together will most definitely help with that.

How we moved forward...

We took Roxy for a walk and talk about her letter, how she was feeling and how I can make her feel better and more loved, what does she need from me? More mummy and daughter time, more hugs and snuggles, more time together.

So we are going shopping on Saturday to get some pretty shoes to go with a dress I got from Kmart for my birthday lunch next month. We spent the evening making LPS outfits and last night I painted her fingernails and made her outfit for "Dress up as what you want to be when you grow up day" she's going as an Artist! #soproud

After our together time this week, she left another letter on my desk, this time it was cut into a love heart shaped card with "MUM OX" on the front INSIDE a love heart. This is such an important observation, both cards very different in their style and their visual communication message. One shows a little fear and protected, not cold but very guarded. The one after our together time and chats has been drawn more relaxed, warm and very loving. I open the love heart card and it has another OX on the left and on the right it says:

The second letter from my daughter, yay we are on track!

The second letter from my daughter, yay we are on track!

"Daer Mum I hope we have more fun to gethue from Jaz xxooxoxo"

What I observe from this card is that I have helped her feel more loved, that she has had fun with me and wants more and that she is more relaxed about her position in the family. So we are back on track and moving forward. That's how it should be! :)

It's all learning, growing, improving and changing. There's no "perfect" parent, even the experts get it wrong sometimes. Kids don't stay the same and neither should we. We can learn so much from our kids.

So this weekend we are going to have some great time together, shopping having girl time and talk and be silly and have ice creams together. I'm so proud of her and I do hope that some of the learnings I have taken from her this week may in fact help you with your relationship with your girl or boy. Take comfort in knowing there are people like me and our community of amazing mums, who've all been there or going through the same thing and can lend a kind ear and support, love to see you with us check out @inspiringmums on Instagram or Inspiring Mums on Facebook, we're there everyday :) 

Thanks for reading our The Inspiring Daily, which hasn't been so daily oops :)

Anyhoo have a great day and love to hear your own experiences with this topic, Heart this post or comment below! 

Have a great day! Time for my lunch!

x Heather