Saturday, December 21, 2013


A strange thing happened recently which has prompted the overuse of a particular parenting phrase many times a day.

My kids are doing wonderful things that are taking me by surprise and making me realise that they have the potential to do anything they want in life.

Amidst the usual repetitive house-training chorus such as “please pick up xxx from the floor”, “don’t hurt your brother/sister” and “please don’t swing off the curtains”, I’m now finding myself saying something really rather special.

It’s the simplest of words, yet I’m finding them to be very effective: Funnily enough, it’s making my heart glow with oozy, sparkly embers of mummy love.

Those words are: “I’m proud of you” and “You must be very proud of yourself”. 
It’s making me smile now just thinking of all the times I’ve said it recently. 

Because my kids are growing up (finally) into spectacular individuals. I’m really impressed with them. They’re really taking part in life. They’re turning into confident, capable and amazing little people.

Every day they are filling me with wonder. One day I was proud of Jago for reading; Tegan for being able to rollerblade; Lorcan for counting to 20.

Another day I burst with pride when they took part in the school show and shined on stage, compared to last year when they hid behind their friends, petrified.

Ready for their starring roles

I’ve realised one thing. That I can do wonders to boost their self-esteem at this formative, memory-making phase in their life. By telling them how proud I am, and suggesting they might be proud of themselves, it freezes the moment as something special, and hopefully creates a special memory to be lodged in their memory banks.

By simply noticing their actions, it brings full awareness to the moment and lets them know they are seen and it is positive. I hope that it:
  • Improves our relationship
  • Boosts their self-esteem
  • Gives them confidence
  • Makes them proud of themselves

It’s a newish word in my vocabulary, as I don’t think my own parents programmed it into my psyche as a child. But it’s one that I want to keep using, and it’s a sense of satisfaction that I want to foster in my kids as I do everything in my power to show pleasure for their achievements or qualities.


Here’s hoping I can keep it up. And I don’t overdo it.

PS, I'm proud of my hubby too, for he has moved mountains this year to set himself on the path of doing what he really wants to do in life. Well done Tom, 2014 will be your year of consolidating all the foundations you've put in place. Have hope and pride, my love. We're all proud of you. And thanks for being such a great dad.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Embracing the chaos of kid-focussed Christmas

This year I have surrendered to the madness of kid-focussed Christmas.

Last year, I think I was still trying to maintain a sense of control in our house. Over the course of 2013, I lost that, thanks to Lorcan becoming a strong-willed two-year-old and my older two becoming really smart!

Three young, independent-thinking kids is a power beyond my feeble control, sometimes.

Work meant I spent less time around the house, so yes, the lunatics really did take over the asylum this year, as I struggled to keep my energy intact.

But guess what? I’m so much happier this Christmas simply by ignoring some of my usual perfectionist stress. I look at our Christmas tree, which looks like it just survived an earthquake, and think proudly, the kids did that. By lowering my expectations I have come to accept the madness of my three little sprites.

This so far is my script for a happy Christmas in our home:

1) Allowing them to decorate the Christmas tree (with pegs and everything!) –restraining myself from redoing it when they’re not looking.


2) Giving them access to their advent calendars (Lorcan’s record was consuming 25 days in 5 minutes!)

3) Buying new stockings for the fireplace – to remind them that good behaviour means presents.

4) Letting them get dirty making Christmas cards and decorations.

5) Resisting putting a fireguard up around the Christmas tree. It’s our first year of trying this daring tactic and so far so good, only a few near-topples as Lorcan zooms past it.

6) Making sure there are loads of movies recorded and DVDs ready to go; brilliant for those over-excited, climbing up the walls, moments.

7) Reducing the number of events to a bare minimum so the kids aren’t overwhelmed, ungrounded or confused by seeing too many different Santa’s.

8) Slowing down, making lots of fires, cuddling up on the sofa with blankets and watching ‘You’ve Been Framed’ The kids love this show, even if they insist it’s called ‘Ruby and Framed’!

9) Putting them first and thinking of magical moments we can do to create lasting childhood memories and Christmas traditions (like last year's trip to the Winter Wonderland in Cork city).

10) Taking one day at a time, because not every day goes smoothly and remembering they get stressed too, especially when excited/scared about their big Christmas show debut at school tomorrow night (personally, I can’t wait, two of them on stage at the same time!).

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