Donna and Angela contacted me awhile ago about sharing their expertise with you and I knew they would be perfect for my real mamas series. They are both mums to grown up children and experienced early childhood teachers. I asked them as mothers of older children and teachers working in the indsutry, what advice guideance or support they would give to parents with younger children. Here is what they came up with…

We are at a very exciting time in our lives. Both Angela and I have paid our last school fees and are now starting the slow and agonising trek into the HSC exams with our youngest children. It’s funny the way life works. We both have raised 3 children (having had 3 children under the age of 5), with husbands who worked long, tiring hours. We both chose to be ‘stay at home’ mums during this period in our lives and it wasn’t until 2007 that are paths crossed. We became a team in the Early Childhood environment and have worked together, supported each other through some very trying times, and started a business that educates and empowers parents when raising their own children called Back On Track, Early Childhood Professionals.

Routine

Why I found routine important when my children were young?

Children find a sense of calm and feel settled when they know “What is coming next” by having a well established routine children feel safe and secure within themselves and have a strong feeling of where they belong. If a family has a well established routine the children will be settled and their behaviours are more manageable.

My children are now in their late teens and early twenties and they have learnt to develop their own routines, which they now implement themselves. We taught them routine from a very young age, which in return has given them strategies to become independent in their own right. I feel so proud that I have successfully set them up with a life skill, which they are taking into their adult life and working careers and yes, most nights we still sit down together as a family and have dinner.

 Parent Guilt

When I was a stay at home Mum, it was everything I had wanted to do, to give my children the very best start in life. My husband and I had made a very conscious decision that this is the way we would like our children raised, even though it was a significant burden on our financial situation. My days were endless, quite monotonous at times, yet extremely rewarding also, watching those vital milestones being achieved. Yet when anyone asked me what I did? I felt inferior and as though I was freeloading. “I’m a stay at home mum”.

So in hindsight, I wish I had stood loud and proud at being a stay at home mum and enjoyed my time more with the knowledge that those precious days are over so quickly and life moves on. It’s silly the way I had made this perception of myself because no one made me feel this way except the pressure I posed on myself.

I know that working mums also feel guilt. They miss out on those milestones with someone else looking after their child. Guilt is everywhere for mums. We need to give ourselves a break, pat each other on the back, talk ourselves up and be proud and confident of whatever decision we make because when it comes down to it, the only thing that really matters is that all children have someone who loves them, cares for their well being and is doing their very best to raise them accordingly.

Over-Scheduling

Why as parents do we feel the need to overschedule our children?

Well this is an interesting question for me as I have just watched Carl Honore’s Frantic Family Rescue on the ABC and I reflected on my children’s schedule when they were little. I was fortunate that I had the opportunity to be a stay at home Mum during their early years so before they started school I had the luxury of time.

In hindsight, I was one of those parents who overschedule their children’s afternoons. My kids did swimming, dancing, rugby, hockey, softball, baseball, nippers, gymnastics, singing and played instruments!! I am sure that is not all?

Once they started school the juggling act with after school activities began as I also returned to the paid work force. I now wish we had spent more time at the beach just playing and exploring, hanging at the park and basically, just being.

We did do a lot of this but maybe if I wasn’t the crazy overscheduling Mum who wanted their kids to experience everything, we could have had more time to just chill.

I feel that we want to give our children everything and as many experience’s as we can, but what they really want is to spend time with us and have our undivided attention. A happy family life is ultimately what they will remember more as adults.

Donna and Angela’s blog is packed with really useful posts for parents with young children and their behaviour, independence and those dreaded “phases”. These ladies have lots of experience as mums and teachers so I recommend you check it out.

Are you a mum of older children? What advice would you give to mums going through those early years?

Each Thursday I will bring you a real mama who is sharing her story. Whether you are a single mum, a grandmother, a mum of many or a mum to one, a mum-to-be, a step mum, a working mum or a stay at home mum, and you want to share your story about a particular motherhood journey or experience you have had then please get in touch at sara@kidmagazine.com.au.

 

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