Remote Control Parenting {+ Timetable printables}

When my kids were young, I never imagine I would call home from work and check on whether my kids have done this or that or not do this or that. I saw one of my friends years back doing such remote control parenting and I secretly tell myself that perhaps I need not control my children this way.

Reality kicks in. Fast forward to 5 years later.

I make a pact with myself. No deliberate calls back home to check on whether they have done their homework, play their piano, stop watching TV, etc. The last thing I want is to have them hate receiving my calls from work. However, at times, I do call home to relay some messages to them like remember to bring the art file to school or let them know that I will be home late that night. Then before I put down the phone, I cannot resist but blurt out,”Did you play the piano today? How many hours of TV have you watched already? Go and study for your test tomorrow.” Continue reading

7 most likely sins of Harassed parents

If saving time by being efficient in everything you do as a mum (or even dad) is your new year resolution, this book is for you.
How to be an Amazing Mum When You Just Don’t have the Time” by Tanith Carey is just what I need now when I JUST DON’T HAVE THE TIME for EVERYTHING.

by Tanith Carey

How to be an Amazing Mum if You Just Don’t Have the Time by Tanith Carey

I chanced upon this book in the community library. In this book, there are many good tips in saving time from how to handle your children, leave the house on time, to how to put on make up in minimal time and yet look good!

One of the best advice the author gave and I feel I must share to all parents feeling the same way, was how she shared the 7 most likely sins of Harassed Parents. These sins resonate so well with me, I had better remember not to fall into these traps. (Sentences in Italics are direct extractions from the book)

1) Shouting to Get Kids to do Things
Hey, I am surely guilty of this one. Continue reading

I want to stop hurrying my kids

After reading through the handsfreemama post on “The day I stopped saying ‘hurry up“, I felt so guilty and upset of frequently saying “Hurry up…” to my kids. I am one who is impatient, and one who want to complete many things in my limited time spent with my kids since I am a working mum.  The post resonates so much with what I am experiencing, I decided to check myself on how I can right things and stop uttering the “H” word so frequently.

On Saturday mornings when the kids have piano lessons, I hurry my kids to brush their teeth, eat their breakfasts, and change their clothes. When time is running out, I hurry them out the door, ignoring complaints of little feet hurting because of some blisters or dismissing their remarks of forgetting to do their piano theory with “I told you so…” or speaking at top speed of “There’s no time to tie your hair in pleats now.  We’ll have to do that in the train or while waiting for the lift.  If you had stopped watching tv, your hair would have been tied by now!” all under one breath.  It is usually these stressful, late for class moments that the kids will start to go back in the house to find their animal kaiser cards, story books, little pet shop toys, erasers, etc, etc.  It gets on my nerves and I’ll be off shouting “1,2,3 out the house” commands, all the time carrying baby YT in the baby carrier.  The baby must have felt all the anger, his mummy’s fast heartbeats thumping against his head and the negative ions in the air. At such times, the papa would start to pour in some oil to the fire by criticising my time management.

On weekday evenings, we have dinner at leisurely pace.  However, halfway through the meal, my 6 yr old YH will start to leave his chair, walk about, sit or stand (I can’t make out of which is which), and it is this time, Kel and I will hurl out the “H” word to command him back to the dining table .  After dinner, during piano practice, YH will dilly dally about. He can play one song, walks about, plays with his dinosaurs, goes back to the piano again, and bangs the keys.  At such trying times, I will “coax” him back to proper practice by using the “H” word.  I said, “If you quickly (a synonym for hurry) play the pieces well and practise seriously, you can master the pieces quickly (2nd time usage here) and we can go on to do other stuff together earlier (another form of hurry up).”  See!  I have used the “H” word in different forms here, 3 times in one sentence!  Not to mention, I said it in a hurried way too.

As the evening is so short, I try to squeeze in lots of activities into the 2 hours that we have.  It became a habit to utter the “H” word conveniently, add in the “H” mood, it truly is not the kind of relax evening I would love to have with my kids.

Then, I decided, to make an evening happy and relax,

I need to slow down my pace.
I need to speak at a slower speed.
I need to forgo multi-tasking to some extent.
I need to plan and prepare earlier for outings.
I need to target arriving at all functions 10 minutes before start time.
I need to stop using the “H” word or its synonyms.

On many occasions, if I can allow more time by planning in advance and like what kel said, to better manage time, or allowing an extra 10 minutes, I need not use the “H” word 9 out of 10 times.

I decided to slow down my pace this week and check on myself for uttering the “hurry up” words.  I begin to observe many things that I have never seen before, or rather have forgotten. My boy, YH has such beautiful eyes when he smiles. When I stop myself from interfering with the way he plays with his baby brother (he can be violent sometimes), I realize he is very conscious of whether the baby smiles as a result of his funny actions. He beams with his crescent eyes and toothless grin when YT smiles or claps his hands.  When I allow him tantrums during piano practice and do not hurry him, he goes back to the piano on his own after cooling down and plays smoothly without hiccups. When I do not hurry him for bedtime, he produces beautiful drawings and little crafts. He is slow in writing, yet, when I sit down beside him and look at him, forcing myself to throw out hurrying thoughts, I find that he writes with such moving intensity, I could have cried.

I do not tend to hurry my girl, XX, so much. She is more disciplined and independent.  When I plan things in advance and remind her from time to time, she does things responsibly and timely. I have learnt to look at her and observe the things that she does.  I learn to listen to her with full attention. When I allow her to bathe the baby (with help of course), she can do almost everything that I do, although with double the time I spent. She can wash the baby’s hair, body, change the diapers and help the baby wear his clothes, etc. She loves to have me say goodnight unhurriedly and have me on her bed beside her while recalling what happened in the day. When I stay around in her room for a little while, she flashes her sweet girlish smile and speaks in babyish voice.  I love her voice.

My kids tend to sleep late and have a thousand and one things to do before lights out.  I used to hurry them to dreamland so that they have enough sleep and so do I.  Now, when I do not hurry bedtime so much, they settle down better and I got to enjoy the perfect bedtime ritual of kissing them goodnight before I leave the room in peace.

I love my kids.  I want to enjoy time being with them while they still want me by their side.  The dishes can wait, the dirty floor can wait, even the me-time can wait.  My kids are growing up everyday and soon, I will have lots of time by myself and probably too much time on hand to spend.  When that time comes, I wouldn’t want my kids to hurl back the “H” word to me.  I would equally want them to enjoy time with me at a leisurely pace.

(Thanks to handsfreemama Rachel whose beautiful write-up causes me to stop and re-look at my hurried pace. You can check out her blog here, she writes beautifully and so true to what we parents experience.)