family life, parenting, raw reality

Schooling children during this challenging time

As schools close indefinitely, and most adults are home with their children, many are worried about schooling their children.

The majority of parents on our tiny island, have not experienced homeschooling. Just as many would never have been interested in doing it. However, whether interested or not, many are feeling bewildered and confused on what to do and where to start.

As an advocate for homeschooling, and one who loves doing it with her children, here is my take on homeschooling in a way that brings growth and peace to the whole family…

  • Schedule a specific time for school. We are doing it in the afternoon, because that is what is working for our family right now. For children 3-6 years anything from 10-45 mins is a good amount time. For children 7-9 years 1-2 hrs and the older ones can get 2+ hrs. However, since I am seeing that middle schools are sending in work regularly and it is mostly primary that seem lost I will focus mostly on this age group.
  • If you have more than one child at home, start with the youngest. The older child, if old enough can start working alone on something e.g. my older ones do maths while I school the youngest – that gives them approx 45 mins daily of math. Once done with your young child, they can play quietly alone with play doh, sensory bins or have something that comes out specifically for this moment. In my case my oldest will entertain my youngest while I school my middle child and later they swap.
  • Focus on the 3 main subjects of Maths, English and Maltese. For those with 7-9 year olds, one can practice language arts in a very easy way which encompasses vocabulary, spelling, writing practice and grammar all at once. Read a book, discuss it together and on the following day ask them to write a small paragraph about the book. It can be taken in turns to have a day writing in Maltese and another in English or take a whole week to do English only and the following swap to Maltese. This can also be done if needed with the older children as a way to keep the bare minimum going. You can also give them writing prompts. There are tons of website which offer them! When it comes to math, you can either check out again the many websites which give free worksheets and there is also Khan Academy which is free and you can assign work to your child not just in maths but also other subjects if you so wish. For those young ones – 3 to 6 – First do some movement like head should knees and toes etc, read a story on a daily basis, I do the same story for a whole week. Than every day we do something different: draw, paint, model with play doh, craft and baking. don’t force them, they are still very young. Let them mirror you, so work along side them!
  • Read tons of books daily. If you just feel too overwhelmed, just reading books is enough to get through this time
  • Remember that school is not just academics – they are actually a very small portion of schooling ! Start teaching them to cook, keep house etc by helping you doing all these things. Give them responsibilities!
  • Draw, craft, do handwork, play music and games!! the arts are not given much importance but they help in many areas of life. Like increasing patience, resilience, pride in own work, team work, critical thinking, care for things….

If you are still feeling overwhelmed, drop me a line I am happy to help out!

breastfeeding, encouragement, parenting, raw reality

Sexual arousal and breastfeeding

There is this big elephant in the room. No one wants to really see it and talk about it.

Yet, it is an important subject to discuss seeing that our breasts and specifically our nipples are an erogenous zone. It is in fact VERY common for a woman to feel aroused while nursing. Some can experience orgasm. There is nothing wrong with it per se. However, the idea of it, make us cringe, feel ashamed and for sure if it happens we are not going to talk about it! Most likely a mama will promptly decide that breastfeeding is not good for her and switch to formula.

As this study says:

One issue rarely mentioned is that the breastfeeding experience is very sensuous in itself and some mothers may become aroused during breastfeeding (Hotchner, 1979Lawrence, 1989Mueller, 1985Reamy & White, 1987). This is a normal phenomenon. Yet, mothers may feel guilty if they have these feelings. Consequently, some may decide to stop breastfeeding. Should a mother decide to speak about such feelings, both lay people and health care professionals may be shocked, may ridicule her, and may even report her to child protection services (Huggins & Ziedrich, 1994).

It is a sad truth! Women are feeling guilty, thinking something is wrong with them and quitting breastfeeding for the way our bodies are wired. In breastfeeding, oxytocin and prolactin are released to help us bond with the baby. The same hormones are released when having sex to create (a different) bond with our partner.

It is important that such issues are spoken more often, especially to new mothers. It not only starts stopping stigma for having natural feelings but it prepares a mum. Knowing it might occur, would definitely help accept such feelings without fear and guilt.

However, despite accepting such feelings, they will probably still make you uncomfortable, so here are 3 tips to help if such a case occurs:

  • Stop breastfeeding for a few minutes if possible
  • Think of mundane things, like the laundry or cooking
  • Look at your child. It reminds your brain you are nursing

Women be reassured that pelvic arousal while breastfeeding, is not unnatural but normal. It does not happen often but it is still a common occurrence.

parenting, raw reality

Understanding emotions with boys

“I don’t think I am doing it right” , I hear.

“All your tips to understand my emotions and let them out are not working”, I am told.

“This is useless! I am not stopping being angry”, I listen.

But, he is not really hearing himself telling me…

“I am feeling disheartened today. It was hard at school and I feel so angry at you”

“I feel so sorry for what I told you earlier, but I truly was angry”

“I am feeling so sad and angry right now….I am not sure why!”

Yes son, boys..men…find it difficult to express and let go of their emotions and you might think you haven’t understood it, but you are doing it. I know you still don’t believe me when I tell you this, I know you expect instant results, but, it took me 35 years to get where you are now!

Be proud of yourself, you got this!

family life, parenting, raw reality

Life can be harsh at times

Sometimes I feel I am in a fog

No matter what I do everything seems wrong.

The kids are angry and I don’t know why.

I try my best but it feels it is not enough.

I want to understand, but the fog does not lift.

Old patterns start running high again.

Disappointment, frustration and anger are welcomed back at home

Peace and joy and love have gone out of the door.

I wonder at myself. Looking drawn and tired and detached.

The face of motherhood no one wants to talk about, no one wants to see.

The face of motherhood hidden out of sight, out of fear of judgement.

discipline, positive discipline, encouragement, family life, parenting, raw reality

Sleeping the night

One of the most common question posted by parents on Breastfeeding Matters is : “When will my child sleep the night? How can I get my child to sleep the night or My child is x weeks/months old and still doesn’t sleep the night why?”

Well children are not meant to sleep the whole night and when they do….they are unwilling to do so alone for a while!

However, all children will eventually sleep the night when they are ready! Or rather, they will be good to go back to sleep alone at some point.

My youngest, B, is on his 3rd week of sleeping the night – yay! He is now 4.5 years old. If I look back on my oldest two, they slept the night a bit earlier than him. He, himself had asked to be moved into his bed and room at 2.5 years but to sleep the whole night there – it took him another 2 years! For over a year though, he’d just come to our bed at some point at night without waking us- just squeezing between us….

So there you go… now you have a perspective of when your child is mostly likely to really sleep the night!

Please don’t forget all children are different and night sleeping will vary per child and per family.

parenting, raw reality

Letting my soul speak

This morning I was feeling completely demotivated.

I did not feel like cooking, working or doing something to please me!

I felt it deep in my soul this fallout and had no idea what to do with myself (apart for scrolling social media uselessly).

But tentatively, I decided to play the piano for my own pleasure. It felt good but still in the dumps. So I went to cook and I am not sure the food will taste good parents! I could not muster any enthusiasm to preparing a loving and flavourful plate for the family. Lastly I started to work…..lastly because I was procrastinating!

I hadn’t done much work recently and with many ideas whirling yet no motivation to start it felt really difficult this morning. Yet, my heart is singing….it is feeling complete now that I got going. As I got myself to think about what I want to bring to you all, I remembered what my soul aches for. To be of service to you all and help you in this parenting gig. To guide you to a different path, that feels more wholesome for your family. A path were it need not be riddled with guilt but with pockets of joy and peace.

discipline, positive discipline, encouragement, parenting, raw reality

Parental Win!

I read many times that you need to listen more then talk to children.

I read many times that you should not offer solutions many times and just show that you are listening without commitment of any kind, without input.

Today I realised that I am doing just that – well many a time not all the time!

I tell you parents it is tough doing this bit!! Your children tell you things (and you feel blessed that they feel comfortable enough and bonded enough that they can trust you with these feelings), and your heart breaks into a million pieces. You wish to show them the way, to lead them but you KNOW they need to get there on their own.

All you can offer is a few guiding pieces to help them with their own self-care- nothing else! and you wish to go and speak with the persons that are making them feel like that. You want to shout at them: “Look what you are doing to my child? Can’t you see?” But instead you tell them that they will find a way to figure it out. You hug them tight and let them fight with their torment, hoping and trusting that they will see how best to deal with such situation.

I realise, that most of the time we do not listen because on a deep, possibly unconscious level, we know how this will play out! We know it will be hard hearing these things and doing nothing. So we cut them short, we talk, instruct, order, advise – anything but listen….so our heart remains intact.

Yet, we forget, that for our heart to remain intact, our children are getting more frustrated because they are not feeling listened, not validated, not loved, note cared for. They feel all they do is wrong, they do not know how to take a decision, how to interact with others, how to solve conflict…….

….and in the end it is what will truly happen! They become adults who can not listen and can not take real life decisions and solve conflicts and validate feelings of others and the cycle continues to the next generation and the next.

It is tough though…..very tough!