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Love, respect and time … what else does a family need?

Covered in reminders of things to do, woman freaks out!

Mad Mama with Desme Daniels

It’s been a tough few weeks for every parent in Mid Canterbury, the recent teenage rampages throughout the district committing crimes and then a final explosive episode at the local college.

But, you’ll be glad to hear I’m not about to start on a crusade about the blame game. I will say though, it stopped me in my tracks and made me look at my kids and my parenting skills.

There is no getting away from the fact that this a huge topic of conversation, both in and out of work, fuelled not only by social media but by well-liked local columnists and friends and acquaintances with the knowledge of the history behind the incidents.

Now, I have four kids who could not be more different, they sure have their ups and downs, and god can they be annoying at times, and yes they are difficult, challenging and frustrating – but never to the extreme we have witnessed of other kids in our community.

Why? Well for those who know me (the Grumpy Cat sign stuck to my office door is a dead give away), when I need to be a little fiercer, I can be.

If you push my buttons or test my limits then the gloves will come off.

All is fun and giggles till someone oversteps the mark, then the angry mum fierce voice comes out that can freeze water at 500 paces and sure stops my kids in their shoes.

Fear flashes in their eyes and they suddenly behave.

Obviously I’m not a perfect parent, I make huge mistakes, but I learn by them and I love my kids and they know that.

Maybe this simple basic fundamental thing we all take for granted is missing for some kids, maybe without the simplest love, there is nowhere for respect and trust to come from.

With Mother’s Day around the corner (yes Miss Perfect Daughter you better be reading this) I’m expecting my usual breakfast in bed (food I buy the day before – to ensure the breakfast happens and that I like the food given to me as a “surprise”) so the orange juice, berries and croissants are all pre-bought and subtly left in the kitchen.

I spend the evening hoping the walking food monster that frequents my kitchen between midnight and 3am does not devour them as a quick snack.

I’ll expect the wonderful handmade cards with the most random things written on them, like “I love you mum because you make me my lunch – love Anya” …. I’ll pop the cards in a drawer saved specially for hoarding all things handmade by the kids. Then I will happily force the kids, including the eldest 18-year-old boy to endure “family time”.

This “family time” happens often in our household, it’s my attempt to halt our hectic social lives and give us all some quality time together.

It is loathed by the kids, groans and moans of “oh seriously – family time – again – urgghhh”. But once the moaning has subsided and the electronic gadgetry is left at home the four chillblains suddenly start to reconnect, bond and have fun.

A throwback to the Waltons and Little House on the Prairie – good old wholesome family fun.

So I will be watching the weather forecast to plan the Mother’s Day family outing and we will have fun – not having fun is not an option!

Just to change tack quickly, I’m not sure if many people in New Zealand saw the documentary with Rio Ferdinand who lost his wife to cancer in 2015. He’s finally speaking out about being a solo parent to his kids whilst dealing with his grief.

I think having someone talk so candidly about his journey, puts the fear of God into me about having my journey with my kids cut short and makes me want to “make memories” and enjoy every second that I can.

We all have to do the boring stuff – cleaning, food shopping, gardening, laundry, paying bills, working – oh, it’s relentless week on week. But if we can make time for our kids and our friends and our family, then the quality time gives us back some quality to our lives. It gives us purpose and enjoyment and laughter and love.

So, Happy Mother’s Day, to all the mums, moms and mummies and to all the dads who have to be mums and dads (MADS) to their kids – have an amazing day and make time for all the special people in your lives.

Remember, hug your babies daily, never be too busy for a hug. It shows them you love them and gives them the foundations to be confident, secure, respectful mini grown ups … we hope!

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

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