Mama Robbins Series

Blog, Parenting

The Real Struggle Of A Stay-At-Home-Parent During COVID-19

Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn

  • The pandemic that caused a worldwide lockdown
  • Why I’m writing this post
  • The truth about being a stay at home parent during the lockdown
  • Becoming a homeschooling Mama
  • The adjustment period we will all face
  • Side effect a lot of us may experience
  • What we need to do to get through this

Mama Robbins

It was December last year in 2019, I overheard vaguely there was a virus outbreak in Wuhan, China. Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention. I heard it on the news here and there, but the severity of it all was still unknown. At the time, it was just another issue a country was dealing with and I wasn’t worried about it. Then, just a few short weeks ago we were issued a worldwide lockdown protocol for a massive pandemic. A virus they call COVID-19. (Side note: They came up with a killer name – no pun intended) 😉 They have advised everyone that is non-essential to stay in our homes, keep our distance and to do as much as we could to flatline the infection curve. Our schools were closed for a few weeks, which was perfect timing for March Break, but then the unthinkable happened. Everything else started closing too. Restaurants, stores, parks, play centres, you name it and the closure of schools became indefinite.

Sounds like a pandemic movie, right?

Why Am I Writing This Post?

So here is the kicker. When this all started a few weeks ago it came as a shock, but at the same time, I felt it was a huge blessing. There was a time when so many of us wanted to stay home with our kids and spend more quality time with each other and we were finally given this amazing opportunity. Right? So I started a blog post…. I started back in early March writing about how the pandemic started, what it has done to society and all our restrictions, and how we are now all forcibly staying in our homes surrounded by our loved ones. Such a great time to take advantage of all those crafts we wanted to do with our kids, all the meals we will get to make together, all the walks we will get to do and all the places we could sightsee. (as long as we stay in the car). However, that day I never got to finish the post as my 1-year-old was trying to climb all over me and it was just about time to start supper. So I figured I would come back to it another day…and that day…is today….

Here Is The Problem…

Things have changed. They have gone from bad to worse and there is no light at the end of this tunnel…yet. They have gone from a few weeks of lockdown to months….could be 6 to 18 months. This has caused a HUGE mental shift in my thinking and I’m sure for others. What was once a blessing is now something I almost can’t even describe. So I erased my entire post and restarted….with this one.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a blessing in the ability to stay home with all my kids 24/7, but at the same time…let’s be realistic. Staying home ALL DAY, EVERY DAY is HARD!!! Now let’s add on becoming a homeschooling mama with an infant running around AND I’m PREGNANT? Plus, we have such a limited ability to take the kids out and do much of anything.

Becoming A Homeschool Mama

So, it’s was only about two weeks ago I received an email saying the schools were looking into Online Learning options for the kids. They were not sure about the methods of delivery or how it would work, but they would let us know when they came to a decision. Then we got the notice that this last Monday would start a new journey of Online Learning with Google Classroom. I have to say, the first week was a success! I managed to help Kierra and Lexi with their individual assignments and get them all completed.

However, it was the most stressful and busy week I have had yet. Between waking up and getting breakfast on the table, managing to find the time to eat for myself, cleaning up and getting first assignments done, putting Rylan down for a nap and continuing the assignments, followed by lunchtime, play outside, more school studies, more play outside, another nap for Rylan, getting supper on the table, cleaning up after dinner and getting kids ready for bed…..I was completely done. Worn out. The problem is….Rylan has fought his naps all week. Trying to put him down for a nap was frustrating and time-consuming. Managing this while trying to help each of my girls individually with their assignments was proven to be extremely difficult. I never stopped.

Then, because Rylan didn’t want to nap and fought it tooth and nail, he would stay up and be clingy and very irritated…ALL… DAY… LONG. Not to mention, when the kids would get hungry and needed a snack, they became impatient and kept asking for food while I’m either trying to get Rylan down for nap attempt number 2, 3, 4, 5.….and then to know we still needed more work done….AUGH! But like I said…it was a success because it was all completed.

Working Parents & Kids

Now there is a whole other group of you out there I give HUGE KUDOS to. Those of you who have to work from home, either full-time or part-time and have to school your kids and maybe even have an infant or toddler running around too. I have NO IDEA how you guys manage. The stress and breaking points you must feel on an hourly basis. To only get a few minutes into your work to have a child interrupt you and you have a deadline just around the corner. Or maybe you have put in your full day of work to only have accomplished one hour of work because you had your family to attend to. You are doing such an incredible job. I know it is hard as I find my situation hard, but we just have to keep pushing and know this can’t last forever!

The Adjustment Period

Just like anything we do there is going to be an adjustment period. This is usually associated with an uncomfortable feeling because it’s something new or different. By the end of the week, I had come up with a working schedule I would write on a whiteboard listed for the kids to see. This prevented them from constantly asking for food. They were able to see how much time we would focus on completing their work, as well as playing outside. I even did research on Google for “Homeschool Outside Learning Activities” and managed to create the “Texture Walk”. This is where we talk about the textures we may find outside and I also had them spell the word and wrote it on a piece of paper. We then went outside and found these items/things that were associated with the words and talked about why.

I have learned advance planning is going to be key for this to work as we have been notified schools won’t likely go back in for this term, and I have accepted they may not go back to school at all this year for 2020. So…each weekend…including this one…I will make a master schedule, print out any and all activities I need for the week and really make the best of this situation. Even though, daily I feel like I’m using everything to keep it together and not have a complete mental breakdown.

The Side Effects

Let’s face it. I was a stay at home mom for 14 months before this all happened and I was about to go back to work March 24th. Due to the virus that all fell through and I won’t be returning at all. As baby #4 is due in late September 2020, I will not have the ability to get another job and will remain home with the kids until further notice. My husband is a mechanic and deemed an essential service and his day to day has hardly shifted. He still goes to work daily and comes home per usual. To him, life as he knows it is very much the same. I….however…am falling apart….my hopes of getting my career back on schedule has drifted to an unforeseen future, I’m stuck at home all day, every day with limited options to get out…I am an extremely social person and LOVE to get out and be around people…and I have just been LOCKED in a BOX! Emotionally I struggle daily. Literally, with everything I have, I suck it up and just pull through. When he gets home from work…I just want to check out. I want things to go back to normal, I want to see my friends and family, I want to be able to go window shopping, I miss having my kids help me with groceries but now it’s unsafe as they may be contaminated with the virus.

The truth is real….people all over the world, even those who don’t suffer from mental distress are now faced with it daily. Being cooped up for weeks or even months has a serious effect on our mental state. As for those who suffer mental illness….they are crumbling….absolutely losing it. They feel life is worthless, their friends and family are farther out of reach and they feel so isolated and alone. Times have become hard and unfortunately, they will get harder.

What We Need To Do

Now more than ever we need to find ways to get together and be there for each other. We need to find ways to socialize and keep our distance. We need to still feel the happy, the fun, the enjoyment of life by being creative with the options we do have. It will not be easy and we are still going to have those days…maybe even a lot of them, we just want to lose it. But we need to try to stay strong and find the moments we enjoy that hold us together. Seeing my little girl get so excited she can read a new word, or how happy my oldest was to learn “our way” of doing math and she felt so accomplished. It makes us as parents feel joy and know we are doing a good job.

So hang in there parents! Until further notice, we are our children’s 24/7 lives. Day in and day out. Though this may be a scary thought because of how hard it can be…..just know…one day we will reflect on this pandemic and tell our kids when they are older what we went through and hopefully, they will have an appreciation for what we have done for them.

Until Next Time – Follow Me: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube & remember to Subscribe to receive my Future Posts! If you would like to leave a comment, please scroll to the very bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Mama Robbins

Blog, Goal Setting, Parenting, Relationships, Self Improvement

A Book For You – An Imperfect Parent In An Imperfect World

Mama Robbins

We all do it. We compare ourselves to others. Whether it’s the job they have, the money they are making, the things they possess or how happy they seem. But more importantly, we compare ourselves to how others are as parents. We create this idea in our minds of what type of parent we should be, how we should act, and worst of all, how we should handle ourselves in a situation.

Do you ever find yourself analyzing another parent thinking….”Wow, they really have their stuff together!” Maybe you think… “I really wish I loved staying home as much as that parent does. They do crafts with their kids, they have their house looking like perfection, their relationship with their spouse is flawless. I wish I had that.” It could even be as simple as… “I wish I could be as calm as they are.” Do these types of thoughts ever cross your mind? They do with me that is for sure and it can be stressful!

Why do we do this to ourselves!???

Well, I have some good news and I have some bad news. The good news is I am currently working on a book that will jump in and really dissect why we do this and what we can do to “let go” and be content with who we are. The bad news?……..It won’t be released until 2021. I know…that’s so far away but this type of examination is crucial to our own personal development as individuals and as parents.

What I’ll Be Covering – Scratching The Surface

  • The working parent – How we want to do it all while working a full-time or part-time job.
  • The stay-at-home parent – How we want to strive for perfection as we are home all the time and maintain a clean and happy household.
  • The yelling parent – You find yourself yelling often and wish you could be like the other parents that are always so calm and composed.
  • The OCD parent – You always try to keep things a certain way and can’t let go of control wishing you didn’t feel so compelled to do things your way all the time.
  • The busy parent – You ALWAYS have something on the go and find yourself consumed by events, appointments, meetings, or outings. You are looking for a way to feel “less busy” yet still remain productive.
  • and so many more!!!

How Will This Help You?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not reinventing the wheel with this information. I know there are likely books out there that talk about just this type of thing. However, this book will have all these goodies in one location instead of all different books and will be written by ME! Why is that such a big deal? Because believe it or not….I WAS all of the types of parents listed above! How can that be?

Being Relatable Is Half The Battle

I am a working parent. I have a full-time job. (At the time I’m writing this post). I have to find ways to do my everyday life on top of putting in a full day’s work. I was the stay-at-home-parent. Trying to keep the kidlets busy all day and keeping my sanity while comparing myself to other moms who just seem to be doing better then I was. I was the yelling parent. There was a time I yelled at my kids all the time and I felt horrible because I knew so many other moms that were just so….easy going and had this….amazing ability to never get what I felt was even irritated. That alone irritated me! But due to hard work, consistency, and self-improvement, I prevailed to almost never yell at my kids. I was the OCD parent. Okay, this one is a lot harder to do. Trying to keep my house running, cleaned, dinners, homework, laundry, etc. I just couldn’t keep doing it alone anymore and I needed to “give up” some of my control and let my kids and husband help. I felt other parents really had this down and they did what they had to do and they didn’t seem to even mind. This was the hardest for me to overcome. Then there is the “busy parent”. I was that parent that never had any empty space on my calendar. If I did, I felt like I wasn’t being productive enough, or that I needed to do more. What’s one more task added to my To-Do or my schedule. Problem is, it can leave you deflated, worn out, and even broken. Seeing other moms taking their kids to four different practices a week, running a home daycare, planning fresh wholesome meals, plus all these extra activities she did on the side. I asked myself…”Why can’t I do that and still function?”

My personal take on the different types of parents and how we compare ourselves to others is 100% going to be a full personal revelation and I will give practical examples how I overcame each one and what will help you. Plus, I want to ensure I am not leaving out the fathers. This isn’t going to be a one gender fits all. I want to ensure I encompass each and every one of you that this may apply to because I know what this “ideal parenting” can do to a relationship and do to you! It is so important we work together to discover why we behave this way and really get down to the root so you can take the steps needed to be a joyful, happy, and content parent!

I Need Your Help!

So, with that being said I am asking for your help. As this will be a journey for myself to ensure I touch on as many comparisons as possible, what do you find you are comparing with another parent and how do you feel about it. What is something you would like to let go of to be a better person when comparing yourself to another parent? This won’t be a one size fits all kind of book, so all your opinions, suggestions and help will be more than appreciated.

I am so excited to embark on this amazing opportunity with all of you and I cannot wait until the book release. I will likely be looking at Amazon, Kindle and Print on Demand options for this book. If you would like me to put you on a list to ensure you don’t get missed on the release date, let me know and as soon as it comes available I will send you a direct email!

Until Next Time – Follow Me: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube & remember to Subscribe to receive my Future Posts! If you would like to leave a comment, please scroll to the very bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Mama Robbins

Blog, Goal Setting, Self Improvement

A Clear Vision in 2020

Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn

  • The Truth Behind Our Motivation
  • How Lack Of Details Can Get You Lost
  • Ways To Be More Specific With Your Goals
  • Execution Is Always The Same
  • Planning For Detours
  • Plan, Do, Check & Adjust (P.D.C.A) Your Goals Weekly
  • Never Have A “Plan B”
  • If You Fail – Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over It

Mama Robbins

As the holidays wrap up and the end of the year approaches, I find many of us scurry to get to the finish line. We realize all the things we never got to this year and all the things we will have to push to the next. Plus, don’t forget about those pesky New Year Resolutions.

How about this year, we go into 2020 with a clear vision. One that is more specific than what you are likely used to. I find time and time again we make these plans, ideas, or “resolutions” to achieve goals and hit targets, but come this time next year as life gets in the way, we find ourselves falling short of what we wanted to accomplish. Thus, feeling defeated, saddened, discouraged and/or stressed once again that we need to push our goals one more year, or if at all.

Do you ever wonder why this happens? As humans, we overestimate and under deliver. It’s that simple.

The Truth Behind Our Motivation

Our motivation is vastly based on what we DESIRE. If you don’t really want anything out of life, what in the world is going to give you the “get up and go” to your day? You have no purpose, no need, no strive for success. But add to the bigger picture… what you want your life to look like, things you want to possess, this will give you the fire under your tush to “get it in gear”!

Starting a New Year is HUGE! It’s the excitement to a clean slate…a fresh start. If you are anything like me, knowing you’re starting off at ground zero and you get to build your year as you see it, you get all hyped up and ready to go. I will even grab a piece of paper and start writing goal after goal…. lose weight, be a happier mom, work on my business, continue my website, build a product line, furnish my house, etc. But do you see what is wrong with these goals? They are WAY TOO VAGUE. You need to really narrow your goals down. No more basic goals with no timeline or extravagant goals without really breaking them down to the finish line. We need to really put a lot more thought into our goals this year. This will give you a much higher chance of reaching these goals and feeling more fulfilled, satisfied and rewarded in the end.

Lack of Detail May Get You Lost

The lack of details may even get you lost! The more detail you are lacking on your goals, the more likely you are NOT to hit them. Why?

Let me give you an example: Say you have a GPS in your car or phone. You plug in the address and away you go. You can tell it to avoid toll routes, ferries, skip over certain ways, you name it. It will calculate your exact route down to the minute based on your speed and location. If there is an accident, it will recalculate. That simple.

Alternative Option: Now say you didn’t have a GPS or google maps in an area you have never been. You stopped at a gas station and they tell you where you need to go but were very vague. Maybe you feel you have an “idea” how to get there and you can kinda see the route in your head, but can’t see the actual destination spot because of the lack of details provided to you. You start to travel and you make the turns necessary as described by the gas station attendant. But there is a problem….You thought the trip was only supposed to take 2 hours and now you have been driving around for 3 hours. One hour past your estimated time. You have no idea where you are going now as you feel you may have taken a wrong turn, and you can’t seem to find the location. So you stop for directions again…meanwhile, you actually past your destination twice and you had NO idea.

Why did I use that example? Because it’s a great way to show what having all the details vs very little will do for you. Without a plan in place, you have to stop more and reask the questions you should have started with. Plus, when the attendant gave you directions, you probably should have written it down.

Digging Deeper

When we talk about digging deeper and finding the smaller, fine-tuned details to your goals, I’m being dead serious. Here is some examples:

  • Weight Loss – How many lbs/kg, by when, what exercises are you going to do, how often per week will you work out, what time, how long are your sessions, what kind of food will you eat, avoid, how much water will you drink a day, what is your back up plan if you missed any of these above
  • Building Your Business – How many clients do you want to gain this month, what type of clients, how many presentations will you do a week, what products will you offer, how many hours a day will you work on your business, during those hours what will you work on, if you get sick or something comes up how will you make up those hours, how many referrals will you collect, how do you plan to get those referrals, how many calls will you make a day, what social media will you utilize, if business falls off the books what will you do to recover, etc
  • Buying a house – what is the price of the home, what will your mortgage payment be, what is your preapproved mortgage amount, if your payment is more than you could afford now how can you change that, how many more hours at work would you need to work, is there overtime available, could you get a more affordable home, how many bedrooms do you need vs want, what type of garage, what is the exterior made of, how much land would you like, do you want it fenced in or open, do you want it in the city or the country, is a school in the neighbourhood or a grocery store, do you care about the “walk score” (how close it is walking distance to things), etc
  • Get Out Of Debt – How much debt do you have, what are your debts, what has the highest interest rate, what are your minimum payments, how much of your budget can you put towards your debts or how much per pay will you put on your card, if you miss a payment how will you make up the difference, how long would it take you to eliminate one piece of debt if you only paid the minimum payment, can you work more hours to get more money, etc

Execution Is Always The Same

It really doesn’t matter what goal you have. The execution process is always going to be the same. Find out what you want the end game/goal to look like, then work yourself back to see what you need to do in order to get there.

Plan For Detours

Whatever goal you set for yourself, remember that life happens. Kids are born, family members pass away, job advancements, more responsibility, extracurricular activities, you stay late at work or work more overtime, maintaining relationships, RnR time for you. Things are going to happen, things are going to advert you from your path of achieving your goals, but instead of just putting them on the back burner like most of us do and regret not getting to it later, put these “Detours” into your plan of achieving your goal.

Baby Steps To Success

A huge factor to people not being able to achieve the goals they set for the year is they look at the Big Picture too far down the road. If you know you want to lose 50lbs this year, that can seem overwhelming. Especially if you have struggled with your weight for a while. You need to make sure you are taking small baby steps to success. Personally, I love to give myself “Weekly” rewards for my goals. Doesn’t matter how long I know they will take. If I am aiming to write 8 pieces of business this next month and I know I should be doing 2 a week and I hit that 2 that week…guess what… REWARD! Then, if I also hit my 8 for the month….another REWARD! Why? Because rewarding ourselves more frequently also will boost your motivation to KEEP GOING! What better way to almost guarantee success! Now on the other hand, if you are struggling to hit your goals and really failing….that is okay too. Sometimes we need to fail to make our minds and bodies stronger for a different goal we could focus on.

Goal Overload!

Don’t set yourself up for failure from the beginning. If you set TOO MANY goals for the year, even though they may be broken down to the day, you can be focusing on too many things at once and lose site of it all. The whole saying, “A Jack of All Trades and a Master of None” can not be truer.

BreakDown Process

Weight loss is the easiest goal to explain for comprehension purposes, so let’s stick with this one. If you know you want to lose 50lbs this year (your end goal) break it down. 50 lbs for the year divided by 12 months is 4.16lbs per month. With the normal 4 weeks in a month that roughly 1 lbs per week. That’s so dooable! So you say to yourself…I will workout Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you list the foods you will eat, and avoid. You plan all the details needed. Prepping foods in advance to avoid cravings, drinking a lot of water and always having a water bottle with you. But you KNOW for a fact, you will have days you don’t want to go, something will come up, your schedule will be running behind, you will miss a day, or you will have a week you plateau and you don’t lose a pound. What do you do? Plan for the next week to work out a little longer, or maybe do an extra day that week. But what happens if you miss a day or two, struggle to eat right, and are not losing anything?

P.D.C.A (Plan, Do, Check, Adjust)

Sometimes we have to go back to our original goal and re-mark out our path. Our goal is still the same, but our path is written in sand. This is a key importance to ensuring we still accomplish our goals by the end of the year. Thing is, maybe a lot of things happen that are unforeseen and we need to adjust either the goal itself or how we want to get there. But whatever you do, DON’T WRITE OFF THE GOAL COMPLETELY. Unless you feel that goal is actually no longer something you want to achieve, keep pushing forward!

It doesn’t matter how much you are thrown off the plan, if you get lost on your GPS 3/4 of the way into your trip you don’t just turn around and go back home and call it quits. Does that make sense? You put that much time and effort into it in the first place, don’t make that time wasted! Make sure you are checking in on your goal process once weekly! This will ensure if you have had any setbacks you can “reroute” your path to still achieve your goal on time.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said it best, “Never have a Plan B”

Why never have a Plan B? Because it allows your mind to know there is a safety net. It will give you a reason to make excuses or feel excuses are okay. If you Google Arnold Schwarzenegger Motivations Talks and you see how he became as successful as he has and more. Seriously….this guy worked 10 to 12 hours days and still went to the gym 4 to 5 hours a day while working on his acting career. Crazy. Now, we have social media, television, and other things that pop into our lives that make us “feel” we have a reason not to do something. We’ve worked so hard all day so now we need to relax….no…you “want” to relax.

When you make things a priority, you will make time for those things.

If You Fail – Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Remember I said we are human and we tend to overestimate and under deliver? If you did plan too much for the year and you didn’t achieve everything you wanted, DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER IT. If you were able to even achieve one goal off your list, call it a victory. It is extremely rare for someone to list 20 to 30 goals for the year and hit every single one. (Depending on the goal) If you are one who normally does that, you are a high achiever and should be reaching out to others and helping them achieve their goals too! We all need mentors!

So be specific with your goals right down to what you want the end result to be. Work back from there and breakdown what needs to happen in between. Make sure you have a plan for when something does pop in that causes you to “Detour” and how you will get back on the path to achieve your goal. Let’s Make A Clear Vision in 2020 and hit those New Year Resolutions the first time!

Until Next Time – Follow Me: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube & remember to Subscribe to receive my Future Posts! If you would like to leave a comment, please scroll to the very bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Mama Robbins

Blog, Parenting, Relationships, Self Improvement

5 Essential Must-Knows For Back To School Bullies

Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn

  • Why I’m Writing This Post – My Personal Experience Being Bullied
  • Bullying Has Changed From What It Used To Be
  • Some Bullying Statistics
  • Some Schools Have No Procedure To Deal With Bullying
  • 6 Common Types Of Bullying
  • Bullying Warning Signs To Watch For
  • How To Prevent Bullying
  • Traits Of A Healthy Relationship
  • 5 Basic “To Do’s” If You’re Bullied
  • What A Winconson School Is Doing

Mama Robbins

The Hard Truth

I’m going to be very upfront. Bullying today is nothing like it used to be. Though bullying has been around from the dawn of time, from sticks and stones will break my bones…bullying has changed. From the mass shootings, stabbings, and people committing suicide because they can’t deal with the pressure….today…Bullying Literally Kills!

I Was Bullied My Whole Life

I was a victim of bullying my entire life. I kid you not! From the time I was in kindergarten, I remember kids taking my lunch and spilling it all over the basketball court, pulling my hair while on the climbers, and name-calling to an extent, when I think about it now, it’s outrageous. Move me up a few years later to middle school, they were pushing me in the hall and continued name-calling. Move me up to highschool and there were kids tripping me while I was walking between classes, people defiling my locker with horrible drawings, words and posters. Move me up to college and these ADULTS were throwing my books on the floors and still calling me names. One more move up to adult life in the workforce….guess what…the talking behind my back and the name-calling continued. (For certain people)

It honestly wasn’t until I took control of my life and really started paying attention to even what I was doing in my life and who I was hanging around did I finally see I can limit the bullying. So, I cut ALL negative people out of my life, worked hard and still am on my own personal growth and guess what….though some office politics still occur on occasion, which is going to happen, my life is 100% better.

There was a saying I heard once, not sure who it is by….”If you are friend with everyone, you are doing something wrong” – This can not be truer.

Now, you may be thinking, what the heck! What is wrong with this girl to be tormented for so long and like that. Well, I was close to the “lowest on the totem pole”. On top of that, I came from a low-income household so I was never able to wear nice looking clothes, my hair was…well not well maintained and I 100% looked nerdy. Until I hit college, I can see why they made fun of me. I was an easy target for those who needed to feel superior.

Now, years later, I have settled down and had my own children. As we speak, I just finished having #3! They are my world and to see them in pain kills me. So the day my oldest daughter came home and told me how she was bullied, I felt something I NEVER expected. ….The same feeling I felt when I was bullied. I felt that again. ….I almost cried. The fear I felt in that moment for her. “What if she has to go through school like I did and is teased, physically hurt, or worse”. Now….I write this post to hopefully give other parents, guardians and caregivers hope for the children of our future because nothing is more dissatisfying than seeing and hearing your kids are being bullied.

Moving On…

Everyone deals with bullies at some point in their lives. Even as adults. We just call it office politics. Now that your kids are back in school for the new year, that means another year of dealing with those bullies too.

As much as I don’t want to bore you with numbers, it’s important to understand and see how much bullying is taking place.

The Statistics

From the Website: StopBullying.gov, here are some stats I was able to find:

  • Every 7 MINUTES a child is being bullied
  • 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools
  • 70.4% of school staff have seen bullying
  • When someone intervenes, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time
  • 1 in 4 people report they were bullied

It’s unfortunate we have to go through life being taunted at. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, black or white, gay or straight, tall or short, overweight or thin, it happens to all of us. We implement anti-bullying campaigns all over the world trying to combat the problem and making kids aware of how bullying affects them and everyone around them. However, despite our awareness and attempts to stop or even reduce it, it will still happen.

The Pit In Your Stomach

As parents, hearing your child comes home talking about someone calling them names, other kids chasing them around and kicking stuff at them, stealing their books and throwing them on the ground, tripping, pushing, you name it, there grows a pit in your stomach and you just wish you could take their pain away. You as a parent sometimes feel hopeless and frustrated. Why can’t other kids stop?

Let’s not forget my favourite part! (Sarcasm) Your child comes home and expresses what went on that day and you see they’re hurt. Of course, as parents, we ask them, “Did you tell a teacher?” Their response, “Yes, but they just told the other kid to stop and the second the teacher turns away they started again!” Sometimes the teacher will tell them, “You’re fine.”….. ….. Are you kidding me? I find all too many times my kids are coming home letting me know they are taking the steps we talk about to resolve the problems and I feel the teachers or caregivers just are not taking the appropriate steps for some of the behaviours.

What My Kids Deal With…

My oldest daughter was being chased around the schoolyard by two girls, two grades higher than her. They told her to stay away from a friend of hers. They even went as far as kicking rocks and sand at her and another girl she was with. She told the teacher and the teacher expressed to the other girls to stop and leave her alone. Right as the teacher turns away, the kids proceeded to torment them again. She went back and told the teacher and was told, “You’ll be fine!”. It wasn’t until I called the school Principal the next day and expressed my concern that anything was done with these girls. To ALSO find out they are known for this behaviour and nothing has been done about it either. Wow….no wonder kids fight back!

I’m sure some of you fully understand my frustration as it has either happen to you as a child or worse, your own children!

No Formal Procedure

Turns out, there are a lot of schools that don’t have a common procedure to deal with these bullying fiascos. It is determined by the teacher/principal at the time what the precautions/disciplines should be. My daughter’s school is, unfortunately, is one of them.

This is disgusting! We need to implement something into the system across the Board on the steps we need to be taking to deal with these kids and incidents.

Now that my rant is over….Let’s look at how we can give our kids and you the proper tools to deal with the bullying they may encounter.

What Is Bullying?

Bullying comes in so many forms, sometimes our kids have no idea they are even a victim. It is super important everyone in the home is aware of what they are.

6 Common Types Of Bullying

  1. Online
  2. Racist
  3. Emotional
  4. Physical
  5. Verbal
  6. Sexual

Common Warning Signs

There are many possible signs that will give off there is something going on, but here are 13 of the more commonly encounters signed your child may be a victim of bullying:

  1. Loss of Appetite
  2. Lost or Damaged Items
  3. Self Harm
  4. Frequent Requests to Miss School
  5. Unexplained Injuries
  6. Grades Taking a Plunge
  7. Sudden Behavioral Changes
  8. Sleep Disturbances
  9. Withdrawing from Extracurricular Activities
  10. Abnormal Frequency of Feeling Ill
  11. Sudden Change in Friend or Become Isolated
  12. Not Willing to Talk About What is Bothering Them
  13. Change In Amount of Tech They Use

If you notice your kids going through any of the above-noted warning signs, GET INVOLVED RIGHT AWAY! Do NOT wait to talk to them. Especially with older children, you never know when it may be too late.

A Personal Suicide From Bullying

One morning, back when I was in high school, there was a 16-years-old boy we waited for at the bus stop. He never showed that day. I thought it was odd as he usually never missed school. Later that day there was a teacher that came to each classroom to inform us that boy had committed suicide in his home the night prior.

Warning – Graphic Information……….He had hung himself from his bedroom ceiling fan and was found the next morning when his mom went in to get him up for school. The class was shocked and this was super emotional for his close friends and even people who didn’t know him. Why? Because people kept teasing him he was Gay. Back then, it was a huge deal if you were Gay. People didn’t accept it at all. So he ended his life. I struggled with his death for years as we were extremely close, but no one even knew about it because he was teased for hanging out with me too. (RIP Matthew)

So again, if you recognize these signs, PLEASE GET HELP FOR YOUR KIDS!

How To Prevent Bullying

In my opinion, understanding what a “Healthy Relationship” is will be a huge importance. If you have no idea what a healthy relationship is, how can you understand an unhealthy one?

Qualities Of A Healthy Relationship

  • Friendship – You feel like you are each other’s best friend (or good friend)
  • Open Communication – You are able to tell each other everything and don’t keep secrets
  • Trust & Reliability – Know you will be there for each other in hard times, good times, and bad times
  • Supportiveness – They support your decisions and don’t try to bring you down
  • Forgive Each Other For Wrongdoings – If you mess up, you forgive and forget. No holding wrongdoings over you and bringing it up again. Once forgiven you move on.
  1. Make sure you discuss WHAT bullying is and WHAT it looks like. Like I mentioned before, your child may not even know they are being bullied if they have not been talked with on what to look for. This also includes what THEY may do which could be considered as bullying. Hurtful jokes, talking bad behind someone’s back or being judgemental of others. We want our kids to understand it’s not just what we are looking for in other’s but what we are looking for in ourselves.
  2. Keep open lines of communications. Kids need to know there is someone in the household or someone close to them they can freely discuss things. Make sure you are talking to your kids DAILY about their social lives. What is going on? Who are they hanging out with? Anything bad happen today? What good things happen today? Get involved and stay involved!
  3. Monkey-See-Monkey-Do Kids will usually demonstrate behaviours we portray. Making sure we are treating others the way we want to be treated is also extremely important. Though, I’m sure that goes without me saying it.

5 Basic “TO DO’s” If You’re Bullied

  • Ask Them To Stop & Walk Away Immediately! As soon as anyone is bullying you or making you feel uncomfortable, you need to make sure you are saying clearly and loudly to STOP and walk in the opposite direction immediately. Even my kids will come home and tell me they were teased at school and they told the teacher, but when I ask them if they told the other person to STOP and walk away they say no. Too many times kids will stay where they are because they feel they shouldn’t need to move, but if you have a Bully Tagger, they need to relocate.
  • Tell Someone! Anyone…right away that you are being bullied. Don’t wait for it to happen again. Make sure you are telling an adult. If that adult doesn’t do anything about it, make sure you are finding someone TO DO something about it. Maybe the teacher doesn’t do anything, so you tell your parents and they can make a call to the school. Just like I did.
  • You’re Stronger In Numbers. If you have a bully tagging along every recess or lunch period, get a group of your friends to stay close for a while. Bullies are less tempted when the numbers outrank them.
  • Make Them Feel Powerless. Either Act Unimpressed or Laugh Hysterically. The number ONE reasons a bully will keep attacking is because you give them power! As soon as they see they can get under your skin, it’s target time. Over and over and over. If you encounter a bully, don’t give them what they want. Look at them like you are not impressed, roll your eyes, laugh uncontrollably like it doesn’t bother you at all. Bullies will pick on the weakest link. So stay strong and DO NOT ENGAGE…..EVER!
  • Restrict Account Access or Deleting Social Media. Sometimes the bullying is cyberbullying. With technology in the hands of most children these days, it’s almost inevitable you will encounter bullying over text, messenger, or some version of social medial. Numbers mean nothing on a screen. You are usually in isolation with this bully. However, most social media today allow you to BLOCK and Control who can access you. So either block them or delete your accounts.

What A School In Wisconsin Is Doing!

You know Bullying has become a huge issue when a School in Wisconsin starts issuing FINES to parents for the “bullying” Child!

Just this year, 2019, Wisconsin passed a new law that will fine the parent of the bullying child for either in person or online bullying. First, the parents will get a warning note and are given 90 days to correct the behaviour. Thereafter, if the child is caught or no improvement, the parents are given a fine of $366. Second offences are $681.

Let’s be honest for a second here….who the heck can afford a fine for a child bullying in school and what in the world is this teaching your CHILD? Nothing in my opinion! Yes, this might actually encourage parents to take a little more action when it comes to their child bullying at the school and gets their child help for the behaviours if needed, but is issuing a fine to a family really going to make a huge difference? Absolutely not! Plus, on top of being a financial burden to the family, I wonder what kind of treatment some kids are going to get when the parent is notified they now have to pay a $366 fine for their kids’ behaviour

Instead of “fining” a parent, we need to be implementing procedures to make the child understand what they did was wrong. I know back in my day IN SCHOOL SUSPENSIONS SUCKED and they need to bring these back! If you send the child home, whoohoo day off classes and time with mom and dad. Plus again, the parent is out money because now they have an unexpected day of childcare. (If your child is under 12). For those who have older kids, again, this is just another day out of school.

Final Overview

Bullying is nasty. No matter what form it comes in. We try to teach our kids to be the best they can be and how to overcome situations where they become a victim of bullying. It is an unfortunate truth that as much as we want to protect them, it will be up to them to protect themselves. So make sure they know what to do and when. Stand their ground and don’t let them be discouraged by the world around them.

Let’s embrace our kids, equip them with the tools needed and let them conquer the world and hope they become the change we want to see in this world.

Until Next Time – Follow Me: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube & remember to Subscribe to receive my Future Posts! If you would like to leave a comment, please scroll to the very bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Mama Robbins

Blog, Parenting, Relationships

The Ultimate Guide To Successful PlayDates

Today’s Topic & What You’ll Learn

  • What is a PlayDate
  • Benefits of PlayDates
  • Steps to improve your PlayDates with an opportunity to become a Pro
  • My Ultimate Trick to making PlayDates easier
  • Getting in those last minute PlayDates
  • Finding time to schedule a PlayDate even if you feel you have no time left

Mama Robbins

The wonderful world of PlayDates! Google says, “A date and time set by parents for their children to play together”. If you are a parent, I’m fairly confident you have had one. Unless your baby is too young. In my opinion, PlayDates can go one of THREE ways. They will either go horribly wrong and you regret leaving the house, mediocre as you expected and at least you got out, or super fantastic beyond anything you expected and can’t wait to do it again!

If you have never done a play date or just starting out, you may be on the fence about the whole idea. If you have had a few and plan them once every few weeks, you may be excited to get out, but the hassle just doesn’t seem worth it. But what if you could become a pro and start having them multiple times per week without losing your mind? I know…you are probably thinking I’m crazy. But I can tell you from personal experience, knowing how to properly plan your PlayDates can make or break you wanting to do them.

Sometimes I feel we envision PlayDates where the kids all get together at a park, the adults sit together on the bench drinking their coffee under a shaded tree on a sunny day, and you get to watch your kids play while you have lovely conversations with the other parents. MERRRR……WRONG! PlayDates can be almost anything. As long as the kids are together and playing. It’s a PlayDate!

Benefits Of PlayDates

  • Your kids can become more socially equipt
  • It can keep them occupied while you have time to yourself or time with others
  • Getting out can be an incentive and the phrase “I’m Bored” could diminish
  • Gets them moving (aka Exercise)
  • You may finally have some time to socialize with people that are not our small humans.

I guess that can be a win-win for all, right???!! But what if we are working moms that go to work all day, have the ability to talk to adults, and no time in the evenings and weekend because you have too much to get done? Well…I’m going to cover that too! So, let’s get started!

Steps To Improve Your PlayDates!

  • Get A Planner – I know this sounds weird for PlayDates, but this is key. If you don’t have a way to remember the dates and times, you will have some really disappointed children. How it is they can’t seem to remember where they left their shoe..by the way, that should be at the front door!!!!…but they can remember a PlayDate scheduled three weeks away without writing it down!!????? When I mention a “planner” this can be hardcopy (my fav) or your phone. A phone is more practical these days as you can set intentional reminders. (Love this too)
  • Plan A Month In Advance – I am a HUGE planner. I like things to be marked in my calendar at least 2 weeks in advance. Why? Because I have three kids, school activities, after-school swim lessons, chores, supper, Blogging, etc. I’m sure you know the drill. The last thing I want is to be asked for a PlayDate and I have to say No as I have no time slots left. So….at the beginning of a month, I will sit down and I literally start texting the parents asking if they’d be interested in a PlayDate.
  • Schedule In The DatesAs soon as the text come back “Yes” for PlayDates, SET THE DATE and TIME. This is extremely important. When we leave plans for, “oh I’ll call you next week”….”I’ll get back to you”…they tend to fall off the radar because we are super busy. So when you get the confirmation, start putting in the details right away.
  • Do Child Swaps & Optimize Time – I’m sure a lot of you already do this, but for those of you who don’t, this is amazing. It’s basically FREE CHILDCARE! If you know you do groceries every Wednesday around 3 to 4…not that many parents are that schedule and on time….but try to plan a PlayDate at “that” child’s house during those hours! SCORE…Not only will you be able to get your groceries done without a child-in-tow, they will be having a great time with their friends and save you money on the way past the “check-out” catchers. (Those are the isles on either side of you when you get to the till…filled with goodies your kids can’t seem to not ask for – unless it’s dental floss, leg raisers, Q-Tips, etc – then they don’t seem to think about it) Maybe you noticed every Saturday afternoon you start to feel worn out and wish you could have a well-needed nap. Guess what??!! Schedule a PlayDate!!! The opportunities are literally endless!
  • Avoid Scheduling Around NapTime – For the younger kids….this is like the advice you receive to never go shopping on an empty stomach…seriously..don’t do this…but if you schedule too close to a nap, you will either end up with a cranky, screaming child close to the end of the PlayDate wishing you hadn’t gone at all, or need to leave early because bad behaviours start to get more prominent around this time. Make sure they are well-rested and plan to be back well enough in time to get them down for their scheduled sleep. On the other side of things…if you have an older child no longer taking naps, make sure you don’t plan a PlayDate right after a vacation, or anything that completely threw off their schedule. This can upset things and make it much more difficult for you.
  • Child Having Bad Day, Go Anyways – This may seem really odd, but when your child is having a bad day from the moment they woke up, it’s usually due to lack of sleep. For some reason, this starts a wonderful domino effect of misbehaviours, back-talking, tantrums, crying. You name it, it seems to happen. But getting them OUT OF THE HOUSE can actually be a perfect cure. However, make sure they understand any “extreme behaviours” will have the consequence of leaving immediately. Not to mention, when your child has been giving you the run around all morning, the last thing you want to do it keep being around them. This will give you and them a well-needed separation break to recoup. Note: If your child has been acting up, you may not want to send them to the friend’s house alone. For this time, you may want to accompany them.
  • Always Bring Snacks – It doesn’t matter if you JUST ATE, bring snacks! Kids are bottomless pits. I can’t tell you how many times we just got in the car to leave for a PlayDate and I hear, “Mom…..I’m hungry!” WHAT?? Plus, you never know if a PlayDate goes super great and you stay longer, you will be better prepared.
  • Limit Technology Use – Okay…by now you should know I am a HUGE advocate for limiting tech around you and your family. A PlayDate is not having kids over, going to someone’s house, park, wherever and them pulling out the tablets, iPhones, laptops, Nintendo Switch, etc. PlayDates are meant to “socialize”. If it’s a sleepover and there is a movie, of course, that is okay. I’m also not saying no devices at all either. What I’m saying is limit the use. Is the game something that is interactive and the whole family can play too? Then that is a GREAT idea. Is it something where other kids just watch? Probably best to save that for later. Try to keep the focus on the “Play” part. If it’s questionable and you are not sure….pass.

My Top Secret Trick To Successful PlayDates…

  • Families With Multiple Kids – When you have more than one child and there is an age gap, it can sometimes be difficult for them to all play together. How many times do you hear, “MOM, she isn’t including me!” or “MOM, they’re being mean to me!” This can drive any parent crazy. So…I especially look for other families that have kids both around 5 and 7 years of age. As great as the Child Swap is, sometimes it only works for one child, leaving the other child alone or feeling unwanted. I found this to be a horrible feeling for both myself and for my child left out. My oldest daughter has a few friends in her class and my youngest daughter has a few friends in her class… both of whom are siblings. We have four families in the area that meet this criteria. When it comes time to schedule the “PlayDate”, I contact the parents, follow all the tips from above, and BAM. The kids come over, the two oldest play together…the two youngest play together and EVERYONE is happy…..well…99% of the time.

Last-Minute Scheduling

So we have covered a variety of ways to schedule your PlayDates in advance. This is to help them run more smoothly. But what about the 5pm call after school asking if your kids could have a PlayDate? (This happens to me all the time) Well…from my past experience, usually this is requested of my older children. But here are a few rules you may want your kids to follow:

  • Do what is easiest for you! If I have kids asking to come over..even for 20 minutes before supper…I know it gives me more focus on making supper. If I have kids asking to come over during supper..obviously that is a no.
  • Make sure your EXPECTATIONS are crystal clear. Setting boundaries where they can play is a great one
  • Clean up is mandatory before other kids can leave. Ask them to start putting things away at least 15 minutes before they should be picked up. We all know cleaning becomes play, to being told to clean…again!

On the go PlayDates “can” be chaotic, but depending on the age of your child(ren) it can be a blessing in disguise!

I Have No Time For PlayDates…

The secret to getting PlayDates in when you are working more relies on your ability to trust other parents with your kids. If you have trust issues…this idea may not be for you. However, if you have built great relationships with these parents, this may be a slam dunk. What is it?

I feel a lot of our kids make at least ONE really great friend in school. THAT is the family you can schedule the PlayDate with. When I feel confident and have built a relationship with the parents….may that be over FB Chat, Texting, etc….I will sometimes allow those parents to pick my child up from school and bring them back to their house. (I fully admit I will physically go “check out” their house and meet the parent first) If I’m concerned with the other parents driving…after work I would pick up my child(ren) and bring them to their house and just “drop-off”. While my child(ren) are playing, I go home and take care of other needed errands. Need I mention I usually get even MORE done because now I have less distraction at home. Friday night weekend sleepovers are the best for this. No need to plan supper that evening if no kids at home, I know they will be taken care of for at least 12 hours, and I can focus on other things so when I have my kids back I can FOCUS ON THEM. Not the million other things I need to take care of.

Summary For PlayDate…

  • Get a planner
  • Try to plan a month in advance
  • Schedule the DATE and TIME as soon as a “yes” has been confirmed
  • Do child swap & optimize your time
  • Avoid scheduling around nap time or coming back from vacations
  • Child having bad day – go anyways
  • Always bring snacks
  • Limit tech usage
  • Try to find families with multiple children the age of yours (this only really applies if you have more than one child)

Obviously, every family dynamic is different. I’m not saying these tips will work for you, but I have had a LOT of PlayDates with all THREE of my kids, and these tricks have been almost flawless every time!

Questions For You

  1. Is there any PlayDate tricks or tips that work well for your family?
  2. What do you feel is the main reason PlayDates doesn’t end well?
  3. Do you have a plan when you do PlayDates or do you leave it all to chance?

Let me know in the comments below about your PlayDates! I’d love to hear what you do, where you go, how YOU feel about them. I also hope you are able to take a few tips from here, implement them into your PlayDates and see immediate results!

Until Next Time – Follow Me: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube & remember to Subscribe to receive my Future Posts! If you would like to leave a comment, please scroll to the very bottom of this page.

Sincerely,

Mama Robbins