Parents Need To Learn To Censor Themselves

It’s been awhile since I had last done one of our very over due holiday post and I was hoping to publish one this week but I’m afraid this rant has to take precedence.

This truly has been bugging me for some time and especially so in the last couple of weeks because we have had to deal with some nasty words that are being used at home. 

Yes the children have been repeating certain words or phrases which they have picked up from somewhere. Words that we don’t use at all at home, not even in one of our angry moments when words slip so we know they are not ‘acquiring’ these phrases from home. While we know they have expanded their (unsavoury) vocabulary in school, we have total confidence that it is not from their teachers especially since the kids are able to pinpoint the source when they are questioned after being reprimanded. Ok before u let your imagination run wild on what words are being said/ used/ heard, let me clarify that some examples are like words/ phrases such as stupid (used directly on a person), shut your mouth/ shut up, you have no brains is it and fat witch (used on a person of authority). Perhaps these words may seem mild to any normal person and I may look like I’m overreacting but when I try hard to censor myself, the words I expose my kids to and teach them to be respectful, it just kills me that it gets undone just like that. Just because another parent is free with words that he or she uses with/ on his or her child. That being said, I recognise that I have no right to judge or question how someone else is parenting their child so I can only choose to deal with it by reprimanding my child, explaining that these words are not acceptable even if their friend is saying it and hope that a parent’s influence is larger than peer influence. 

So then what am I ranting about? 

Yes I am ranting about how parents really really need to censor themselves, not in front of their own kids (honestly I can’t help if we differ in opinions on the type of language that should be used) but please censor yourself in front of or when speaking to other people’s kids. 

I honestly hope that fellow parents can have alittle more consideration and watch your language/ questions around other people’s kids. I think I have mentioned this before, I absolutely hate it when someone ask me or exclaims “oh why does he wear glasses” or “oh poor thing so young and he is wearing glasses”, right in front of my child. For your info, he is a living person and he can hear you. He also happens to have feelings, a sense of self worth and also understands English. 

I also take offence when you approach my child and ask him questions about his appearance/ skin condition/ size. Unless you are a family member or his teacher, you have no business asking if all you are trying to do is satisfy your own curiosity. Because whatever your intention, good or bad, the child will not be able to discern. All he understood from the question, is the fact that an adult asked me about my appearance therefore there must be something different or wrong about it. And the last thing I want for my child is self confidence issues just because you were curious. 

Just as no one (at least most people, safe for the ones with no EQ) would go up to another adult and ask why do you have pimples or why is your skin so oily or why are you so short? I think kids should be accorded with the same ‘respect’. Why should it be ok to flat out ask a kid such questions which serve no purpose to you anyway. Trust me I too am curious a lot but there is a line and some lines should not be crossed.

So yes bottom line, this is a rant and a reminder to myself and to other parents that kids are humans too, they have feelings, they are very aware and we as adults and as parents really need to learn to censor ourselves. Not just with adults because it is the politically right thing to do but also when speaking to or around a kid (because it is the decent thing to do) And to be absolutely blunt about it, if you can’t then I would rather you not speak to me or my child. 

JahBella’s Mummy

To my children – A letter about life and love

Do you at times think back to your childhood or growing up years and remember some of the words of wisdom which your parents may have repeated to you ever so often. Words that you may have rolled your eyes at in your youth but find yourself repeating to your kids in some form or another now. Well I know I do. 

These words of wisdom were often about life, choice of friends and the eventual choice of a life partner. And as much as we rolled our eyes at those words, I have a feeling our parents did enough ‘drilling’ over the years for those words to have some impact on the choices we have made in life and on defining who we are today.

So here are some of my ‘words of wisdom’ that I hope to impart to my son and daughter. 

To both my children

Life is never fair. Trust me, you will come across enough obstacles, failures and even successes in your lifetime to help you realise that. But the earlier in life you accept this fact, the faster and easier it will be for you to pick yourself up after each failure and face the next obstacle again. Because it is only when you accept this fact that you will stop throwing tantrums about life and stop playing the blame game. You will learn to, as cliche as it sounds, make lemonade out of lemons that life serves you and you will be happier.

Life will also throw many curveballs at you and some may even rock the very foundation your life is built upon. For your sake, I hope you encounter enough curveballs to keep you grounded but none of the foundation shattering ones. 

When life throws you these curveballs, Pray. Don’t be mistaken, praying will not make them go away but praying will give you the strength and faith to carry on.

To my Son

Be a gentleman. Open doors and pull out chairs. Chilvary may be dead for some people but needing to be thoughtful and respectful is very much alive.  

Do not carry her handbag. Not mine or your sister’s, not your girlfriend’s or your wife’s. Instead offer to carry her bags, her loads and her burdens but don’t be offended if she declines.

Allow your other half to be an equal to you. Listen to her opinions and trust her instincts. Allow her to drive you. 

Allow her to cry and never ever belittle her tears or emotions. Be honoured that she is opening up her vulnerabilities and insecurities to you. If you don’t know what to do, just embrace her. 

You will make friends and enemies. You need to be able to tell one from another. Sometimes it is not easy to tell the difference.

Always put your family first. Even in the face of building your career and wanting to provide for your family. Know that a powerful and successful man is one who goes home to a family who loves, knows and adores him and those emotions are not bought with money or gifts. 

Love.

To my Daughter 

Empower yourself. No matter how heavy those bags are, learn to carry them on your own. Do not make your partner carry your handbag. 

Learn to drive a car. It will put you in control of your own time and give you the freedom and independence you need so that you never need to wait around to be ferried. Trust me, it will make a difference to your relationship. 

Be strong, be independent and walk along side your partner as an equal but never get so carried away in this new era of female equality and independence that you forget to be vulnerable. 

Allow yourself to cry, allow yourself to be emotional (well just not irrational emotional), ask for help when you need it and don’t be afraid to let him help you with the bags (just not the handbag :p). I know this sounds like a whole bag of contradictions – why are you asking me to let him carry my bags but yet want me to be strong enough to carry my own bags. 

It is simple my little girl, you need to make sure that you are a strong, independent and stable woman in your own right before you can be part of a meaningful relationship of equals. 

You need to be with someone who is willing to take care of you but will not belittle your strength. You need to be with someone whom you feel safe enough to open your insecurities and vulnerabilities to and know that he will still see you as an equal.

Love. 

JahBella’s Mummy

Our Proposal Story – Blog Train

Hopping onto the Proposal Story blog train after Michelle Hon and Cherie Lim..

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I had missed the How I Met Your Father blog train a few weeks ago (definitely a story I will want to document for the kids someday) so I’m at least going to try and tell our Proposal Story šŸ˜‰

So here’s the back story…Joel and I had been in a long distance relationship for 3 years, him in Perth and me in Singapore. It was 3 years spent on long distance phone calls and sms-es (Skype was really unstable and glitchy and there was no FaceTime then šŸ˜¦ ). I also shuttled up and down, visiting him every 6 months and we pretty much spent my visits there travelling around Perth..ok maybe not all around but mainly to Margaret River. Wine! Need I say more :p

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The yesteryear

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From our 1st trip to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse while Joel was still studying there

In September 2007, we were back in Perth with his parents, this time to attend his graduation. We decided to take a trip to Margaret River prior to the graduation ceremony, to show his parents what we enjoyed most there.

It was 16 Sep 2007 and we were going to make a trip to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse that morning.

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The view as we approached Cape Leeuwin that day

Joel and I had climbed to the top of the lighthouse on a previous trip. The climb was pretty tedious but the 360 deg view of the ocean was phenomenal. Joel tried to convince me to take a climb up that morning but I reasoned that unless his parents were joining us, Ā there was really no point since we had already done so once ourselves. I was determined not to make that climb and I clearly threw a spanner in his plans. Looking back, I remember him looking visibly irritated and then abit lost (possibly restrategising :p)

After awhile, he suggested that we take a walk towards the rocks and ocean and give his parents some time alone to take in the sights. We walked off towards the ocean and while I was trying to find a spot for us to sit down at and enjoy the view, Joel was quickly walking off in front of me and ignoring my calls. Now it was my turn to get irritated and I decided to plonk myself down on a comfortable rock and wait for him to turn around.

After a few minutes of what looked like fumbling though his jacket pocket (yes all these on hindsight and I am clearly very observant :p), he decided to turn around and sit next to me. Honestly the rest happened in quite a blur, from me being annoyed that he had wandered off, to him going down on one knee and me saying yes). And as they say the rest is history šŸ™‚

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We had the presence of mind to document the ‘Proposal view’ after..:p

ItĀ rained shortly after the proposal and we proceed to lunch at the Watershed Vineyard. We had the most awesome dessert platter and spotted a beautiful rainbow after the rain..

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The sweets we enjoyed for lunch after the proposal..our first dessert as Fiance and Fiancee

Side note – We will be making our first visit back to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse after Joel’s proposal 9 years ago. This time with 2 kiddos in tow and we are going to show them the spot where Papa asked Mummy to marry him šŸ™‚

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A rainbow to signify our new beginning..

JahBella’s Mummy

This post is part of the ‘Proposal Storyā€™ blog train, hosted by The Chill Mom.

P1010327Up next isĀ is Angie fromĀ GrowingHearts123. Angie is an educator at heart and by profession. She blogs mainly on how she engages her 3 kids with hands-on activities especially the Visual Arts. In her letter to her kids, she shares on how Papa tricked her with an empty recycled ring box!

We need to stop judging ParentsĀ 

It’s been a crazy few weeks and I haven’t gotten down to blogging much..not even about our recent holiday trip. But a conversation this evening with the hubby, propelled me to write this post.

I was reminded of how people judge the things parents do, yes even people who are parents and perhaps especially people who are parents.

I am definitely guilty of it. It’s so easy to judge another parent for choosing to do things differently from you.

Honestly being a parent is a tough enough job without having the world judge you and fellow parents can be the worst critics.

  • We judge when a parent leaves work on time to be with their kid.
  • We judge when a parent works late and doesn’t have time for their kid.
  • We judge when a parent sends their child to school when the child is sick.
  • We judge when a parent takes child mc for the nth time because the child is sick.
  • We judge when a mother chooses to be a stay home mum.
  • We judge when a mother chooses to be a full time working mum.
  • We judge when parents choose to put their kids in full day childcare.
  • We judge when parents choose to homeschool.
  • We judge when parents are competitive about school, school work/ school load.
  • We judge when parents choose to bring their kids overseas for a holiday during the school term.
  • We judge when parents sign their kids up for countless enrichment classes and make them study all the time.
  • We judge when parents don’t sign their kids up for any enrichment classes and allow them to play all the time.
  • We judge when parents allow their kids to use electronic devices.
  • We judge when parents don’t allow their kids to use electronic devices.
  • We judge when parents allow their kids to co-sleep with them.
  • We judge when parents make their kids sleep on their own.
  • We judge when parents choose to stop at 1. 
  • We judge when parents choose to have more than 1. 

I think this list could go on for quite abit and I’m sure many of you would have quite a few things to add as well..

My point really is we have to learn to stop judging each other. The world of parenting is hard enough as it is. We don’t need to prove or justify our parenting choices to people but it sure would make it a sweeter journey if we learn to stop imposing our views on each other.

After all, we all really just want what’s best for our children and family, within our own personal circumstances. 

And if we all can just learn to be supportive or at least understanding of each other, the parenting world will be a less daunting place. 

JahBella’s Mummy 

To the Mum whose kid we met at the playground yesterday.

Dear Mum whose kid we met at the playground yesterday,

We met your 10 year old son at the playground yesterday. He is an exceptionally articulate and compassionate young man. He saw that my son was apprehensive about scaling the netted tower (he attempted it two weeks back and never made it to 2nd tier) and your son encouraged him. He showed him how to do it and he put his fears to rest. He didn’t pressure him or make fun of him when he was too scared to attempt the subsequent tiers. My son made it to the 2nd tier on his first try that morning, thanks to your son.

Oh don’t get me wrong, I too encouraged my son . I too told him that he can do it. And I sure tried to show him how to do it (although that proved to be alittle challenging for me). I made up for that by trying to give him a little physical boost to the 2nd tier. It didn’t work. The fear crippled him. Your son did what I could not do. Sometimes they just need to hear it from someone else other than their parents. And that morning, your son was the perfect someone else.

The older brother. The role model. The competition. The ally. All rolled into one. Your son spent the next hour playing with my boy. They scaled towers. They skate scooted around the park. They played ball. They laughed, joked and fought. But through all this, your son was kind, patient, respectful and understanding.

Through that hour, I realised that your son was on his own and I got the sense that he is alone a lot. No before you think that I am going to get judge-y here, I’m not. I just want you to know that whatever the reason, whatever the circumstances, you seem to be doing something right. He is the most well-adjusted and independent 10 year old I have ever met. He has a level of situational awareness and maturity that would put many adults to shame.

To the mum whose kid we met at the playground yesterday, thank you.

Thank you for raising a kid who saw beyond my son’s age and size and wanted to be his friend despite my son being half his age.

Thank you for raising a kid whom through his example, allowed me to teach my kid certain life lessons. Lessons on determination, kindness, friendship and what it means to be a big brother.

Thank you for letting your kid play at the playground yesterday. šŸ™‚

JahBella’s Mummy