Friday, February 17, 2012

Guest Post: Mommy Moments Teens & Tweens

*Hi Everyone!! I hope you have been enjoying a week of guest posts here at Design Thoughts!! Its actually the most consistency this blog has had in over 6 months !HA ( working on that!!) Well my final guest is Jen of Today's Nest. She is here to share tips on getting through parenting if your kids are older. I thought it was so refreshing to see mommy hood from the perspective of a mama with older kids!! I know you will too!! Thank you, Jen for helping out :) *

Modern Hen’s Top 10 5 for Tweens and Teens

Many thanks to Design Thoughts for allowing me to guest post today!  I’ve been struggling with this post a bit because I haven’t really been feeling my teen or my tween this week.  Translation:  when I committed to this idea I was oozing with love for them, and thought, this will be so easy and now they haven’t done chores, have begged for favors, and complained about dinner almost every night.  The good feeling is GONE.  It’s hard for me to remember now if I felt like that when they were babies.  Probably not that exact way, but more like I can’t wait until they take a nap or go to bed.  Well, of course now, they don’t nap or go to bed very early, which means we get take in a lot more of each other.  This is sometimes good and sometimes bad.  Here’s how the Modern Hen handles her teen and tween:
Max and me, this picture truly sums up the teen and Hen relationship! 
1)   Keep’em fed and watered.  Isn’t this true of all living things?  Babies are happiest when they are fed, watered, clean, and rested.  Tweens and teens are really no different.  I can sense the slightest mood swing as meal times draw near and I’m  quick to offer water or some other liquid refreshment and a snack of popcorn (freshly popped on the stove) or pretzels and magic mustard.  Popping corn on the stove or making magic mustard makes such an impact at this age.  It’s like they get that some extra effort and love went into it.  Expect a big hug and a sweet thanks for going the extra mile.

2)   Plan separate dates.  We aren’t great at sticking to this, but when the opportunity presents itself to go our separate ways we have the most wonderful time.  Recently our tween asked Sam (dad & husband) to the movies.  They went to see a flick that only they wanted to see, but were all too excited to tell us about it when they got home.  It was great for us to hear the recap, but better for them to have seen it together.  My teen is just as happy to hop in the car and head to Target with me.  He likes to tool around and we have some of the most interesting conversations and he opens up to me in ways he might not have if we were just sitting on the couch at home.

3)   Set expectations.  We have regular family meetings.  We run the household like a business and everyone’s a stake holder.  Understand that these meetings aren’t anyone’s favorite, but we feel we owe it to our kids to tell them where we are with things like goals, vacation planning, business planning (our website), work, projects, etc.  It may go in one ear and out the other, but sometimes you may be surprised at what sticks.  Like wanting an expensive item, but drawing back in light of the impact on the entire family.  A note of caution on this one:  it takes time.

4)   Make them work.  Kids these days!  They have so many options, far more than we ever had which makes getting them to do chores that much harder.  Chores for our boys meet them at their skill level and never in sum take more than 30-40 minutes to do.  Now that time is subject to fluctuate based on the focus and work ethic of the person doing it.  I have a master checklist of chores for the household and then I divvy the work up on daily chore sheets that can be found here or could be made.  They are required to get their work done the day of and turn in their chore sheets each day for allowance paid at the end of the week.  Consequences are pretty harsh for not completing chores – the next day grounded with chores from previous day + current day chores.  It doesn’t pay to slack off around here.

5)   Be spontaneous.  Gone are the days when we packed a bag and loaded the kids up in the car seats for our idea of adventure.  Now it opens with… ugh, where are we going?  Gah, I was just watching my show.  Geez, we just went ______________.  So we’ve taken to late night runs in our pjs to get ice cream or grab a movie on a random Wednesday night instead of the typical Saturday/Sunday routine.  You can’t give away too much and once we blindfolded them.  This was a little risky, as we thought it might look as though we were kidnapping them.  We ended up at a hotel in a city just 30 minutes from ours and it was decked out with all their favorites.  They loved it.  So much so that we actually got to eat where we wanted.  Savour small victories. 

Jake's debut as Martin Scorsassy the cinematographer

I know everyone says to enjoy every moment because they are fleeting and I am no stranger to how quickly they grow with one previewing colleges already, but make no mistake this thing we are doing, parenting, is a long, tough road, and sometimes you have to make your own joy.  Whether you have ittie bitties or budding hormone machines, take time for yourself, set realistic boundaries, and try to have some fun.  As for me, fun starts tomorrow, I’m exhausted. 

Clucks and pecks,
Modern Hen

Let's Connect !! 

Twitter: @modernhen and @todaysnest

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