Chin up, chaps.

We take this parenting gig pretty seriously.

By we, I mean; me, you, your neighbour, my hairdresser, the lady who serves me at my fruit and vege shop.  We.

Parenting is a serious thing.  We should give it the consideration it requires.  And so we do.  Actually, we work our butts off to give these kids of ours the best start possible.  We stay away from certain foods while we’re up the duff.  We swallow vitamin pills to give them additional ‘schtuff’.  We source out all the various baby gear we need.  We makes sure that we have cots/ cribs that have bars that are just the right distance apart.  And that’s just the beginning.  The hard work doesn’t ever stop.

Fast forward to baby proofing, anguish over baby milestones, feeding issues, sleeping issues, toilet training, temper tantrums, sharing, biting and then, for some of us…repeat. Along comes little person number two.

And this is only the first few years….

Don’t even let me get started on future years.  I think you get my point.  We take parenting seriously.  We know that a lot of our actions with these little people can have far-reaching consequences.  And every thing we do is soooo worth it.  Absolutely, definitely worth it.  Let’s also not forget that parenthood is a gift.  A beautiful, priceless gift.

But sometimes we let this seriousness consume us.

We’re completely stuck in the moment.

We can’t see above and beyond our current parenting issue.  We’re trapped by our right here and right now.  And whatever we’re facing IS a big deal.  I won’t belittle that.  We don’t want to stuff up our kids.  We want our kids to be healthy and happy.  Our motivations are good and right.

But maybe, just maybe, the best thing we can do sometimes is to take a breather.  To take some deep breaths and step away from our current issue.  To realise that even though this is a serious issue for my right now, it isn’t going to always be this way.  You know what they say – ‘kids don’t’ start school in diapers/ nappies’.  ‘Expose your kids to new foods multiple times and eventually they try them’.  ‘The best thing between you and a crying baby (sometimes!) is a couple of closed doors’.  These sayings didn’t come into being and hang around, for no reason.

One thing I try to do that helps me (from time to time!) from dwelling unnecessarily on kiddie issues, has been to hunt out people who are at a similar stage of life as me, who also have kids that are older. I’ve found people whose parenting styles I’ve liked and people I really respect, whose older kids have turned out more than all right, and I have made them my go-to people.  When my oldest was five and I was convinced he’d just exhibited behaviour that was  sure-fire practice for gang initiation, it was my go-to person I rang.  There’s nothing like the comfort that comes from being told ‘this is normal’.

Google is great.  Books and magazine articles are wonderful, but there’s absolutely nothing like a trusted friend telling you ‘it is going to be ok, this will pass’ and offering you truths and knowledge from their own experiences.  Both good and bad experiences.

So – wherever you are in the Messy Trenches of Parenting, no matter what challenge you’re facing now, whatever is making you second-guess yourself and consume extra amounts of caffeine/ alcohol/ chocolate, can I just encourage you to find yourself a go-to person?  Don’t let your general countenance be clouded too long by your earnestness and seriousness in growing your kids right.  Breath. Just breath.  A problem shared is truly a problem halved.  Chin up, chaps.

Just, chin up, chaps.

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Awards and Accolades.

I’m finding it very hard to believe that we’re near the end of August.  Next month we’re in the -ber months.  Here in the Southern Hemisphere we’re near the end of the third term of a four school term year….weird to think that schools right across America are starting up again after their long summer break.

As we roll into the fourth term and all that ‘fun’ end of year stuff, our diaries are going to be filling up with all sorts of events; concerts, parties, shows and yes, prizegivings/ awards nights.

I’m sure that the people reading this post all have very set opinions on awards and prizes for kids.  They are a funny old thing indeed.  This is our first year at this particular school we’re at now – so I’m not sure of how this goes and what the deal is…..I’m not sure what ‘things’ are noticed and rewarded, but I do know what I’d like to see happen, and I do know what I’d love to see rewarded.

Students who do well academically, and behaviourally – they are easy to notice.  Easy to pinpoint.  And of course as parents we want our kids to be achieving, and there’s a certain amount of pride that comes along when they are seen to be ‘achieving’ too.  Yes I’m a parent who does proclaim on all forms of social media when my kids do well.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say I did this.  But.  And here’s the thing, I think it is important to proclaim all things amazing about our kids.  Get that?  All things amazing.  And therein lies the massive gap between what is sometimes celebrated in schools and what I think needs to be remembered more.

A bright kid who is self-motivated will go far in this world.  A child who gains top marks across all or most subject areas is more likely to go on to gain a higher education.  And this is good.  And this is necessary.  But lets not forget character.  Let’s not forget the qualities that will take a child into adulthood and give him or her the skills needed to be an excellent employee.  A compassionate co-worker.  A caring member of society.

I just so believe that what is in a child’s heart is so much more important than achievements and accolades.  And these character traits aren’t always recognised in this competitive world we live in.

Some schools do have ‘character’ awards, and that’s great, but I believe this is something that should be expected of any and every child.  And not just one picked out of a class of 30.  So how can we nurture this in our children?  How can we as parents make this expectation known?  Is this just another example of me and my ‘pie in the sky’ ideas?  I dunno.  But I do know two things…..

One – we have to model kindness.  We have to model speaking kindly of others. And to others. We have to model actively reaching out to others and showing concern.  All the things we desire of our children – how can they know these things, if we’re not illustrating them ourselves?  Not any easy gig huh, this parenting thing.

And two – I was taught this at Teachers’ College and can see it as being appropriate in any situation with kids, we need to ‘catch them being good’.  For those times when my kids surprise me and respond positively to tricky situations, I need to thank them.  For the kind gestures they make, I need to recognise them.  For the thoughtfulness I see them show – I need to point out that this was seen and appreciated.  This ‘catch them being good’ business – it works wonders, I know I need to do more of it.

As we enter the -ber months and when you find yourself sitting in numerous special assemblies and prizegivings, please can I urge you to remember this…… You may clap loudly when your kid’s name is called out and they walk onto that stage – and that’s wonderful.  Nice one.  You post that pic and status on Facebook.  Honour should be given when honour is due.  Some kids do work jolly hard.  But if your child’s name is not called out – and they sit in their chair the whole evening – and you find yourself clapping for lots of their classmates – don’t think any less of your child and their abilities.  What’s inside of them – what’s growing in their attitudes to others and in their general countenance, is so much more important than what any award will indicate.  And I really do think we need to remember this.  In this achievement driven society perhaps now is the time that we as parents can stand up and really encourage kindness, gentleness, self-control.  We can be the ones handing out ‘verbal medals’.  And who knows – these ‘verbal medals’ could help create a generation of even more amazing young people than we could ever hope for.

  Do you have anything to add?  Any personal views on this topic you’d like to share?  Feel free to leave a comment.

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Our paintbrushes.

Yesterday I may have been vacuuming up a mess, half the playground brought inside in a pair of shoes mess, and I may or may not have uttered a sigh and some grunts of exasperation.

A couple of hours later the four year old was trying to do something and was having difficulties and I heard the same exact sigh and grunts of exasperation that I may or may not have uttered only hours earlier.

Little sponges.

All the time.

Our children – big and small – are sponges.

I was thinking about this sponge business and thinking about how I need to reign in my silly displays of frustration, and then I was struck by a memory of something that happened a while ago.

Some time ago I was present when a friend of mine was with her Mother, and the Mum kept making remarks about the Mum’s weight.  My friend was in her twenties – but even at this age, I could see her crumble at the sound of these remarks.  You see the remarks weren’t even aimed at the daughter – they were a grown woman’s observation of herself, but spoken in her daughter’s presence, and in my presence, they made us feel……weird.  Awkward.  Unsure of where to take the conversation.  Unsure of what our response should be.  Those incidents – not a one-off event – but over a period of time – made me vow to myself that I wouldn’t make any judgement calls on my appearance in front of my children, and in front of their peers.  Especially if I happened to have any girls.  As it turns out we’ve been blessed with three amazing BOYS – but my stance remains firm – I won’t talk negatively about my appearance in front of my children.  Ever.  Because of how it made my friend and I feel, when we heard my friend’s fifty-something year old Mother talk about her appearance.

Sponges.  Our kids are sponges.

Now I know there are Mums and Dads out there who do have real issues with their own appearance and struggle daily with accepting their particular ‘package’.

Pregnancy changes your body in ways that are, quite simply, irreversible.  Blokes your bodies don’t change as a result of childbirth – but you’re often on the receiving end of the struggle to adjust to these changes and the ‘I have NOTHING to wear that fits me’ situations…..

Ageing changes our bodies.  Yep.  That ole Father Time has a lot to answer for.

If you’re having a hard time accepting what you look like, or how pregnancy has changed your outer shell, then please, can I encourage you to read the following two blog pieces I read that prompted me to focus on this issue?  Can I encourage you to have a go at attempting to be at peace with your body?  And can I encourage you to avoid projecting your negative feelings onto your kids?  There’s a whole bunch of junk that comes out of that, and nothing positive.

 

The first blog piece is by Emily Wierenga.  She’s a former anorexic and writes powerfully, from experience and gives really great advice for this journey we need to walk.   The blog piece can be found here.

 

The second blog that I’d love you to read is by Glennon Doyle Melton, who blogs under the name Momastery.  ‘Your body is not your masterpiece, your life is’.  Powerful words – and a good dose of reality that I think we all need.  The piece can be found here.

Do yourself a favour, and do your kids a favour…..remind yourself of these truths today….

‘Your body is not your offering. It’s just a really amazing instrument which you can use to create your offering each day. Don’t curse your paintbrush. Don’t sit in a corner wishing you had a different paintbrush. You’re wasting time. You’ve got the one you got. Be grateful, because without it you’d have nothing with which to paint your life’s work.’ – Momastery

If this accepting of yourself, of your outer shell, is something you struggle with, your partner struggles with, your sister or your cousin or your Mother or your daughter……point them in the direction of these links…..

And remember, as I am learning…..our children…..are little sponges.  Always.

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Stepping over the line.

I popped into a supermarket on Saturday, just to get two things.   It was supposed to be an in and out errand….five minutes max, as the rest of my family were waiting for me.  I found the two items I was after, and in doing so noticed a Mum with her two boys…..the boys at this stage were running around.  Dashing here and there.  The Mum was calling for them halfheartedly.  Somehow she managed to wrangle them up to the counter and I ended up in the checkout line behind them.  What followed was a rather painful five minutes of the two boys not doing what they were asked to do, then two boys physically fighting on the floor of the supermarket, the Mother threatening to take their massive bag of sweets off them (she didn’t – she ended up buying it along with her other groceries) and then there were massive tears from the youngest child as the older child continued to sit on him and hit him….then the Mum ended up carrying the younger one out of the place.  And everyone around finally breathed out in relief.

At the time I was pretty astounded at what was happening.  But at the same time I was trying hard not to judge.  Who knows what had already gone in this family’s day before the supermarket ‘event’.  They may have been up before the birds.  They may have just said goodbye to Dad before he went away for a trip.  Grandma may have given them food with red dye in it and they may react to that.  There’s a whole range of things that could have caused the unruly behaviour.  But because in our generation of bringing up kids we kinda like to let people be, and heavens above if anything ever looked like we were judging, I stood by and said nothing and did nothing……What I would have loved to ask the Mum was ‘is this normal behaviour?’.  Because if it was, that lady needs help.  What those kids were doing was not ok and was not normal.  But who’s going to tell her?

This week in New Zealand I was horrified to read of the murder of an Indian shop owner in a suburb we’re very familiar with.  This event was shocking enough, but then it came out in the news that the two accused of the crime are aged 12 and 13.  Yes.  12 and 13.  As far as I’m concerned every 12 and 13 year old should be at home at 7.30am on a weekday morning, eating their Weetbix, playing minecraft on the computer and about the most trouble they should be causing would be pestering their Mums about what’s for dinner.

But obviously this is not the reality for a lot of families and life is not the simple and easy thing it absolutely should be, for a lot of young people.  And because of this, my heart breaks.

And isn’t it easy to feel helpless?

And isn’t it easy to feel angry and deeply saddened about the way some children have to live, but feel absolutely clueless about what to do to help and make ANY kind of difference?

It is easy to feel powerless.  Absolutely powerless.  But maybe, just maybe, we don’t have to be.  Maybe, just maybe, we all need to step over the line and act on things we see.  And not stand by when we see little things happen, because in my simplistic way of thinking….the little things mount up…the little things add up….and the little things can make a huge difference.

Coming back to the Mum in the supermarket….I could have firmly but kindly knelt down to the little boys and said something along the lines of ‘hey, is that kind behaviour? How about you show me (and the rest of the store!) what a brave and kind big brother you can be’.  I could have said to the Mum ‘hey we all have bad days, can I help you to your car?’.  None of those options would have been judgemental – just a friendly face with a desire to help.

Sometimes we can just step over that line – and actually help.

How about if we see a bunch of kids in our neighborhood, hanging out when they should be at school?  I am naive enough to think that if we actually called the neighborhood police and alerted them to that…maybe, just maybe having an authority figure step into the picture would actually get them back in school.

How about if we did everything we could to support our teachers and youth workers?

What if we actually struck up a conversation with the young single Mum in the same waiting room as us, and took an interest in her and her child?

What if we actually started parenting as a village?

What if we admitted to our friends when things weren’t going well and needed fresh ideas on how to deal with certain issues?

What if we became less timid about sharing our successes and useful tips – not to show-off or blow our own trumpets, but because we saw a real need and could actually provide someone with a practical thing to help them with a parenting issue?

What if?

I certainly don’t have any real answers to deal with these major issues that society is facing….I know I’m simplistic in my thinking and there’s a lot more at stake here than I”m looking at in this short blog post…..but I do know we have power in our shared experiences.  What if we stepped over the line a lot more?

 

This is a very interesting article, that I’d love you to read – an interview with a pediatrician in New Zealand.  Kiwi kids:  how we can save them.  

 

#DoItForTheGirls #BringBackOurGirls

I’ve just spent five minutes scrolling up and down the homepage of the New Zealand Herald Online – my primary news source. Well, maybe not anymore.   There is nothing on that front landing page that mentions the 300 Nigerian girls who are missing – taken from their families.

Have we forgotten already?

Is it already yesterday’s news?  It doesn’t matter?

Well it does matter my friends.  These girls have been taken against their will, against their families’ will.  Taken and have been forced to convert to Islam, and are now being held until some militant prisoners have been freed.  They are pawns in a war of terror.

It is easy to feel sad at this situation.  It is easy to feel anger.  It is easy to feel powerless.  What can we, as caring citizens of the world do, to help?  And will it really help?  We have to believe it does.  We have to do something.  My friend Alison has written an excellent blog giving some very real and practical ideas on things that we can do – things that if a large body of people raise their voices in outrage and actually did these things – that voice would be heard.  But first you have to know that this is not such a distant problem.  First – you have to know that what matters so many miles away from our very comfortable lives here in Australia/ New Zealand or America, actually isn’t so very far away at all.

I want you to know that the world is smaller than you think.

I want you to know that maybe, just maybe, border lines of countries on a map, are really just handy marks.  Borders merge and flow in ebbs and tides so much more than we think.

My own sister-in-love is a lawyer for the International Red Cross.  Right now she’s working in Tajikistan.  She’s an expert on the law of war.  Yeah.  There are laws to do with wars.  And there are a lot of people who devote much time and energy to dealing with the bad guys.  The very bad guys.  To turn our backs on a problem that is so many miles away, is to turn our backs on the people who are fighting for the hurt and the marginalized, the devastated.  The more people are aware of what these very bad guys are up to, the more that is in the public eye, the more the atrocities have to be dealt with.  And the less, they can get away with.

Knowledge is power, yes?

When we as a family were visiting our extended family back in Christchurch last year, we had an amazing afternoon spent with friends of my Mother-in-love.  Friends who are refugees from an African nation.  This family had, against all odds, been able to leave their war-torn nation and came to NZ as official refugees.  In the process they left behind a son, who had been drafted into the army.  An army that you can’t ‘un-draft’ yourself from…..amazingly after a few years he did escape, he bribed someone to get him across a border and he himself became a refugee, found out where the rest of his family had ended up (they thought he was dead), and they were able to re-unite.  In little ‘ole New Zealand.  The stories this family can tell.  What I’ve written in three or four sentences does no justice to the things they’ve experienced, the trials they’ve overcome and the very miracle that they survived and are re-united.  However – what I want you to get from this, is this is real flesh and blood people, who sit in my in-laws living room on a regular basis and share meals with them.  This is not a people group who are far-removed, living on the other side of the world, who we just can’t relate to as we feel so distant to them.

Worldwide borders mean nothing these days.  There are Africans living all over the world, just like there are Australians all over the world.  We have to feel something for these people, because they are just not that far removed from our lovely lives.

So – please – I urge you – read Alison’s blog   and know your voice matters.  Feel something.  Do something.  This isn’t just yesterday’s news.

Hope for the weary

80% of my Facebook friends who are parents are exhausted.  The other 20% are too happy and glass half full, to complain, but I bet if I were to ask them how they really were, they’d tell me they are tired.  Dog-tired.

This coming Sunday is Mothers’ Day in certain parts of the world.  You know most Mums don’t actually want much in the way of material goods – but a sleep in and an uninterrupted sleep would be up there on the wants list.

But as much as sleep would be nice – for any parent – sleep is almost a short-term solution.  There’s always another bout of teething just around the corner.  There are  sneaky bad dreams once imaginations begin to be fired up.  Late night homework assignments requiring a spot of advice.  Taxi services at all times of the day and night.

In short, sleep is not something that we as parents can always count on.

But we have to learn to power through, no matter what.  We have to learn to live exhausted, and not just survive.   We have to look after self – before we can look after our families.

So what hope can I throw your way?  How can I inspire you, when your days are full of spilt milk, endless cleaning up of spilt milk, more demands for milk, running out of milk, having to haul all your kids in and out of the car and in and out of the supermarket for more milk, and all you want is a cuppa tea (with a dash of milk) and a wee sit down.  Just for ten minutes.

Well all I can share are things I have learnt along the way, things that may help you, and things that I am learning.

If you’re really weary…….

*  get as much of a decent night’s sleep when you can.  Tv can wait.  Books can wait.  Social media can wait.  Sleep is important.  Rest is important.

*  if you’re breastfeeding and you’ve begun to enter that twilight zone when you regularly put your car keys in the fridge and you’ve fallen asleep while holding your baby in bed during a middle of the night feed, consider expressing if possible and sharing these precious feeds with your partner.  Severe lack of sleep with newborns can be so debilitating.

*  make sure you’re as healthy as you can be – if you’re feeling really tired and this is not usual for you, maybe get your iron tested.  Menfolk – you need to keep yourself as healthy as possible too, and don’t neglect your annual check ups.  Just because you feel fine, doesn’t mean you should go years and years without a good, comprehensive check up.  You owe it to your families to be in the best health you can be.

*  eat well.  Nah I’m not going to say eat organics/ eat raw/ eat the rainbow/ eat clean/ eat paleo/ eat vegan.  Nope.  Just eat well.  I’ve seen far too many friends go all whacko on the whole eating plan thing lately, and while that may or may not have amazing benefits to them and their families – it also causes a lot of extra stress, a lot of extra brainpower, a lot of extra commitment and sometimes a lot of extra money.  I’m into making life easier for me as much as possible, not adding complications.  A friend of mine recently added me to facebook group for clean eating.  Twice, she added me.  And twice I left the group. I already cook most of our meals so that they are gluten free, that’s pressure enough.  And sometimes I just want my children to eat.  To eat well.  And to not be subject to my little experiments.  Eating well will mean different things to different people, but to thrive in life……we need enough fuel and for it to be decent fuel.  That’s all I’ll say about that.

*  if you’re offered help – swallow that pride and accept it. If you’re not offered help, but the genuine heart to help is there in someone, then swallow your pride and ask that person for help.  Help with your kids if you need an extra pair of hands for an hour or so, help with some spring cleaning if your house is not your castle any more, help with a meal if you’re just feeling too weary to cook and the result of you not cooking would be one meal too many of the not eating well variety.

*  take time out.  ‘Yeah right’. I know some of you are saying.  Those of you who are single parents, or share parenting, or have no family nearby to off-load kids on to.  Time out can be a luxury that only two parent families with a whole bunch of disposable income has.  And yeah, I agree – BUT – that doesn’t mean we should miss out, we who don’t have free babysitters in the form of family living near us, and we, who count even a coffee out as a treat and heck if that treat is accompanied by one other adult and three little people who all want a beverage as a treat, well that ain’t no treat anymore, that’s gone into the expensive outing category now and have we budgeted for that this week?  You hear me? I get it.  I do.  But at some point there are things you can do to make time out happen for you.  Find a friend in the same situation as you – do a regular swap with them.  Start a babysitters club.  You don’t even need to spend money to take decent time out.   Go for a walk.  Read a book, without little voices in your head that are not part of the plot.  Soak in a bath.  Gaze up at the stars.  Bake a cake.  Whatever it is that recharges your batteries, that you could do, and not feel guilty about, do it.

*  remember that saying….’How do you eat an elephant?’  ‘One bite at a time’.  Sometimes weeks can look full on. Sometimes ironing piles and lunches to make and personal assignments and work demands and all those things that make up our days seem too much.  Sometimes weeks just need to be broken down into days.  And days need to be broken down into hours.  And even hours need to be broken down into minutes.  Whatever it takes, to eat that elephant.  And not let that elephant eat you.

*  faith.  A huge amount of strength and energy I have comes from the faith that I have.  Faith in a God who cares and a God who provides for me.  Ask me about that if you’re interested.  Trust me – moving Internationally with children, requires some supernatural strength and energy…..

There’s only so much of ‘weary’ that a parent can take.  Yes there are seasons and times when ‘weary’ is just inevitable – but there are also times and seasons when there are things that we can do to help others.  And we can let others in, to help us to.

What would you add?  How have you coped with the weariness that comes hand in hand with parenting?  Feel free to add in the comments.

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Let’s hear it for the boys.

I’d love for this blog to become a real place of discussion.  A meeting place of opinions.  A modern-day senate of sorts.  And I’ve invited discussion already on all sorts of matters.

Today – instead of giving you a few things for you to think about, I’m merely going to state an opinion.  So take it – or leave it.  Agree or disagree.  But I need to say this.

I think its time that we as a generation of parents started sticking up for the many men in our lives who are doing an outstanding job at parenting, and who are being involved and hands on in their families lives.  I see far too much male bashing.  And I think that it is time for it to stop.

This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and someone had shared a funny post about ’24 Reasons Husbands can’t be trusted to do anything right’  I’ve linked to the collection of photos and captions, but don’t take that as a sign I condone it.  Sure, its funny and I did giggle at a few of them – and I like a good laugh with the best of them, but there were also a few more crude words and stuff I’m not in favour of using….Anyway.  The post got me thinking that this kinda thing happens too much.  We, (women), find it far too easy to poke fun of men and the things they do – things that are sometimes easier for us as women to put our hand to.  And I think its time we stopped.  And time we recognised all the good that our menfolk do.  And be grateful for how times have changed. I, for one, am so very grateful to walk this parenting gig with someone as committed to it and as hands on as I am.

For a number of families, men are the primary breadwinners in the home.  By the very nature of this men very often see the ‘leftovers’ in their children.  They may see their little cherubs when they first get up in the morning, and then when they walk in the door, at the end of the very day……very often….they are walking into ‘arsenic hour’…….homework, dinner, evening activities, bedtime routine etc, with tired and scratchy kids and tired and scratchy women……

Men very often are on the receiving end of the worst in behaviour, attitudes and tolerance levels from their kids.  That’s rough!

Now I know I am generalizing big time here baby – big time – let me assure you I am not stuck in some time warp from the 60s……I know this isn’t the case for every family…..but for a lot – this is what they face.

Here in Brisbane there are an incredible amount of workers who fly in and fly out-of-town for their work in mines.  FIFO it’s called.  And yeah, again I know this is the case for men AND women…..I imagine this changes the way families operate.  The parent who is at home with the kids has to maintain routine and order for days at a time, and then when the partner is back in town…well…..more adjustments have to be made.  It can’t be easy.

There’s a phrase ‘all is grace’.  I think that’s most apt for what I’m talking about here, something that can help all of us with how we treat our men.

Juggling roles with the whole FIFO business?  All is grace.

Husband walking into the ‘danger zone’ and not quite helping little Johnny with his homework the way you would?  All is grace.

Going away for the weekend with some friends and leaving your man and kids to their own devices?  Doesn’t matter if you don’t come home to a sparkling clean and tidy house, as long as no-one has killed anyone, all is grace.

Man in your life dresses your kid funny?  Maybe not the best time to grab photographic evidence and Instagram it……maybe just thank the man for the extra ten minutes you had in the shower and remember…..all is grace.

Instead of pointing out that the Mr has done x, y and z wrong, how about thanking them for the one thing they did right.  All is grace.

There are a whole lotta men, doing a heck of a lot of good for their families:  working hard both inside the home and outside the home.  And I don’t think a new tie and a box of choccies on Father’s Day cuts it. I think a new attitude of gratitude would revolutionize a lot of families and a lot of marriages.  The whole ’24 reasons that husbands can’t be trusted to do anything right’, kinda article, while it may produce a few smiles and giggles, it does so at what cost?  People in general don’t keep trying things when their attempts are ridiculed.

Instead of put downs and pointing the finger, even in jest, what would it look like if we started to really love and respect men, and said ‘Thank you’? Thank you men for being intentional.  Thank you men for working so very hard.  Thank you men for being hands on.

I write from the perspective of being in a traditional marriage – but have many friends who are not in the same position.  This whole thought I have that we need to respect men more applies to all.  Even if you’re not in a traditional marriage, I’m sure there are men in your life who are doing their darndest to be positive influences, who really care about you and your children.  Thank them for what they do.

While we may well smile and laugh at photos of silly things that men do, I’d rather smile and cheer on when I see photos of men really walking the walk and talking the talk.  My husband sleeping on the sofa, after being kicked out of our bed by a sick preschooler.  The Dad I saw at the hospital the other night, watching hours of Disney Princess movies when his four-year old daughter was not going to be sleeping a wink that night.  Our neighbour, so besotted with his newborn daughter that he can’t bear to put her down.

There are heroes of fatherhood all around us.  How about we celebrate them and thank them for all they do, instead of focusing on the ridiculous.

Let’s hear it for the boys!

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