Lately my kids have fallen in love with Phineas & Ferb. It has both boys and girls in it which makes it an easy pick for both M & J. If you have not watched this cartoon the premise is that Phineas and Ferb are brothers who love to invent things, much to the dismay of their older sister. Their mother is always in the episode, however, she is often shown doing miscellaneous household chores and appears to be completely oblivious to what is going on with her kids. As I was watching this cartoon today I began thinking about whether or not I was a Phineas & Ferb kind of mom, and I think that I have been from time to time but I am striving not to be.
Now you may be thinking, what do I mean am I a Phineas & Ferb kind of parent? What I mean when I say that is are we so caught up in doing the mundane every day tasks of living that we are completely clueless about what is going on in our kids lives? How often do we hear our kids fighting and react without actually knowing the full story? If you remember a few posts back I posted about how angry J is and what I was going to do about that.One of the biggest things I have realized since posting about that is that I really didn't have the full picture. You see J is smack dab in the middle of O and M who think they have the best ideas ever and everyone should just do what they say and J often gets lost in the mix. M and O are such outgoing, fun loving kids whereas J is a loner who likes to be left alone in his own space with his own toys doing his own things. Since I have been watching more and more I have seen that J is not so much angry all the time, but is frustrated because no one will just leave him alone when he asks to be left alone. Likewise I have noticed that O is quite the antagonizer who loves to pick at J until J can't take it anymore. O is probably not too happy with me being much more observant because he gets into a lot more trouble nowadays!
I also feel that sometimes our kids play so well together that it is easy to kind of tune them out and do our own thing. I am as guilty as the next person of turning on a movie for the kids and then getting lost in the wonderful world of the internet where I go from blog to blog and website to website until the movie is completely over and I didn't watch one minute of it with them. Or we get to cleaning one thing and then we just keep on going because the kids are playing so well and then before you know it it's time to put them to bed and how much do you know about what really went on with your kids that day?
How are you when you go out with your kids? Are you the mom that everyone wishes would pay a little more attention to their kids while at the park or at a playdate, or are you the mom that knows where every child is and what they were doing and are missing out on half the conversations because you are keeping an eye on your kids? Or are you somewhere in the middle?
So if this sounds like you, what is something you can do to change? For every person it is going to be different, but one thing I have done is rearranged my house. I have brought all of the toys out of my kids bedrooms so they are forced to play out in the living and play area of the house and I can always hear what is going on. I have also brought the computer out of the office and have converted the office into a guest room / storage room so that even if I have to get on the computer I am still where my kids are and can know what is going on. I am also striving to only schedule my time for when the kids are in bed so that I do spend more time with them and focus on them more. In fact if you play Words with Friends with me at all you know that there are times when there are 2 days that go by and I haven't played because I am making a conscious effort to not get sucked into my phone and computer but am focusing more on being involved with what my kids are doing in the day.
So I challenge you this week to really pay attention to what kind of parent you are, are you a Phineas & Ferb kind of parent or do you know what your kids are doing throughout the day and actively striving to be involved in your kids lives? If you are a Phineas & Ferb kind of mom, are you o.k. with that? Does that bother you? And if it does bother you what are you going to do to change that?