Fourth P: Parents

What Are Your Kids Doing?

Someone has asked regarding my Pulling Things Together Again posts, “What (are) your children doing during your large chunks of time (& what are their current ages)? With my little ones at age 9, 8, and 7, I can’t quite imagine the day when I will have large chunks of time ever again!!”   I’ll share with you what my kids did yesterday during my chunks of time, and while I was doing supper prep. The kids home yesterday were 12 (almost 13) year old Virginia, 14 year old Luke, and 17 year old Jess. In the morning chunk, Luke and Jess were strawberry picking until 11 am, then came home. Jessica bathed a dog, took all three dogs for a walk with Luke. Then, Luke picked lettuce from the garden and washed it for lunch. jess then helped make lunch with me.  Virginia, from 9 to noon, (among her other pursuits), cleaned the kitchen for the family – dishes, loading dishwasher, and tipped the strawberries the others brought home before lunch. In the afternoon chunk,  Luke did 30 minutes on Rosetta Stone French and Virginia did 30 minutes on Sponge Bob Typing. Jess cleaned her room. One or the other combined, the kids also set up the hose to water the flower garden, BBQ’d some steak, helped make the broccoli salad for supper, went down the street to mail a letter and get the mail, paid a bill at the local grocery store for me, picked up some eggs & Cheese and raisins, packed for a trip one is taking, washed and dried pots, wiped counters & cleaned... read more

Discipline the Kids or Establish a Rule – Which Comes First?

Dear Holly, I have read your book and would like to apply it in my life.  I am unsure of how to start.  Let me tell you my situation.  I am the mother of 6 young children under 10 years old.  The 2 oldest attend public school and the 3rd is in preschool.  I deeply desire to homeschool, but my husband had been against it for many years.  Now he is willing to let me if I can get our house and our lives organized and in order.  This will be no easy task.  I have tried for years.  The house is always a mess, I can’t get the kids to help.  The baby is very clingy and doesn’t tolerate being put down.  We have serious discipline issues.  The kids fight constantly.  The 7 year old is very defiant at home, but she is perfectly good at school.  Should I try to establish a rule first, or try to fix the discipline problems first?  I have no clue what to do with discipline, I have read many books but it hasn’t helped.  Do you have any advice for... read more

Discerning School Options

Dear Holly,  My son has been recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and resulting chronic anxiety. I had to pull him out of his mainstream Catholic school as he was too anxious and the school could not meet his needs. We have been looking at other options. There are other non- Catholic schools on the other side of town or in another city that could be helpful but again it would still be stressful for him on the playground and he cannot get funding as he is academically capable. We need to find a school that can negotiate with us and be open but is very difficult where we are. Homeschooling would be great for him but I just feel that I would not get a break. I keep praying but I really think it is not for me. I get stressed enough as it is and my mother is in another town and doesn’t want to care for the kids. My husband’s mother is in another town too but cannot care for the kids. It is pretty much me and my husband with an occasional babysitter. I would love him to do Montessori but it is really expensive and the schools aren’t that keen on taking special needs kids especially if they have not done preschool. The thought of spending years homeschooling without a break scares me. Often it is the scariest things that God wants us to do! Have you got anything positive to say? We live in a small community. It was hard enough trying to find a decent doctor who knew enough about Autism to... read more

When One Must Attend to the Little Ones…

Dear Holly, I have a question I imagine has been asked before, so forgive me if you’re forced into redundancy! I’m wondering how to balance the ‘P’s’, particularly person/partner in the midst of a difficult newborn. My husband and I have 7 kids under 13, and our 4 month old girl has been quite a handful! I feel that just taking care of her needs fills my entire day. She cries if not held (won’t let the other kids hold her, much to their chagrin), and refuses to sleep without my nursing her. My basic needs really haven’t been getting met (just getting a shower is fantastic, never mind brushing teeth!). So I’m at a loss when I think of how I could even begin to put myself or my husband first, never mind that the other kids have gotten brushed under the rug as well. I can see that I could ask my husband could pitch in more with the baby so I can take care of me a bit, but how on earth can I put him or the other kids before a demanding... read more

Almost-Empty-Nest Mom & a Mother’s Rule

Dear Holly,Well, it is finally here. My youngest child is graduating from high school and will be entering college out of state at the end of the summer. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 28 years and homeschooling for 15 years. I have been practicing a Rule of Life for about 5 years and I just don’t know what to do now. How do I create a new balance between Person/Partner/Parent now that the Parent part is not looming so large? I don’t know how to describe my feelings about this. I guess that I am a trifle distressed by this. I have set aside so many dreams and hopes while raising my children and now I am overweight, middle-aged woman who isn’t sure what she wants to do... read more

One on One Time with Kids

Dear Holly,After going through the “Mother’s Rule Workbook” I was hoping I could get your input and the input of others on a specific area that our family struggles with. Under “Personal Relationship Time” you discuss spending time with the children individually so that they know they are loved and respected by me. How does a large family with many small children (we have many children 10 and under) accomplish this? Any suggestions or examples of what others do would be greatly... read more

Pre-Teen Catholic Sexuality Program?

Dear Holly,My daughter is 10 years old and in grade 4 French Immersion in a secular school. She is not in the Catholic School system because my husband and I wanted her to learn French which we could not teach her ourselves. We do not speak French but wanted to give her the opportunity that we never had. I’m a believer that religion starts at home anyway and that is something I could do. I teach her catechism every week at home, we try to live our faith and attend church weekly. My question for you is what resources/books you would recommend to education her on puberty and the many changes that she will be experiencing these next few years. I could not find any recommendations on your website nor could I find anything at our local Catholic bookstore.The upcoming health unit at her secular school is generic, is not age appropriate for her and God is not in the picture at all. I know when I was a grade 5 student, we saw a sex education film at our Catholic school and there alot of information to process at one time and God was not mentioned at all. I’d like to make it easier for my daughter to handle the information, have a easier time with all the changes to come and how God fits into the picture. What would you... read more

Family Prayer Before Leaving for School?

Dear Holly,My question is about prayer time for children. I have a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 6 month old. My husband and I have evening prayer with them which includes: the Lord’s Prayer, intentions and prayers of thankgiving, a song, blessings with Holy Water and a big family hug at the end. I want to start a morning prayer with my kids before school. I don’t homeschool, so we have a limited time in the morning before we have to leave to drop off my oldest. Do you have any suggestions for types of prayer or things that we could do that are appropriate for their age... read more

SOS! Another New Baby on the Way!

Dear Holly,My problem is I am pregnant, again!! I know, that shouldn’t be a problem. The baby certainly isn’t, but another pregnancy!! I have delivered 4 beautiful children since 2005. This will mean I’ll have 5 children, 6 yrs and under!!! I am starting the homeschool journey with my oldest. In theory, I am completely committed, in practice, I AM DROWNING!!!! Just when it seems that I am getting there; new baby sleeping at night, body healing, starting to get into a good routine… I am pregnant again, and it all falls apart! I know what to do to make my household/homeschool work, I just don’t feel human enough to execute it. The kids spend a good part of the day in front of TV (educational, but still), and I am falling asleep cooking dinner! My husband supports the homeschooling plan, so long as I can manage. But lately he has been dropping hints about the local Catholic school. He is a wonderful help when he is home, but he is a carpenter, and works very hard. So his end of day help doesn’t put a dent in the disaster that is our home. PLEASE, I need support, advice, thearpy, something!!!!!... read more

Nurturing Our Children’s Vocations

Dear Holly,I’d like to know how to nurture our girls into choosing their vocation? Living in the world, kids seem to think that it is their decision alone. How do we guide them to seek God’s will for their lives? When parents suggest that, it can seem to the young person like they’re suggesting a foreign concept. Many of the mothers I know all feel this pressure, like we have only so many years to nurture our authentically Catholic women (when we are learning... read more
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