Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Growing as a Family

Happy Hump Day Mama’s! I hope your week has been off to a wonderful start thus far. As for me and my family we are growing, and no I am not pregnant again! I am talking about growing as in becoming more in sync with each other’s needs and respecting each other more. This whole month we have been working on respect as a family. It’s not that we were disrespecting each other as family members, but we each have different needs. Sometimes one or some of us may not understand or agree with the needs of other family members and this can cause a bit of tension. For example my oldest son who is 9 years old needs alone and quite time. He likes to go and be by himself for a few hours to simply be left alone. He has told me that he needs this time away from his siblings. I am an only child and I cannot relate to him on needing time away from his siblings, but because he has communicated this need to me I have obliged. We have set up specific times during the week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for him to have quiet time. This has proven to calm him and not make his as aggressive in his actions, tone or words towards his siblings and sometimes me.

Some of you may be thinking that I am catering too much to my child but the truth is we all have needs, even children. When these specific needs are being met it makes for a happier individual. I have started doing Yoga, 4-5 times a week for 30 minutes. I need this as it is extremely relaxing for me. I have voiced this to my kids as Mama getting her “inner peace”. The first few times they were allowed to watch for a few minutes because they were curious and now my 2, 4 & 8 year old do their own versions from time to time.

Mama’s I am sharing this with you because family balance is extremely important. It is our very first ministry. There may be things that your spouse needs from you, other than sex, to make him happy or keep him at peace. For my husband it is walking into a clean nice smelling space and making our bedroom a love nest. This does not mean our house has to be completely spic and span it just needs to be organized. Since I have made it my business to do these 3 things for my husband his overall attitude has been different when he arrives home (believe it or not my attitude has been better to).

Now that I am homeschooling and we are in our home the majority of the time we can get really nit-picky quickly (try saying that 5 times). My kids are learning that in order to get what they need it is important to communicate, not just with me, their Mama but with everyone. If you want or need something ask for it. If you hurt someone’s feelings apologize. If it is your fault own it and do better. This has cut down on a lot of whining and complaining. I sat down with my 9, 8 & 4 year old to ask what they needed from us as parents. Mama’s I was surprised with their answers so I’ll share a few of them with you: bring back Taco Tuesday for dinner, have a one-on-one outing with a parent without other siblings and watch TV in Mama and Daddy’s bed in their PJ’s one night a week. There you have it, from the mouth of my babies.

Sometimes with all of the gadgets, TV, tablets, game consoles, etc. we can forget about the little things that keep us grounded and close as a family. We all want to know that we matter, that our voices are being heard and that we are loved. That’s what family is all about. So I urge you today to find out what your family is in need of and work together to help meet those needs I guarantee you, you won’t regret it.  I believe in you, we can do this….YOU can do this!
Live your life with a purpose!

          Nicole

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Step Out on Faith



Happy New Year! I hope that you find what works for you in 2015 and live the life you want to have, the life you were meant to live. Mama’s some of you are reading this and understand exactly what I’m trying to say here. In case you don’t get it let me help you. Last January you made resolutions to be better, live better, enjoy life and live it to the fullest. Somewhere along the way doubt set in, you became afraid of stepping out into something new, unchartered territory and you settled for what was comfortable for you. You stomped out great possibilities for your life because of fear. For some it was fear of change, of the unknown, needing to be in control of everything and being afraid that if you fall you won’t be able to get back up again. Well let me tell you that mindset will paralyze you and crush your dreams. Fear will keep you from better days that are ahead.
Last year I answered the calling to homeschool my 4 kids (9, 7, 4 and 2). It had been placed on my heart for a while, but I was afraid to answer that call. I was afraid of what others may say to such an unconventional way of educating my children. I feared setting my kids back educationally and ruining their future because I was not a degreed teacher. Last May I had an emergency operation which forced me to face my own mortality for a second time (the first being a series of 3 robberies in 2010 while pregnant with my 3rd child). I prayed and made the decision to answer the call, to withdraw my children from public school and VPK and bring them home with me. I withdrew them at the end of 2014 on the last day of Christmas Break. We were moving to Georgia anyway so this was a perfect time to bring them home.
I still had naysayers, family and friends who questioned my decision to homeschool and I’m not going to lie, it made me feel some kind of way, but I didn’t let that stop me. In that moment I learned that you can’t share your dreams, goals and aspirations with everyone because everyone will not understand the vision or the path you’re taking. This can set you back and make you question your decision if you let it. Thank God I pressed on. We started homeschool or “schooling at home” on Monday and I know we’re only 3 days in, but it has been amazing for us all. I honestly regret not having done it sooner. I let our day unfold as organically as possible. I wake up between 6:45 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. every morning without an alarm. The kids wake up on their own and trickle into my room between 7:00-7:45 a.m.  Let me stop here and say that now I understand why they were so darn grumpy when they were in traditional school. I was waking them up between 5:00 and 5:30 a.m. and they did not like it. I have noticed that we are all much more pleasant upon waking and during the day. This in itself is a great beginning for me. The older kids have more patience with the younger kids and I have more patience throughout the day. Yay me!!
Mama’s this journey is far from over and I look forward to our schooling adventures at home. My kids have named our school The Bouie Academy, too cute. They have picked 4 character traits they feel are important in our school: respect, integrity, responsibility and generosity. Mama’s I was pleasantly surprised that they came up with these all on their own, courtesy of my 9 and 7 year old. I am looking forward to what the future holds for “Team Bouie”. If God has been speaking to you, answer the call and go for it. Forget the naysayers and step out on faith. Don’t look back on 2015 with regret for not doing what you were meant to do. Don't repeat 2014. Live your life with intention, purpose and passion. I hope you conquer your fears and step out on faith Mama’s. I believe in you, we can do this....YOU can do this!
Live your life with a purpose!
Nicole

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Mind’s Telling Me No...



Mama’s our family is going through a shift. Our kids are at a new school that is not working out very well for them, my husband got a new job in a new state and we are moving a few days before Christmas into our new home. So I’m packing and getting us ready to hit the road. This school year has been filled with many challenges, but some of the things my kids have dealt with at school were just hard to wrap my mind around. As Mama’s when our kids are hurt we hurt, it’s just that simple. My 4th grader experienced bullying in an extreme way this year and although I stayed on top of it I didn’t like how it made him feel. My daughter wanted to change the color of her skin and her hair because as a 2nd grader she felt that she could have nice friends that way. I know that times have changed and kids are different, but so are parents and the society we live. My son was told he was a B**** and a F****t by one of his classmates in the 4th grade!!! I told his teacher and she handled it. Another one of his classmates asked him if he wanted to die every time he opened his mouth to speak. When my son would answer him “No” his classmate would say, “Well shut up then”. Seriously? How horrible is that?

I am like a piranha when it comes to my children. Point blank period. I know that kids will be kids, but I feel horrible sending my kids to an environment where they feel less than because of their skin color and the horrible things other kids say to them. My son tells me that most days he wants to cry, but then he thinks of wrestlers and football players and how strong they are and that helps him to keep the tears in. He told me that he also remembered me telling him to ignore hurtful words spoken by others, but ignoring it doesn’t make the pain go away (TEARS!!). When I dropped him off to school that morning I cried in my car all the way back home because I felt awful for leaving him in a place where he is supposed to learn but feels unwelcomed and like an outsider daily. When my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD in the Spring of 2013 I wanted to homeschool her, but she wanted to stay in school so bad. Now she’s asking can she just go to school at home (sigh).

I have been dancing around the idea of homeschooling four children and got scared every time. I figured that I had not gone to school to properly teach my kids all they would need to know, so I would be better off sending them to public school daily and just supplementing them when they come home. I kept feeling the urge to homeschool, but like I said I was afraid that I would really mess my kids up. I prayed and waited all the while knowing what I was supposed to do but fear kept me from doing it (I’ll admit that). 

So here we are ready to move to our new home and I am proud to say that the Bouie Family will be homeschooling all of our children year round on a quarter system. I know this will be a rewarding, fun filled and trying time, but we are family and I love my kids past the moon. The kids are excited and they have already decided that they want to learn about zoology, earth space science, meteorology, African American history, Hieroglyphics and they are interested in cursive writing and a second language. I’m pretty geeked as we will set up a classroom per the kids request in our new home. My husband is 100% supportive of this decision. Many of my family members have been worried about their socialization, but fret not the kids will be active in dance, sports, church and maybe even a homeschool co-op!

So Mama’s I decided to listen to my heart because my mind was definitely telling me no. I cannot tell you if homeschooling is right for you as it comes with many sacrifices. I believe the sacrifice is worth it for me to teach my children, love on them and watch them grow and develop. I look forward to this time where our lives will no longer be dictated by a traditional school schedule. I believe the flexibility will be amazing and a welcomed breath of fresh air. Mama’s I’ll keep you posted on our progress and if you homeschool please share any tips or stories you may have!

Don’t wait, Live your best life now!

                    Nicole

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Safe Place to Make Mistakes


Happy Hump Day Mama’s! I wanted to share my thoughts about making your home a safe place for your kids. Now I’m not talking about outlet plugs or door locks, but I am talking about emotional safety. When I say emotional safety I’m talking about allowing your children to have the ability to make mistakes at home and learn from them in a healthy way. Children learn by making mistakes, just as we do sometimes as adults. Think back to when you were a kid, now count the number of mistakes you made…..I’m waiting. You ran out of fingers didn’t you? I know, me too. Your parents didn’t keep track of your mistakes and you shouldn’t keep track of the mistakes your kids make.
Kids need to be able to make mistakes and know that you as their Mama will be there to help them pick up the pieces and clean up the mess. This is how they build confidence to continue through the mistake and propel to their destiny. If you criticize them every time they make a mistake, you will hinder them from their natural curiosity. This will make them second guess themselves for fear of disappointing you. On the inside they may want to try something, but they will hold back because they are afraid of being a disappointment or being punished if they mess up.
If you find yourself scolding your child for every mistake they make stop! You may being displaying this behavior because you were treated this way as a child, or you may simply not know how to handle yourself in this type of situation. I’m not here to pass judgment. I’m here to give you options on how to handle your children when they make mistakes, so that you can both bounce back. Here are some suggestions:
1). Acknowledge the mistake- chances are your child already feels bad on the inside. Make eye contact with them and acknowledge the mistake.

2). Reassure them- let them know calmly that they are not in trouble because of the mistake.

3). Take a deep breath together- Sometimes a deep breath is all you need to remove negative thoughts and feelings so that you can focus on a resolution.

4). Talk to you child about the mistake- Ask them what happened and let them tell you without being interrupted. Ask them what they could have done differently and if they are unable to come up with a response, help them, as this will give them options in the future should this same challenge occur again.

5). Don’t dwell- Once the mistake is discussed do not dwell on it. It’s over. Mama’s as adults we do not like for others to dwell on our mistakes. Why do you think your kids would be any different?

It is my hope that you create a safe place for your kids to make mistakes, be kids and learn life lessons. I challenge you to make your home a safe place now, so as your children get older they can be confident in knowing they have you in their corner as their coach and biggest cheerleader.

Don’t wait, Live your best life now!
Nicole

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Don't Demote Yourself as a Parent


Happy Hump Day Mama’s! We all know how hard it can be to be consistent in our parenting. Whether you are parenting 1 child or 4 children sometimes you get tired. Let’s face it we all have busy lives, working, furthering our education, picking kids up, dropping kids off, cooking, cleaning, going to church, etc. If I’m being honest sometimes I just want my kids to give me 1 hour of quiet time where I can be still and they can govern themselves accordingly, yeah right. That’s not going to happen, at least not in my world and not right now. My kids are 9, 7, 4 and 2.
Mama’s have you ever been so worn out that you just let your kids get away with things that you normally would not? Come on admit it we all have. Sometimes we give in and comply with our kid’s demands, not even realizing that in doing so we are demoting ourselves as parents. Yes, let that sink in. Let me give you an example. When your child continues to ask for something that you have told them they cannot have. They keep asking and asking for it until they wear you down and when you’re at your breaking point you simply give up in defeat and allow them to have that very thing you’ve been saying no to for hours. You feel a moment of relief because now you’re no longer in negotiations with your child and the battle is over. Mama I hate to break it to you but the battle has just begun. What you just did was allow your child to make you erase your line in the sand and demote yourself as a parent.
How many times have you told your child they cannot go somewhere or that they cannot do something only to cave and allow them to do it? When you practice this behavior you send the mixed message that no is not the final answer. You openly invite your children to test you even more than they naturally would because on the right day you may cave if they pressure you hard enough. So basically you are making parenting your kids more difficult. Mama’s we have enough going on already so why on earth would we want to knowingly make parenting harder? I have been guilty of doing this and I had to stop it because when I would cave with one child the other would protest because I did not cave for them.
I kept a mental tally of what my kids typically ask for and made a schedule for when they can have these things. The schedule is on the side of the refrigerator and they can see it at any time. I do random surprises for them, for example I am giving them birthday cake for breakfast. This will make their day and it’s not something I do often so no harm no foul. Sometimes we’ll have breakfast for dinner or ice cream with sprinkles for dessert. Make parenting fun Mama’s without demoting yourself in the process. We set the stage for our parenting when our kids are young. It gets more challenging when kids get older so plant healthy consistent seeds now so that your kids will know that you say what you mean and mean what you say. Good luck with being consistent Mama’s, it can be tough but it’s so worth it!

Don’t wait, Live your best life now!

            Nicole