How many movies from the 80s and 90s, and probably a lot earlier too, was there a character that every time they visited their friend's kids or their grandkids, they placed a huge, lipstick stained kiss on the unwilling child? I mean, it has to be at least 1.2 million movies, give or take.
Today's society is all about consent but it has more to do with sexual consent and not much else. It is absolutely important, no, necessary, for people to get consent when wanting to be intimate with someone. At the same time, I think it is also necessary when it comes to hugs or other displays of affection from family members or friends.
I do get it though. I want my nephew to know that I love him and that I am a safe person to be around, and a hug seems like a simple way for me to show that. But he does not OWE me that. HE gets to be the one to choose whether or not he wants a hug no matter if he's 2 or 20. And if we get stuck in this culture of saying that polite manners include hugging people regardless of if you like them, because your parents do so you have to too, I think we are going to run into problems later in the child's life regarding safe and unsafe touches.
And although I absolutely want my kids to love and respect each other, I also don't require them to hug each other. For example, if R bumps into M he first needs to ask if she's okay. After that, instead of telling him to give her a hug, he can ask if she wants a high five, fist bump or a hug, if he wants to offer it. This gives M a choice of what she can pick that they have both agreed is comfortable or she can say no, that she doesn't want any of those options.
So when my kids walk into church or are at a party with family, I encourage them to smile and say hello, but if they do not want to shake the greeters hand or hug a relative, that is 100% okay with me. And oftentimes, after a few more interactions with family and friends, my kids see that these people are people they can trust and then choose open up to them.
To wrap up, I've learned two things. First, from a parent perspective, I don't want to force my kids to hug someone just because I know them. Second, from a family/family friend perspective, if a kid is not ready to hug you, don't take it personally. If the relationship is important to both of you, odds are a genuine hug or high five could be in your very near future :)
This, plus a scarecrow and pumpkins on my front porch, is the extent of my fall holiday decorations. It's not much and, to be honest, most of the time I wish I had more. The outdoor lanterns, the garland, dozens of different sized pumpkins. Sometimes it feels like that is what I need to seem like I've got my life together since that is what is all over social media.
But as I've had time to reflect on decorations and holiday things, I've learned two things. First, I need to be honest. We are a one income household. One income for a family of 7 that is still paying off two bachelors degrees and a masters degree and has kids that eat everything in sight. Those kids need food and loving parents and probably couldn't care less about how many pumpkins we have on the porch or the fact that we don't have pillows with snowflakes on them. Me stressing out about these things will only draw attention to a non-existent problem and cause them to feel like they are missing out when they aren't.
Second, the number of people on social media that post their holiday decor is, like, a big number. And while there is part of me that envy's their ability to buy the things and fill their house with all things Christmas, I can also choose to be so happy for them to be able to decorate if that's what they love to do. I can use their house as inspiration if our budget allows, and I can also appreciate them bringing me into a little piece of their home to share the holiday spirit.
The thing I've learned is those of us with three pumpkins and a candle-less lantern, let's not push ourselves to do more than we can/want to. And those with elaborate holiday setups, please keep sharing what brings you joy :)
When we only had 3 kids, Andre and I would take them all out and the 5 of us would grocery shop on the weekends. We did it a bit, but less often, when we had 4 kids and now with 5, it is pretty rare for us to all go out together. But with me being home during the week, I've decided that I can get at least most of the shopping done in the morning on days when my older kids are at school.
It's not always easy, and it usually results in me buying an extra treat for myself on the way out because I SURVIVED. But I do like to keep certain things in mind when I attempt to take 2-3 kids with me to the grocery store.
Try to pick a less crowded time.
It may not be possible but try to shop around 9-10am. This will mean less crowds and, hopefully, happy kids since you won't be stressed and it isn't close enough to lunchtime that they will ask to put extra food in your cart.
Make sure you can buckle the kids in.
Thankfully a lot more stores have carts that accommodate more than one kid. Aldi has a two seater and Target even has a cart that can securely buckle 3 kids! I will add though, that although the bigger Target cart has three seats, the seat that is at the front of the cart itself is not the safest place for a curious baby/toddler. There is a buckle up there but unless you tighten it so much that your kid can barely move, it is quite easy for them to get out. So for these seats, either put an older kid (3-4 years old) in this seat or invest in a cart seat cover. Those buckle a bit more securely and will help you avoid the panic that can overcome you when you turn away from the cart to grab the box of Golden Grahams only to look back and see your 1 year old standing on the seat about to fall right into the larger part of the cart!
Have a list and stick to it.
Sometimes it's nice to walk around the store just to see what is new. I would not, however, recommend that you try this with small children (save that for date night after dinner when you don't want to go home yet but you're not sure what else to do). Have your list ready (I try my best to organize by aisle if I'm going to a store I know well) and the time for your child to have a meltdown in the middle of the freezer aisle greatly diminishes.
Involve them in the selection - or at least make them think you are.
We always need bananas. They're basically m&ms to my kids, which I ain't mad about, but it does mean that nearly every trip to any store with food will involve getting bananas. Knowing this, I can tell my kids what I'm looking for in our bananas and have them point to which bunch (well, bunches cuz each trip needs at least 2) they think we should take home. I always have veto power (please don't pick the bruised ones or the ones that match the limes) but I don't have to use it much because they know what they like, too.
Be prepared to be the parent walking around with a half empty bag of chips/cookies/crackers/puffs (you get the idea) to bribe them through the store.
I remember seeing parents with the bag of goldfish opened and in their kid's lap and not realizing why that would be necessary. HA! I totally get it now. With the amount of time it takes to shop, even if you've just given your kids a snack before you left, they could easily need another one before you're all done. Target is great because they always have free mini cookies for kids in the bakery and Hy-Vee lets kids under 12 have a free banana - utilize this FREE FOOD! And also, feel no shame in opening the applesauce pouch while finishing up your list because it could very well save your sanity.
Do you have any tips and tricks for shopping with young kiddos?
Hi, I'm Rebecca
I’m a wife, mom to 5 kids, former choir teacher, Christian and advice giver? I can honestly say I never expected to be the one giving advice when I so frequently ask for it, but the advice I’ve received is so valuable and must be shared! Here are some of the things I’ve learned so far!