#3 There are no Parenting Hacks

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Going into motherhood, I didn’t have a clear philosophy. Having been a teacher, I assumed I’d know what to do in most situations once my children were out of nappies. I had no idea that motherhood would be about learning to live in the grey areas — without clarity and often making it up as I went. I wasn’t prepared for the persistent feeling that I was in a tangled mess. …

Protecting Our Kids from Depression with the Help of Johann Hari

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I had always thought of depression as a spiritual crisis of sorts.

Having experienced depression myself and watched people around me struggle with it, I wasn’t convinced that such despair was simply the result of random chemical imbalances in the brain. It seemed to me that something about the way we live our lives was causing us to get sucked into the abyss of depression in alarmingly high numbers.

So, when I first spotted a book titled Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope, I knew I had to read it. Because what is spirituality if not…

To become capable, confident adults

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Two mothers spend the afternoon at the playground with their children, who happen to be of a similar age, about 3 years old.

One mother suggests to her son, “How about we give the slide a go?” He follows her over to the ladder. When he struggles a little to climb it, she lifts him onto the platform then climbs the ladder herself. He seats himself at the top of the slide and is ready to let go when she realises just how steep it is. She catches him around the waist, “This is a steep slide, how about you…

Why I Retired Our Chore Charts

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I drove into the garage, turned off the engine and digested the condition of our car. Given the state of things, there was no doubt that it was Friday afternoon. Despite having told my boys to bring in their things from the car each afternoon, there were snack containers, clothes, Pokemon cards and other forgotten items strewn over the back seat and floor. So, instead of simply telling my boys to bring it all inside as I climbed out of the car, I policed the operation to make sure it actually got done this time.

One of my sons clearly…

Starting early to avoid the unthinkable

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My husband and I were woken this morning by our youngest crawling into bed with us. He wrapped his bony arms around my neck and snuggled in contentedly. Shortly after, our eldest wedged himself into the bed also and our cosy moment gave way to brotherly squabbling over space and blankets.

Still drowsy and wanting a few more moments of peace, I became irritable with their squirming and arguing. Eventually, I flung the blankets off them and sent them downstairs. …

Why I Banned these 3 Words in My Family

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“It’s not fair! His piece of cake is bigger than mine!”

“It’s not fair! He has the ball I wanted to play with!”

“It’s not fair! He gets to go to a birthday party and I don’t!”

For a while there, it seemed that “It’s not fair” had become the soundtrack to my life. The almost obsessive way my boys measured how the details of their lives stacked up when compared with the other was driving me crazy. …

I accidentally let slip the truth about Santa in front of my six-year-old.

Putting up our Christmas tree had prompted his older brother (who was already in-the-know) to ask about the origins of Christmas. After a long discussion, I absent-mindedly concluded with, “So, really, Santa has nothing to do with Christmas”.

When I realised what had slipped out, I immediately tried to back-pedal. But I only dug myself in deeper. In the end, I looked at my six-year-old’s confused face and gave it to him straight.

He was crestfallen.

Fortunately, I had a consolation prize to offer. After assuring him that his stocking would still get filled, I told him the story of Saint Nicholas. Then I asked if he’d like to carry on Saint Nicholas’ kindness by being the one to fill his brother’s stocking from now on.

He nodded eagerly.

Tragedy averted.

Common Phrases that Hurt Our Children & What to Say Instead

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Every now and then, I catch myself saying things to my children that my mother said to me when I was a child. I immediately cringe because I sound just like my mother!

I’ve been sitting here for 5 minutes, trying to remember some humorous examples to share with you but, you know what? I can’t think of any right now. That’s because they’re all recorded into my subconscious and, as these things do, they escape through my mouth when I least expect it.

But there are also other phrases stored in my subconscious that aren’t so innocuous. They’re phrases…

How Our Family Moved from War to Peace

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My boys adore each other. 3-year-old Thomas will put his arms around his big brother and say, “You’re my best friend Dake (Jake)”. Jake will return the affection with a tender hug. My heart swells when I watch them play together, happy in their world for two.

But, next minute…there’s shouting — no, roaring. Jake has evicted Thomas from his bedroom and Thomas is banging on the door, crying that he wants to be let back in.

Or…Thomas has decided he wants the toy car that Jake has, even though his fists are already full with 3 others. …

Julie Louisson

Mother | Teacher | Writer — Untangling Motherhood @ julielouisson.com

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