parenting challenge

parenting challenge

 

If you are up for a parenting challenge, here is a great 7 DAY MOM CHALLENGE for you to do.

 

So it’s challenge time!

Being a mommy is already challenge enough I know but here is a seven day challenge to help you get back on top of your game.

 

All of these challenges require you to step outside your comfort zone but don't stress.

 

As they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

 If you want something you have never had, then you have to do something you have never done before.

 

To move to a new level in your life, you must break through your comfort zone and do things that are not comfortable.

T. Harv Eker

 

Here are the 7 parenting challenges that I set myself for the week.

 

 

mom challenge

Feel free to amend the list for yourself but I loved these ideas as they covered all the bases.

They are a great start for moms who feel challenged and are simply looking for more peace and structure in their life.

 

Without further ado, here are my 7 DAY MOM CHALLENGES:

 

DAY 1 – No devices for the family after 5 p.m.

(I didn’t plan to tell my family about this until the day)

 

DAY 2 – No reminding ANYONE in the family of things that they need to do

(This would require MAJOR restraint on my part!)

 

DAY 3 – Get rid of 100 things

 

DAY 4 – Perform a random act of kindness

 

DAY 5 – No raising my voice AT ALL

(Even if I feel like I might explode if I don't yell at something to be done)

 

DAY 6 – Entire family to go sugar-free for the day

(Once again, this was going to be a surprise!)

 

DAY 7 – No spend money day

(Why oh why did this have to fall on Sunday, our traditional Spend Some Money On Something Fun day?)

 

 

When you are doing a week of challenges, it helps if you hold yourself accountable to someone else.

 

In this instance I PICKED YOU, my supportive Inspiring Life tribe.

Now that my week is over I wanted to share with you a quick summary of how I went with each challenges.

This is a completely honest and transparent account of my Mom Challenge week.

 

Read below to see if it was an utter failure or amazing success.

 

DAY 1 – No devices for the family after 5 p.m.

(My family didn’t know it was happening until the day!)

 

 

THE GOOD NEWS

 

I half lucked out with this challenge because, unbeknownst to me when I wrote the list, it turns out today was grandma's birthday (it was in the diary, I just forgot – oops!)

So the plan was to spend the evening with my parents and I told the kids while we were driving over there that the nicest thing we could do for her was to put our electronics away (iPhones/iPad) for the night and spend some quality time with her.

Genius idea except…

 

THE BAD

 

Pretty soon my kids began vocally expressing their desire to go home not long after dinner was done.

Like a lot sooner than we would usually stay.

They said they had homework to do (except they have never cared about their homework whilst there before).

It was embarrassing.

 

Actually I was downright mortified.

 

I knew it was purely because they were missing their friend Wi-Fi and devices (that they weren't allowed to communicate with today anyway!)

Thankfully I immediately diverted temptation by putting on a movie (Rocky 4 – we loved it) which we watched together as a family.

I also had a few board games up my sleeve which meant the kids were fine.

But alas it was ended up being me who seemed bothered the most by my phone's non-stop beeping…

 

The curiosity was driving me crazy.

 

Who was trying to call me?

Who was texting me?

What if it was an emergency?

I couldn’t touch my phone but all evening I was dying to know!

I’m usually a late owl but that night I tucked myself into bed by 10.p.m purely because I didn’t want to cave into the temptation.

 

THE VERDICT

 

It's hard to believe that during July and August this year my family holidayed on a Croatian island and SURVIVED WITH NO WIFI FOR 7 WEEKS.

True story!

It was actually so, so liberating being detached from our devices for that length of time.

Back then we would regularly leave home without our phones and just got used to life without THE CONSTANT NEED TO CHECK IN on social media or emails or whatever else we do without phones.

Upon returning to Oz we were back to our old ways within one to two weeks at most – even though I SWORE my phone and I would never be best friends again (after that fabulous breakup overseas).

 

THIS CHALLENGE HAS TAUGHT ME:

 

– Distractions do actually work – keep yourself busy.

– Keep your phone in another far away room and on silent or do not disturb because out of sight is out of mind (and you don't want to hear it beeping like I did tonight.

– All in all, we won't die if we are separated from our devices at home (unless Jason from "Friday the 13th" decides to pay you a visit but hey…pretty unlikely and it's too early for spooky Halloween stories.)

 

 

DAY 2 – No reminding ANYONE in the family of things that they need to do

 

THE GOOD NEWS

 

Let’s be honest, I thought this would be the hardest challenge for me purely because it turns out I have been designated the "Reminder" Captain role here in our house.

I have suspected in the past that my husband and kids regularly failed to remember things purely because they knew that I would – without fail – give them a last minute reminder of things that needed to be done, appointments they needed to attend etc. (which usually involved me being totally annoyed that I needed to remind them AGAIN).

The good news is I TOTALLY EMBRACED this goal because who doesn't want to put down a silly captain hat for the day?

Woohoo!

It was like having a day off from being the Bad Cop! The bad news is what happened next…

 

THE BAD

 

So some balls were dropped yesterday.

My son forgot to take his school hat to school because I forgot to remind him.

So no outside play allowed for him at lunch and recess.

My daughter forgot to email her new job with her new bank details. So a delay in receiving her first pay for her.

No-one went to bed on time because I didn't have the opportunity to scream out BED TIME! to everyone in the house.

More stress and a lack of rest plus peace and quiet for me!

Boohoo!

 

THE VERDICT

 

My family learned some valuable lessons yesterday.

Namely, if mom forgets then everyone forgets.

 

THIS CHALLENGE HAS TAUGHT ME:

 

– Systems need to be set in place so that I am not the only one responsible for remembering what needs to be done.

– The biggest thing is working out how to get the kids to bed on time WITHOUT me reminding them. It drives me mad when they stay up late. An alarm is the best idea and it needs to go off EARLY.

– All in all we need to start taking responsibility for our own tasks, without leaving it all on my shoulders. I am planning to get a whiteboard with these tasks clearly marked out. IF YOU DON'T TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS, YOU MISS OUT! 

Great lesson learned!

 

 

DAY 3 – Get rid of 100 things 

 

THE GOOD NEWS

 

I thought this hump day activity would be the easiest challenge for me to do but it took a lot of time and EFFORT on my part

The good news is the effort was so worth it.

My house feels cleaner and my mind feels freer now.

Less clutter and less potential chance of mess.

When you remove what you don't need from your life, it helps you better see and appreciate all the things you DO have.

 

THE BAD

 

The bad news is I didn't realize exactly how much 100 items would entail in the end.

I started with the easy stuff first – I cleared out my son's cupboard and found an easy 20 or so items he had outgrown and could donate to charity.

As he is going into high school soon, I filled up a big bag of his old winter uniforms that I could pass to his younger friends. 

By this point I was on a roll – 40 items ticked off just like that! I thought wow – too easy.

Then I moved to my daughter's room and it turned out she wasn't so keen on getting rid of any of her old clothes.

Like zero.

As for me, I had already done a big cull of my wardrobe prior to the holidays so now I was stuck – I needed to find 60 more items that I no longer needed and had no idea where to begin.

 

This next step was seriously hard.

 

I'm obsessed with books and have a massive library filled with all my favorite reads.

BUT…and here was the magic question I had to ask myself…how many of those books was I REALLY planning to read again?

With much reluctance I filled a box with 30 of my least favorite books to give away.

So now I still needed to find 30 more things to get rid of.

This involved walking around the house and really studying the usefulness and value of everything I owned.

 

The final 30 items included:

 

– Old boxes of crayons and coloring pencils

– Heaps of children's activity books

– DVDs and CDs I didn't even know I still had

– Board games the kids didn't enjoy playing

– Random old toys that the kids "LOVED" so much once upon a time and didn't want to let go of but now they didn't care about one bit (hint, hint: Pokemon stuff)

– Old chargers and electronic knick-knacks that I was holding onto for some reason WHY??? (NOT FOR DONATING – THIS STUFF WENT STRAIGHT TO THE BIN)

 

THE VERDICT

 

I thought it would be easy but it wasn't.

I also thought it might be unnecessary (and instead just an interesting challenge) but it turned out I indeed did have 100 unnecessary items lurking around my house.

If truth be known, there are probably another 100 items out there right now that I could get rid of if I kept searching.

 

THIS CHALLENGE HAS TAUGHT ME:

 

– Sometimes mess and clutter isn't obvious.

– Sometimes it's hidden like a virus under the surface, lurking inside perfectly tidy drawers and you don't find it unless you go looking for it.

 

DAY 4 – Perform a random act of kindness

 

THE GOOD NEWS

 

The good news is performing random acts of kindness is something that I always try to incorporate into my daily life.

If a stranger needs a helping hand I will help them.

If I can give someone a compliment I will freely share it.

These are things that come naturally to me but…

 

THE BAD

 

The bad news is my children are not necessarily programmed the same way.

They will help when it suits them.

They will perform kind acts only when they “remember” to do so and when an adult tells them “hey, do something kind!”

Surprisingly random acts of kindness aren’t always in the forefront of their minds.

 

THE VERDICT

 

This challenge required intentional effort on our behalf.

We needed to wake up and actively think about what we could do to make someone else’s day brighter today.

If we didn’t actively do that, I promise you, this challenge would have slipped our minds.

Our good deed for the day was to send a letter to my kids grandparents, which included some photos they hadn’t seen before (all thanks to this Canon Instant Printer that my daughter got for Christmas – we could just print mini photos right here at home).

Even though we see my parents often I still think they absolutely loved received this surprise in the mail.

 

THIS CHALLENGE HAS TAUGHT ME:

 

I would say I am a pretty kind person but if I was truly honest and tried to count the number of truly life-changing random acts of kindness I have performed over my lifetime I think they wouldn’t take up two hands.

 

They include the times:

 

When I used to be a registered Delta Pet Partner and would visit elderly people in nursing homes for pet therapy.

Or the occasions when I tipped way more than necessary to people in countries were the pay was abysmal and I knew that money would make a difference in their life.

Or the times when I would randomly add extra money to a parking meter that was about to expire because I thought it was a cool thing to do.

And…I’m pretty sure I have done plenty more kind things in my life but they have slipped my mind now.

Funnily enough though I do still remember all the times when people have been KIND TO ME.

The verdict here is: you need to keep random acts of kindness in the forefront of your mind otherwise your good intentions are nothing more than wishful thinking.

 

 

DAY 5 – No raising my voice AT ALL 

 

THE GOOD NEWS

 

The only good news here is that I thought I would benefit a lot from this challenge because the school holidays have been LONG (6 weeks of having my kids at home with me).

I feel like I am slowly morphing from a normal happy, patient mom into someone who is seriously frustrated and annoying at having to raise my voice WAY MORE OFTEN THAN USUAL (more mess, more late nights, more constant sighing etc!)

 

THE BAD

 

I knew this challenge would not be easy.

I don’t know why but it’s hard for me to see a wet towel on the ground and not say anything.

It’s hard for me to see a drawer left wide open and not comment on the fact that it isn’t hard to JUST SHUT IT.

I try to say it nicely the first time.

And the second.

And the third time.

But after a while the RAISED voice just comes naturally to me.

Why is it that is coincidentally when my kids start to respond too?

 

THE VERDICT

 

The only way I could survive this challenge was by taking deep breaths.

And by turning a blind eye to things that usually annoy me.

And by just not caring so much about bedtimes and mess and the length of time that boys will play video-games if they aren’t told in a RAISED voice to get off.

Even better I came up with an alternative approach that works much more effectively at getting the kids to behave than raising your voice.

 

THIS CHALLENGE HAS TAUGHT ME:

 

Here’s a secret parenting tip that I rediscovered during this challenge.

I say rediscovered because I have used it in the past but just forgot about it these holidays.

The tip involves setting appropriate consequences ahead of time and sticking to these rules so that you don’t HAVE to raise your voice.

 

A few of our rules:

 

* Messy room = you can’t leave the house for anything fun until it’s clean.

 * WIFI switched off at the hub and controllers removed after a particular length of videogame playing time.

 * Phones and iPads handed over after a particular time.

 * Anything left on the floor get thrown into a box and that box needs to be emptied before anything fun happens.

 

These rules have existed for a long time in our home but when the school holidays started I let some of these rules slip and hey, that is exactly when my voice started to rise.

 

Let the rules do the dirty work for you.

 

If rules are clear and your kids break them, oh well, there are consequences.

Good actions = good consequences.

Bad actions = bad consequences.

Don’t even bother raising your voice.

Just quietly and confidently carry about the consequence if the rules are broken.

Your kids are smart; they will very quickly learn that mom means business and that she will do what she says she will do (especially if it means missing out on seeing their friends or doing anything fun.)

 

 

DAY 6 – Entire family to go sugar-free for the day 

 

THE GOOD NEWS

 

The good news is I have pulled this off before.

Amazingly my daughter and I were sugar-free for 18 months.

Yep you read that right!

Back then someone could put my favorite block of chocolate right under my nose and I wouldn’t even be tempted to eat it.

 

THE BAD

 

The bad news is we are no longer sugar-free.

I broke my sugar-free diet one Halloween a few years ago when my son brought home some Ferrero Rochers in his stash (that he couldn’t eat because he’s allergic to egg, dairy and nuts) and I naively thought “what harm will eating just one do?”

Um…like a lot harm of course.

I honestly think sugar is comparable to heroin in its addictiveness because of course I didn’t stop at just ONE Ferrero Rocher that night.

And ever since then I have indulged in sugar – maybe not all the time, but enough to say I would miss it if it was gone.

 

THE VERDICT

 

Going sugar-free isn’t that difficult – it just takes planning.

For breakfast we just had either a bagel or buttered toast or plain oats with cinnamon.

Lunch was rice and tuna. The kids had healthy wraps instead.

Dinner was a big green salad with grilled chicken and feta (yep, simple and healthy again).

Snacks throughout the day included: cut carrots, celery, grapes, apples, olives, miso soup and pretzels.  

Amazingly we pulled it off without an issue.

 

THIS CHALLENGE HAS TAUGHT ME:

 

So it turns out going sugar-free is a lot easier than I suspected. I am not why we don’t eat this way all the time. Going sugar-free makes me feel more energetic and clear-headed and simply fabulous!

 

If you are interested in going sugar-free yourself, these are the books that convinced me to do so:

 

 

>> SWEET POISON – HOW SUGAR MAKES US FAT <<

>> THE SWEET POISON QUIT PLAN <<

>> THAT SUGAR BOOK <<  This book will change the way you think about healthy food

>> THAT SUGAR FILM << is also a must-see documentary

 

 

 

DAY 7 – No spend money day

 

THE GOOD NEWS

 

Not spending any money equals more money in our pockets.

Win win!

 

THE BAD

 

Gosh what can I say?

Whenever we usually leave the house we are tempted to spend some money, even if it’s only a few dollars to buy the kids a slurpee.

If you want to do anything fun, you ordinarily need to spend some money.

We needed to put on our thinking cap to pull this challenge off, especially as it was a Sunday (which is usually our do something fun family day).

 

THE VERDICT

 

Once again we needed a plan to pull off this challenge.

We referred to this list of fun stuff to do with the kids that are either free or almost free and decided to go to the beach (sure, petrol/gasoline costs money but that petrol/gasoline was already in the car.)

We packed lunches for the day.

We swam.

We basked in the sunshine.

We avoided the cafes and had the best time.

Avoiding the shops also meant we didn’t need to spend a cent.

 

 

THIS CHALLENGE HAS TAUGHT ME:

 

There are places you can go to where you feel naturally tempted or forced to spend money.

That includes: going to the shops, movies and any events.

And then there are the places that are free like the park, beach, friends’ homes or even just staying at home and playing board games.

You don’t need to spend money to have fun.

You don’t need to spend money to do something useful.

You don’t need to spend money to have a great day.

That is my mantra from hereon in a world where we are encouraged to spend money like there’s no tomorrow.

 

ALL IN ALL HERE'S A SUMMARY OF MY MOM CHALLENGE WEEK

 

I am so glad I put myself through this week of challenges even though it was challenging.

Here’s the thing: we don’t grow when things are easy; we grow when we face challenges.

 

If you don’t face challenges you won’t ever do things differently or discover what you can become.

 

Challenges are honestly what makes life interesting and overcoming those challenges is what makes life meaningful.

As David Weatherford once said:

When faced with a challenge, look for a WAY and not a way out.

Best of luck with your own mom challenge week.

I would love to hear how you go!

 

 

 

mom challenge

 

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