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I love my kids. They're great kids, but sometimes I look at them and think, "Man, they are spoiled!" It irks me. I don't want spoiled kids. I don't want them to feel entitled or make demands. They need to be thankful and selfless and, well, everything I wish I was.
I know it's a lot to ask from a toddler and preschooler, but that's when it starts. If I don't want bratty spoiled kids in the future, I need to instill gratitude in them now. And then sometimes it just feels hopeless. My American children with their generous grandparents have no hope but to be spoiled. What's a mom to do?
But then, like a silver lining, little signs will pop up that prove to me that maybe my kids aren't as spoiled as I think they are. Maybe, just maybe, there is hope for them after all:
1. My son gave his cousin one of his beloved toys. My son has been collecting dinosaur toys for a while now. Every week when he visits the treasure box at school he chooses a dino-themed toy to build up his dino land. That's why I was surprised when we were on our way out the door to see his cousin and he stopped to get a dinosaur to gift to his cousin. "I'm going to give him this dinosaur because he doesn't have one," he told me. I found it incredibly sweet that he would choose one of his beloved toys to give away to his cousin. That just doesn't seem typical for a preschooler. It really warmed my heart.
Sometimes I will say out loud that I need to get my shoes, for example, and she will immediately jump up and say, "Oh! You need yo' shoes! Don't worry! I get it!"
2. My son always wants to make things for others. Whenever it's someone's birthday or we're headed to a holiday party my son wants to either make a card or a some type of gift to bring along. The other day we were making ornaments for our Christmas tree and he insisted on making ornaments for his grandparents' tree as well. I like that he thinks of others and not just of himself.
3. My daughter always wants to help. I know part of this is because she's two and two-year-olds seem to be really into helping, but I still love it and try to foster that helping attitude so it lasts for years to come. Sometimes I will say out loud that I need to get my shoes, for example, and she will immediately jump up and say, "Oh! You need yo' shoes! Don't worry! I get it!" She's also very sweet when she notices someone isn't feeling well. She hugs them and strokes their back and hands out kisses.
4. They donate their toys and clothes willingly. I am the anti-hoarder. I don't like stuff taking up space in our house, especially if we're not really using it. Plus, there are so many children who would love to be given toys or clothing. Whenever it's time to purge I make sure both of my kids are present and involved in the decision process of what to keep and what to donate. We have never had tears or tantrums over the issue. They understand that they are very lucky children who have been given much and that there are other children who don't have as much as they do. I want them to be aware and compassionate. So far it seems to be working.