Tag: Bree James

The Thing Is…Boys Are Full On! with Bree James

Being the only female in a house of boys, it’s a celebration of the XY chromosome most days. I have certainly learnt a lot about the male species since becoming a mother of boys, and there are a lot of things I wish I didn’t learn, but also many I am so pleased I have.

The thing is… little boys are fuuullllll on. I know girls can be too, but from what I have witnessed most girls can sit still whilst watching tv, at a dinner table and when a passenger in the car. I am sure some boys can too, but mine…cannot.

My boys have so much energy they could power a small town. From the time they wake up, until the time they go to bed, they are jumping, wrestling, throwing, play fighting, twitching, jiggling, and any other movement you can think of.

And no matter how much activity they have in a day, you feed them and off they go again.

You cannot take them to the shops without them turning it into a maze, battlefield, or racetrack. It doesn’t matter how much you warn them when you go into the shops that they have to behave, not run and to stay close – they do not. It takes all of a parent’s power to keep their cool whilst copping knowing or judgmental looks at your inability to keep your boys in line in public.

Boys also attempt really dumb things. Getting chills up and down your spine is a daily occurrence – with many of us surprised at how little time we spend in the Emergency Room.

Parents of boys have a special “I feel you” nod we give each other when passing by a chaotic scene.

Boys are really weird too, they love the topics of farts, poop, bottoms, and private parts. If you want to make your boys laugh, it’s really simple. Mention one of the above and you are seriously the funniest human being on the planet. My boys have also recently started naming their farts-why? Because they can.

And don’t get me started on the 3rd leg. From the time boys are born their hands are always on it. My dad used to say he was so poor when he was a kid his mum cut holes in his pockets so he had something to play with. It doesn’t matter if your son has every toy they could ever want, that thing is by far their favorite. As a new mum, I remember the first day of my precious baby being born. It’s a harsh reality that I wasn’t expecting nor knew what to do with and I was horrified. Yes- from the time they are born that happens! And don’t forget to always point it down in a nappy, learnt that the hard way many times…

Noise is another thing you have to live with. Boys are so loud. I know if I ever go away for work and come back it takes a good 24 hours to get used to the noise again.

They talk loud, play loud, fight loud, walk loud, go to the toilet loud, eat loud, everything is loud and it can be so draining.

I know the grunting, sleeping teenage boy stage is just around the corner. So, for now, I am embracing the chaos, gaining grey hairs and mild anxiety from their risk taking, and taking deep breaths knowing they have an amazing dad that I hope they turn out like one day. We’ve just got to get through the next ten years.

You can visit the Bree James website HERE. 

 

 

 

 

The Thing Is…My Kids Ask Me 100 Questions! – with Bree James

One of the things about being a parent is; you get asked A LOT of questions. Everything from “Why is the sky blue?”, to “Why do dogs sniff each other’s butts?” And don’t forget “Why do I have to wear underpants?” Plus some of these questions aren’t even from our kids, they are from our significant other. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the constant questioning does my head in.

The thing is, I do love that my children are inquisitive. Some of the questions they ask are really quite interesting and I am so thankful for Google. When I was a kid, my mum would send me to the encyclopedia set on the shelf and I’d have to look it up myself. Otherwise I would just live with the fact that I’m not going to have an answer after many days or even weeks of pondering it.

These days, we can pretty much google anything and get the answer instantly. The questions that are actually inquisitive and a learning opportunity, I do not mind whatsoever, and I quite enjoy learning alongside my children. Kids ask some really great questions and I think I have learnt more from their inquisitive minds than I did myself at school.

However, the questions that drive me nuts are always the ones they really know the answer to;

Clean up your room – “WHY?”

Go to bed – “WHY?”

Don’t put your wet clothes on top of those dry clothes – “WHY?”

And you know your response isn’t going to be a one-off either. You could make these statements “go to bed” and get “WHY?” every night for years. It’s no wonder “because I said so!” screams out eventually.

My darling husband the other day was cooking from a recipe. He had it right in front of him. Yet, he asked me from the other room what the next step was…?! Or he’ll ask me “what am I cooking?”, even though it’s written on the meal planner (we prepared together the night before) right next to him.

My wonderful children will ask me what I am doing, even when they can see clearly what I am doing; i.e. sitting on the toilet.

My next favorite though, is when they ask a question, you give the answer, and then they ask you again. So, you give the answer in another way, and then they ask you the question again, so you give the answer in another way… and then they ask you again.

Sometimes you just shake your head and look back at their years on the earth and worry; did you have too much Panadol when you were pregnant or give them too much when they were teething? Or you second guess yourself and conclude that you really aren’t a good parent if you can’t answer your child in a way they understand.

The ultimate questions that make parent’s hearts stop or drop are the ones they ask perfect strangers. “Are you a pirate cause you have a patch on?”, “Did you fart- what’s that smell?”, “Are you dying?”, “What happened to your hair?”, “Are you Santa Claus?”, “Are you drinking because you’re an alcoholic?”

These questions are enough to tip any parent over the edge!

In the end, our children are going to question us just as much as we question ourselves. Questioning is a huge part of their learning, and even though it drives us nuts, there is nothing that can help you understand your beliefs and knowledge more than trying to explain them to a child with an inquisitive mind. Millions saw the apple fall from the tree, but Newton asked WHY? So as much as it drives us absolutely insane sometimes, take a breath, and ask “why do you think?”. This buys us a little time and encourages them to keep on searching and being inquisitive, or just walk away and clean their teeth like you asked them to.

Read more of Bree’s blogs for PakMag here. 

Check out the Bree James website here. 

 

 

The Thing Is…COVID-19! – With Bree James

I’ve never really been one to fit in or have many friends. As a result, COVID-19 life for me didn’t change my social (well anti-social) life much. I enjoyed having a simpler life for those few weeks. I finally had a rock-solid excuse for not having to get out of my pajamas and leave the house. The thing is, it’s been quite interesting living this ‘new norm’ as they call it. And I am finding myself having a laugh at what life was and is like thanks to this pandemic.

I have noticed a few things like my children’s banter about germs. Everything is “I don’t want to catch Covid, so I can’t… (insert task they don’t want to do)”. My child forgot his toothbrush for an overnight trip and he told me he couldn’t brush his teeth with his finger in case he caught Covid-19. Literally everything they can link with Covid-19… they do. They come up with more theories than any conspiracist on social media that I have seen. Our children are not only little greenies these days; reminding us which bin to put things in, they’ve started a war or germs and we finally don’t have to argue with them to wash their hands. Covid-19 has become the “dog ate my homework” excuse for the 21st century.

The next thing I found hilarious, or sad, whichever way you look at it, is; twenty years ago I was lining up for nightclubs. Now I am lining up to go into Bunnings, Bra’s and Things, and the pharmacy with the same sort of anticipation. Instead of getting excited it’s ‘happy hour,’ I got excited if I found seeds to grow my own food. Or some hand santiser and toilet paper!.

What the heck has happened to my life?

Then, I realised that I used to do anything to avoid taking the bin out. In ISO I was volunteering. This was just so I could get out of the house for an excursion and smell something better than my own family. Being in a house of boys is smelly business at the best of times. This is especially true when they’re eating our camping kit of baked beans because you’ve been avoiding going to the store.

Many of us thought we’d turn into farmers. I started gardening just in case food shortages got worse. All I can say about this phase is that if my family relied on my food growing ability, we’d be eating weeds as these are the only things I can’t seem to kill.

One thing I was great at though – was cooking.

ISO was a time where ingredients were low, and we had to become the MacGyver’s of our kitchen. Finding recipes to create without the key ingredients of rice, eggs, pasta, and flour saw me create some pretty cool dishes. I don’t know about you, but some of us have eaten waaayyyy too much and have become a little ‘cuddlier’ – as I like to call it. It didn’t really matter then as we didn’t see anyone, but now it’s like ‘ok…someone pull me out of these jeans.’

Due to this, many of us thought it was a good time to take up an old hobby. Of course, it involved exertion to try and burn some of those extra kilo’s from all of that cooking, eating and drinking. But we forgot that we are older, heavier and way less fit than we used to be. Medical professionals coined a new term “Covid Casualties” to deal with people who took up new sports like Mountain Bike riding and left with two broken arms not being able to wipe their own butts after their first attempt. I thankfully didn’t injure myself doing some of my old hobbies. I do think however that something like knitting is on the horizon for the future as I have said to myself many times these past few months; “I am too old for this stuff” with very sore muscles and bones.

My favorite thing is watching two people interact; trying to work out if they should shake hands, hug, fist bump or just awkwardly flap around each other like startled chickens, realising mid movement that they were about to touch and they shouldn’t.

Who would have thought life would ever be like this?

In the end, this pandemic has taught us a lot more than we could ever have realized. This includes a lot about ourselves and our resilience. Most importantly – we have learned what we value most and what is really important. Something I hope we remember as life starts resembling pre-covid normality. 

 

Read more of Bree’s ‘The Thing Is’ articles here

 

 

The Thing Is…the Baby Days Are Over! with Bree James

It’s an interesting moment when you make the decision to not have any more children. I’m a mum of two boys nearing 9 and 11 years old. People still ask me if I am going to go back to try and have a girl. Now… my ovaries get excited when I see a gorgeous baby. But the rest of my body gets chills at the thought of going through parenthood from the beginning again. The Thing is, I do feel completely blessed and honored to be a mother. BUT I am pretty happy that the days of having a baby hanging off my boobs all hours of the day and the sleepless nights are over. Don’t get me started on the tantrums, constant nappy changing and not being able to know what they are crying about!

My eldest asked me the other day about periods. Being a mum that over educates and answers questions, I told him all about them. Told him that he will need to be a supportive boyfriend one day. Of course I mentioned how he has to be gentle with the girls at school who may be experiencing them. The cutest thing he said was, “Mummy it must be so sad though, getting a period knowing it could have been a baby”. The “Hell no” nearly came out of my mouth, as I have experienced 2,184 days of them. But, I stopped, and thought about it. I shared that yes, many ladies are sad if they are trying for a baby. However, many are pretty excited when they get their period as it means no babies.

It’s a big decision to have kids. I think it’s a pretty big decision for some of us to say that our uterus is closed for business.

I’ve still got most of our baby stuff “just in case we had an accident”. But now I am hitting 40 this year, my husband and I had to have the talk about no more babies. He decided that it’s time he gets the snip. I fully support this if he is happy to do it (even though the reality that this part of my life is over makes me a little sad). Now, my husband is as nervous about this procedure as I was about giving birth to our watermelon sized children. 

Sure, I understand that a man’s member is literally like having another human being in the house. Another human that has needs. And I know that men have a huge attachment to this area of their body way more than women do with their own bits. I acknowledge that this is a big surgery for a man to have psychologically. He is really worried about “King Richard” and “the twins” and I am trying to be sympathetic. But as anyone who has witnessed childbirth knows, a vjay jay goes through so much more during childbirth. Plus, these things can results in a lot more stitches!

My eldest said, ‘Daddy is getting de-sexed’. This made me laugh so hard that I nearly wet myself, but it’s certainly not helping calm his nerves. Now I am sure it will all be fine, and we will celebrate once it’s all over.I think it’s only fair that if we celebrated having a baby, we should celebrate not having any more too. We should also thank our bodies for their service.

As they say, the swim team may have been cut, but the coach will never retire.

I am sure like childbirth, he will forget all about this trauma to the family jewels in a few days. He will look at his two amazing children and thank his dad bod for its service to our family. When they are fighting over something stupid, or he sees a toddler being really naughty, or a parent struggling with their infant, he will realise getting the snip wasn’t so bad after all.

 

Learn more about Bree on her website. 

Read more of ‘The The Thing Is’ with Bree James here

 

 

Breaking Habits and Building Your Ideal Life

Achievement isn’t about luck, it’s about lots of small considered actions. Your decisions shape your destiny. Every day we make thousands of decisions, many of which are subconscious. These will either take you to the life you desire or one that you detest.

It’s the little decisions that shape our lives. These are decisions such as what you eat, how you spend your time, what you spend your money on and many more. These determine the life you end up with. Here are a few ways small, daily decisions can add up to be something amazing. 

Healthy Eating

According to researchers at Cornell University, everyone makes roughly 226 decisions each day on food alone. If you went to the gym every day, you wouldn’t notice a difference on day one. You wouldn’t notice a difference after a week. You would probably start to notice a difference after two weeks. But it’s likely no one else would, and maybe others would notice after a month.

Same goes if you ate a chocolate cookie every day. Maybe you started out at 60 kilos, but you’d likely put on a couple of kilos if you ate one every day. Do that for a few years and it will be quite a few more. Small committed changes with our health can make a massive impact, but like the Pantene ad tells us, “it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”. Think about small improvements you can make to your health that can have a massive impact over time.

Smart Spending

Every dollar you spend today is costing you nearly $5 in 20 years, and just over $10 in 30 years. How? Well, if you had a dollar and invested it at 8%, in 20 years it would be valued at $4.66.

Think about that five dollar a day coffee habit you have. This could add up to $1825 a year, which if invested and compounded at 8% would give you $92,021.83 in 20 years. So, now when you buy something for $5, remember it’s a value of $25 in 20 years. It may just make you reconsider that unnecessary purchase.

Learn, Learn, Learn

It’s your choice whether you invest in learning for 30 minutes a day. You COULD invest in watching TV for thirty minutes a day (or more) instead. That investment of 30 minutes a day adds up to 182 hours of learning something new. It’s the same with our kids. If they practice their time tables or musical instrument every day, there is no doubt they will improve. If we read to our child every night for 15 minutes, that will add up to nearly 100 hours of teaching them how to read in one year.

Do you want to master a skill? One researcher said it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. That translates to about nine years (five days a week, spending four hours a day). They say it can take six months to develop a new skill. 20 hours to learn a skill “to perform well enough for your own purposes” such as playing guitar. So, think about your time, and how much you invest in learning. You could be playing guitar for the family or on stage in no time, or still watching old episodes of Friends that you’ve seen before. The decision is yours.

That’s the power of small decisions. If you aren’t careful, one sneaky bad habit can take you miles off course. Don’t sleep walk through your choices. You’ve learned every habit you have, so you can unlearn them too. Good luck.

www.breejames.com 

My Vision Book

Teaching Children to Have a World View, Not a Self-View

Ask anyone over the age of 50 what they think about the younger generations,. It’s likely to be something along the lines of “all they care about is themselves”.

In a world obsessed with selfies, it’s understandable why many of us Generation X & Y parents are trying to navigate this new world of parenting. Our childhood was similar to that of our own parents. Yet it’s so different to that of the children we are raising. We are flying blind with so many parenting issues that our parents never had to deal with. This brings it’s own unique challenges. We all want to raise the best kids we can, and we want to encourage our children to be confident. However, we are increasingly aware that this egotistical and self centered way of life of the 21st century has the potential to raise a whole generation of little narcissists. We don’t want our children to only care about themselves or only care about those closest to them. So how can we combat this? Well, here are three things we’ve found to teach your children that will hopefully help.

Self-Discipline

Many children have very little self-discipline. They are used to getting what they want straight away, and rarely go without. This doesn’t teach children the skill of delaying gratification, how to have self-discipline and be responsible as a child. As a result, they will likely turn into adults that overeat, overspend, and overuse technology. They are likely to live an unhappy life, addicted to things they can’t control like eating, spending, and gaming – or worse, drugs, alcohol, and porn.

Gaming, social media and more has increased our addiction to getting little rewards for our efforts. Every “like” or “notification” gives us a little dopamine hit that is very addictive (and all tech companies spend a lot of time working out how to get you hooked). Real life isn’t like this. Teach your child to work hard even though the reward may not be for many days, weeks, months or years later. 

Respect for Self, Others, and the Environment

No one wants to raise a child that turns into an adolescent. Or an adult that has zero respect for others, the world or for themselves. To teach children about respect, we need to respect them. Speak to your children like you would to another adult. “I told you to fold the towels properly, now go to your room” wouldn’t work on a house cleaner, so why do we speak like that to our children? We need to model being respectful at all times, and this is not easy to do. So, take some time to think about respect. What does respect mean to you? How do you want to teach it, model manners and respect for yourself, others and the world? Work out how you will teach this to your children.

Contribution and a Focus on Giving

One of the best ways to move on from being self-focused is to foster ways of how you can serve others. Contribution can be defined as a sense of service. It focuses on helping, giving to and supporting others. People who have what they want in life but still feel like they are ‘missing something’ are searching for a way to make a difference and contribute to others. Teaching children to do acts of service for others is a great way for them to learn about doing what they can to make the world a better place.

Whether it be picking up rubbish, volunteering at a sports or charity event, donating money to a homeless person or selling raffle tickets to raise funds for their school, everything helps. This focus on helping others fosters a love of giving and making a difference in the lives of others. Every little act makes the world a better place. Plus it makes them feel good too. 

In the end, there are obviously so many things we can teach our children so that they care about others, the world and themselves. We’re sure many of us could also do with re-learning a few of these tips too!


To find out more about the author, Bree James, you can visit her website