Over the last few weeks, I've been sharing some lessons from the farmhouse.
Two weeks ago, I talked about some "home" lessons we have learned.
Then last week, I discussed lessons about marriage.
Today, I'm going to finish out this series by sharing five lessons that I've learned about parenting over the last fourteen years.
Disclaimer: Just like I shared a few weeks ago and last week, I am not the perfect housekeeper or the perfect wife. And I am DEFINITELY not the perfect parent.
With that said, we have been parenting for the last fourteen years. We've taken advice from parents whom we love and trust and we've learned through trial and error. So here are some parenting tips that will hopefully be helpful to somebody.
1. Be consistent.
Do what you say you are going to do.
If you offer a consequence for a certain behavior, follow through with that consequence.
And on that note, set realistic consequences from the get-go. When you ask your child to complete a task, with some sort of consequence attached -- make it realistic. There is nothing worse than when you are in the heat of the moment and you threaten some difficult-to-maintain consequence if a child does not comply with the expected behavior.
"If you don't turn the television off, you're going to be grounded for a month."
If the child doesn't turn the television off, the parents are left with one of two choices.
Sure, in the first choice, the child knows you mean business and will likely comply with your directives for a while. However, a month of grounding is pretty substantial for not following one simple direction.
And in the second choice, your child is learning that your words don't really mean much when it comes to consequence for behavior.
In the above example, I would suggest something like "no television for three days". This is a manageable consequence that truly fits the behavior. After the three days is over, the child will likely understand that when you ask him or her to turn it off -- you mean business.
So -- Be consistent. Set boundaries. Follow through.
2. Teach responsibility.
Our girls help us to manage our home.
Our oldest daughter is responsible for one load of laundry a day. She washes, dries, and folds it and then delivers the clothes to the bedrooms where they belong.
Our second daughter is responsible for dishes. She unloads the dishwasher each morning and after we fill it through the day, she washes it at night. She hand-washes any dishes that are left after supper, also.
Our youngest daughter is responsible for gathering laundry from the hampers in the house and taking it to the laundry room each day. She also gathers up shoes that have been left out and puts them on the mud room shelves.
They also have daily chores to help the family out on the farm -- feeding chickens, gathering eggs, taking scraps to the hogs, and whatever else needs to be done.
3. Lead by example.
This is a tough one.
You know that old saying, "Do as I say, not as I do"?
Yeah. That doesn't work.
Your babies will pick up on your ACTIONS, not only your words.
If you want your children to have a relationship with Jesus -- model a relationship with Jesus.
If you want your children to grow up and have a healthy marriage -- model a healthy marriage.
If you want them to speak kindly to their friends -- speak kindly to them and to YOUR friends.
If you want them to be hard workers -- work hard.
If you want them to admit when they are wrong -- admit when you are wrong (this one is NOT easy!).
We could go through hundreds of examples of this.
Lead by example.
4. Be patient & offer grace.
I will be the first to admit that we have ridiculously high standards.
I have had to find a balance between having high expectations and offering grace to our girls.
We all mess up. We all fall short. NONE of us are perfect.
Our kids are learning and exploring and testing boundaries. Their brains are not fully-developed yet and they will make poor decisions sometimes.
We must learn to guide them through these decisions, with grace & mercy.
We must be patient with them as they learn to navigate this life.
5. Be present.
Put the phone away.
Sit down together at the dinner table.
Play in the snow.
Work on household projects together.
Do craft activities.
Do a Bible study together.
Enjoy the time you have with them because it goes so very quickly.
I hope these tips are helpful for you. What would you add?
Enjoying a day with our girls here at the farmhouse,
Yesterday, my Harlee-girl and I spent the day together.
She slept in while I got my morning routine finished, then I woke her up to head to the school.
I had a few things I needed to get organized before staff and students came back today.
After a few hours in my office, we grabbed some lunch and went to get pedicures...the last little treat for her 12th birthday.
She decided on a manicure and I got my toes done.
When we were finished, there was time for her to spend a gift card that she got for Christmas and to pick up my WalMart grocery order, before heading to get our eyebrows waxed and my hair cut.
Here’s a little before & after of the eyebrows...her first experience having them waxed!
I took off my tennis shoes and peeled off my socks...or tried to.
But they were STUCK to my big toes.
“Oh no. This is not good.” I thought.
Sure enough...my toes had not been dry when I put my socks and shoes back on at the nail salon.
No worries though...I think they’re fine.
Just a little added texture.
When we moved into the farmhouse, the upstairs consisted of one bedroom and an open loft area.
The whole upstairs is in a plus-sign shape, so there was the potential for three smaller "rooms".
We needed one more bedroom to give the girls each their own rooms, so we will finally build a wall in the next few weeks to give Harlee some privacy. We also added a bathroom, so the girls could have their own bathroom up there.
The leftover loft space became our farmhouse playroom.
And now....the moment you've all been waiting for...the Room Reveal for our Farmhouse Playroom.
To be quite honest, this room has already evolved a bit since we moved in last July.
We had originally planned to have the Barbies and doll clothes housed upstairs, but with the older two girls having bedrooms up there and our three-year-old downstairs, that setup just didn't make sense anymore.
So we moved the Barbie house downstairs to Mattie's bedroom and made the playroom a little more functional for the preteens.
For nine years at the old house, we tried to carve out a place for the girls to relax that was "their own".
First, we had a nursery in one bedroom and a playroom in the other.
When we brought Baby #2 home, the playroom got changed into a "big girl bedroom" for Baby #1 and the toys stayed in there.
We put the girls together eventually and moved the playroom to where the nursery had originally been.
When Baby #3 came home, the playroom became a nursery/playroom combo.
Before we moved out here to the farmhouse, we even tried to put all three girls in one room to sleep and have the toys and desks in the other.
It just never worked out quite like we had pictured.
The farmhouse playroom is all I had ever hoped for.
It sits opposite the new bathroom, with the older girls' bedrooms on either side.
When Harlee's wall is complete and the new bathroom has a door, I will do a walk-through of the whole upstairs.
Can't wait to share it with you SOON!
Happy Sunny Saturday from the Farmhouse, friends!
This was supposed to be a checkup.
Sure, I was full-term and sure, Claire's head was NOT small.
I had expected to leave that appointment, do a little shopping, grab some Starbucks and go home to snuggle my Harlee-girl for a few more days.
But that just wouldn't be Claire's style, now would it?
Claire Bear did things her own way then and she does things her own way now.
She is precious and kind and beautiful.
She is independent and stubborn and smart.
She has what we call "second child syndrome".
She often learns things the hard way.
She loves others with her whole entire heart.
She would rather wear a dress and high heels than shorts and a tshirt, yet she's not afraid to get her hands dirty working hard inside or out.
Our life wouldn't be complete without our sweet, sweet Claire Bear.
Happy 9th Birthday, sweet girl. ❤️
I've got some new readers, so I thought I might take the opportunity to introduce myself a little more formally and give a little background on life as we know it.
My name is Hannah and this is my blog...Farmhouse654.
I've been married to Mr. Farmhouse for almost 14 years. We started out life in an adorable two-bedroom home in town and stayed there for over two years, before moving to a ranch-style home on four acres outside of town. We did lots of updates to that home and property and absolutely loved every minute there. We were completely content, except for the fact that our three girls shared two bedrooms and it was getting just a little bit tight as they continued to grow.
We had so many great memories in that house.
We brought all three of our daughters home there.
We raised bottle-calves, pigs, and chickens there.
We spent 10 Christmas mornings there.
We made updates to the house, added a few outbuildings, and even survived a tornado that picked up one of our barns and threw it to the other side of the property.
Our second home was such a special part of our journey.
However, in May of 2017, an opportunity presented itself for us to sell that home and buy a farmhouse on ten acres.
So in July of last year (after some bumps in the road), we made the farmhouse our home.
And that was the start of Farmhouse654.
Now...a little background on the wife & mom of the family who lives here.
Mr. Farmhouse and I grew up right here in this town.
We are hometown kids and I can't imagine raising our girls anywhere else.
Our girls are eleven, (almost) nine, and three.
They are so alike and so different in so many ways.
We love Jesus and love our church.
We believe that God's calling for us is to love Him and to love people.
We try hard to do this, but fail miserably a lot of the time. We're thankful for grace!
I've been a teacher for the last twelve years and will be leaving the classroom in May to move into the position of the Director of Special Services in the district where I currently teach. I run a photography business on the side and work for my parents, who own group homes for adults with disabilities.
We are busy and blessed.
The girls are involved in our church, play sports, take dance classes, and enjoy piano & guitar lessons once a week.
We love to be outdoors and spend time often just sitting around in lawn chairs in the back yard watching the girls play basketball or shoot skeet.
When I have some free time, I like to document our journey through this blog.
So there you have it.
Some of where we've been and where we are now.
Someday I'll tell you all about where we're headed...our goals and dreams for the farmhouse.
But for today, I'll just go rock our sweet Mattie-girl while we watch another Barbie movie.
Make it a great Monday, friends.
Isn't it grand?
You wait nine months for this little bundle of joy to be put into your arms and then you question every single decision you make for the next 18 years.
There are so many joy-filled moments that come along with raising kids.
And let's be real...some moments that are, eh...not so wonderful.
Toddler fit-throwing in public.
Eye-rolls from the pre-teen.
Sibling arguments one minute and them teaming up against you in the next.
And perhaps the most difficult of parenting challenges...struggles with friends.
I was a young girl once.
I knew that our girls' friendships wouldn't always be beautiful and wonderful and easy.
After all, we are all human.
However, I have been struggling with something that I believe most parents struggle with...
The tendency to make an excuse.
A few years ago, one of our daughters was having a hard time with a girl who she considered to be a good friend.
This classmate had kind of distanced herself from our daughter and hasn't been the kindest at times.
When I mentioned their friendship, I could tell that there was some tension there...a bit of a strained relationship.
I heard of things the friend had said,
faces she had made,
and other behaviors that would be frustrating for a friend.
However, when I would ask our daughter about her own contribution to the situation,
she admitted that she sometimes snapped back at the friend,
avoided her at times,
and probably was not acting in the way that I would expect her to act...
regardless of how she has been treated.
And my tendency, as a human and as a mother, is to make an excuse for her actions.
But it's not okay.
It's not okay for a child to treat her friend unkindly.
It's not okay for a student to talk back to a teacher.
It's not okay for a player to roll her eyes at the referee...no matter how ridiculous she thinks the call was.
When we, as parents, make excuses for our children's poor behavior, we are reinforcing the choices they are making.
We are justifying the disrespect, the lack of kindness, and the inappropriate behaviors.
I fear that we are raising a generation of entitled youth who don't even understand the concept of respect.
Whether it's respecting their elders,
respecting their peers,
or respecting property.
I'm afraid the concept of respect (even when it's undeserved) has gone out the window some days.
And I'm afraid that every time I make an excuse for my child's lack of respect or justify her actions, I'm contributing to the problem.
Friends, we have to stop the cycle.
I'm not talking about respecting adults who are abusive or pretending like there's no issue with peers who are exhibiting bullying behaviors.
But in the majority of our day-to-day interactions with other human beings, we should be showing kindness...
And we should be teaching our children this attitude, as well.
This week, let's really help our kiddos be accountable for their behavior.
Let's try to not make an excuse when they don't make the right choice.
Let's support that teacher...that coach...that referee.
It's up to us. The parents.
It's not up to the iPad.
Not up to the TV.
Not up to their older siblings.
Not up to their teachers (although we teachers try to set the same expectations in our classrooms).
Let's set an expectation for how they treat people.
Let's work hard to raise a generation that we are proud of.
It's up to us...and it's a challenging and rewarding responsibility.
Happy Tuesday from the Farmhouse, friends.
May the force be with you.