A learning experience

When I heard that the Marilyn Denis show was looking for moms who can't say 'no' to be on a parenting segment last week, I jumped at the chance. I am that mom - the mom who too easily gives in to her children and the mom who has a hard time saying no. The producer let me know that a camera crew would be at my house the next day, to shoot me and my boys 'in action'.

A day after the shoot, I took the train to Toronto and was put up at the InterContinental Hotel. My hotel room was gorgeous, with ceiling to floor windows and amazing views of downtown Toronto, a city I love more and more each time I'm there.

Erica and Cora met me for drinks at the hotel bar, and we had a great time chatting it up before I went to bed at 1 am. (My usual bedtime. God, I lack sleep.) Sleeping all by myself in a king-sized bed was heavenly, although I did miss my little one's toes in my face when I woke up at 6 in the morning!

I enjoyed a delicious room service breakfast, (thanks again, CTV!) then met my driver downstairs and was whisked away to the station. I could totally get used to having my own driver.

When I got to the station, all I could think about was how much I missed working in television and radio. It's a really exciting place to be, with so much going on at the same time. Never a moment to get bored!

After getting my make-up done, I went over the parenting segment with the producer, and then the show started.

The parenting expert on the show was Dr. Michele Borba. She's an educational psychologist, parenting expert, TODAY show contributor and author of 22 books. My segment was about eight minutes in length, and Michele offered some great tips for mom who need to 'de-program' their children and learn to say no.

First of all, she said, you have to decide to change your ways. Next? Dethrone your child. (Yikes. That's going to be very hard for me!)

She also talked about using the right praise—for earned and specific things. (This is something I need to work on, since I praise my children to no end if they even put their own socks on!)

She told me moms need to set clear limits. (Gulp.) For example, before I enter the toy store, or the grocery store, I should tell my son that we aren't going to buy anything extra, and stick to it. If my child has a meltdown, I should pick him up and leave.

She also told me to stretch my child's ability to wait. This was my favourite piece of advice, and one that I've been practicing at home. Children by nature are used to instant gratification, and I think that for the most part, if you can give your child what they want, (if it's not harming anyone) why not just give it to them? I do understand the importance of learning patience, though, so this is an area I'm focused on changing at home.

If my boys are asking for a snack NOW, and I know they're not hungry because they've just had dinner, I will tell them to wait five minutes, or tell them that they can have a snack when I finish washing the dishes. I'm actually doing good at this!

The last piece of advice she gave was to move from ME to WE. I must say, though, that although my children are spoiled with love and getting their way most of the time, they are the most kind-hearted boys you'll ever meet. They are empathetic, caring, and they love to share. They're the best kids. They just have a mom who doesn't like saying a certain word! Let's see if I can be a bit more firm with them and learn how to use 'no' as part of my everyday vocabulary, now.

Of course, no trip to Toronto is complete for me without heading to Bloor Street for some shopping. I was a woman on a mission—I needed new Chanel sunglasses and I wasn't getting on my train back home without a new pair! I walked into Holt Renfrew, inhaled the fabulousness, wished I lived in Toronto, grumbled under my breath about why Ottawa's Holt Renfrew is so small, called my mom to ask her why we didn't live in Toronto, and saw the perfect pair of shades.

Happy with my purchase, I left to go buy something for my boys. Walking into Indigo, I once again grumbled under my breath about why we don't live in Toronto, bought my boys some Lego, and headed back to the hotel to get some work down in the business lounge, where once again, I grumbled under my breath about why we didn't live in Toronto, a city that is full of wonderful career opportunities, a bustling downtown core, and amazing shopping. Not to mention the fact that most of my best friends live there, too.

The best part of going away without my children (the maximum number of nights I've been away from my kids has been two nights, and that's only happened twice before) is seeing them when I get home. That part alone—those hugs and kisses and smiles—are worth leaving for a couple of days!
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Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) said...

I've never been to Toronto...or Ottawa, so I can't comment, but I do think the advice you were given was very good. I'll have to remember it.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I think most mothers (if they're being honest) have a hard time with discipline. I often feel guilty and want to give in to avoid a major meltdown, it's SO much easier in the moment. One of the best pieces of advice I read while on mat leave was from the Baby Whisperer who advised to "start as you mean to go on" meaning, sure giving in right now might not be a big deal but you then have to be prepared to give in the next time the same situation arises. I try to keep this in the back of my head at all times. I am also a firm believer in the power of setting limits. The example of explaining what's expected before you enter the toy store is a great one, and it does work. If I'm doing one thing right, then I think this is the point I'm excelling at. My son will repeat the "rules" to me and I think that he likes that he knows upfront what is expected. Don't be too hard on yourself. You are acting from a place of love. If this is your worst parenting "fault" then your children are very lucky to have such a loving mother!

Elaine A. said...

Sounds like you got some good tips to work with. And now I want to see a clip of the show!! :) Oh and go shopping in Toronto... he he.

blueviolet said...

Yes, coming home is such a wonderful feeling!

I love Toronto. I've only been once, but loved it!

Make Mommy Chic said...

Hey Loukia,
Being a mother of two boys myself i know how hard it is to say NO. Thanks so much for your advice! Also, i grew up in Ottawa but have been in T.O for over 10 years and never looked back. It's a great city to live in and I can't lie, the shopping is indeed fabulous. My parents have moved down here too so maybe you can convince your family to move here?

Lady Mama said...

It's going to be a challenge but I know you can do it. As a mother who also sometimes (ahem) gives into her boys, I think I could learn from some of these tips too. I thought you were great on the show, by the way - very pretty and well spoken! And glad you had the opportunity to treat yourself to something nice afterward!

SueMac said...

OK, girlfriend, I put all my thoughts in a post! Good luck! I'm praying for you!!!!

Jummy said...

It sounds like a fun experience and you were perfect for the segment! Will there be a video clip of the show available?

I hope you're able to put most of the expert's advice to good use (glad you picked one to start with). I think in the end the boys will benefit from it, even if they don't like it at first. The dethroning thing is important too: I think kids eventually lose respect for their parents when they feel like they can walk all over them.

Brittany {Mommy Words} said...

Loukia that sounds amazing! Saying no is so hard and I find that the battle after the N word is the hardest part. Once your kids get used to it things get easier but it takes time. I am alwasy so happy when you describe how wonderful your boys are. I think they will do just fine with all that love and little less yes.


Mom2Miles said...

How fun! I have fantasies of Supernanny coming to our house to help me deal w/ my toddler. We need to work on patience, too. I just can't take the "Mommy, can I have a snack now? Can I? Can I? Mommy, can I now? Now? How about now? Mommy? Mommy?" Anything to shut them up!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Sounds like a great getaway as well as a learning experience!

I will have to do some thinking about your list. I'm not the mom who never says no - but I am not very consistent. SOMETIMES I stick to my guns - but often I just cave when I can't deal with the whining. Or when I'm feeling all "fun mom" and what the hell, I want an ice cream too!

I think we can all improve in one way or another...

designHER Momma said...

sounds like a fab opportunity with tons of fun too!

And I want to go to Toronto too...

SC said...

I saw the show and you were GREAT on it!! I thought you took the advice well and were very easy to relate to! You ROCKED it Lou!!!

I did have to chuckle at the older lady sitting in the row behind you... shaking her head in disapprovement after they showed the clip of the boys at home. You can tell she hasn't had to say NO in quite a while!

Mommyfriend Lori said...

Wow, such a cool opportunity and totally good advice. Advice I really ought to follow.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Wow- what a wonderful experience! And um, maybe I can use some of those tips, too. Big time.


CaraBee said...

I love that you got to be on that show AND that you got such a fab trip away. It's the going away that makes the coming home that much sweeter. And really, even though you missed them sooo much, didn't you love the peace and quiet?

I *can* say no, but there is no doubt that I should say it more. And I REALLY need to work on building my daughter's patience because that kid has none.