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!