How does you day start off?
DH is up way before the rest of us, like 5:30. I used to be up that early, but things have shifted.
I come downstairs with the nursling toddler around 7
DS1 is often already on the sofa watching Dinosaur Train.
DH has already made coffee, gotten his own breakfast, and left for work by 6:30
DD likes to snooze til 8...she's oldest but needs more sleep. I want to get everyone to bed earlier, only because DH and I have zero time together alone, when we can barely stay up past the kids being asleep.
Do you work outside the home?
How do you help your kids?
Encouraging and supporting their interests the best I can, and trying to be an open listener, and being honest about it when I mess up, because I am FAR from perfect, and do get to the yelling "QUIET!" stage when 3 kids under 7 need me simultaneously while the pan is burning on the stove and the kettle is whistling. I also help them and myself, by learning, bit by bit, to delegate and involve them, instead of doing everything myself, around and in spite of, them. This works great with my DD. Not so well yet with DS1, who may need a couple more years before his emotional and physical maturity will make it feasible. He's still a "preschooler" in age.
I also don't have any trouble saying so, if I don't know something, and follow up with, "Let's see if we can find that out!" or if it's my DD who is old enough to work independently, "Why don't you see what you can find out, and come tell me?"
How do your kids help you?
They show me where I need to improve as a human being and a parent, and why simply shutting someone down doesn't amount to leadership, but fostering willing cooperation instead, does. Sometimes there's no time for willing cooperation (especially with the 4 yo DS) but just shutting them down is something I am learning in steady stages to evolve beyond.
My eldest does chores and learns skills, and helps when I need someone to watch the toddler while I get the boiling pasta drained.
But primarily, my kids help me to realize where I need to grow, and I am trying to become better at parenting, and life in general, and have already become less judgmental of myself and others.
If I had a nickel for every time I used to say "I'd NEVER do ____ or let my kids ___!" before kids, that I have now learned better from, I could go to Magical Perfect Parenthood Land for a weekend getaway.
Are they learning crafts/skills from you or your dp?
Mostly cooking right now, as they are both intensely interested, and there's good cause. They have lots of food allergies, so everything we eat, is made from scratch at home, or else is an expensive alternative food, like $7/pint coconut-based ice cream.
I built a large, lockable (to keep the toddler from getting in and scattering everything) cabinet, 6 foot tall, with clear bins inside so DD can take out arts and crafts and creative supplies and use them at the table near the living room, at her own discretion. I enable her, more than teach her. But she doesn't need any help, and wouldn't want to be "helped" at that, either.
They learn a little Japanese from me here and there, and we listen to Japanese CDs in the car sometimes, and watch Studio Ghibli films in Japanese sometimes.
They also learn chores like how to load the dishwasher, and help at various times with sweeping, cleaning, etc. Sometimes willingly, sometimes not, but I don't extend my concept of unschooling to mean they don't have to eat their veggies before dessert, or ever do chores unless they feel like it. Some differ on that, but that's my take.
What's your favorite part of the day/week/month?
Whenever DH has a day off! :)
What's your least favorite?
Lately, whenever we have had a planned activity we HAVE to get to at a certain time, especially if it gets to be more than twice a week. At the kids' request, we are staying clear of scheduled obligations for a good while, now that we are done with them. They really resented having to gear up and go to soccer, when they could have been outside playing with the neighbor kids.
What do you want to change?
Certain physical aspects of my house and yard, which mostly, I can't change. The yard is microscopic. The house was built over 100 years ago and has next to no storage space, and baseboard hot water heat, everywhere, so you can't put cabinets in anywhere in the bathroom, there's no linen cabinet for towels, just no storage. Bikes and toys litter the scant yard because they are too heavy to constantly heft up and down the stairs either into the house or onto the enclosed porch, and the bikes rust in the rain. The neighborhood is scuzzy. Having very little reasonable or accessible storage for anything, makes housekeeping hard, but I work at solutions.
For me personally, I want to change my bad habits, but I can honestly say I am working on it, with an attitude of humility, about my parenting.
What is changing regardless?
The kids' needs change as they grow. They outgrow one activity and grow into new ones. It's exciting, but I also have to constantly reconsider how we organize our living space, to make it suit our lifestyle and needs, instead of having it one basic way for a year at a time. That will be less so as they get older, but they are very young, so right now, we are constantly changing our living space, the games and toys we have, and I have to keep updating habits.