No…I’m not dead

14 September , 2016

There is actually so much that needs writing, but you know…if I’m not writing it, there’s probably a pretty good reason for it.

Today however, I do have something fit for sharing though: parenting hacks!

It’s been quite a ride, changing from a one parent one child household to a two parent three children one. Especially since we only have time share on two and when they’re not here there is obviously a whole other set of rules in their other house with their other parent, that we have no control over. Add to that, that we never actually know when they’ll be here – it gets kind of crazy.

It got to a stage where I felt like a hostage in my own house, cause these babies really bring out the worst in each other sometimes. Of course when you only have timeshare on the fruits of your loins, you don’t always want to be disciplining them and laying down the law…I mean really, who doesn’t want to be the fun parent?! But when it’s a free for all chaos spectacular…no one really ends up having fun. Well I know I wan’t having any.

We needed an action plan that would entail a lot less of me screaming like a banshee and bringing the thunder, and a lot less chaos!

I don’t know about you, but I have always found comfort in a good list. So that’s what we have now…sort of. 

Behold our magic white board on display in the playroom. On the left we have the hooligans listed by age. On a Wednesday each of them get credited with R20. Each time they break a rule (listed on the right), they lose R2. On the next Wednesday they get paid out the balance as a good behaviour bonus.

Occasionally we also have reward challenges to encourage something we want. As you can see, for instance, they’re all on R22 at the moment. They earned R1 each for picking up dog droppings, and then another R1 each for trying and eating all their dinner, which was something new (beef stroganoff). Next to their names you can see their previous Wednesday scores. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how much sanity this has brought to our home! Worst/best case scenario R240 a month between the three of them…money well spent!

Next up…we all had our hands in our hair about missing hair brushes. Specifically Miss Erin’s. She has about 7 in and around the house, but because she likes to stroll and brush they end up nowhere to be founds when you need them, all the time.

Solution: we tied one to the bathroom door handle. It’s been there for about a month and a half now. 

This has made mornings much more pleasant!

Mealtimes are a general pain in the ass. I want to take our kids to a place where kids get one bowl of porridge a day and are happy and thankful about it. They all seem to think we run a restaurant!

Nicola is the only one of the three that eats vegetables, but she doesn’t eat anything with sauce or gravy. She won’t even look at jam of marmite. Scott seems to only eat yogurt, chips or bread at the moment…occasionally burny chips or chicken nuggets, and is more than happy to have only a big cup of oros for a meal, followed up by half a million half cups of hot chocolate. He will wake up everyone screaming at 2am for his next fix and no amount of discipline will make him desist once he has his mind set on it. Erin loves chicken steakletts, chicken nuggets and fish fingers, and chips. She doesn’t eat banana or anything strawberry flavoured. And other than apples the only other fruit she’ll have is red grapes. Also lots and lots of chocolate nesquick.

So we are piloting a new meal plan, because quite frankly we’re sick and tired of tip toeing the line between all their fusses. 

We came up with a list of things we think are suitable for dinners (all to be had with at least one vegetable of our choice – not written, but expressly noted). Each baby got a day to pick, Nicola got two because she’s here all the time. Steve and I got the weekend days. On Thursdays we are usually at my folks, or we’ll get take aways. 

They could pick off the list for their days. There will only be one meal cooked and eaten. Anyone who doesn’t eat the food will lose money on the board (I still have to add this rule), also they will not be getting anything else. 

I really hope this works. So far so good though. They were very enthusiastic about compiling the list and everyone ate what we made tonight. It’s a good start! 

What handy parenting tricks do you have up your sleeves? Tell meeeeeeee….please. Also clue me in on the reason why you came up with it to begin with if you can.


  1. This is wonderful! I am glad you have done this long before I might need to, so I can use all your tried and tested strategies 😀

    Seems like good rational solutions, thumbs up!

    • Thanks! It’s a team effort though. I think the key to this is that they have to buy into it when you set it up.

  2. We have an “eat whats on your plate” rule. They eat what they get – no arguments, but it’s small portions. And then you can get more of what you want. We take no prisoners on the eating game

    • I think Steve and I have been the only prisoners in this game…but I have high hopes that we will start to turn it around now.

  3. I’m surprised you didn’t lay down the law sooner 🙂

    We have to eat here but I am not unreasonable. I make things most like and they get choices like if they don’t want carrots cooked (a new thing) they are very welcome to have them raw 🙂 I bribe with a dessert for the first time they have a dish…. and my desserts are a handful of raisins, or a sweet yoghurt 🙂

    LOVE the R20 from one week to the next – now that is something I can get behind. I’m going to implement after doing a sales pitch on them!

    • Oh, I’m about to make a toothbrushing station downstairs in the bathroom because they are actually downstairs after breakfast and supper….

      • I like that! Makes sense.

    • Marcia, I have been laying down the law like no one’s business…but it’s been like water off a duck’s back. Also Steve has been the soft one at times, so they go to him for an overule.

      I just needed the tight carrot and stick combo and for everyone to get on the same page. 😉

  4. YOH clearly there’s a lot to catch up on! So glad you’ve popped back up and seem happy! xx

    Parenting hacks….um…ROUTINE. Fixed. Unswerving. e.g. Dinner Bath. Teeth. Stories Bed. The exact times of those things and duration may vary a little, but same order every. single. night.

    It meant I could put my 3 year old (WTF I have a 3 year old?) down to sleep in the middle of a lounge where a whole lot of people were chatting and other kids were playing. I might have looked like a mean mom but my kids wasn’t overtired and grumpy and I could stay up and drink wine and be an adult instead of a parent. Worth it.

    • Routine is so important! I fully agree. When Nicola was younger I found a break in routine would put her in a foul mood for up to 3 days after.

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