Busy Mom Jennifer Crum on Parenting Tweens
Jennifer Crum is one busy mom! Juggling the roles of mother, preschool teacher, creative memories consultant, and realtor, she wears several hats.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your family?
I currently work as a realtor in Sonoma County. I teach pre-school five days a week and run a home-based business as a Creative Memories Consultant (scrapbooking). I love helping people get their family photos into albums. My family loves to go camping! And my biggest passion is music. I love singing with my band “Blue Rock Country Club” and I love performing. It’s been so much fun being in a band and playing music with a great group of musicians.
How do you juggle all of your responsibilities? What is the hardest part?
Well I seem to wear several hats….Mom of three daughters ages 14, 12, and 7, wife of 17 years, realtor, pre-school teacher, scrapbooking consultant, and we have 25 farm animals we take care of everyday…..so much fun! A busy life, but a life full of smiles, challenges, and amazing memories! I love camping with my family. We have a travel trailer and go camping whenever we get the chance. It’s so much fun and a great way to escape our busy lifestyle and spend quality time with the kids.
The hardest part about the many hats I wear is time management. Not only making sure I do everything I need to do on time, but most importantly spending quality time with my family. That has to be the hardest part. I will admit I am a procrastinator. But I operate best under pressure. I basically end up having to prioritize my tasks in order of importance and due dates. I don’t need much sleep to function so I tend to sacrifice sleep in order to get things accomplished. It’s probably not the best plan. I don’t let that go on too long though, I know my body’s limits and tend to recognize my health is my top priority which in turn pushes it to the top of my list.
What are your top five tips for other busy moms?
1- Manage your time. Prioritize.
2- Learn to say no to things. Understand you can’t do everything.
3- Play with your kids. They want your time more than they want your toys.
4- Be consistent and have a planned schedule you can stick to. A routine your whole family is consistent with.
5- Keep a bucket or bag in your car with all the necessities (scissors, pens, wipes, brush, hair bands, pencil box for homework, snacks, etc. ) Have kids do homework in the car like reading or spelling tests.
Do you have a particular parenting style?
I try to raise independent kids. I help them but I also teach them to do things for themselves. I want them to be able to take care of themselves someday. I’m honest with my kids about real life. I don’t butter things up to make life seem perfect. I want them to be prepared for the real world. I’m consistent. That’s the key. I try my best to follow through with everything I say. I make real promises and realistic threats. I do what I say and I give them what I promised. I also have to cancel plans sometimes…but that’s life and they are pretty flexible because of it. Sometimes plans change and we all need to be able to deal with it and figure out a new plan.
Why does it work for you and what are some of the benefits you have seen in your children?
My kids have benefited from this style of parenting because I have seen my daughters prepare lunch for their friends when they are hungry. I’ve watched my kids clean a house, pack a bag, and take responsibility for themselves outside of our home. I’ve also watched their strong sense of consistency come out with day to day life. Even sometimes when I wished they would not be so consistent, only because I’m in a hurry or frustrated, but in the end I’m very happy to see them stick to their plan and follow through.
As a mother to three girls, what are some of the most important lessons you teach your girls and how do you teach them?
The most important is making good choices. Being kind to others and being safe. I’ve taught them about strangers and I’ve been open and honest from a very young age about the fact that they have their body and they are the only ones who should be touching their body. I’ve explained things as simple as not getting in a strangers car to boys and what’s appropriate behavior, etc. I have acted out scenarios with them to help them know what to do in certain situations. That’s just me being a paranoid mom, but I still think it’s important. Knowledge is important. I think it’s also important to always think of others. I want my kids to be respectful and to be the kids other parents compliment and want to invite back.
Do you have a parenting motto that you live by?
Be consistent…..and don’t make empty threats.
What are some of the challenges of being a mom to tween girls and how are you dealing with them?
Tween ages are VERY complicated. I try to pick my battles. I have learned that I have to let go of control and let them free a little bit. I have to trust that I’ve taught them to make good choices. I have to show them I trust them by letting go a little. But always keep in communication with them. I need to stay involved in their lives. I need to be available to them for advice and also most importantly to just listen and not give advice. They don’t usually want your advice. In fact at this age….parents know nothing. I think supporting a healthy social life is very important. I also think it’s important to keep your kids involved with extra curricular activities. Keep them busy and involved with sports, their school, and their community. One of the most important things I’ve noticed is to make sure I give them the time they need to help them with their homework. It’s exhausting, but it’s important.
What are some of the most important things your children have taught you?
Some of the most important things my children have taught me are patience, respect and anger management. I have learned a lot about myself while raising kids. I see myself in my kids. I see both the good and the bad. It’s the bad that I don’t like to see and that is what I try to fix about myself. I have made changes in my life in order to be a better role model for my kids. I have learned that kids need more than just things. They need quality time. They need a simple afternoon playing a card game more than they need the most expensive toy at the store.