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The Fine Line Between Disciplining and Bullying Our Children

I never liked bullies.  Who does, really?  I had a few of them in my life growing up and they were no fun.  They made the growing up years so much harder than it should’ve been (although as we say now we live and learn and build character through these experiences, but anyway.  It’s besides the point).

Now that I’m a parent, I worry about my kids getting bullied too.  Sam experienced it as a baby, and while I know that the devil child was not in full consciousness of what she was doing, I still felt my blood boil.  I am that parent who’d defend their child at any cost.

How ironic was it for me to realize (fairly recently) that the act of bullying can actually start in the home.  With parents like ourselves.

The fact is, it’s very hard to discipline children.  You have to be consistent.  You have to be firm.  You have to be fair (amongst other things).  And from what I’ve experienced, it’s always a hit and miss.  Sometimes they’ll listen and they’ll get it; and often times they won’t, or they won’t want to.  I know first hand how that can drive any parent crazy.  The testing, the pushing of limits… it can get under your skin.  As the parent, I feel responsible for the behavior of my kids.  Disciplining them weighs heavy on my shoulders.  There’s no giving up, no backing out.  We HAVE to produce results.  And more than that, I want peace, harmony and just some semblance of order.  It’s an indication that I’m doing something right, after all.

But to get there can be a problem.  And honestly when disciplining, it’s so much easier to raise our voices, call out mistakes, or threaten kids to listen and obey.

The body language says it all.
The body language says it all.

“Eat your vegetables or else you can’t go to the park,” says the parent in an attempt to get their child to eat something healthy.

“Stop running or else you can’t go swimming,” says the mother who has put her little boy in his swimsuit and is waiting by the pool for the teacher to arrive.

“Share your toys or else I won’t let you play with them anymore.”

When you read them again though, don’t they sound like a big bad bully to you?

At the onset, we really don’t see this as bullying our children.  It’s just a typical parent who’s trying to get their children to do the right thing.  We are after all, just disciplining them the way we know how.  These are things parents say with good intentions.  Vegetables are good for the body.  Running by the slippery pool area is in fact dangerous.  Sharing is caring (and a valuable life skill to learn).  In fact, there’s really nothing wrong with the intention and the motivation.  It’s just in the execution of it when things get tricky.

Coach Pia has made me realize that the way we say it really matters.  The words we use, the tone we use, and the manner in which we carry it out… it all makes a difference.  Refraining from using “no” a lot or setting them as limitations (that need to be tested and pushed).  A calm voice.  Reasoning and explaining instead of dictating.   Removing “I told you so,” from our list of statements.  Making good on deals made instead of empty threats.  It’s a world of difference.

The statements:

Vegetables are good for you, and I want you to be strong and healthy for when we play in the park, so let’s eat a little bit before we go”;

“I know you’re excited to swim, and you may not mean to but I worry you might slip and hurt yourself.  So please sit down and let’s think of something else to do while waiting for teacher”; and

“It would mean a lot to me if you shared your toys with your sister.  We can think of a game you could do together.”

Are worlds apart from their original counterparts.  The intention is the same; but the effect on the child could be totally different.  After all, who likes being dictated to and screamed at?  And isn’t it a typical parental complaint that after constantly berating them with loud harsh words, they learn to tune you out?  It doesn’t set a good example as to how they should relate to others.  In fact, it also teaches them to be bullies.

Again, the body language.  Worlds apart ey?
Again, the body language. Worlds apart ey?

The HOW we say it also matters.  Eye contact, down at their level versus shouting it over their heads, for instance.  Holding them close and talking instead of shouting.  Finding the right teaching moment which is non-threatening is very helpful too.

There’s no reason why we shouldn’t discipline our kids in a loving way.  You can still be firm, consistent and fair, without the coercion into submission (read:  without the bullying).  It helps to remember that the rule is bigger than us.  We don’t just want the kids to listen to us because we’re their parents.  We want them to understand the WHY behind it all.

I cannot begin to tell you how many disciplining mistakes I’ve made to date.  When I realized this, it hurt me to think that I was in fact a bully to my kids, and that is a regret I will have forever.  If only for that, I promise to change and try harder.  There’s no way I can say I’ve got it all down pat, but at the very least I hope the girls see I’m trying my darn-dest best.  When I slip (and I do slip, believe me), I apologize and process the incident with them after.  At the very least, I’m aware that I don’t want to do it anymore, and that’s the first step in making the change.

Admittedly it isn’t the method that will get the fastest, most immediate results.  And admittedly… it’s HARD!  Being consistently patient, catching yourself before you explode; no one wants to be a broken record on repeat (as if that weren’t redundant enough).  But it is all part and parcel of the parenting process.  And anyway, it is the method that sticks with them better in the long run.

We become better parents because we want to give our kids the best, and hopefully influence them to be better people someday too.  And when I think of it this way, I persevere and continue to try, if only because I love my kids to the moon and back.

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“Look at Me”

It’s been a whirlwind couple of days.  They just flew by and I can’t quite put my finger on where the time has gone.  On days (weeks) like these, to help me multitask, sometimes I switch to autopilot.  Everything that has to get done, just has to get done as efficiently as possible.

Ironically enough, I noticed that it’s in times like these when the kids “act up”.  They’re… more challenging to say the least.  I don’t know if I half less patience with them, but I do have less time, and maybe that’s why I’m easily frustrated.   It’s in these busy times when I expect the routine I’ve instilled run smoothly things just move right along one after the other.  They eat dinner, I give them a quick bath, they read a book, go sleep, and I can work.  Sounds easy enough, right?

Except of course, they’re kids.  And they have minds and wills of their own, so of course they don’t follow, don’t listen, or do the exact opposite of what I say. Whatever it is, it throws my plans for a loop.  One setback and everything is off schedule.  And with these kids, everything is always off schedule… everyday!

Initially I attributed this “obedience coup” to a cry for attention.  It made sense; when I needed to work, I paid less attention to them, and therefore testing boundaries was one way to definitely get my undivided attention.

And then I thought:  Maybe they’re just tired of the routine.

So I tried to be creative.  You can imagine how challenging and time consuming it is to be more creative and still not get any significant change in their behavior.  They still needed to be asked and told 200 times.

I reflected on it alone in the many silent car rides I had.  I try very hard not to threaten or bribe (it’s anti-progressive parenting!), but it’s tiring to have to be creative all the time.  I can’t just drag them against their will either.  And funny enough, an incident with Jamie recently reminded me of a lesson I learned from Coach Pia that might work.

I was in front of my computer one afternoon trying to focus.  Jamie was asking me something repeatedly but I really wasn’t listening.  Eventually I felt her tugging at my shirt, still pestering.  She finally caught my attention when she climbed the chair onto my lap and stuck her nose onto mine.  Then she said:  “Mom I finished eating.  Can I have a marshmallow now?”

When we talk to our kids, we have to be this close.
When we talk to our kids, we have to be THIS close.

With her right in front of me (at my nose to be precise), I literally had to stop what I was doing and pay attention.  And I realized that unless I’m right in their face and they’re looking back at me, that’s probably what’s happening to them too.  They hear my voice so often (saying the same things), it’s just me talking over their head.  I become into white noise. 

Since then I’ve made it a point to walk up to them, get down to their level and say nicely, “Will you look at me please.  I have to tell you something.”  And I wait for them to stop and look up before I say anything.

I feel like it’s worked.  I feel like I don’t “nag” as much, or call out their names in vain (as much).  They still negotiate and compromise, but at least there’s a discussion face to face.  And they know that I don’t use this technique just to discipline them.  Rather, it’s a practice we do whenever I want to tell them something or ask them a question.  I don’t want to jinx it, but at certain points it’s become surprisingly easy.  I never really thought it could be!

And it’s true.  One principle I try to follow is to make sure I treat the kids the way I’d want to be treated too (and that they treat people the way they want to be treated).  I do like it when the person I’m speaking to is looking directly back at me.  Why can’t I offer my children the same courtesy? 

Eye contact.  That’s all it was.  I have three new favorite words now…

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Setting Their Internal GPS

One of my biggest fears is losing the girls.  I have nightmares about physically losing them in public establishments.

Sam is fearless.  Remember the diving board story?  She’s also nimble and quick, good traits to have; and they will serve her well in her later years.  But it poses many challenges for me.  She likes to walk independently, sometimes way ahead of our pace.  Sometimes she’s so caught up in exploring that doesn’t know where we are when she looks up.  What can I expect – she’s five right?  I’m just a nagging mom.  “Yes mom I know, I know,” she says to any or all my statements.  What do you know? I want to ask.  (I do know this is my karma…)

Jamie has been very much more assertive of her independence.  Lately lets go of me in an attempt to catch Ate.  The advantage with Jamie is that she’s petite and her steps are much smaller.  But it’s still challenging to run after two increasingly mobile kids (whose confidence levels also increase by the day).  It’s not a bad thing, and I do want them to be independent, unattached and free… just not at this point when they could potentially get lost.

I. will. DIE.

I know it’s not along the progressive parenting philosophy to scare children about the natural consequence of getting lost or kidnapped, but I really can’t help it.  It’s a fear I have, and a valid one at that.  There are so many reports of missing children these days it’s truly scary.  At the same time, I try to hold back.  I think of Marlin in Finding Nemo, and Queen Elinor in Brave, and all those other movies with lessons for overprotective parents and I am equally afraid my non-progressive ways will backfire on me in the years to come.

I don't want to be turned into a bear!!!!
I don’t want to be turned into a bear!!!!

 

It’s quite the inner struggle, and often the non-progressive ways win over (It’s work-in-progress, I’m only human! #DefensiveMuch?).  And even then I try really hard to find ways without really being so Marlin-like.    Maybe my saving grace is that I’ve latched onto their budding independence and have been using it to teach them presence of mind and responsibility over themselves and their whereabouts.  Here are some of the things I’ve tried over the years:

I talk about tricky people.  Just trying to keep it real.  That there are “bad strangers” and we don’t know who they are, so we have to be extra careful.  I don’t know how a kid can distinguish a good stranger from a bad one; but I’m hoping against hope that the knowledge that they are around and they could potentially take Sam or Jamie away from me is real.

Never accept candy or treats without Mom's consent!
Never accept candy or treats without Mom’s consent!

I’ve put stickers with their names and my phone number on some of their garments and shoes.  Before flying back to Manila I ordered a gazillion and one Name Bubbles with my phone number on them.  I’ve attached them to various pieces of clothing that the girls wear, like the inner bottom hem of a dress.  Sam knows that it’s there, and so if in case she cannot find me, she can easily access the information to give someone.

Samples of Name Bubbles.  Visit namebubbles.com for more designs!
Samples of Name Bubbles. Visit namebubbles.com for more designs!

I make it their responsibility.  Instead of saying “I don’t want to lose you,” I say, “Please don’t lose me.”  Sam’s sense of responsibility over a task is incredibly strong so I use it to my advantage.

I show them what to look for and who… just in case.  When we enter a theme park or a mall or any public place, I show the kids where the Customer Service desk is, or the Information counter is.  If there’s a lost child center, I point that out too.  At least they know what to look for and the people there are paid to help reunite straying kids with their parents.  And then I pray they remember how to get back there.

Always know where this is in a public establishment!
Always know where this is in a public establishment!

I also point out who to talk to if in case they do get separated from me.  What is the person wearing, does she have long hair or short hair?  Is she wearing glasses?

ChecklistMommy’s blog post on Tricky People had a very good suggestion that I use too:  Tell the kids to look for another Mom with kids.  So I’ve been doing that too.  “Look for another mommy and tell them to help you find me,” is another line I use often.  Jamie has it memorized already.

I have them memorize my cellphone number.  In one of my college psych classes, I distinctly remember a teacher saying that the brain has difficulty memorizing over 7 or 8 numbers.  But my kids know my cellphone number and it has 11 digits in it.  That’s because I created a song that has as its lyrics, my cellphone number.  And kids can learn anything through a song.  Now in the car or before bed we sing it like repeatedly.  This for me is THE most crucial part because if they give out the wrong order of the numbers, then I will never get that call.

That's why I never let go of my phone!
Mommy all-time must-have

I quiz them about it randomly.  Occasionally they will bring it up, “What happens if I lose you mom?”  I throw it back to them and have them answer their own question.  Even if it’s a repeated jumble of words and it sounds like a litany, my hope is that subconsciously it sticks.  “If I can’t find mom, I go look for another mommy and say Help I need my mommy.  Please call…”  

Sometimes the quiz is specific to a place that we frequent often.  What color are the uniforms of the people-in-charge?  Is it an information center, or a customer service?  Near where?  Anything to build that presence of mind.

I bring a yaya.  Sometimes.  Yayas have been the biggest adjustment for me (I’m still crafting a post on this one).  In fact I still prefer to go around without one.  However, I’ve realized that specific occasions and areas call for an additional warm body, so I concede.  Yaya is properly briefed too:  where to stand, where to walk and what to watch out for.

We had a recent incident which tested the effectivity of my “methods” and Sam thought she was lost.  I was fairly sure she wasn’t, but she had run off as I was giving her the run down of who to approach in case she couldn’t find me.  I reminded myself that it might be too much to expect her to remember anyway.

Yet minutes after she got “lost”, I heard my name over the loudspeaker being called to the front.  I found Sam there with the attendant that I had pointed out to her looking panicked.  Sam ran directly into my arms for a tight hug, and that was the only time she broke down crying.  Later she told me she was calling out for Jamie and me and we didn’t come.  I assume that was when she remembered to go down and have me paged.

When I recounted the experience to my husband, he told me I should have scolded her for not staying close liked I had asked.  I couldn’t do it.  I felt the natural consequence of being lost was enough of a lesson.

I did tell her though that I was so proud that she remembered what to do.  I really was.  It’s a big thing for an almost 5-year old to have that kind of presence of mind and self-control when what she obviously wanted to do was just breakdown and cry.  And I was very very relieved to learn that all the subconscious reminders had paid off.  Now to make sure that it’s reinforced and it sticks — for both her and for Jamie.

Whew!

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The Art Exploration Projects

One thing I realized about Manila:  Outdoor play days are limited, and few and far between.  Some days it’s too hot and humid, and when we take the kids out they sweat buckets or end up sick.  On the intermittent rainy days – obviously we can’t play outside, either.  Even splashing in the puddles isn’t an option because… well you wouldn’t want to splash in Manila rain puddles (trust me!).  On the days after the rain, it’s still hard to get out because the sidewalks are slippery, the grassy portions are too muddy to walk on… and the traffic to get anywhere fun is really a buzz killer.

Because of these “limitations” I’ve had to improvise indoors.   A lot of the time, the girls enjoy some form of painting or crafting project.  I don’t know why I’m attracted to a lot of these artsy activities when I never had a lot of them growing up.  But Sam has always loved art in all forms and shapes and sizes, and Jamie enjoys the exploration part of it too.  So why not, right?  There’s no downside to it:  Art keeps them busy, they get to build their imagination, their creativity, and some other necessary developmental skills.  It’s all win-win and most importantly it’s fun.  After all, as my cousin-in-law Patty would say, “Creativity is the New Currency.”

Yet after pulling out the same paint brushes, crayons and paper for several days in a row, the girls got tired of the routine and the art time shortened considerably.  So the challenge was to keep their interest by making creative time a little bit more creative.  I invested (and kept) in several different kinds of materials which I hoped would extend their interest and their activity time.

At first we went the thematic route and I asked the girls to build a spaceship.  I remembered our Kindermusik class with Rebecca when she had said to “let the child lead the process” and so I’d ask Sam how she thought we could make a rocket ship, and what it should look like.  With a little bit of help from my husband and a whole slew of materials, this was the outcome.

Clockwise:  The "frame", the materials, and everything in between.
Clockwise: The “frame”, the materials, and everything in between.

It didn’t look like much to us adults, “It’s really just a box with splotches of paint”, my husband would say, but the girls flew to different planets with it.  I think this is even where Sam first said she wanted to be an astronaut.

Another time, we had cleaned out a cupboard and we found two extra plastic plates.  “So what can we do with this?”  Sam asked in a mood to do something with it.  She and her dad turned it into a pet turtle (with pink legs).

Sam had decided the Turtle was pink and purple.  (It had to rhyme...)
Sam had decided the Turtle was pink and purple. (It had to rhyme…)  I think it even had a name… Myrtle?

We also get some wonderful ideas from co-parents and friends.  My best friend Polly once asked us to buy some ping-pong balls for her son for one of his activities.  I don’t know what got into me but I decided to buy a few for the girls too.  And we made good use of them!

Weee!
Weee!

Sam started out by putting her paint dots on the paper, and at first, the ball would roll over them but not spread.  We had to come up with a solution, which was sprinkling water over the paint dots.  Sam had immense fun tilting and rolling, and trying to keep the ball on the tray.  When I asked her what she made, she said it was a map.  She could tell me exactly which places the map covered and where they led to.  She even had the topography mapped out – which were mountains and hills and which spaces were streets and rivers.

Jamie’s process was quite different.  I have to admit, I’m amused at how the same activities showcase the difference in the way my girls think.  She also asked me to put some dots across the paper.  Then after, she dipped the ping-pong ball into her water bowl, and manually “bounced it all around” to spread the ink (and of course, spread on herself…).

As you can see, the paint didn't just stay on the paper...
As you can see, the paint didn’t just stay on the paper…

Another time, I read DIY Corporate Mom’s Sandy Paint Weekend Play…  and oh my God!  What a genius idea!  I went on a manhunt for sand.  The best that we could get was black, but it seemed like the girls didn’t really mind.  They mixed it in with all their other art materials, again each in their own ways, and made some pretty cool messes out of them.  Jamie went full on with her hands, and Sam used popsicle sticks to mix and paint.

Jamie making rainbow sand, and then getting her hands messy in them.  Bottom pic:  Sam's "sea"
Jamie making rainbow sand, and then getting her hands messy in them. Bottom pic: Sam’s “sea guck”

Incidentally, a lot of people have been asking me about the shaped sponges — I got them off Amazon.  They’re very VERY useful and the girls ask for them each time.  Jamie loves to just put paint on it and squeeze.

Rub the paint on and squish squish squish...
Rub the paint on and squish squish squish…

And squeeze…

Oh no where is the paint going!
Oh no where is the paint going…!

It literally rolls down her arm and onto her dress.

And there it is folks.
And there it is folks.

We do these art exploration activities so often that half the time, the art smocks are forgotten.  Their clothes are bound to get some paint on them.

Sam: "Look mom!  My shirt wanted to paint too!"
Sam: “Look mom! My shirt wanted to paint too!”

Uh-oh right?  Let’s face it: kids’ clothes aren’t cheap.   And I’d like for Jamie to inherit Sam’s clothes, but if the nice ones are stained for life, then it won’t be as presentable for Jamie anymore to wear out of the house!

Then again I can’t complain.  I brought this upon us and filled our home with paint, sponges, sand and all sorts of things for creative educational purposes.  Of course I’d do it over again because I can see the tangible benefits these have on the girls.  The paint on the clothes…it’s part of their learning process as it is mine.  I will say though, that it’s made it easier to accept because I:

1.  Purposely dress them in situation-appropriate clothes.  The girls have dressy dresses, but we only bring them out once in a while.  Even the birthday parties they go to, I send them into shorts and t-shirts because they’ll just get messy, dirty and sweaty.  I try to forward-plan what the kids will do today and pick out their clothes based on the choices.

2.  Listen to Coach PiaSeriously, she has changed my parenting style as well as my outlook on parenting.  She said it’s the expectations we put on our kids that We need to learn to free ourselves from it and change our mindset.  When they paint, I expect stains on the clothes or fingerprints on the wall.  It’s too much to expect them to keep clean and neat without hindering their creativity.

3.  Use Breeze.  Again, no kidding.  my worries over stained clothes have pretty much disappeared (along with the stains!).  We’ve been using it since they launched last March and haven’t had any problems since.  And if you look at the clothes, they really look like they’re good as new and the colors don’t fade.  We also pre-treat tough stains with Breeze before sticking it into the washing machine.

Remember the girls' clothes with the paint?  Where's the paint now? :)
Where’s the paint now? 🙂

Painting and art exploration have become so integral in our playtime routines.  And the girls really get “down-and-dirty” with it, and it’s totally fine.   They love it, and so do I.  And I enjoy spending this time with them creating something unique, literally from nothing.  They teach me and make me see how they view the world.   It’s a  Sige Sa Mantsa moment in its truest form.

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How A Washing Machine Can Work Alongside Progressive Parenting

Last week I had the privilege of speaking at the Electrolux launch of their latest washing machine called the Time Manager (thank you again Mommy Mundo for the referral!).  I was asked to give a 15-minute presentation on laundry care tips from a mom’s perspective.

My first instinct was to draw from the four years we spent in Chapel Hill.  I did become a mom there, and using the washing machine on a regular basis became second nature to me during that time.  There was no one else too; my husband was in school and before Sam I was generally alone at home.  And in a traditional setting, it is really the mom (or the woman) who handles the chores.

My Mommyology on Laundry
These images capture it all so completely!

I’d used washing machines before then when we’d travel out of the country, but I always took the experience for grantedIt was only when I had to rely on myself for a clean home day in and day out was when I learned to appreciate the value of the said machine.   And, as I told the bloggers and the Electrolux team,  it was a non-negotiable necessity that I gave my husband before I agreed to move back to Manila.

I can safely say “tools” like the washing machine make our lives as multitasking moms much much easier.  More than that though I knew that with the finite number of hours in a day, I had to make time for the kids despite the chores.  When Sam — and eventually Jamie — rolled into my life and into my daily routine, I had to be efficient and effective:  get the job done while giving them quality time and attention.

So in turn, I used some of the chores as tools for our quality bonding time.  The laundry for instance:  Who would’ve thought that it could be fun and educational for kids too?

Get your kids involved in the chores!
Get your kids involved in the chores!

Sam loved to be Mommy’s Little Helper and so laundry was one of the things I got her involved in at an early age.  Through it she learned to sort by size and by color.  She learned to pair socks together.  She even learned by the age of two how to put her clothes in the correct laundry hamper when they were dirty.  On some days, it was just a game — who could put in more clothes first?  Who could take out more clothes first?!  Sometimes the nice clean clothes served as a place to hide toys, and Sam would dive in and be part of the (clean) laundry and dive in and find it.

Pretending to be a part of the laundry and finding clean buried treasure.
Pretending to be a part of the laundry and finding clean buried treasure.

Sometimes the girls also just enjoyed the ride in the laundry basket.  We’d play pretend a lot during these times and that’s all good for the imagination.  Who needs toys? 😉

Two Tots in a Laundry Basket
Two Tots in a Laundry Basket

And sometimes, it was just fun to toss laundry into the air.  But hey – those are gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination skills right there!

I realized how sometimes the responsibility of laundry is also overlooked here because a lot of households have helpers to do it for them.  Sometimes I like doing it still because in the (distant) future, they’ll have to learn as well.  Why not make it a fun memory for them early on so that it doesn’t feel like a chore?

I shared all of these thoughts with the bloggers alongside some practical tips for laundry care and washing machines.  The #SoMoms also pitched in and gave some of their own, and I thank them for that.  Here were some of the favorites:

  • Set aside 1-2 days a week as laundry days.  No need to do laundry everyday;
  • Pre-treat all the stains with a gentle stain remover;
  • Invert the clothes prior to throwing them into the wash so that the prints don’t wear out as fast;
  • Unbutton all the buttons so that there’s less resistance when the swishing motion happens;
  • (Conversely) Knot together the opposite ends of drawstring clothing so that it doesn’t come undone;
  • Avoid over-stuffing the laundry machine and leave enough room for the clothes to move;
  • (Contrary to popular habit), Place underwear in a laundry bag so it can go into the washing machine too, instead of painstakingly being handwashed;
  • Start with the load of the babies first.  I personally always believed that it would be at the least risk of accummulating any residue from the adults’ clothes (which are technically dirtier and have more potential for being soiled); 
  • Use a setting that’s one down from what the garment’s tag recommends (the premise is that you’ve pre-treated any stains before that anyway); and
  • Teach the household help how to use the machines and how to read the labels.  Quiz them if necessary to make sure they completely understand.

 

The Time Manager and it's cool buttons up close.  There's even a favorites setting that you can go back to with just one press!  The mom nerd in me is on overdrive.
The Time Manager and it’s cool buttons up close. There’s even a favorites setting that you can go back to with just one press! The mom nerd in me is on overdrive.

After my brief portion, the Apple, from the brand management team presented the Time Manager’s functions and benefits alongside a live demonstration.  Then and there I fell in love with this washing machine!  It hit the sweet spot of the mommy-nerd in me.  These are some of the reasons why:

  • The Time Manager is intuitive.  It has several settings which can help you determine the perfect cycle and detergent recommendation for the load that you put in.  For instance, the machine has a “Refresh” setting, which can be used for clothes that were just stored for a long time but not necessarily dirty.  The Refresh wash only takes 15 minutes, and you don’t need to use an entire wash cycle;
  • It’s a front-load machine, which apparently requires the use of LESS water.  I just learned that for top load machines (where the lid is on top), all the clothes need to be completely submerged in water for it to be effective as the swishing movement is quite limited.  On the other hand, the water from the front load machines only needs to hit the halfway point since the movement is more circular and the clothes are “tossed” around more.  COOL!;
  • The Time Manager is also efficient.  It has a delay-start function which is useful if you have multiple chores outside the house that day.  For instance, you know you’re leaving in the morning but won’t be back until late afternoon.  You can load the Time Manager with clothes before leaving, stick in the detergent and the fabric conditioner in their compartments, set the settings you want, and then set the time you want the wash to start (say, an hour before you plan to arrive?).  That way, the clothes don’t stay stagnant and damp for long, and you are still able to multitask!  Isn’t that neat? :); and
  • It’s biggest feature is what they call the Vapour Action, which essentially relaxes the fibres and steams out the wrinkles in the clothes after the final rinse.  That way, it also cuts down on the amount of time for ironing (The chore I hate the most!)

There are other reasons too — but it might be best to go and visit the nearest appliance store and see this wonder machine for yourself.  Because after that launch, I really really want one in my home (I’m not kidding).  I’m sure there’s a lot the girls and I can learn from it too! 🙂