I’ve recently made a more of a concerted effort to be more positive and intentional in my parenting.
I have been feeling pretty tired recently – a common pregnancy symptom I know, but finding out my iron levels are 6 when they should be at least 20, also didn’t help. ( And finding out seems to have only increased the feeling, because when I learnt of this fact, I suddenly felt even more lacking in energy – much in the same way that when someone says ‘nits’ everyone suddenly feels itchy – funny that!)
Anyhow, despite my many reasons and excuses for feeling tired, there is no excuse for me ever being short and less patient with my kids. A reason/ explanation for a shorter fuse? sure; but an excuse or justification? No.
I’m ashamed to say that these last few months my fuse has been shorter than normal, and my kids have seemed harder work too. Apparently I was a very strong willed, stubborn child, and it seems my eldest, Noah has inherited a few of these traits from me. While there are positive aspects of these traits that can be harnessed, it had felt like many days he and I were butting heads.
One day, while in the shower I had an epiphany. I had just said to Noah “Just because Isabelle pushes you, doesn’t mean you have to react the same way.” I thought, why then when Noah (or Isabelle) behaves badly do I feel justified reacting in a less that ideal way back (raising my voice etc)? After all I am the adult here aren’t I? What kind of behaviour am I modelling? Another telling sign was that I heard both my kids using the phrases “for goodness sake” and “that is ridiculous” – Noah when talking to Isabelle, and Isabelle when telling her dolls off. Cute? Maybe just a little, but convicting? Most definitely.
Also, as a Christian, I have to remind myself (daily) that my focus as a parent is on the eternal rather than just the temporal and the inward attitudes of my kids, their hearts are much more important than their outward behaviour and what others think of us. (I’m far often guilty of worrying too much about what others think of me and my parenting.)
Anyway, without waffling on too much more, the short story is that I’ve been really trying to make some changes. I’ve been focusing on spending more time playing with my kids and getting my priorities straight. Sometimes life just seems to become one big nappychangemealtimebreakupfightsovertoysbathtimebedtime routine that I find myself just forgetting to play and simply spend time with them. They really love it when I do. I’ve tried to be more encouraging and focus and reward the good behaviour, rather than just react to the bad. Also when I read my tagline up there in my blog header I feel a little guilty, “sewing stuff, growing kids” – sometimes my focus seems to be more on the former rather than the latter. I have had thoughts of “Gosh these kids are getting in the way of my sewing!” – I mean what is the reason I stay at home in the first place?
These is nothing wrong with me sewing and blogging, I do these things to relax – but they should not be at the expense to my kids. I’ve trying to use the TV less too, I find it useful at times so I can have a break, entertain the kids while I cook dinner etc, but Diego and Dora should not be getting to spend the best part of the day with my kids, I should. I was exhausted on Sunday because I’d been up with Isabelle who had vomited all the through the night. The next day Andrew went off to church but the kids and I stayed home to recuperate and in case in was contagious. Instead of parking them in front of the TV, I sat in their playroom hand-sewing away on my hexagon quilt while the kids played around me and dished me cups of imaginary tea.
Why had I not thought of this before?
And the changes in my kids since I’ve taken more effort in this intentional approach? Like a breath of fresh air! Noah, especially is responding better to me and listening and obeying me more.
Now just to keep it up, because unlike my sewing projects and my experience being out in the workforce; this parenting business does not seem to have such neatly defined deadlines and end points – it seems to be just one big work in progress!
Joining in with Miriam for BMWB
(In case your wondering about the photos – Noah and I made 'Homemade Sidewalk Chalk' as part of Noah and Mum ‘crafternoon’ Tuesdays that I’ve recently instituted. As it’s still setting it remains to be seen hoe effective it is; however it was pretty effective in two other ways – one: in making a mess and two: in making my little boy smile!)