Monday, 18 March 2013

This parenting business

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

Jenny x

(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!)


Jess B said...

Good on you Jen. I love this honest post. I'm in the stage where you were - BEFORE making the positive changes. Thanks for the encouragement.

kate said...

thanks so much for your precious honesty Jenny... such an encouragement. You are a wonderful mama and its a joy to watch your children grow.

Roslyn@Sew Delicious said...

Great post Jen. I totally relate to everything you've said. I am really making a huge effort to reduce TV time as well. Hang in there, hope some iron tablets will do the trick :)

Miriam said...

I love this post Jenny - I think sometimes being honest about where we are dropping the ball is the biggest hurdle and we're all there! I know I have days where my kids do not get the best of me despite that being my base line value system. I love how inspiring this post is - the genuine honesty and internet accountability is awesome xxx thanks for joining in xx

Leonie said...

You've taken the words right out of my mouth - being a Mum and being with my Kids is what is most important. I love how you've taken active steps and reaping the rewards - thanks for sharing - it's always encouraging to hear I'm not the only one who feels this way! x

Anthea Livingstone said...

You are an amazing Mum Jenny. It is so great that you want to be the best Mum you can be. But also remember that you are only human and we all have off days. Its very normal to be feeling so tired at this stage of your pregnancy. And I reckon it's okay for our children to see that we get tired and a bit cranky sometimes, just like them!
The most important thing is that you love your children to bits and this glows out of your blogs and let yourself off the hook if you have a less than perfect mummy day!
Love you lots, Anthea xx

Hootnz said...

I'm in a similar dilemma as you, and as many other a family we are also trying to implement new things and break up the're right the rewards are worth the effort :) Keep up and good work x

thingsforboys said...

It's like you're reading my mind, Jen! The preggy tiredness has a lot to do with it I'm sure, but as you said, it's no excuse. I feel like Roman's been particularly naughty lately, but maybe it's just that my fuse is shorter. Hope you get your iron levels sorted soon! xx

Barbara said...

I completely understand what you are talking about! I am recuperating from a burn out. My fuse was extremely short and the kids turned the house upside down... Long story short, I called in sick at work and stayed home for a month. I can finally say I am enjoying my kids again. I've got more energy, the fuse is a lot longer and the kids are responding positively to my more positive approach!