Brief Parenting Reflections- to save time in the lead up to Xmas!

So I haven’t been writing much lately, as I’ve been busy, wanting to get other things done and get to bed on time.  But I think I would like to at least write one small reflective thought each day.  So I will start here in this post, and then every day I will write my new thought/reflection as a comment.

Today:

I have been really struggling with Mr7 and his continuous melt downs… I’m loosing confidence as I wonder where I went wrong (and if it is simply a reflection of me not being able to manage my emotions), and I struggle to maintain calm and in control when these intense melt downs just go on and on and I can’t seem to reason with him.  Calm but firm guidance is met with angry retaliation.   It is at times like these that I feel like a complete failure.  A broken marriage (that should never have happened in the first place) which resulted in two kids who I apparently am not capable of parenting.

But today my feeling was a bit different.  Today I felt more ready to embrace the challenge.  I have to accept that this is the stage that we are at right now, and embrace it.  (I read some advice like this in a relationship self help book once.  I will provide details when I find the book.)  My life is a story, and in this part of the story my son is really struggling to deal with his emotions….    what happens next, is up to me. I need to embrace and love the stages of the story of my life.  Perhaps this is the part where a brave mother steps in and acknowledges her own weaknesses and strives to overcome them and lovingly guides her son to do the same.  (Please excuse the excessive corniness)

I read a post by 1awesome Dad today which is perhaps what sparked my more positive attitude.  In his post he states that the following is the single most important parenting strategy ever, in every situation:

You have to become the most loving, caring, passionate, joyful, enthusiastic, understanding, appreciating and adoring parent/person that you possibly can be.

As the writer said, you just can’t argue with that can you?

This post is turning out to be a lot longer than I had planned and I am running out of chill time…

But there is one more thing I wanted to say.

Today, I just decided to say no to ridiculous and unnecessary anxiety.  Yesterday, I wasted so much time stressing about whether or not I should be out shopping with my sister, or at home getting stuff done.  It’s just ridiculous, I’m wasting precious time when I could be recharging, living and loving my life.  Enough  is enough.  I don’t want to be that person.  I need to just put things into perspective. And get over myself!  Go with the flow, and make the most of what ever situation I’m in, or decision I have made.   These teeny tiny things I’m stressing about aren’t going to negatively impact the world, or even my life in the long term.   So.  That’s it.  I’m kicking (stupidly unnecessary) anxiety out of my life.

And with that I will end my not so brief parenting reflection.  Maybe I’ll be briefer tomorrow.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. 3/12/15

    So the whole letting go of anxiety thing is getting easier and easier, as I discover that the alternative to stressing about whether I should be doing A or B (or whether I’m doing anything right and if I’ll ever ever make it to where I want to be…), the alternative is to relax, live and enjoy the moment (which is ultimately where I want to be anyway). I just need just do it, and trust that it is going to be ok… instead of driving myself crazy with thoughts like: I really should be getting out of the house and doing X before it gets too late…. but gee I cannot possibly leave the house in this chaotic state, when will I ever catch up with the house work, how will I ever get it everything that I need to get done, done done, and my oh my – the kids are almost grown already and I’m missing everything because I’m so damn stressed trying to do everything, or just work out what I should be doing.

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  2. 4/12/15
    Struggling a bit today… I feel now like maybe I can handle the melt downs (which haven’t happened for two whole days now!!) But what I can’t handle is the constant mess making and lack of co-operation and still being awake at almost 10pm….
    It’s really late so I don’t have much time to reflect in depth. But part of the reason I get so frustrated and upset about these things is not just because it inconveniences me, but because I feel like its my fault because I haven’t properly trained him to co-operate and pick up after himself. My son makes a lot of mess when he plays, moving everything around, getting lots of things out, making random things with paper and cardboard, leaving chaos behind him. And its a massive battle to get him to put anything away.

    So (as I’m trying to be quick) lets get straight to the point and brainstorm some ideas for training him to pick-up after himself, and co-operate generally.
    *insist that he put things like clothes away immediately after he takes them off, and his bag when he comes in. Make it a habit.
    *Try to work on other habits like clearing the table/bench/floor/bed before starting any new activity in that space
    *Packing up a game/activity before starting another – this is difficult for Mr7 though, as often one game seamlessly merges into another, there is no clear start and finish to an activity,…
    *Continue working on the 5 minute tidy habit, and giving the kids their own job pile. Try to do it not only before bed, but at other times like before school, or before a meal (it could be other rooms at other times)
    *Let him know that I am entitled to throw out anything that I find lying around.
    *Make more of a thing of him keeping his room tidy. Teach him how to do a quick routine clean, and insist that it is done before he has any special treats.

    Anyway, that’s all I have time for today. I might talk about co-operation tomorrow,

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  3. 11/12/15
    I haven’t written for a while…. but here are a couple of things I’ve been thinking about:

    1- In regard to my Anxiety problem. I’ve come to the conclusion that most of it comes from making decisions. The pressure of making everyday decisions makes me anxious. With every choice comes some sort of sacrifice. For example, simply deciding what to do with the next 15 minutes. I could A) Spend quality time with the kids, or B)Wash the dishes and tidy up, or C)do something for myself… I feel bad that the kids have hardly had any of my attention, and are nagging me as a result. I really should be a present and available mother and spend some quality time with them. But then I look at the house and its a pig stye. If I don’t clean up I feel like a disgusting and incompetent human being. If I don’t spend time with the kids, I feel like I’m a terrible mother and I’m going to miss out on all the special-ness of watching them grow up. The decision is too hard to make, so I procrastinate, I find a snack to eat, or potter around doing other things, while I get more and more anxious, and feel so pathetic. I go on facebook and hope that I might see something there that will ‘make me feel better. It sounds so silly writing it down. It is often a bit more complex than that… Sometimes its whether to go out that day or stay in (maybe there’s groceries that we kind of need but could maybe live with out, but there are also so many things that I need to get done at home, which I won’t have time for if I go to the shops) (I stress out because although we can survive, we have pretty little food and a good mother needs to provide well for her children. But I also want to be frugal, and we’ve already spent so much on food…. this thing at home will never get done and I really need it to get done. Maybe if I go to the shops I won’t have time to cook dinner which has to be prepared during the day because of after school activities. And sometimes there is something that we really do need.) In my defense, it generally not just me procrastinating, often its the kids distracting me and needing me, and me just begrudgingly following their lead because I can’t make up my mind about what it is that I want to do.

    Anyway, my not-so-earth-shattering solution, is to just make a decision. Acknowledge that I’m feeling anxious because I have to make a decision. Do not sit and fester. Look at the facts of the current situation, weigh up the pros and cons, make a decision and don’t look back, acknowledge the sacrifices, but follow the decision whole heartedly. Once again, it sounds so obvious writing it, and I really feel a bit silly. I guess the harder part is actually putting it into action. I have been trying to do this over the last couple of days, and it feels good. I need to keep working on it, so that it just becomes a habit.

    No time for Number 2) I have to go to bed.

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  4. 14/12/15
    Today was a pretty good day. I think… I mean… I did what I wanted to do. I spent quality time with the kids making Christmas crafts. The craft went pretty well, I think I’ve finally got the hang of crafting with kids. You have to let go of expectations about what you want them to create. Provide a variety of materials. Have some idea of what I want to make (and the kids could make if they want to). And then I just sit down and start working on my creation. I may offer to get them started on the same thing, but I don’t push anything on them. If they decide they want to do something else with the materials – that’s great!! It sounds obvious, but I used to fall into this trap (especially at Christmas time) of thinking that I wanted wrapping paper/cards/tags etc that my children created. I came up with great and fun ideas of how they could make cards etc, and when they didn’t co-operate I got really frustrated and discouraged. But now my mindset has changed. If it just ends up being me who decorates the wrapping paper, that’s fine! I’m a creative and crafty person, I can make wrapping paper if I want to…. it doesn’t have to be really fancy or amazing (just because it was done by an adult and not a child). It can just be fun. Which is exactly the message I’m trying to pass on to my children.

    Ok, well that was a massive tangent… what I was going to write about was the fact that although today was really a pretty good day, I don’t feel that I enjoyed it as much as I should have. I really don’t know what the answer is here. It’s like the ‘chill’ function in my brain just doesn’t work. I don’t really even know what makes me happy. Chatting with family and friends feels good (but only when I feel like I’m really making a proper connection and they really get it). (And as an introvert, socialising is pretty exhausting.) A spontaneous tickle fight with the kids brings me a brief moment or two of joy. I like to feel like I’m accomplishing things, and like I’ve got everything under control and I’m a really awesome mum. The trouble is, I usually don’t have everything under control, and I live in constant fear that things are (or are about to be) terribly out of control, and maybe I’m just an average or even well below average mum.

    In one of my uni assignments (I studied education) I reflected on one of my prac lessons, and how it was a total fail which made me loose confidence. The conclusion I came to, was that I had to not base my confidence on success. I need a stronger foundation within myself. A foundation that is able to hold me up and keep me together in the face of failure. If I had that foundation, I would not need to fear failure so much. I feel like this is the point people come to when they get all religious. (Perhaps I will discuss in another post my feelings on religion.) How do I strengthen the core of my being? What do I base my self esteem on if not my achievements and successes?

    Now, I’m risking sounding very corny and sentimental here (get used to it non-existent readers), but I think the answer is love,
    …… I’m drifting off to sleep here as I try to think of some more deep and meaningful words to explain this….
    must …. go…. to…. bed…..

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