Wednesday, March 10, 2010
I'm sitting here this evening - with my second coffee of the day (yea me!) - reflecting on the kind of day I had.
I had a bad day. It was a Sad Mom Day. It's well on its way to being a Mom Gives Up and Hides In Bed Day.
I don't like to be so negative. Usually, as soon as I start to own my bad day, my thoughts immediately start to rebel and I think, "Surely something wasn't so bad today!" Then, the happy part of my brain gets out the frilly stationary and starts to make a list. It's very annoying.
So here I sit purposefully reflecting on my bad day. No one felt cared for or nurtured today. We were all so fragmented that someone's needs were an infringement for someone else. The Girl Child was sad and frustrated. The Boy Child was not feeling well and anxious. I was pretending to be patient which frustrates Mr. A. to the ends of his patience.
In a particularly harried moment between The Boy and his sister, I calmly said, "And that display just earned you both an 8:30 bedtime." I haven't scaled back bedtime in years. In fact, it's been years since they even had a bedtime. We have bedguidelines around here.
I explained to The Girl Child - with The Boy hovering close by - that my parenting toolbox only had so many tools in it. (One of those tools being patience.) If the tools had to be pulled out and used up early in the day, then there wouldn't be any left by the end of the day.
The kids laughed at me. At least the tension was diffused. For the moment.
From there the day continued falling down the hill. The Girl Child dug in her heels and The Boy Child overcompensated.
I thought perhaps a little large muscle activity and sunshine would improve everyone's demeanor. At the very least, a quiet house would improve Mr. A's. I took The Boy, The Girl and The Blue Eyed Bandit downtown. We walked by the river and along the bike trail to my sister's house. I knew she probably wouldn't be home, but the kids didn't know that and the dog didn't care. We ended up walking for an hour. I persisted with my happy patience, The Boy talked a blue streak and The Girl walked four feet behind with her arms crossed. The. Whole. Way.
Later on at home, I cleaned up and made dinner while Mr. A worked late. The kids waited for dinner. I was biding my time. When everyone's blood sugar was sufficiently stabilized I started cleaning up the day's mental and emotional debris.
Throughout the cleanup, I was methodical and precise. The menfolk, bless their hearts, were uncomplicated. Eventually, though, I had to draw very clear lines in the sand between The Girl and I.
I seriously hope it's true that kids test limits because they want boundaries. The Girl Child was reminded of some key boundaries. She wasn't too sure that the boundaries should apply to her. The Girl was reminded that although the boundaries are not flexible, there were certain privileges and 'perks' that are not only flexible, they are downright removable. Imagine how clear and uncluttered those pesky boundaries would be if I were to remove all of that perky privilege!
By bedtime - yes, at 8:30pm - everyone was calm and relaxed. Thank goodness. Pleasant words and kind voices were back in residence. We're all looking forward to tomorrow. Ok, most of us are looking forward to most of tomorrow. There's a science project that is looming over a certain 7th grader's head.
So here I sit questioning myself. My homeschool. My relationships. My parenting path. My decision to take 10th grade 'Clothing' when obviously someone should have been teaching 'How To Parent Your Adolescent'.
I'm hoping the emotional dramatics are hormones and that with patience and loving and lots of talking there will be no permanent damage. I'm hoping that I can find the tools I need to do a better job for all of us.
All on two cups of coffee a day.
Please send chocolate,
♥ Mrs. A