Friday, July 22, 2011

watching

So, as you likely already know, I haven't been around much lately. All I can say about that is, Summer is really wearing on me.

In order to avoid all the little excuses I could make about not having enough time to fold laundry or wash dishes, etc., suffice it to say that I'm going through a time in my life when there isn't much time to do anything for myself. I can either work to keep my family and home clean and taken care of, or I can relax on the domestic responsibilities and fulfill a few personal choices.

It's not boo-hooing. It's not an internal struggle. It's just a fact: something has to give: either my free time or a clean home. I know it won't be like this forever. But I have to say, it really sucks when I'm in the middle of it. Ya know?

I know in my head that I can't do it all, but in my heart I want to do it all. I want to do fun projects with my kids and I want to make home-cooked meals. I want to take the kids on fun day trips and I want to go with a stocked cooler and full diaper bag. I want to deal with conflicts with a calm voice and a smile. I want the people who need me to feel that I'm willing to help them.

I'm not living in a fairy tale... I know it's not all sunshine and lollipops. I know kids fight and messes get made and people get to the end of their ropes.

But I also know that people can choose how to cope. And right now, I'm not really happy about the way I'm coping. Sometimes I avoid the kids bickering by burying my head in the computer. Sometimes I choose to put the kids in front of the TV instead of forcing them to struggle with entertaining themselves, because it's just easier for me and let's be honest: it's a cop out on my own part.

The hardest thing for me to admit is how I deal with the stress when it's in my face: I crack. I yell, I get angry, and I totally crumble. I know I'm human, I know I'm not perfect. I do try to give myself a break. But also, I don't want to get so far into the whole "I'm only human" excuse that I quit holding myself accountable for my own actions.

I watch my kids. I see them being impatient with each other. I hear them boss each other around. I feel it when they sling unkind words at each other and treat each other badly. I'm not going to say it's my fault they do these things because a mother can only take on so much mommy guilt, right? But children learn by watching. They live what they are exposed to. Behavior isn't 100% nature or 100% nurture, but some mix of both. So I guess the nature part came from me, but I can't control it. But the nurture part... ah, that's the part.... I can play a really important role in how they learn to deal with stress. They can watch me flip out, or they can watch me take a few deep breaths and tell them to play quietly for 3 minutes. When 4 people are simultaneously telling me "Mom can you get this/do this/find this for me?" they can see me scream "NO I CAN'T DO ANYTHING FOR ANYONE RIGHT NOW!!!" or they can see me calmly say, "Let's take turns."

This isn't me fishing for someone to comment, "give yourself a break, you're a good mom." This isn't about me getting some validation about the stresses of being a parent to 5 kids. This isn't about me explaining away why I've been really absent a lot lately from this blog.

This is just about me, spilling out my thoughts on parenting and what I'm going through. I know I'm going to have my good days and my bad days. I have a bit of a self-confidence challenge, so the bad days will probably outweigh the good ones, and I don't want that. This is my way, I guess, to get my thoughts out of my head so that I can purge them from my brain and make space for the calming thoughts, they beautiful images, and the love that is what I really feel in my heart.

Why is it so hard to get what's in my heart to go into my head? Does my brain have some kind of road block? When did that road block get built? I don't remember having that problem when I was a child - everything my heart felt, my brain only validated it to be 100% unequivocally true.

I've still got a month of summer left. Maybe, in the time I have remaining, I can start to implement some new skills. Every day I mess up I swear that I'll do better tomorrow. I promise myself and the sweet sleepy heads of my 5 children that tomorrow is a new day and that His mercies are new every morning.

Because those five, they are watching me. I need to do this. I hope I can.


Texan Mama

10 comments:

Gigi said...

I hear ya, girl. There will always be days when you'll not be your best. And as long as you recognize that and try to do better the next time - then you are going in the right direction.

Hang in there. Hugs.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

No pep talk from here, except that as a mother of one I should keep my mouth shut! But, as a teacher of 20+, I get a lot of what you're saying, though I get to send my kids home at 3:30...

I used to watch 19 Kids and Counting whilst on the treadmill early in the morning, and I'd think, "Boy if I could just chill like Michelle."

Truth is though, all of your school age kids are probably much more independent at school, perhaps it's time you could require them to be more so at home.

And then you might have time to do one fun thing a day. Just one. One day have an outing. One day make a dinner. One day watch a movie all together.

Your life is much different than mine. Turning 50 last fall has brought all sorts of weird emails to my inbox. Apparently I'm old! It also struck me yesterday, my son is going to be 25 next month. Eep. He used to read Peanuts for an attitude adjustment, maybe you all should...

;)

One more idea here as I ramble, how about a movie a day thing--go to the library and get some free, cheap, classics and at cranky time, make that movie time...

Really, I'll shut up now. I'm purposefully not posting today on my blog, so I thought I'd post here instead!

Jennifer said...

I think you just took another step towards letting go of perfection. Good for you.

Remember, grace is abundant. No one is as hard on you as you are on yourself.

Lovely said...

I'm with Ellen! I think being a mom is super hard work! I don't think anyone will disagree with me on that. But I only have 1.... and after hearing about your 5, I'm feeling extraordinarily lucky right now! I lose my patience with her all the time!! She's 16 months old and drives me nuts. The reality is that she's a very sweet baby. She gives kisses and (since recently figuring out the walking thing) follows me around the house all day while Daddy's at work. Maybe it's the all day, every day thing. She goes where I go. EVERYWHERE I go! I rarely get to go anywhere by myself. But suddenly my little bit of selfishness is very obvious! I think I'm going to ask my friend, who's a mother of 3, if she needs a sitter for a day next week. Her need for alone time most likely greatly outweighs my own! Thank you for putting things into perspective for me!

Wendy said...

Hmm. This is the first summer that hasn't worn me to a nub, even with only two. And let's think: my youngest is 8 and I have a full-time live-in maid.

There's only so much a person can do. Are you making the kids help? You have five little helpers! I remember I always put off picking up until the kids were home because I could send them running all over the house to put things at least in the doorway of the room they belonged in.

And I wonder if you could let a little of this go? You will have nine months to get it back in apple-pie order, after all. And put those kids to work! Those are good life skills for the, anyway.

Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El/e/Mrs. Seaman) said...

I was just out spreading mulch, and I thought of you. No direct connection there, but I had to think of something as the sweat ran between my boobs and the ants were crawling on me.

I have decided you really need to stop writing a Pollyanna Mommy blog and tell us how you really feel!

K?

So glad I got that off my (sweaty) chest!

;)

Aubri said...

oh sinful man that I am! i'm pregnant with my fourth and my oldest isn't even 3 yet and no i don't have any twins...yet. i know your struggle and feel the weight of my selfishness, laziness, ingratitude, woe is me-isms everyday. some mornings i just want to lay in bed all day instead of facing what waits outside the bedroom door. and i know it's not just all the housework that HAS to be stayed on top of or the little dears that are whining, fighting, wanting, needing all day, but my own sinful self and the "make you crazy" hormones that I hate facing.

I know my first reaction is always anger and frustration and i just hate dealing with that reality. so what do you do? most of the time i grit my teeth and cus as i spray out a poopy diaper getting poo water all over the wall and occasionally pray "God help me", the only thing I can muster to say at the moment but I'm with you on the "I want to do better"!

Reality is, I can't and probably won't. I just have to ask for forgiveness, every minute it seems. And that is hard. i'd rather be mad and pout about how hard i have it right now and be ungrateful for my many blessings. Most days this feels hopeless but, we are not without hope. (and I think you're Lutheran is that right? so I'll quote it) what does our catechism say? "the old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever"

May the Lord help us both to do this and teach us to show more love, more patience and kindness than we're capable of on our own!

Elsie said...

Ahhh.... your blog is so refreshing. Seriously. I love it that you're so honest. =) Thanks - and I'm sure you'll figure it all out eventually.

~Elsie
littlesproutgrowing.blogspot.com

leslie@gleaninggrace said...

I wish we were closer...I think you need {HUGS}...and I'm not a hugger generally, but I would hug you if it would make you feel better!
I identify with you (as much as I can with only 2 kiddos) and I want to do better as well. It was sort of the whole point of me starting gleaning grace and now I feel like I can't even do that right! That thing I started as a way for "me" time...it doesn't get much of my time or attention - sigh...
It will get better; you will get better. Being aware of the need for change and being intentional about changing are MAJOR steps in the process. It's the patience required that drives most of us mad!
{Hug} {Hug} {Hug}

Bridgett said...

It is so hot. That is all.