Monday, January 13, 2014

course correction.

i don’t set resolutions based on new year’s. i feel like i’m a person in a constant state of flux—the best time to begin something new or make a change is immediately after thinking it over and making the decision in your head. DO IT. right now.
i guess on it’s face that can translate out as slightly ADD tendencies: i think of something, i mull it over, i start. sometimes that process takes minutes, sometimes days.
but i’m easily bored and—these days—extremely forgetful, so if i don’t get going immediately chances are it won’t happen.

what was i talking about?

oh. so i had a big thought, and i’m acting on it. thing is, i haven’t been feeling like the greatest momma lately. life, tired, stressed, sicknesses, sewing, cooking, cleaning, blogging, working…blah blah blah. bottom line it: too much, and my babies were getting the short end of the stick.

they were getting meals, and baths, and clean laundry. they weren’t getting tickles, and songs, and silly faces. they didn’t have mommy just sitting on the couch sans phone/project taking up the place in my lap where they should be. there was a lack of tower building, game playing, picture drawing. too much time in front of the tv. too much.

every evening i crawled into my bed—i need “me” time, even if that trite phrase isn’t how i put it in my head. i didn’t want to be mommy anymore—no more questions, no more Solomon like decision making, no more barking out orders. my kids were left to their own devices so i could clear my head with some crocheting and telephonernetting.

there’s nothing wrong with that—every mommy needs her time and space. it makes for a better mommy. but i was becoming a selfish mommy. i did the things i HAD to do. the things that keep our family alive and relatively functional, meanwhile retreating further and further away from being a Momma who’s there and present and engaged. i realized i was not even LOOKING at my children. conversations were happening while my eyes and 50% of my attention was focused elsewhere. that is huge, because looking someone in the eye is a mark of respect as far as i’m concerned. and as much as they need to respect me as a parent, i need to respect them as people. i was failing miserably.

i was mothering just enough to begin to hate mothering. i’m doing all the grunt work, without taking the time to enjoy all the rewarding stuff. it was twisted up in my brain—do the hard stuff and my reward was alone time, instead of my reward being pleasant times with my children.

and it shows in them, too. picking at each other, fighting…a general feeling of annoyance in our home. it was me thinking about all that—how we got to this place where there was shouting and fighting so much when they used to get along and cooperate so well—that brought me to my senses. the fact is they’re confused. with so much time spent parenting themselves and each other the lines between sibling relationships were become blurred and lost. everyone has their place in the home, and i was neglecting mine, leaving a large hole that my children kept tripping in.

i’m not perfect. obviously. but i’ve been thinking—hard—about what is happening in my life and my home and my family right now. i feel like there is a giant clock ticking over my shoulder. i suppose it’s along the lines of a woman’s biological clock—once the children have come it starts counting down the hours and days you have to perfect this parenting gig.

tick tick tick you have a 13 year old daughter. have you taught her the important things about womanhood that she needs to know? are you giving her  a good self-image? is she learning the life skills she’ll need to thrive? does she have a relationship with her father that’s strong enough to keep her from seeking out the creepy boys and men that prey on girls with daddy issues?

tick tock tick tock you have an 11 year old son. have you built up your relationship with him to a good enough place that you’re ready to face the coming trials of tween/teen-agehood? is he learning the skills and lessons to become a good man, husband, father someday? is he learning from you the right way to treat women, to eat dinner (not like a cow), to hold the door open for people?

tick tick tick you have a 9 year old daughter. she is the middle child and feels her divided place strongly. sometimes she’s grouped with the older siblings, sometimes with the younger. she needs more attention, more understanding, more patience. are you doing that? or are you pushing her away because she’s clingy and you’re crushing candy? how much will you regret that decision when she’s 15 and doesn’t want to talk to you anymore?

tick tock tick tock you have a five year old daughter. she’s spunky and friendly and if there’s anyone who will run off with a stranger to help them find their puppy it’s HER. have you taught her enough? she’s going to kindergarten in 8 months and wants to learn so badly. you promised to do “home preschool” with her and the supplies have sat unused for months. why?

tick tick tick you have a 2 year old daughter. this morning you sang twinkle twinkle with her in bed and couldn’t remember the last time you did that. or read a book together. she sang her ABC’s to you and you knew you weren’t the one responsible for teaching her that. she’s asking where “ava-mommy” is. did you color together today?

my clock is ticking—loudly and harshly. fortunately it’s also an alarm clock. i’ve pushed snooze one too many times and it’s time for me to wake up. i get one shot at this parenting thing, and i’m not going to do it perfectly, but i can certainly do better than i am now.

so i’ve been absent from here. no blogging, no blog reading, no less hours spent wasted on googling such vital things as “subway tile with gray grout images”. i’ve put down my phone and done less instagraming, less texting, less stupid stupid game playing. i’m trying to find a new balance—one that let’s me do the grunt work, enjoy the rewarding children time, and still have the husband and wife time and the just shannon time. dude. that’s not an easy task.

so please excuse the dust while my life is under renovation.

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