Saturday, May 22, 2010

Getting It Right...Sometimes

One would think that having 5 kids would be really difficult to manage. Crazy, in fact. It is true that some days are like that. Especially, it seems, that when one thing goes wrong it can set off a chain of events that derails my whole day. Take my recent habit of sleeping in, for example. I have been hooked on watching "All Creatures Great and Small" on Netflix and though I enjoy it like a warm blanket and hot cuppa tea, it's getting me off track. An episode of "All Creatures" is a FULL hour long. Sooo...I've been up 'til midnight many nights, then Michael falls asleep before me, then I lay in bed listening to him BREATHE!! Of all the insensitive things to do!! BREATHE!!! Continuously, no less!
Anyway, I got a little sidetracked, there, sorry. So I get up at 8:00 am, and at least two of my kids are up, sloshing breakfasts around the kitchen and surfaces. Outfit ideas strewn all over their bedroom floors. The final choices are usually sweatshirts on 80 degree days, no underwear (because mommy needs to open that drawer or the dresser will tip over on them), and toothpaste squirted out on the bathroom counter. John and Josh are now experimenting with flossing, so there are usually flossers all over the counter, as well.
The amazing thing is that baby Noah has not really added to the chaos of my house. It was like this before he was born. My problem is time management, or the lack therof. Since sweet, little baby Noah was born, I have totally thrown my routines out the window. I have got to get that back. I know you'll probably laugh at this, but I've been just a tad on the lazy side. At least with getting done what is REALLY important. Oh, I've been very busy working, totally wearing myself out, in fact, but the things that really matter have been on the back burner. So this is, in part, my confession.
When you read my facebook posts about all the heroic things I have done in a day, do NOT be impressed. Ask me, "Did you spend time with the Lord today?" "Did you sit down and PLAY with your kids?" Did you take the phone off the hook, or happily take every call and blabber on for an hour about nothing while your kids destroy your house to get attention?" "Did you smile ONCE at them and mean it?"
Wow. Being a mom is awesomely difficult, fun, rewarding, tiring, stretching (mind and body), and character building :-)
The longer I am a wife and mother, the more I realize how serious this job is and how incapable I seem to be at it. The good thing is, sometimes I get it right and God is gracious enough to take that bit that I get right and bless it with fruit. I can go on and on about all the things I have done wrong. Short-tempered, selfish, and self-absorbed as I can be, I do sometimes hit upon something GOOD with my family.
This week, I started playing this game with John, Josh and baby Noah. I hold Noah in front of my face, facing out, and have him "talk" to his brothers. John and Josh LOVE this! They talk to him just like he was really talking to them and it's really cool what they say. I can say things like, "I'm so glad you're my big brother! Will teach me how to do a summer-sault when I'm big like you?" They have been much more nurturing to baby, and treat him more like a real person instead of a toy.
With Hannah, when I am work, we email eachother and our relationship is definitely improving. She was so disappointed, I think in me, for not having a sister. I think since last fall she's been in kind of a funk about it. The letter writing, instant messaging stuff has been helping. Also, I have been turning her loose in the kitchen more. It was difficult at first, the kitchen being clearly MY TURF. When I backed off, and just let her at it, she churned out some amazing, beautiful rhubarb pies. she also cleaned up the mess which is a big plus. I'm thinking I may not have to bake another pie for years! Woo-hoo!
With Matthew, it's arguing about everything that I say. I get sucked into silly debates over and over and over. Here's my new line when an arguement starts. "I know how you feel. If I were you, I'd argue with me, too." Then walk away. Kinda deflates the balloon. It worked today, I'll let you know how long it lasts.
Another thing I think I might try just for fun is to get a goldfish bowl and have written on strips of paper general answers to the "why" questions.
1. We can't afford it right now.
2. We don't approve of this.
3. We don't have time for this.
4. We don't believe in this.
5. Because I said so.
6. You're not old enough.
Then whenever an arguement starts, I walk over to the fish bowl and pull out my response. Don't tell him, I want it to be a surprise!

I know these are little things, but thats what parenting and life is. A whole bunch of little things that add up in either the positive or negative side. Which one will weigh more in the end? We shall see...


Fiat Lex said...

Kudos on keeping focused on the important stuff! Or at least, remembering to remind yourself to focus on the important stuff. XD The older I get--and the more other people who tell me things about their own lives--the more impressed I am with my mom. Mom and Dad differed in a lot of ways, but there was never any doubt that me and my sisters were the most important parts of both their lives, and there's no substitute for that and you can't fake it. And having us all around and underfoot and getting homeschooled was a gargantuan task even with only three of us! Yeah, when you're younger it's easy to remember the arguments you lost, etc., but eventually the knowledge of all the good and difficult stuff seeps in and you're like, "wow." So my guess is as time goes by they will be even more thankful for you than they already are. :D

Kris said...

Yeah, you're right. I remember getting that revelation about my own parents. Probably just part of becoming a grown up, You finally "get it". It probably just took me longer than the average Joe cuz I tend toward the bull-headed, stubborn side. Sometimes that can be an attribute, but uaually not. It just enrolls me in the School of Hard Knocks. So far, 4 of my five kids are NOT like that :-)
Good to hear from you, Crystal. I miss you!

Julie Hedeen said...

before I forget to say it, I had the same epiphany with my mother too. Oh, so you weren't just trying to make my life miserable; you actually worried and cared about me. And the revelations continue . . .
Also, I LOVE your word pictures, and the no underwear because opening the drawer could just ruin your whole day idea gave me pause. Maybe my lifelong habit of putting the underwear in the top drawer (and passing it on to my kids apparently) caused THEM to tend to not wear underwear (or in the case of the boys, never change underwear.) I get into those same "discussions" with Matthew too, and I need some way of not descending to that level.
So, have you spent any time with the Lord today? :)

Tammy said...

Thanks for sharing, Kris. I was thinking about what you said about Matthew. It's labor of a different kind, don't you think? I remember wondering why my children had to argue with every little thing I said. The girls have since thanked me for not giving in. Daniel is still in labor on some of this stuff. We think they should be adult enough not to argue, but the labor is eventually going to birth a man who sticks to his convictions. Hang in there!

I hope sometime soon we can make time to visit.

Kris said...

Tammy, I agree with you, though sometimes I think the arguing is just to get me off on a bunny trail, to bring me to a place of negotiation, when I really shouldn't be compromising. He's very responsible and a great kid, but really, sometimes NO means NO! Wow, I have a lot of years of this ahead of me. I'll be consulting you more in the future, I am sure :-)