For the most part, James and I have been fairly focused parents. From early on we have tried to teach morals and work lessons and faith into our daily lives. When our children were younger we worked on things like self-soothing, sign language and playtime independence so that Rhys and Amelia would be content, happy babies. During the toddler years we worked on using words to communicate things, how to listen and obey properly, how to use our please and thank you’s and other such manners in the hopes of providing them with a comfortable environment to grow and explore. We’ve tried very hard to see eye to eye and provide a united front so that the kids wouldn’t be left guessing. We have felt the weight of taking into consideration our children’s (as cheesy as this sounds) ‘heart health’ in this role of parenting, not just providing a meal and a bed for them.
I’ve tried to be a proactive parent, not a reactive one.
However, I’ve slipped. Or we’ve slipped. Or something…
Lately I find myself just living day-to-day with James and the kids and not thinking further then what will be for the next meal and if they have clean underwear to put on in the morning. I find myself yelling and irritated and horribly exasperated. I’m behind in all of my cleaning, all of my laundry, all of my hobbies (although those have gone by the way-side and are now non-existent), all of my reading, a bunch of my blogging, and, most importantly, my quality time with my kids and my proactive parenting.
James and I have been able to transition from being just a couple to having babies, to having two babies, to having toddlers, to having pre-schoolers without a lot of hiccups. Sure, life was chaotic the entire time but I’m looking at our parenting. I think that we’ve been good parents to Rhys and Amelia.
But you know what? Parenting school-aged children has come with a whole new set of issues and it seems that I need a whole new set of skills which requires a learning curve and some patience and it feels like I’m short on patience these days.
Parenting has been getting me down. I feel like we’re not getting anywhere with them and I feel like we’re running out of steam. I look at all of these mom’s with new babies and wish that all I had to think about was a feeding schedule and if I have enough diapers packed in my bag. Sigh. I remember those days. Obviously it’s much harder than that….but you get my drift.
I was driving back from an early morning dentist appointment when Rhys started talking to me about a bully at school. He told me about all the mean things that he does to kids and all of the mean things that he says and all of the bad words that he uses. I started asking him questions to get him thinking and then he told me that there’s only one person that he’s not mean to. I asked who it was and he said that it was himself! Then he said that no one likes the bully and I asked if the bully has any friends. Rhys said the bully had only one friend. I asked who it was and Rhys said that it was him. He said that he tries to stick-up for the kids that the bully picks on and he tells the bully that those words are bad. We talked about why some kids can be mean and what we can do to love them anyways.
I was so proud of my son. It was the sunshine that I needed to keep me going.
We bought the kids Advent calendars a little late this year so they’ve had a few chocolates, instead of just one, for the past couple of days. After dinner James popped-out three chocolates for Ammie. She ate one and then brought two over to James and I and handed us each a chocolate. I told her that she didn’t have to do that and that they were hers to eat. She looked at us and simply said, “No, I want you and daddy to have them.”
My heart melted (not the chocolate…I stuffed the chocolate in my mouth before she could change her mind). It was such a little thing, but it packed a powerful punch.
Parenting can be so rough and exasperating and it will make you feel like you’re losing your mind. Then you have this moment where you see that things have clicked in your child’s head and they are living-out the faith and morals that you’ve spent years speaking into them and it makes all of the craziness worth it.
*oh, and guess what? this was my 500th post!!!!*