Monday, January 23, 2012

General Rant on Parenting and Other Frustrations

Ok, so today is one of those days I woke up and don't feel like "doing" life. I don't feel like being a parent. I realize it's a huge privilege and honor and that there are many people who would kill to be a parent. But there are just days that I am so overwhelmed, I don't even want to figure out what to have for dinner, much less actually prepare it. 

Don't get me wrong. I am grateful to have such sweet, adorable kids. But some days I'm just not up for it. Not up for the responsibility. Not up for the decisions. Not up for the tiredness. Not up for being an example to two impressionable children when all I really want to do is scream. When my child has disobeyed me for the 50th time that day or has come out of his room 10 times to tell me that the air is too loud or that our one light is too bright for him to sleep and the baby is crying on top of it, I just want to run screaming to the hills. 

I'm tired of wanting to be a better parent and feeling like I'm failing again and again, despite my good intentions. Despite my desire to not repeat patterns of yelling and controlling. I'm tired of the house being a mess. Everywhere I look. There's not one clean space. The kitchen is full of dirty dishes. The counters are cluttered. Elias' room is messy. Even the baby/computer room is not neat. And our room? I just shut my eyes as I walk through so I don't have to see it.

I'm tired of being behind on the laundry. I'm tired of feeling like I am never getting anything done. I'm supposed to tame all this chaos and still maintain a good attitude and have fun and enjoy my children. I don't want them to look back and think Mom was always stressed and/or mad. I want them to look back on childhood with fondness. 

So what do I do? What's the answer? Is there an answer? I guess the key is keeping calm and controlling myself in the midst of the madness. It reminds me of a poem I once memorized. I never liked poetry, mainly because I didn't "get" it. But this one I remember. "If you can keep your head when all about you....are losing theirs and blaming it on you....If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you....and make allowance for their doubting too..." I don't remember the rest. But the point is that I have to choose to be happy and have fun. In the mess. Right smack in the middle of it all. Because if I wait until the laundry's done, the house is clean, the bills are all paid (oops!), I'm well-rested and all is peaceful, it will NEVER happen. When NOTHING is the way I want it, I still have a choice to make. 

I guess that's where prayer and trust come in. And maybe that's the point of it all. To make me realize I am NOT up to the task. Not in my own strength. Maybe I'm supposed to come to the end of myself and depend on God. You know, I think that *is* the point. "Rejoice in the Lord always." Hm.. How else can we do that unless we are relying on Him? If we wait for perfect circumstances or even mildly okay ones, we won't be doing much rejoicing. Maybe that's the key to handling my Star-Wars-question-asking, fish food-eating, non-sleeping ten-year-old, screaming baby, messy house and never-ending mountain of laundry. A healthy dose of humor might not hurt either. My son told me this morning that he ate some of the fish food just because he wanted to know what it tasted like. I had to laugh. So maybe *that* had something to do with throwing up last night? It never ends......

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mid-January Update

Ok, so it's halfway through the first month of my resolutions. How am I doing? Well, not too hot. But I'm retooling and adjusting. I'm not quitting and I think that's kind of the point of resolutions. I don't think it's as important that we perfectly keep every one and have all these check marks. Or beat ourselves up if we miss a day of keeping a resolution. I think the point is more that we keep moving ourselves in the general direction of our goals. And that setting goals, working toward them and sometimes recalibrating them - it's the journey, the process that develops our character and makes us better people.

So the grace is starting early. I'm realizing that caring for a baby and my other mom and housekeeping duties are a lot and maybe I bit off a little too much. Textbroker has had lousy articles lately, so I'm dropping that one. For some reason, I feel like I should be working on my novel, even though I have no idea where I'm really going with it and am overwhelmed. So I'm keeping that one. And writing this blog is way too much fun to give that one up. Plus, my grandfather on Dad's side passed away and surprisingly, it is bringing up lots of emotions and I've been writing a lot. Writing is like therapy for me sometimes. I guess it's cheaper than paying for it. So that's where I stand. And with this entry, I have now kept at least one of my goals - to write two blog entries this month. Woo hoo.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

New Year's. Fresh starts. Beginnings. Time for contemplating, taking stock. What are our goals? What are we doing with our lives? What qualities do we want to develop? Let's see. I want to be a better mom. Start exercising. Write more. Keep a cleaner house. Make $100,000 this year. (ok, I had to give it a shot. Don't they say that writing your goals down increases the likelihood that you'll meet them? :-) ) It can quickly get overwhelming, and I easily get caught up in the works game and in trying to change myself all on my own. Often we crash and burn. And then we resolve never to make resolutions again.

But I think that evaluating our lives, setting goals and starting over are useful exercises. Even if we fail, it's still better than floating along passively. If we never look at the direction we are heading in, we are destined to end up nowhere. I think the problems with resolutions come when we rely on our own abilities and efforts to improve ourselves and leave God out of the process. Actually, I think God should be steering the whole process to begin with; we should just be along for the ride, going wherever He guides us. Easier said than done, I know.

So, yes, I'm setting some goals, resolutions, whatever you want to call them. But I'll be flexible and hold onto my goals loosely, knowing I may have to adjust frequently. And offer myself grace when I fail frequently as well. And writing this is a first step. One of my resolutions is to get this blog going again. So there. What are my others? Well, I'm setting a few goals each month. For January, I also want to write 5 articles for an online writing site I like, write at least 15 pages on my novel and spend 15 minutes daily meditating on Scripture and filling my mind with good, positive thoughts. Will all of this be by the wayside by March? Stay tuned. We'll both find out.