I get a lot of comments about “doing it all” and even, occasionally, praise for my good parenting. While I appreciate these comments and I am doing my level best to try to be a good mother to these boys of mine… but I am so very far from ideal. Sometimes it makes me feel guilty when people say nice things to me because I want to tell them that I get upset and that my laundry is piled up and that my kids fight too. It can be insanely hard sometimes to have all the boys home, all day, every day. This is obviously our choice as a family, not a situation thrust upon us. And it was my idea in the first place! Which means that ninety-nine percent of the time I love it. Though I miss daily adult conversation and “me” time, but I carve those out (mostly thanks to a very understanding husband that is supportive to the point of going above and beyond the call of duty). Besides, spending all of this time together is fun and it’s good for us- all of us.
There are days and moments (and, let’s face it, weeks) where things are slightly less rosy and little bit more on the hair-tearing-out end of the spectrum. Today is one of those days. I feel awful about it but sometimes you just start down a road and it’s hard to pull over, turn around, and get back to where you originally wanted to go. We’re all doing are own thing for these few minutes while I write this, which I’m going to consider as our metaphoric stop at a gas station to get directions. You know, to get back to having a good day.
Poor Fidget is the source (or target) of today’s particular stress. Homeschooling with him is normally a breeze. The kid just loves to learn, he’s naturally curious (to the point of being nosy) and reading is probably his favorite thing on the planet. This combination usually makes schoolwork pretty enjoyable for both of us. But writing? It’s his kryptonite. It just gets under his skin and, by extension, under mine. Getting him to actually try- to take his time and write things well- is like so. incredibly. frustrating. He knows how to do everything but he gets lazy and takes shortcuts and does a bad job, all because he wants to get back to what he actually likes doing.Pro Tip: Doing something badly to get it over with never works out. It always causes a bigger headache and more work for you in the long end.
So when this invariably happens I get irritated that he’s rushing and not paying attention. And he gets stressed because even though he doesn’t like writing and just wants to go back to reading and/or playing he is also a perfectionist and is annoyed at himself for not doing it correctly. Which leads to me being angry that he’s upset because OH MY GOD WHY DO YOU CARE THAT IT DOESN’T LOOK PERFECT IF YOU WERE THE ONE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?! And, of course, this leads him to be more upset. Which leads us both to where we are right now- him up in his bed sulking and reading, me sitting on the couch writing and venting.
I know it doesn’t matter and it’s just a little thing. What do I care if he does his best at handwriting as long as he, you know, does it? I also know that not being well-rested (thanks, Spike) gives me less patience than I normally have. These contributing factors are why I let him give up today and give himself a bit of a time out. We’re both getting a bit of a time out. Sometimes we all just need it.
I say again… sigh.
So how do we get moving back in the right direction? As soon as I hit “publish” I plan to put on some music so we can dance out some of our bad feelings. A mini-dance party is one of our favorite ways to get back to a good place.
Taking a break and doing something- together- that I know we all enjoy is another way to improve the day. This usually leads us to the kitchen though and my post-baby weight loss efforts don’t need any baked goods sitting around.
Sometimes I just send the boys outside. Sunshine and fresh air usually boost everyone’s spirits.
Or maybe we’ll hug it out and hope that the rest of the day gets better from here.
Can you salvage a day that you feel is getting away from you? Give me more ideas for the next time we find ourselves going the wrong way.