How ARE you?!
Do you remember me?!
Ahhh... I have a computer again. But in the absence of my computer I got a whole new perspective on motherhood and the kind of mom I want to be. The reason, of course, being that I had a whole lot of time on my hands! No computer meant no online business (had to temporarily close the shop!) which meant no jewelry to make. It also meant no full-time review and giveaway blog to run. One car meant I couldn't even escape the house until the weekends. My full schedule flat-lined! Which meant more time to devote to my kids. I had been spending my daytime blogging and working instead of waiting until the kids went to bed and with my own business and being a reviewer it just ate up my entire day.
After the computer crashed I started noticing little things about discipline and our communication with the kids that really added up and bothered me. I realized in these past weeks that my family was starting to fall apart right under my nose and I didn't even realize it!
You know I thought I would be a natural at being a mom. That I would be that soft-voice and patient woman who could handle any boo-boo or tantrum that came my way. When I was a young girl I was the perfect babysitter. I mean come on! I had The Babysitter Club books as my guide. My dream since I was old enough to remember dreaming was to become a mom. I dreamed about my babies, about our home and how I'd be Little Miss Susie Homemaker. Everyone gushed that I would just be the best mom in the world!
I'm disappointed to say that I am not the picture of my dream. I don't wear pearls, heels and an apron. Heck most of the time I am still in my pajamas from the night before by the time bedtime hits. I don't have a sheet of fresh-basked cookies and a pitcher full of ice cold milk waiting for Elaina when she gets home from school. Homework is this rushed affair where I have to bite my tongue and remind myself, "Let HER do the work, let HER figure it out" even if it takes 30 minutes longer than I would want.
In fact by dinner I'm so ready to pull my hair out from everyone bickering, fighting and just from general sensory overload that I just want to hide!!!
So what I began to change while I was offline was my family dynamic starting with myself. It's a work in progress. Discipline has become so shaky. Our girls began acting out because Daniel's discipline is kind of yelling at them from the other room and mine is just an exasperated, "STOP fighting, please!" instead of stopping the dish washing and providing a consequence to behavior.
There is more going on than I want to fill this page with but that is what is on my mind today. What kind of mother am I? Am I the mother I want to be? I don't need to wear the heels and pearls or bake cookies as an afternoon treat. That isn't what makes a mother. But am I patient? Am I kind? Am I getting eye-level with the girls? Am I demanding too much or too little? I've really been focusing on how to balance myself as a mother. That, after all, is my first and most important job so I better being doing it well!
I don't think I'm a bad mom. But I do think there's room for much improvement. And I'm excited to see myself bloom into a more mature and contented woman who dotes and disciplines with integrity and respect. Because I know that when I begin to take care of me, to take care of the hormonal problems creeping up again, to fight the fatigue of boredom and monotony and really delve into becoming a nurturer, a protector and a teacher my kids are going to grow up with a mom they can rely on and trust.
It has all started with having family meetings where we tell the girls about the behavior we expect and the consequences if we see behavior we don't accept. We also let everyone talk about their feelings, their REAL feelings, without judgment. As parents we also share how we want to be better. Right now we have a No Tolerance policy where it is one warning and then it is time-out. We're going to try to refrain from spanking (which I feel, when done properly, is a good tool for some children) and really focus on other forms of discipline that are character-building and not fear-based or threatening. It's so easy to get mad and say, "If you do not listen I am going to spank you!" but it can easily spiral out of control and every little infraction garners a swat. Kids become immune to it.
So now I'm super excited to get caught back up with everyone. I've missed my blog SO SO SO much while gone! I leave you with a couple pictures of the girls at Christmas!
My big girls! They may fight at times but at the end of the day they're sisters, best friends to the end!
My Zoë girl!