Where creativity knows no boundaries......

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Balance


It is all about balance isn't it? Especially for us women, who must find a way to make our husbands feel strong and responsible, our children feel loved and taken care of, our homes and gardens looking beautiful and appreciated, and most importantly finding the time to take care of ourselves. Discovering a sense of balance is what will make us happy. Yet, how do we find balance in this most hectic, driven, competitive, and stressful time?

I have been reading alot lately. Watching the children all day, I find myself sometimes a bit bored (whoops). The last book I read called "7 Things he won't tell you (but you should know)" by Dr. Kevin Leman was a very interesting book for women who feel they need a bit of help in the marriage department. I enjoyed it so much, that I would like to read more of his books, especially the ones he recommends. My current read is called "The Worse 7 Mistakes (good) Parents Make". I enjoy reading non-fiction, because I look for answers to all my questions. I am frustrated with my parenting skills, my life, and my selfish needs, so I turn to books to hopefully provide some kind of sane excuse for the life I live. I am almost finished. At first I thought this book would be an easy read because I found myself saying "I don't make any of these mistakes". Boy, was I wrong. When they began to describe a family in trouble, I saw my life right in front of me. That was my life they were talking about. Oh you know, not getting your children to mind you, always frustrated, so much stress by the end of the day that you could slice through it with a knife, wanting to escape to a lonely island until they become teens, and yes even resentment about having them in the first place. I know that sounds horrible, but for someone who did not want kids for a very long time, I often find myself guilty of such thoughts. It became obvious to me that I had issues that needed to be resolved, and the sooner I get down to it, the better.

So the book starts out by giving you alarming statistics about children today. For instance, that most children heading off to college do not know how to cook, iron or balance a checkbook. This was not the case 20 years ago. How many men between the ages of 26-28 still live at home. The book discusses the importance of struggle and how much it prepares them for what lies ahead. "When our children don't have to struggle, they never grow up. Because life's journey provides an ample amount of resistance, a person who lacks the capacity to struggle and to experience joy and satisfaction while doing it will find life cruel and depressing. This is unfortunate because people who have learned to struggle often find life challenging and exciting." I find this statement very true. Then the book goes into detail about the 7 worse things good parents do, and believe it or not although you may find yourself saying that your parenting style does not apply, you would be amazed at how often you find yourself in one of these 7 stages. I for instance usually do not baby my children. Almost anyone who knows me could tell you that. However, the authors point out some situations that I often find myself in, and I must admit that I am guilty of this (although good) bad behavior. I could go on and on, but one of the most interesting parts of the book to me was when they discussed behavior modification. In other words, realizing what behavior you have eliminate (in your child and yourself) and how to go about it.


One of my biggest sources of frustration with both of my children is the constant whining, and crying. I had it with my first child, and although we believed Olivia to have a more outgoing personality, since she turned 20 months, I find myself dealing with the same thing. She literally walks behind me all day and whines in every situation, sometimes finding situations that would lead her to cry and whine. A stage? Maybe, but I think that is just an excuse, and because I don't know anyone who has children like mine, I believe the fault lies in our parenting skills. I may be wrong, but I have never found that seeking for answers is wrong. I don't cry about it, or get depressed about it. I just feel alot of frustration, stress and exhaustion when it comes to my day-to-day lifestyle, and this bothers me. My children are good children, and their smiles and laughter warm my heart, but in general our home life is not always "fun". Now I know that alot of other parents can probably give me the same storyline, but I know children who are happy, outgoing, friendly and positively charming to be around, so I ask what is going on? This book has provided me with some solutions that I am going to try. I will let you know how they work.

The hardest hurdle for me is going to be to ignore the whining. I don't like it. No I hate it. I find myself locking my bedroom door to escape the constant piercing noise that my daughter likes to follow me around with. I scream, I lose my temper, I baby her, I fall apart, and I dislike myself for it. The guilt that eats at me usually sends me in the opposite direction of where I should be going. I doubt myself too often. Besides the whining, I have a son who has become an absolute disgusting pig. Lately the situation has gotten even worse, even though I am constantly reminding him of his mess, setting up rules, putting him in timeout and removing his favorite activities. Examples of his messes include, a complete box of Fruit Loops on the floor (still not picked up after two days), clothes never put in the hamper, food wrappers everywhere on the floor, toys never picked up, bath towels on the floor, eaten food on the floor, garbage thrown in the back of the car with shoes and candy wrappers, and clothing pulled from the closet (6 or 7 pair of pants, 10 t-shirts at a time). I could go on, but anyone who knows me also knows that this type of behavior will drive me crazy. So, this book tells me that I need to make a rule, one which he must follow. It must be clear and precise, and if he does not follow it, then he will find himself losing all privileges. Another book I have recently read said that the rule was that bedrooms had to be cleaned before dinner, or else no dinner would follow. He had five kids, and said that once the rule was enforced, there was never an issue again. It is not just the mess my son makes, but the fact that he refuses to clean it up. He goes from room to room in our house and leaves behind a terrible disarray. He has control, and he knows it.

So it is time for mommy to try some behavior modification for herself and her children, and find a great sense of balance within her home. Since I am the only parent, it will be extremely hard to follow through with everything on my own, but I deem it absolutely necessary. I gather it will take time, but I started today by cancelling a trip to Walmart to buy him a pool that he has long asked for. We set up a chore chart, and although he did not clean up his room tonight, without me having to threaten him, I am hoping that by the end of this month my son will learn to clean up after his own messes. Please remember, he is almost 6 years old.

I was hoping that by this time, I would have found a way to balance my life a little better being a single parent. I find myself just running to put out one fire after another, never getting everything done to just relax. I cannot tell my husband because I don't want him to worry about me, so I blog about it. It always makes me feel better. I just hope that my stress is not what is causing all of this. I have managed to cut out alot things out of my life and what is left is really only the necessities. Still I run, still I pant, still I plop into bed every night. Yet there is always hope, and always a rainbow at the end of the rain, so I know I will find my peace and a balance to my insane yet wonderful life.


This is another beautiful version of the Oliver & S Bubble Dress pattern I found on Flickr. What a gorgeous fabric for this style dress.


oliver + s bubble dress, originally uploaded by isewstuff.

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