Not bad, as far as a Thursday goes

Last Thursday you all got to share in the bliss of Ryan’s day ‘o tantrums.  Thankfully, this Thursday has involved bliss of another kind….happy children who play well together and a mom with enough sanity left to enjoy it.  I find myself getting so caught up in my “to-do list” most days that I think I starve my kids of some of the attention they need and deserve.  That became oh, so evident to me yesterday….

The day started off as most Wednesdays do.  I got up early so that I’d have time to shower before getting the kids up.  Ryan goes to preschool on MWF, so those mornings tend to be a little more rushed.  I had errands to run and wanted to do them after I took Ryan to school, while I was already out, which meant that I had to be extra on top of things and have everyone ready to go by 8:45, not just Ryan. 

School hasn’t been Ryan’s favorite thing of late, so mornings are filled with complaints about how much he hates school and doesn’t want to go.  The kids call him “Rainbow Boy”, thanks to a striped shirt that he wore on one of the first days that someone thought looked like a rainbow (and now I’m paranoid about sending him to school in stripes of any kind), and it seems to bother him a lot.  I, of course, take him anyway, and pray that the report from his teachers is good when I pick him up.  Lately, he hasn’t had any good reports.  I’m sure that some of his behavior is due to being teased, but he’s also just a spirited kid who gets carried away easily.  And Ryan is as forthcoming about his misbehavior as his teachers are.  He just doesn’t seem to care. 

When I picked him up yesterday, I was greeted with the lovely news that he had cut another child’s hair.  His teacher tried to downplay it, saying that it was only a tiny bit, but seriously–HE CUT SOMEONE’S HAIR!!  I don’t care if it was a huge chunk or a tiny little snip…I was NOT happy about it!

He had obviously been talked to extensively at school because as soon as we got in the car he repeated back to me all the reasons that it was a bad idea to cut someone’s hair.  He then told me that he had also shouted twice at his friends and had to sit in the “power chair”.  

Later that afternoon, I discovered that he’d been shopping in “mommy’s store” (aka, food storage), found a box of fruit snacks, and enjoyed 7 of the 10 packages in the box.  He had also broken the lamp in his room during quiet time, claiming that it just fell off the shelf and broke by itself.  Everywhere I turned, there was an infraction of some sort that left me frustrated at his lack of obedience.  And–as I’m sure all mothers know–there is little that is more aggravating than asking your child not to do something, only to have them look at you with a little gleam in their eye and do it anyway.  I felt at a loss.  I reminded myself that I have a degree in dealing with challenging behaviors; I conquered them on a daily basis when I was working–so why was I having so much trouble with my own child?  Talk about one of those moments when you wonder how Heavenly Father ever trusted you to take care of one of his children.

After a day like yesterday, I realized that I needed to get my priorities in line.  So what if my floors have crumbs on them and aren’t sparkling clean 24/7?  Will it really kill me to wait until the kids are busy doing something else before I check my email? (I’ve since turned off the alert sound so that I don’t even know when an email arrives….it will still be there later, so there’s no need to jump right up to check it).  Am I going to run out of clothes if I don’t wash the particular load that my cleaning schedule tells me needs to be done that day? 

I’ve realized, as I watch the way that Ryan gets out his frustrations, that he’s mirroring everything that I do…right down to the little “aauugghh!!” that I let loose when I feel stressed out and overwhelmed.  And, I realized that the times of stress were more frequent because I had a to-do list to get done, and rather than enjoying the time I have with my kids when they are small, I was irritated that they were making the process of getting that to-do list done a lot harder. 

After coming to those realizations yesterday, I had a heart-to-heart with myself.  I’ve set some goals that will bring greater rewards than having a perfectly spotless and put together house.  Ryan and I made a deal that if he shouts, I get to tickle him….and if mommy shouts, he gets to tickle me.  We spent an hour outside together, playing and getting some energy out.  We sat on the couch and read books together.  Boy, what a difference those few little things have made in the last 24 hours.  I know we’ll still have rough days from time to time, but I don’t want to look back and wish that I’d spent less time cleaning (or any other of a long list of distractions) and more time with my kiddos.   They deserve more than that. 

So, my new motto is BALANCE.  I’ll still have time to clean my house and check my facebook page…it will just be during the hours of 2-4, when the kids are napping.  I can still catch up on episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress”….it will just be after everyone has gone to bed.  I’ve let myself indulge in too much leisure and far too little bonding with my kids, and it’s time for a change!

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Well, how about that.  I started this post to record the fact that Ryan cut another child’s hair at school, and look what it’s turned into….aren’t you glad that I don’t let myself get carried away with my thoughts on here very often?

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6 Responses to “Not bad, as far as a Thursday goes”

  1. Angie Says:

    Can I just say I love reading your blog. I love the way you write about your children’s antics and how you always learn from them. Oh if I could be such a mom!! Thanks for letting me be a reader.
    Angie Tolman

  2. Cynthia Says:

    Jenn – I needed to read all that. I mirrored your week to an extent. Your words echo my feelings. Thanks for being willing to share all that – I’m going to do what you suggest. Thanks…

  3. Mel Says:

    I needed a reminder too. Life is too short….we need to take lessons on how to sit in a room with stuff all over that needs to be put away and cleaned with out running around like a mad woman cleaning….I wonder if there is money in that????

  4. Mikelle Says:

    Okay, I about wet my pants laughing when I read the hair cutting thing, because we had that exact same problem yesterday!!! Seriously, what are the odds!! To top it off Spencer also cut his brand new field trip t-shirt. So needless to say, it makes me feel better I am not the only mom dealing with these same issues!!

  5. Sarah Says:

    Thanks Jenn, I’m so glad to see I’m not alone, and I’m not the only one out there who forgets to stop and just enjoy my kids.

  6. Sarah Says:

    Oh, and I LOVE Say yes to the Dress!

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