Friday, August 10, 2007

Learning

After three years of Mommy-ing, I am learning something. Well, let me rephrase that. I have learned a LOT in those three years, but I am noticing a new trend. I have really struggled this past spring and over the summer with my children. I send somebody away for a few days to stay with a grandparent, and when they get back, they are wretched little beings. More demanding, more loud talk (just in case I didn't hear them the first twenty times they said 'whatcha doing dere, Momma?'), more testing of the limits, just general brats.

When they get home, I find myself fussing more, training more, spanking more, and much less patient. I yell and I get aggravated. I send them to their rooms just so I can rein it all back in. Meal preparation is harder. The house looks worse. I am antsy if Joshua isn't home 'on time'. And bed time just can't get here soon enough.

With only one toddler in the house, life is so much easier. There is no fighting, no screaming, no hitting, no locking someone else in a closet, no competition. Elizabeth just isn't competition for Mommy's ear time. There are no food fights in the kitchen, no screeching when Thomas puts Sarah Grace's sippee cup in the fridge (she can't open doors or the fridge yet), no battle over who sits in whose booster seat (they always wind up in their own seats because it's easier to have them assigned), no torturing one another by throwing the other's food in the sink or trash can. Tub time proceeds without wails because someone dunked someone else or poured the water out of the beloved 'tups' (cups). At bedtime, there is no arguments about who has to say prayers and be tucked in first. Oh, and there is NO tattling.

So my days are longer, more draining, and emotionally wearing with both in the house. Especially after one of them has been to spend time elsewhere. Until I realized what the real problem was. Is. It's not my kids. Well, maybe a little, but more over, it's me. Me, me, me. I get selfish over the course of a day or two of relative peace. I spend a lot less time in training and discipline and a lot more in laughing and playing, and I get quite a bit more quiet time where I can work on things that I want to work on.

Joyfulness is a choice. I know this. I just haven't managed to incorporate that into every aspect of my life. By the time the vacationing child comes home, they have had the undivided attention of someone for several hours, and they just need to be weaned back to 'partial attention' , if I may phrase it as such. Chances are, they have been better behaved and had less tantrums than if they had been at home, but they probably got away with a little more than they would have at home, too. Anyway, they get home and fall instantly back into the one of three status, and have a hard time readjusting. Understandable, since my kids are all under the age of three (for five more days, anyway).

I haven't been thinking of their transition so much as I have been focused in on my own. I just went from peaceful home to house full of kids again. My quiet time just got tossed out the door again. My days just got more stressful again. I don't get to do what I want to do anymore. My days are planned out for me again, by the very necessity of caring for my children.

While I can't stop the world for 24 hours while the kids and I readjust to the all in the house aspect of our lives, I can allow things to slow down and the rules to be just a tad relaxed. I can let some of the household duties slide for the day and just love on my kids as we all re-acclimate. This won't need to be done forever, but while they are this young, I think it's the best route. I have to choose to be joyful and to be thankful for the day or two of rest that I had and for the time my kids got to spend with family.

I'll let you know how that works out in the long run. I have only just come to this realization, and have only had the chance to put it into practice once. It helped!

4 comments:

Lora Lynn said...

Bah on you and your "making sense."

High five, friend. You may be on to something.

Stacia said...

I'm in the same place with my little ones. At least I get to look forward to Jonathan starting school on Monday so I want have both all day. My hats go off to you my friend, I don't think I could handle more than 2. You seem to be doing quite well. You've encouraged me more than you know.

Christine said...

You have shared so much wisdom in this post. I know exactly what you are talking about. Motherhood seems to be one of the greatest means for learning to "die to self". Blessings to you!

Paul said...

Aubrey, what you've said relates to *any* relationship. I've re-learned this more times in my (childless) marriage than I can recall. How's the song go that we sing at church occasionally? "It's all about you, Jesus. [...] It's not about me"