Wednesday, October 3, 2007


The thing about blogging is, there's a certain inertia to overcome once you've been away from it for a few days. In other words, the longer you procrastinate writing things down, the less appealing it seems to do at night when you (yawn) just want to veg.
So there's my excuse.
But, there's also the fact that it's so much easier to write about smooth, pleasant days than it is to describe those when you spend much of the time fighting tears, sometimes unsuccessfully, because there are things than just can't be described in a paragraph or two. And today was the first smooth, pleasant day I could write about, the first day of the past several that I haven't found it necessary to attempt escaping from my kids so I could just sob alone in the bathroom -- just for two minutes, people, two minutes! OK, one minute! :-)
Don't get me wrong, it's not all doom and gloom here in the nest, but I seem to be experiencing a confluence of stressful life situations -- they never quite come one at a time, do they? And when the prizes are given out for grace under fire, I won't be in the running, that's for sure.
Rather than go into the nitty-gritty about every one of those life situations, I'll just recap a bit of yesterday morning. At 10:15 a.m., we're out in the backyard, chores and "morning lists" successfully accomplished with a minimum of nagging on my part. We spread out the blanket for chapter of Family Under the Bridge, which is Caroline's signal to nurse (I've concluded that she simply won't ever wean as long as I read aloud to the other kids). But I can deal with that, because it keeps her quiet and happy, and it's pleasant in the shade, and Ian and Eliza are listening with a decent degree of attention. After that, we do some spelling and letterhunting for Ian and Eliza, respectively, on the patio with sidewalk chalk. I feel generally good about how things are going.
Except for the fact that Ian is obsessing about the Calvin and Hobbes book that he left at Oscar's house next door, and feels compelled to run over there every five minutes to see whether anyone's come home or left it out on the doorstep for him (I forgot to use Anne's technique of having him visualize locking those thoughts in a room for a few hours). I let him do his independent reading in the treefort Tim is building, but still, he only makes it through half a chapter before disappearing next door for a good 5-10 minutes (not sure why it takes that long to check a doorstep). The relative calm in my soul begins to ooze away and Mean Mom arrives to take me hostage, puppeting herself through my mouth with gems like, "It's taken NINETY MINUTES for you to get thirty minutes of work done this morning. I was HOPING to get a couple errands done before lunch, but how am I going to get that done?" Introducing the crotchety second grade teacher, here to sap any ounce of joy out of the learning experience! On top of that, I spend maybe ten maybe more, hauling out paints, water, brushes, and butcher paper for the girls to work on the patio, and they spend maybe ten minutes actually using the paints before losing interest and finding a way to smear some of it on my clothes. Then, my sister calls to discuss, nicely, a little "oops" I had made during a family discussion online and to apologize for not communicating better, but the conversation sort of escalates and next thing I know I'm melting into a puddle of tears behind my bedroom door while Caroline bangs on the other side. For the rest of the day, I feel like I'm constantly on edge, either trying not to cry or feeling helpless as Mean Mom hijacks my voice, if you know what I mean. If Mom sets the tone for the home, then life at our house yesterday was definitely being played in a minor key.
The reality is, stress compounds everything, and kids just don't put their needs on hold when you're preoccupied with trying to care for other people, so things like the paint and the Calvin and Hobbes book and everything else, even the phone call, should not have been that big a deal, but all rolled into one, they were. I told the Lord that I seem to have a long way to go before I really know what it means to roll ALL my burdens on Him.
So today seemed like a gift of grace from Him. My father-in-law had breakfast with us and read to Eliza for a while before leaving for work. Then a good friend came and picked up Caroline for the morning as she was hosting a playgroup at her house. That gave us two hours for the three of us to sit in the treefort and read (St. George and the Dragon, which they LOVED, and more F.U.T.B.) and play a good long round of a math game (Ian announced yesterday that he didn't really like math, so I'm trying to mix it up a bit and back off on the "boring workbook"). As much as I adore Caroline, the experience of being able to truly focus, to sit in one place for an hour or more and exchange full attention with the older two, felt priceless. Tomorrow may be rough again, and today wasn't perfect, of course. But it felt like a gift, and I'm going to savor it.


Jenny said...

I'm sorry you're having so much stress right now. (((Hugs)))

I'm glad you had a good day yesterday, we all need some of those to keep us going.

Wish I could stop by and take Caroline for a little while...if only we lived closer...

MoreThanJustaMom said...

Selfishly,I'm so glad you have these kinds of days, too! It all sounds so familiar... But I think the largest part of successful mothering and homeschooling is not perfection, but having those "Mean Mom" days and turning around the next day (or week...) and making it better. Hopefully that's what our children will remember and appreciate about us!