I have to be honest. These last couple of weeks have been challenging. Matt is working long hours due to the outage, and I never realized how big of an effect it actually made. It doesn’t seem like much, but him arriving home an hour and a half (or more) later than usual, working 4 out of every 5 days instead of 4 out of 7, going to bed at 9 p.m., and getting up at 4:30 a.m., has added up.
Last week we had the additional stress of the tragic accident at his workplace. I don’t even want to get into all the fears that I experienced that week because it pales in comparison to what he went through.
On the homefront, my biggest challenge has been the 3 hours between Drew getting home from school and when Matt gets home from work. I was trying to plan some kind of activity every afternoon to help the time pass without too much boredom and crankiness. But what I found was that Drew started expecting more and more exciting things each day. If I told him we were just staying home, you’d have thought his world was ending. I realized then that I had conditioned him to be entertained. No longer were our fun afternoons serving the purpose for which they were intended; it was conditioning him to expect entertainment.
Yes, I could relate. As an only child, I was bored plenty, but I had to find ways to occupy myself. I think it helped me in the long run to become a more creative thinker, and I think Drew needs a little boredom in his life as well.
Because Drew is such a schedule-oriented person, I’m going to start to plan each week with him, telling him we can do two afternoon activities per week. The other days he will have to play at home with the resources he has. This way he knows in advance what he is going to do each day. I’m hoping that will help.
Alyssa has had her own challenges. She’s starting to really test the waters to find out where the boundaries are. I’ve been learning myself how to handle this. Since I wasn’t at home with Drew at this age, I really can’t remember doing much training with him during this stage. With Alyssa, some days I feel like I’m going to scream if I have to tell her the same thing one more time. Other days I feel like she’s finally getting it.
By the time dinner time rolls around, my patience is holding on by a thread. And by the time bath time arrives, it’s pretty much nonexistant. That’s when I find my voice having a sharper edge to it. That’s when I say things I shouldn’t. When I handle things poorly. When I question whether my children or my relationship with them is going to suffer in the long run because of my acting on feelings instead of in their best interest. When I question why in the world did God think I could be entrusted to be a full-time at-home mom to these precious gifts.
My melancholy nature threatens to take over and I desperately pray for help so I don’t sink.
Thankfully, about the time I feel like giving up, I get an easier day. Perhaps it’s coincidence. Or perhaps it’s grace.
I’m reminded of all I have to be grateful for. I’m reminded of the little blessings that are easy to take for granted now, blessings I didn’t get before.
I’ve also made myself take note when Drew or Alyssa “get” something or do something well. Sometimes I just need to get a glimpse that despite how I feel, maybe I am doing a few things right.
For example, my kids both love to take apart the cushions of one of our couches. They had done this and I had asked Drew to put it back together before Daddy got home. He did it cheerfully and without arguing (for once!). A few minutes later Alyssa tried to take it apart again. When I told her no, she started throwing a fit, so I sat her on my knee and told her that I wanted the couch to be nice for Daddy when he got home after working a long day, but she could take it apart after dinner. She stopped crying. I had forgotten about what I said, but immediately after asking to be excused from dinner, she walked to the couch and asked sweetly, “Mommy, can I take apart the couch?”
She got it.
I know this is kind of a fragmented blog post, but this world really is all new to me. I’ve never been around children so the things that must come naturally to other at-home moms are simply foreign to me. I often wonder how other at-home moms do things. I wonder if I’m the only one who seems to be clueless in so many parenting areas. I wonder if I’m ever going to feel equipped for this job.
I have to chuckle when I think that if part of God’s plan for me being at home was to keep me humble in my parenting, he’s succeeding. 🙂