Friday, November 4, 2011

Doing the splits....a lesson in flexibility

So, as it turns out, I am not the most flexible person in the world.  Both literally and figuratively.  I couldn't come close to doing a split on the ground and I don't like it when my little world get disrupted.

As it turns out, flexibility in both areas is pretty much required when you have kids....otherwise, your life will be pretty much miserable and you end up spraining your back when they wrestle you to the ground!

Over the years, I've learned to let many of the little things go.  If I could go back in time, there would be many situations where I'd tell myself to simmer down, and enjoy the ride.  My first year of university would've been much more pleasant.

I struggle in accepting the flexibility I need with raising 2 boys and another on the way.  I find I get disappointed when things don't go the way I planned....like when they got sick last week.  I tend to get frustrated, stress about things that don't matter and find myself wanting to hit the I-10 to LA and saying "See ya!.....I'll be at the beach."

So, how do we, as parents learn to accept that most things with kids don't go perfectly??...it takes longer than we expect to get ready, someone has a meltdown, a baby needs to be fed or blows out their diaper just as we're heading out, a play date gets cancelled at the last minute, the Hubs calls to say he'll be late...etc.

My MOPS magazine came last week and ironically, this was the topic of the entire magazine.  It was a lightbulb moment for me when I realized that my problem was flexibility.  I have a certain set of expectations for myself, my husband and my kids and I realize that I am constantly disappointed in none of us being able to fulfill those.  Part of it comes from comparing myself to others, part of it comes from my own insecurities and struggles within, part of it comes from the pressure I feel from my husband (whether he puts it there or not), and part of it comes from the pressure I feel from motherhood in general.

Being a parent is AMAZING.  It's also 100% exhausting....being the sole caregivers and people responsible for bringing these children up in a way that we avoid the strung-out, drug addict, serial killer types....or worse yet, bad MEN...is the hugest challenge.  Knowing when to pick your battles with them, trying to guide them and protect them and keep them safe from physical and emotional harm, being there to kiss every booboo and read every book and teaching them every single thing they need to know to survive, is 100% exhausting.  I know every single parent can relate to this.

It's also the MOST IMPORTANT AND MOST REWARDING THING WE WILL EVER DO.

I am honoured to be blessed with this journey. As a "job", I want to be constantly learning and improving....which is why I've been thinking about this.

So, part of my flexibility comes with letting go of some of the guilt and trying to give myself a little credit with how awesome our kids are already.  Do I correct every single thing they do that I don't think is right?  Nope.  Do I push it if they don't want to eat? Nope.  Did I let them eat candy for breakfast the day after Halloween?  Yep :-)  Do I worry if we're late to things? I'm still working on this...it bugs me, and I try really hard, but I don't race like a madwoman to get where I'm going.  Do they need to use manners and treat Jim and I with respect?  Absolutely.  Do they need to hold my hand in the parking lot?  Non negotiable.

What I'm ultimately trying to figure out is why one week with sick kids throws me off so much.  Did I care that we didn't do anything?  Sure....I don't handle being homebound well.  Did I care that I didn't clean anything and barely managed to get dishes done?  Not really.  Did I enjoy 2 screaming kids all week? Ha! NO.  But did I want anyone else taking care of them?  NO WAY....but I would've loved some help....which is why I HATE living so far away from family.

So maybe the answer is, I just need to roll with it more....shit happens and I need to quit being selfish....After all, everything I "wanted" to do last week is still here waiting for me....and those play dates can be rescheduled and choir survived without me....and we are lucky to live in a place where there's a Subway on every block and Daddy can pick up dinner on his way home :-)

Thanks for listening to a long, rambly post.  Tell me SOMEONE out there relates :-)

Have a GREAT weekend!
Mandy

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