Friday, April 21, 2006

Sad, but I need reminders

Last night I was up thinking about some things. Mostly the kids. What they see in my (and Paul's) life that is worth emulating. What we do that positively and negatively affects them, their growth, their understanding of God, etc.

I think, for reasons I can't yet explain, that I need to be better at being "present" when I am with my kids. I need to spend time with them even when it isn't time for them. Does that make sense? Like, I know I need to spend time playing with them and with each of them individually, but that isn't what I am talking about. I'm talking about sitting at the table with them when they are eating lunch... something I don't normally do. I need to be tuned into their questions and not have to shake myself out of my thoughts every time they ask for something (only to hear me say "what did you say?") I need to have conversation with them that doesn't involve me correcting something they are doing or speaking with a tone that makes me sound like I am constantly exasperated with them.

And part of that will mean getting over my exasperation. They want to be part of my life and part of what I am doing. But my first response to that is to be annoyed at their intrusion. Really, I should welcome them to spend time doing "my" stuff with me instead of viewing it as an intrusion. Goodness knows who they will turn to in a few more years if their mom doesn't start stepping it up in this way.

But part of this will also mean training myself to see the positives... something I am not very good at.

I have been asking God to show me which stuff really matters. I am seeing changes in my demeanor. But I still make mistakes. For example, it didn't matter that Ms. Boo was "wasting" glue this morning. She was playing. It's glue. I don't need to jump her case about it... especially since she was having fun by herself, even though she asked me if I would work on the craft WITH her.

Anyway. I don't know where this is all going. What I do know is that I am SOOO critical of my children. I have had to WORK at speaking to them like normal people, without a "tone," if you know what I mean. So, now, realizing that these things to not come to me naturally, I have also decided that I need to try to give each of them specific praise each day. Three times.

And, since I cannot be trusted to just let this happen when the mood strikes me, I have created a chart. It has all three of their names on it and three boxes under each name. I will display this chart prominently, so that I will actually remember to praise them. And then I will check off the boxes to make sure I get in three a day.

I have also hung a reminder over the sink to "Praise, Praise, Praise" and another one that says "Be present" and "involve them."

So sad that I need to do this. But I do. I hope that after a while of this, it will begin to come to me more easily, and I won't need to be reminded as much... I will just begin to see that my children have qualities that are worth praising.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Heather said...

I think it will work. It's like the blessings - if you track it everyday it become second nature.

I don't think you're alone... I think all parents struggle with this.

Fri Apr 21, 03:23:00 PM  
Anonymous mom a said...

Too bad you had a mother who was always on your case! But, you're on the right track. The most oppositional and cantankerous (sp?) kids who come to me start to change when I assign them the task of recording one positive thing each day that they witnessed someone else do. Everybody seems to be a winner that way.

Fri Apr 21, 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

I can't tell you how much I relate to this post. Reia is in the constantly asking questions of all kinds stage. I do feel very exasperated by it, but I try so hard not to let her see it. It's very hard!

Fri Apr 21, 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger BooMama said...

I needed to read this today. By 10 this morning I felt like I had steel rods in my shoulders from the incessant questions, but I knew it was ME, not the little man - he was just being a curious three year old. Great food for thought in this post...I think I'll re-read it right now. :-)

Sat Apr 22, 05:14:00 PM  
Blogger sarahgrace said...

I relate very much to this post as well. It is so hard when you get so exasperated, but I have found that the more present I strive to be with my kids, the more I WANT to be, and the more I enjoy them. They also respond to me so much better, and behave better when they get the right kind of attention from me.
Thanks for stating someithing I have been thinking about for a long time. Great post!

Sun Apr 23, 01:47:00 AM  
Blogger owlhaven said...

I think you have some great insight here, and a very concrete, doable plan for improvement. Good for you!

Mary, mom to many

Sun Apr 23, 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Shalee said...

Are you my long lost twin? Or are you just psychic to what I am thinking and how I react?

I agree that I need to be present more, especially since I am a working mother and I only get so much time with them.

I want them to have great memories with me than a relief to be without me in the future...

Mon Apr 24, 05:53:00 PM  

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