Sunday … Funday?

 

I have no patience on Sundays.
I can’t remember who first noticed that I am quicker to temper and feel more pressure to get things done. But it is definitely true: I am practically a mom-ster on Sundays.
Kids suddenly never listen.
There is always a mess left for me to deal with.
No one knows who’s turn it is to feed the dog.
I have to do everything.

Last Sunday, my taller-than-me 14 year old attempted to mollify my Sunday irritation by saying, “Okay. Calm down,” in response to my slightly raised voice.
So, as adults reading this, I’m sure you know how well that works when it comes from a partner or other adult. Let me assure you – it didn’t work coming from my teenager.

I’m sure I’ve had better parenting moments. I could feel my brain going offline. I knew I was shifting away from my prefrontal cortex and into my limbic system… away from my reasoning self and into my reactive self. It just felt so important and *necessary* to tell him in a loud voice that FIRST – ‘calm down’ isn’t something to *ever* say to his mum, and that SECOND – it never works on anyone. Once I left the room, once I had some space, I could see that he had been trying to help. That my reaction was rooted somewhere else.

There is a line in parenting that allows for humour and lightness instead of big reactions: I’ve seen in mostly in fictional parenting, but oh, how I want that easy-ness and bigger picture perspective when parenting gets tough. It harbours just below my surface, out of reach but visible. There have been a few times that I managed it – to the utter surprise of trio! – and I’m sure that it can be more helpful than my lecturing.

Part of attachment parenting is in the repairing that comes after a break. Instead of ignoring that I lost my cool, or they said something hurtful, or that I said something mean, the point is to reconnect and grow back together. Egos have to be acknowledged and left behind to have these conversations. That’s tough to do for me – especially when I felt undermined by his Calm Down comment. I haven’t explored it very deeply: maybe because he’s male? Maybe because I’m a single mum? Maybe because I’m outnumbered? Maybe because I have control issues? That’s for me for another day.

After our conversation about why I had such a big reaction, there has been a LOT of teasing using the phrase ‘Calm Dooown’ anytime one of us shows even a little irritation at an innocent comment. Thank heavens for humour.

This Sunday had a few “Calm Down” comments – especially when we tried to navigate a completely jampacked Costco, only to find they sold out of their already cooked chickens; and when Sobey’s had the same issue (although more were coming out in “15 minutes” … but really meant 30 minutes); and when we were finishing our weekend chores. The best part was the acknowledgment that these were things that are frustrating, that we were all sharing the same annoyance, that we could use humour to lighten things up. Oh, and I’m sure they loved teasing me.

Our Sunday turned out fine. There were a few stumbles, but we can all point to the fact that it’s Sunday and that usually lifts me out of my grump enough to see some positives.

Our “funday” is usually Saturday, Sunday just is too jammed getting ready for the week. But, I think I’ll try to find time for at least an hour of free play for the 4 of us to stay connected.

We’ll try to create a partial Funday afternoon.

xo
Mto3

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I’m like, *so* busy…

It turns out, when I’ve got a fast paced day, week, or month, I’m more able to tackle projects and finish activities than when my pace is looser and slower.

Case in point: this blog. I’ve been …like… busy – volunteering at school, working at my job(s), parenting, keeping house, and being with family and friends. But at any given point, I  have time at the end of the day to do whatever – laundry, playing Candy Crush (oh man.), watching Dexter, cleaning house, finishing up on last tasks, prepping for the next day… but I inevitably choose to spend time ‘relaxing.’ So I write a list for tomorrow to write in this blog, or finally wash the sheets in the hamper, or scoop the fur from the bottom of the stairs, or develop my 5 year plan. And then I can feel accomplished that it’s on a list, and also justified in ‘relaxing’ tonight.

Each January for the past few years I’ve been lucky to take on a full time contract for 3 months (so helpful for post-Christmas bills!) and I’m lucky that my boss is flexible, and I’m lucky that I enjoy the work. Switching into a full time position after being self-employed and self-directed is a shift for the whole family and requires all of us to be hands on.

So now (and I’m sure many of you are already familiar with this pace) I am working outside the home all day, and still fitting in my other job(s), parenting my children, keeping house, volunteering with the school, and having time for family and friends. And yet… I’m not overwhelmed. I feel capable and accomplished, and pleased when I remember to pick up milk on the way home and remember to stop at the post office on my lunch to send a package. Suddenly carving space to write this blog feels easy. Playing the shell game or ‘which hand’ with the dog is a no-brainer. Meditating for 10 minutes takes no time.

Huh? Why is this?

What happens in my brain and heart that makes it possible to do *more* things when my day is even more planned than ever?

Kiddos absolutely help. It’s amazing that they are older and are able to take on greater responsibility around the house. We’ve started the rotation that trio is responsible for a dinner night (Lil miss chose perogies, and my oldest will make burgers), and we rearranged our chores so that the bulk of it happens at the weekend.

I wonder if, in the fast pace, I realize I only have a certain amount of time to do any one thing so I’d better-do-it-NOW or else it literally won’t get done. Or I feel more efficient so the likelihood of me sticking with an activity through to completion increases. Maybe it’s something to do with procrastination (no time for THAT), or maybe it has to do with favouring sleep over Dexter (sorry man, you’re less than second place now).

I’m sure this feeling will ebb away and there will be days when I feel scattered and overwhelmed.
But right now, I’ll luxuriate in this amazing and strange experience of not feeling …like… *so* busy but feeling able to greet the road as it rises to meet me.

xo Mto3

 

 

 

Every little thing…

So, this just happened.

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I just wanted to share out loud that this is another repair job in an ongoing list of things that I need to take care of. Door knobs. Wood working school projects (with woefully under-supplied power tools). Dishwasher shelf wheel-thingys. Suctionless vacuums. I am the One responsible.

There are people who do home repairs as a profession, and yet I know I won’t call anyone.

I’m strangely compelled to try and tackle things on my own. There is a cost factor, absolutely. There’s also a stubborn streak, to prove I can do things myself. There’s a learning piece, to expose trio to household repairs. There’s a feminist component wrapped up in here too, that a woman can handle what comes up too.

Plumbing work is brand new to me, so I’m kind of excited and intimidated about this job.

Underpinning all of the above is the sense that we need to be our own cheerleaders. Our own motivators. Our own source of strength. We rely on ourselves first, and then reach out second.

I’ll give this a try, and then if things go horribly wrong, at least I’ll have learned a little something.

Thanks for listening and letting me share this. I feel more capable after saying this out loud.

xo
Mto3

Back to a little-better-than normal

After our painstaking weekend ended in a pukey kid, today was brighter. Better than, I’d say. 

I’m not quick to apologize when I’m wrong (although I am totally trying), but I will talk about events and situations and get feedback and try to do things differently next time. 

At different times today, I touched in with the kids about the weekend and how I was feeling and how I feel different today. Is that the right approach? Is this the best choice? I don’t know. I felt it was: we all have different motivators that come into play when we react. I guess I wanted trio to know it can shape a behaviour, but doesn’t necessarily define our whole self.

Trio will make choices in their lives where, I’m sure, it will feel that will shape their sense of self. Maybe positively. Maybe negatively. In either way, their next choice needn’t be dependent on that perception of self. Talking about it lets them know that they can be aware of what’s going on inside them, make changes, and make choices next time.

Is it that I’m seeing things differently today? Noticing that my biggest boy is proactively helping and anticipating what might happen next? Acknowledging how helpful it is when lil miss asks what the evening plans are before rushing out to play? Appreciating that my younger boy tells me about upcoming homework needs or things he needs my help with? Whether they’re always like this, and I just missed it over the weekend; or that the weekend helped them make different choices today; or some other unknown variable… I’m grateful.  

Xo 

A little sick and tired…

In many ways I consider myself an ‘experienced’ mum – multiple kids, wrangling on my own, a mix of boys and girls, a chaotic combination of abilities and personalities… In other ways I know that I’m learning every single day – and some days the lesson is harsh.

Last night, Lil Miss didn’t want to eat dinner – her stomach was uncomfortable. She had been at a friends for the bulk of the day on Saturday, played hard outside all morning on Sunday, and trio and I went out in the afternoon. The boys were saying that my homemade ham-and-bean soup was good (better than my typical ham chowder), and the fresh buns I made were so good with the cheese and chive egg-wash. She turned up her nose and said she didn’t like it, and frequently wandered away from the table during dinner.

I’m not going to lie: the day had been rather frustrating. I was feeling short tempered and easily aggravated, and overwhelmed, and that everything is my fault – the messy yard, the cluttered garage, that we didn’t get to take pup to the park again, that I needed to go to the grocery store… *and* the to-do list was full of Spring Cleaning chores. Trio just wanted to play video games, watch The Flash and chat with their friends. But they’re all quick enough to complain that we “ran out” of Nutella. Or that they can’t unearth their skateboard from the garage pile. Or their sweatshirts don’t fit anymore. Or irritated because the van door isn’t opening. I’m the One who has to deal with it all.

Usually riding over these reactions is easy for me. I can understand and sympathize and rally the troops in a way that meets all our goals. This weekend I could not. I was sick and tired of being the One. She who will cook. Clean. Rally. Encourage. Mediate. Remind. Be patient. Coax. Shop. Remember *everything.*

I just didn’t have it in me this weekend.

So when Lil Miss refused my cheap-o Dinner-on-a-Dime, I had little wiggle room in me to cajole or insist or seek to understand. My heart was playing the tape that I’m not good enough to do it all. And is she objecting because our dinner wasn’t the usual roast & potatoes – it’s a close-to-the-poverty-line week for me, and my fear of making a bad career choice echoed in her refusal. I vaguely wondered how this might be better if I had a partner to help in these moments. My mind and heart was full of my own feelings and deficiencies and concerns and fears. I knew I was actively missing an opportunity to connect with her, but… well. I didn’t want to. I felt wrung out.
I managed not to yell (as I had already done that a few times in the last day or two), but just told her she could eat her dinner or leave the table for her room if she was that sick.

Ugh. I know.

She didn’t want to leave the table, she wanted to be around her family, and had no other ways to tell me that she was feeling ill. She reluctantly had a bite of delicious soup and promptly threw up all over the table – looking startled and unsure. My poor middle son nearly followed suit until I managed to encourage her to dash to the bathroom. I divided my time between cleaning up her mess, and comforting her in the bathroom. Pup certainly helped with cleaning the floor (ohmygawsh, it’s so gross when he does it, and yet so helpful too – totally mixed reaction from me!).

In the moments before she was sick, I could see she looked pale. I could see this was unusual behaviour from her. I knew there was another reaction I could choose, and yet I didn’t. She sweetly thanked me for taking care of her, and told me that I was right – that she was sick and should have been in her room.

She remained flat out on the couch, and after the 3rd time dashing up the hall, I gave her a pot to keep beside her. The boys and I tidied, and put out the garbage, and we all chilled on the couch watching The Flash until bedtime. My oldest and I enjoy Sunday Night tv together: typically The Walking Dead, but the season finale was last week. He really wanted to watch another program with me, and shoo his sister upstairs, but she was still so pukey, I couldn’t leave her be. He and I will watch it tonight.

I realized that I might have experience parenting small children, and I’m familiar with what that might feel like inside of me, as a mum and a person. I made space for their emotional development and needs in an easy way that didn’t trip many of my tapes or emotions. It’s harder, I’m finding, to parent teens and tweens – they look and sound like older people, and yet their emotions and insides are more similar to children. They are capable of judgement and derision and haughty stares in a way that is totally expected and normal for their development – and yet, creates strong reactions in me! I know they don’t have the life experience or the emotional maturity to understand how that might impact others. When I choose to connect and strive to understand and try to climb out of my own spiral, I find we navigate these challenges better together.

The tough lesson for me this weekend is to still trust my gut instinct – a blip is just that, and not a harbinger of a New World Order. Hm, and to trust that trio are still the same people as when they were smaller – loving, happy, zany, independent – but are also trying to figure out who else they can be.

We’re all trying to figure things out together.

 

xo

Mto3

A day of warm fuzzies

It turns out I like Valentines Day. 

Yes, I’m one of *those* people… 

While it could be considered gimmicky or some attempt at something, I say whoa. I used to buy trio board books about love, now I buy them books I know they’ll love. 

Cookies, cupcakes, breakfast for dinner, hanging out, being lovey – Valentines is a day when we can do that with abandon.

Squeeze your people. Love yourself. Have a treat. Be nice to strangers. Watch a rom-com or a full out romance. Read a book. Have a bath. Have another glass of wine.

Enjoy yours! ❤

Today’s to-do list

…and I haven’t even folded in “regular” house jobs (sweeping, emptying dishwasher, feeding animals) nor any of my work tasks. 

Busy days go by faster! And I figure there are more voyeurs than just me 😁 I love seeing what other people do in a day.

The muffins are yummy tho!

Have a great day!

xMto3