Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Trying To Be A Better Mother

A bouquet I cut on Mother's Day

You may have noticed that I have been absent from the Blog World. I actually went an entire week without checking my blog at all. I committed to staying off my smart phone (that is where I do all my online activity) for that week. I made an exception for things related to my Etsy shop because I spend very little time checking my Etsy dash board. A majority of the time I am on my phone I am on one of two places; Blogger or YouTube. I challenged myself to stay off of those sites for an entire week.

This challenge came about because I have a hard time getting my chores done, doing the things I really want to do, and mothering. As wicked as I know that it is, I don't like mothering very much. It is hard, it is messy, it is inconvenient, it takes a lot of time, and it means I can't do the things that I really want to spend my time doing.

I was griping one night a few weeks ago about Boy In The Mid-west making a watery messy in the kitchen, which threw a wrench into my plans of setting up dinner roll dough for company we were having the following day. It was past 9PM and I was going to have to be up past the time I wanted to anyway, before he delayed me. I was mad. Mister In The Mid-west thought he could tell me how to fix my problems, and that just made me in a worse mood. All of his "solutions" sounded like more work.

He said I should put BMW to bed by 8:30 or 9. I don't want to go lay down with him and try to get him to sleep for 1/2 an hour and then get back up in time for me to get ready to go to bed myself. I don't stay up late very many days in a week or it puts a lot of strain on my system. Besides, we aren't always home by 8:30, especially on church nights. I refuse to stay up late so that I can do things that I should be able to do during civilize daylight hours. I have yet to put BMW to bed before myself, but I have been trying to go to bed when he is tired and not making him wait until I am finished with my evening routine. I had to give up my exercises before bed, which made me sad. I feel like they really helped me de-stress at the end of the day and gave me some mental clarity and focus.

Mr. In The Mid-west also mentioned all the hours I spend on my phone during the day. If I really want to make the most of the daylight hours then I should spend less time on the internet. I can't argue much with this point, especially after trying it out. I was able to do more of the things I really wanted to, the only problem: I couldn't write blog posts about the neat things I was doing. (I did take pictures, though, and you will see them soon.) I want to figure out how to do both; manage my time and write blog posts about what I have done. Maybe I will figure out a way to do both. I have thought of using only one day a week to write posts and doing more useful things the other days.

Another solution of Mr. In The Mid-west's was for me to wean BMW. I really balked at this one. How do you expect me to be able to put him down for a nap? If he doesn't take a nap I am definitely not going to be getting more done. I did do it, though. I day-time weaned BMW, cold turkey. I thought he would cry for hours if he didn't get what he wanted and that would make my life so much harder, but he didn't.  Since I was trying to be more productive I wasn't sitting down on the couch as much and BMW didn't realize he was missing his milk. When he did ask to nurse I just told him, "No," and I would take him to the kitchen to get something to eat.  I normally have a hard time getting BMW to eat much real food. I was worried that he would go hungry if I didn't nurse him, but he started eating more of his real meals instead of being hungry or wining about not getting to nurse. I wasn't optimistic about getting him to take naps, but, that too, wasn't nearly as difficult as I had thought it would be. I usually read the Bible to him when he is tired. He would ask for a pillow and blanket if he was tired, and in 20 minutes he would fall asleep. Sometimes it takes longer than that (much longer) but it is not to bad.

Another thing Mr. In The Mid-west said to help, was that my number one job or priority should be caring for BMW and not planning and preparing meals for Mr. In The Mid-west. I really like cooking and meal planning. Meal planning and cooking takes up about 90% of my productive time. Grant it, I should be having more productive time, but as things are 90% of my productive time is used preparing food. I did take Mr. In The Mid-west up on this suggestion, though. I think Mr. In The Mid-west has regretted saying it. He misses me cooking for him. I made a large meal, and then served leftovers for several days. I didn't make hashbrowns, French fries, homemade tortillas, or English muffin breakfast sandwiches. Nothing time consuming or complicated. I normally think about the next meal as soon as the current one is over. I have not been planning ahead as I experiment with Mr. In The Mid-west's solutions and he is not liking the results. I will have to try a rotating menu, or something. I have been able to do a better job mothering without cooking so much. I have not been as annoyed with BMW messing up my plans because I have no plans. I need to find a balance approach.

The past couple of weeks I have been able to do some neat projects. I have successfully potty trained BMW. That is a huge victory! I have played with him a lot more. I have stacked a lot of Legos, read a ton of picture books, and put together puzzles. At the end of the day I can't always say I have much to show for it, but at least BMW has had a mom that is present and spent her time with him.

Quite frankly, I don't feel like playing with a two year old all day is very rewarding. I keep asking Jesus for help with my outlook in my prayers. But it takes a lot of prayer before I get help. I am also encouraged when I read scripture, but the proper perspective that comes from reading scripture doesn't last long in my mind. I need to be getting more and more throughout the day if it is to have an effect. I am grateful that I have God's words at my fingertips and that it does have power. I don't know what I'd do without it.

This post is a glimpse into my personal life and struggles, but it is just a glimpse. The main reason for putting this story out there is to keep things real. Most of the posts I write are about things I have accomplished, but to keep a balanced perspective I, also, want to show some of my failures.
Another reason for writing this post is because the conflict between pursuing my interests versus doing my real job does have an impact on this blog. I do believe in my heart of hearts that mothering is the most important job in the world, but my feelings don't always agree. BMW often gets in the way of my crafts and projects and in those moments I would rather be doing what I want to do than what he wants to do or needs me to do.

1 comment:

Haley Smith said...

You will find the balance! Jerusha has her own set of kitchen gadgets and on market baking days I try to offer her those to play with, or let her "wash dishes" while I work. Nap times are big helps. Wyn has just started to get in my way so I'm always putting piles of cheeerios on the floor or letting her play with a little flour, a texture she loves for some reason.
I'd encourage you to work on the bed time thing.. I usually put the girls to bed around 9:30 and don't stay up past 10:30 myself but it gives me just a little chance to step back and relax and maybe take a short of write in my diary. It's my me-time. Usually I don't do any house work during that the bit sometime I know folding those baskets of laundry will make me happier than reading, so that's what I'll do. Some nights Jerusha doesn't want to sleep when it's time but she IS tiredsl after reading and praying together I'll tuck her into bed and lock her bedroom door. Some nights she'll get up and knock a couple times and when I don't react she'll go right back to bed and fall asleep. In the beginning she'd cry for awhile but crying isn't going to hurt her and I just had to stay busy so my heart wouldn't give in ;)
Maybe I'm a mean mom but I do think the girls will remember the nice parts, I hope so, at least!