her dad's blog one night and stayed up til 2 in the morning reading it.) So when I read this post, I cracked up and then clicked the link to see what was going on. Whoa, Nelly. Big stuff.
I think this is such a great idea. I found a prayer request that I could really relate to and took a moment to pray for this woman, and then asked for a little prayer for myself. I've been having a tough time of late with the kids- I've felt like my patience level was on low and that the values I really want my children to hold high were under attack. But to wage a strong enough war against the "norm" meant being on their cases so much that it was wearing us all down. There came a point where I wanted to throw up my hands and give up: Be spoiled. Be sassy and disrespectful. Don't care about anything by material "stuff". Bubs was being nuts, and not just asserting his 3-yr. old Independence- nuts, but hitting, kicking, throwing fits like we've never seen. I felt like some serious changes needed to happen in our family fast and wasn't sure what step I should take first.
So I simply requested a prayer for patience when it came to my kids and wisdom when it came to making the right parenting decisions. I just needed a little peace to help me clear my mind and regroup. And over the next few days certain things came to my attention: I noticed a lot of behavior pattern, I took note of how our days were really spent. Then certain articles in magazines would really speak to me and about our life, or I would somehow link up to some woman's blog who felt the same way I did (Love this one)...And believe it or not, I started to feel a plan forming, new ideas coming into light, so I just went with it. This is what happened:
I made a schedule. Seriously. I wrote down everything that needed to be done each day of each week and then systematically figured out how to get it all done in a way that fit into everyone else's daily routine. My goal was to have much more time to spend with Bubs and M during the day, and with Miss O when she came home from school. I wanted to be sure that if I was mopping the floors, at least one kid was napping, and the other was settled and playing, so that they wouldn't need me for that 15 or 20 minutes and I can knock it out uninterrupted. Getting it all down on paper where I could see it made a huge difference- I used to spend ALL day Sunday doing laundry and ALL day Monday and Saturday seriously cleaning the house- where now I take about 15 minutes out of every hour to do something, whether its fold laundry or sweep the kitchen- keeping things moving so it won't get backed up. I got a grip on what had to be done, channeled Tim Gunn and "made it work." (I am also seriously Type A and I LOVE lists. Love them, so this wasn't so hard for me.)
As advised by Bub's doctor, due to his issues with over-stimulation, we rounded up any and all toys that make noise and have flashing lights and politely asked them to find a new home. (This also started to solve my overwhelming feeling about how much "stuff" my kids have.) We turned the TV off WAY more- especially in the mornings and began to spend alot more time outdoors. We go on walks while Bubs rides his bike, we play "battabattabaseball" as he calls it, and of course, bust out the water balloons. We have also re-introduced ourselves to the Play-Doh, the AquaDoodle Mat and our big tub of crayons. They are calm, quiet and don't require batteries: Just what the doctor ordered. (Finding the right balance of being active mixed with calm activities he can immerse himself in has been tricky, but it has pretty much solved his pent-up energy= crappy behavior issues.)
We made the decision that there should be no more toys purchased unless its Christmas or the kids' birthdays. It has just gotten so out of control that nothing was special to them anymore. They weren't taking care of the things they had because they knew something new would be just around the corner, and especially with O, it became all about more, more more. One more Pet Shop. One more Webkinz. But when it came time to ask her to clean her room, she would cry and break down because she was so overwhelmed with the amount of "stuff" she had to deal with. It was too much her for her. And me. I was also getting disturbed by the fact that all she talked about on these online villages was getting more and more money so she could buy more and more "stuff" for her pets. It all seemed really shallow, and not the way I want my child spending these carefree years. (But, oh! The first time I had to tell her 'no' when she asked me to buy one little measly toy at the check-out was SO hard for me. But it had become a habit for her to ask, and a worse habit for me to always indulge. It was hard on both of us.) Something really changed in me to make me realize that we spent way too much time and energy in search of things, rather than enjoying time with each other and I had to be the one to say "Enough." I realized that I had been a really bad example to my kids, and have put myself on a spending freeze. We have so many great things going on in our lives right now, but every penny counts at this point and I have to hold myself accountable too.
Neither Bubs nor M are attending MDO this year, so I made the decision to teach him myself. I have set up morning lessons that we do while M has her first nap. I can't tell you a) how much fun we have b) have great it is to watch him grasp these new concepts and c) how special it is to see our relationship change so quickly. I have slowed down and given him my undivided attention as much as I can, and both he and I have calmed down alot and just feel a new sense of peace in our house. He's really so smart and funny and we all have really been enjoying him so much more.
I have also made a MUCH earlier bedtime for everyone. I know my kids and I know that they all start to loose it around 5:30pm. It just made more sense for me to be proactive and have dinner on the table at 6:00, so everyone can be fed, bathed and in bed by 7:00pm. Dinner is so much more enjoyable, story time (which is a HUGE deal in our house) is not rushed because we have plenty of time to relax and enjoy when its not 8:30 and I am rushing everyone off to bed because they have been nightmares for the past 3 hours. They have all been sleeping better, getting up in better moods and, not to be all Von Trapp-family, but it just goes to show that sometimes structure can be really good.
I feel like we had a "life detox", if you will. We've taken the past week to kind of clear our heads and really focus on what we want for our family. So I think my prayer was answered. I feel more patient, I feel like the tools I needed to start changing were revealed to me. And I think the biggest thing is the peace I feel for having made these "different" decisions for my family and not feeling the need to apologize for them. I think getting "older" (30! Gasp!, I know, don't roll your eyes) has made me realize that we really do have the power to make our own ground-rules for our own family, and not look for the rest of the world to validate what we are doing. I just keep hearing Dave Ramsey and his "Live like no one else, so later, you can live like no one else." I think that holds true for us now (and not just economically): If we unwaveringly take the time to educate and raise our children to be kind, patient and honorable people, than we can relax and enjoy them so much more as they grow up.
What do you need a prayer for?