This Too Shall Pass
October 8, 2012 § 2 Comments
I’ve been out to three evening meetings this week. And it’s killing me! I can’t remember the last time I was this tired: during pregnancy probably! I’m learning that these couple of hours in the evening when I cuddle up with my boys is the only thing keeping me sane at the moment.
Boy will be four in two weeks’ time and his hormones are certainly letting me know. Baby, at 10 and a half months, is gearing up towards another massive developmental leap, and is a right pain in the rear, to put it bluntly. He’s on the brink of walking. (He’s been making me laugh though, somehow he’s left it until now to discover his feet are chewable – I really wanted to post something about his latest developmental leap being Yoga but the camera is nowhere to be found every time he goes for his feet! Or anybody else’s feet either – I think he’s getting a little bit feet-obsessed….)
I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m about. What and who the messy mama is, what I do.
Who I am, fundamentally, is a wife, and mother, and an artist.
I love painting, and I’ve loved painting with my Boy. He still loves painting but with Baby so mobile now it’s tricky finding the space and time to paint together without destroying the house! To be honest I don’t think I’d really mind that much if the kitchen units got covered in paint. They’re old and tired. Maybe I’ll paint them white and then we’ll do our messy painting next to them. Yeah.
I am a breastfeeding (extended), babywearing, baby-led-weaning (both starting solids, and stopping nursing) and attachment parenting advocate. I believe these things are best for my kids, and for many others too.
But right now I feel like such a rubbish attachment model.
Today has been tough. My nearly-four-year-old is so fully in his own world of childhood play and imagination that even if he hears me he doesn’t listen. He is still only a small child, I need to remind myself that. He has not listened. He has lied. He has deliberately (and accidentally) hurt his brother. He has shouted. I have shouted. Lots. I have tried not shouting. We have talked. Properly. He has appeared to listen, he even discussed consequences. These aren’t punishment consequences, they are matter of fact, if you hit someone with something, it’s going to hurt them, they will probably be upset and cry, sort of consequences. If you don’t listen to me when I ask you to stop, I’m going to end up yelling for you to listen to me and stop because you are about to break something, hurt yourself, hurt somebody else and I can’t always come and physically stop you. I really need to take a step back and remember that he’s not even four yet. He’s still a child. And he needs to play. And I need to sleep, so that I have the energy to take him outdoors to play! No more evening meetings for me. Not yet….
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn apprehension.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn envy.
If children live with shame, they learn guilt.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness, and consideration they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and those around them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn that the world is a nice place in which to live.
– Dorothy Law Nolte
I saw this posted the other day and it crushes me because of all the ways I am failing. I still love it, I still intend to put it on my wall somewhere as a reminder, as inspiration, as motivation to do better as a parent.
Notice I said as a parent: not as an artist, not as a woman. Not as a house-cleaner.
My husband left his old job and started up a new business doing acoustic consultancy this summer and we’ve had a tough few months as a result. For starters we’ve pretty much had to learn to live together again, with him working from home. In parts it’s been great because he’s been able to see the boys more. He’s been able to be a much bigger part of Baby’s life, seeing him develop and grow; and he’s been able to be a much bigger part of Boy’s life, Boy who loves his Daddy so so so much and just wants Daddy to play with him.
We’re just waiting for jobs to come in now, basically. And the stress is really getting to us. Our communication is suffering badly. And me trying to get my little craft stalls organised in the middle of all this – well, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth all the additional stress.
As far as the messy mama goes, I’m still trying to find that balance between supporting my husband, looking after my children, and painting just enough to stay sane. I could easily put my Self first, concentrate on me, on what I want to do. I could happily do that sometimes, to be honest. Finding my feet in painting again has been a tonic for my soul recently but I’m having to learn that I can’t do EVERYTHING. I can only do what I have time to do. Pushing myself to do more is not actually healthy or useful for anybody right now.
After tomorrow’s mini-stall at our toddler group, and a christmas craft fair stall in November, either I’ll know what I’m doing by way of how to organise a stall, or I’ll have had enough and will be sticking to Etsy, putting things up for sale as and when rather than pushing for a deadline! The craft packs are on hold for the moment. I’m hoping that they will make a comeback in the new year though, more polished, more organised, and with less stress for me each month to get them out.
And I’m still going to be painting.
When I get the chance!