Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Finding Balance in Our Home

Life is good. It's not dramatic, it's not hectic, it's just what I've always hoped for: totally, painfully, blisfully normal. As in almost everything in life, we're all constantly learning. John and I learn different ways to communicate and make our marriage strong despite his schedule, the boys learn everything at an astonishing rate, and our family learns how to adjust to the ebb and flow of life.

My short term goals are to find balance in our life for the next few months. I'm working on:

1.) A screen-free day. We're doing quite well here. Let me just say that the boys really didn't watch that much in the first place but quitting the tube all day is difficult. As the kids wake up, I have to imagine almost 95% of stay-at-home-moms do the same thing: flip on the TV for one show so you can make a quick breakfast. Nine times out of ten we turn it off and head outside or play inside. But, if the weather is bad or someone is cranky I will turn the TV back on for a show or even pop on a movie. It's no on all day. Ever.
The past few mornings, we've had it off at all costs. The first day, in fact, I had to unplug the TV because it was Turner's habit to turn it on. The boys wake up, wake me up and then we get milk, breakfast and sit at their table. I've been sitting with them to eat instead of rushing around to clean/check email, facebook, etc. We'll read a chapter in a book and then it's game on for whatever they fancy. Usually it's running wild!
Ideally, I'd like to be up 30 minutes or more before they are but I'm just going to get what sleep I can right now. We'll roll with the punches and call it a day.

2.) Not raising my voice. The kids have reeeeally picked up on my raised voice. I won't say "yelling" here because it's not been yelling. They're so little it's not like I'm screaming at them. More like speaking loudly when I feel like I need control over the situation. Right now it's Turner asking "why?" about E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. and his "no" response to even the simplest things. It's driving me insane.
I have noticed the boys saying things in that heightened tone to each other, or their toys, out of frustration. It bothers me because as kid my mom was always speaking with a raised voice. I know it was, and still is, her personality but I always felt like I was being yelled at -even in most general conversations.
I'm trying to find balance in those situations where that tone is required (for example: Eli running toward the street does not require a silent action!) and where it's not (Turner's incessant "NO!").

3.) Accepting help. ...in the form of two toddlers. It's messier, takes longer and isn't perfect, but it's worth the restraint on my part. I thought I was doing a good job at letting them "help," but after spending a few days really letting them get involved I can see that I wasn't letting them do much at all. More of my energy (when I can spare) is going to be spent on having them help me pick up. I don't mind going in later and straightening to my liking -especially if it helps me feel more 'together' the next day.

This may not seem like a lot on the surface, but it's a start. A positive about the deployment: I think it's given me more time to focus on these changes. I hope we can establish something different around here now so we can deal with the incredible changes in July -a daddy and a baby!

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