Saturday, May 26, 2012
Brothers and Sisters
We've been having a bit of a rough go of it here in the last few weeks with the kids. Various incidents and trends have resulted in the need for extra family meetings, extra talking-to's, and some experimenting with eliminating television content I deem too violent and limiting all the remaining content that I don't deem "educational" to just one show per day per child. (None of these incidents has been major. Small stuff like hurt feelings between friends, interrupting me at work, or yelling at each other in public.)
It's incredibly hard to deal when the kids act out. Even though I try to just smile and walk gracefully through their public hiccups, nonetheless I still feel like their behavior is a reflection on me, and I'm parenting them in some very public ways, including at my place of work. It can be enough to cast doubt on whether this whole project is possible - to work full time and homeschool full time and still give everyone what they need and not turn myself into a gibbering blob in the process.
But yesterday I remembered: we've been here before. Whenever I've had prolonged periods of overwork (writing a Master's thesis over the summer, taking on too many volunteer commitments at once, or this recent taking a seminary course while working and homeschooling) the kids start to get poorly behaved, needy, disrespectful, etc. The solution has always been difficult, because it involves:
a. More Time Spent With Them
b. Calm, Happy, Loving Parents
c. An Unhurried and Simple Pace to Life
Those are the keys to getting my children to calm down and be happy, respectful, well-adjusted little people. But those are exactly what is difficult to accomplish when we are overworked and stressed.
I just got through a very busy 5 months (that was preceded by a very busy 4 months), and my husband managed to work 57 hours of overtime last month, and is continuing to do about that much this month. The kids have been champs, actually, entertaining themselves and understanding how much we have to work.
Now, I really do need to bring us all back to Calm. So, the limits on screen-time will stay in place, but more importantly I need to just focus on playing with them, or going on a walk, or working in the garden ... anything as long as it is Together, Calm, and Unhurried.
Last night we ate dinner outside on our back patio, then played baseball as a whole family for a bit, then my husband and the kids played with the goats while I did the dishes, and then he helped them work on the lego Millenium Falcon that is currently covering our dining room table, while I read a book nearby. Bedtime stories read aloud, and off to bed they went. That's the way it should be.