Monday, June 15, 2015
Hello! It's been awhile, right? I decided not to worry about posting here so I could just try to soak up as much non-computer time outside of my regular work duties, which take up a lot of time on their own. It was a nice break! But here I am, here we are. We're currently on the Jersey Shore, staying right next to Island Beach State Park, and I can't even tell you how inspired I feel right now. I have so many things to share here but I thought I would just pop in and say hello while Charlie is napping, and share something on my mind- something that began on a piece of paper last night before I fell asleep-
It's been an interesting ride the past month as I have basically been "on" for a month straight. Not to say that I'm not always on, but the ease and benefit of sharing parenting with Hank has become so much more clear to me over the past few weeks. I've also noticed now, towards the end of the trip (four days to go!), how much Henry craves schedule and structure. And as much as I've noticed how much better he does with a day-to-day normalcy, especially after a month of not having it, I've realized a big thing about myself: I need to loosen up.
I lay in bed last night thinking so much about the expectations I put on him as an older brother- about what I expect from him as the "big cousin." He's expected to be a good example to the little ones, but just this morning at breakfast I caught myself nitpicking every little thing he was doing. "Henry, put your feet down. Don't kick Charlie's chair. Why aren't you sitting up straight? Henry, why aren't you listening?" He could do nothing right. It was part him truly not listening, but also part me being at the end of my patience and not parenting the best way I know how.
We've been back and forth for a few days- great behavior followed by meltdowns and terrible behavior. I know it's a mix of a lot of things: being away from home for such a long time, missing his Dad, not eating how we usually do...but I think I'm mostly to blame, which is hard to say out loud, you know?
Looking at how I've been handling situations recently, I see that I need to do better. Sure, children should be respectful and listen to their parents, but kids are certainly not perfect. And I think somewhere along the way I started to expect too much. Like us, little ones have bad moments, weird moods, off days. They're children. And this morning at breakfast when he said "Mommy, I feel upset when you get sad with me for just doing what I do," my heart broke.
There's a line. He shouldn't kick his brother's chair, but I also can't expect that he won't be moving around like the little boy he is. Henry and I need to meet somewhere in the middle, at a place where I feel like he is listening but also he feels free to be who he is without the person who loves him the most constantly saying "Don't do this. Or that. No, no, no." That's not any way to live or to grow.
So moving forward, my focus is to keep all of this in mind and do better. I will probably never feel like I am doing it 100% right, but I need to remember that Henry and I are on this journey together, and we'll be just fine if we keep trying our best. This parenting stuff is no joke, right?
I feel grateful to have a place to a share a bit of it here, with you. As always, thank you, thank you for reading. :)