Monday, June 15, 2015

Expecting.


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. :)

15 comments:

  1. Ahh yes the listening and the hounding. I'm going through the same thing with my son and I can see the sadness in his face when I'm always on him for doing something and not doing something. I always tell myself I have to loosen up but it's tough when I crave order. It's all a learning process this parenting thing isn't it? Thanks for the post.

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  2. Lovely post. Thanks for checking in with us!

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  3. Yes! I have an almost 4-year-old girl. She's so tall and articulate that it's sometimes hard for me to remember that she's being totally age appropriate. She's only 3!

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  4. This was a perfect post! My son is 12 and I definitely find myself nagging him much more than necessary. Like you said, we just expect so much from these wonderful little people! I am about to become a stay-at-home mom in a couple months with another son entering our lives in August and I really hope I can recall this post and the lesson when I am home raising him. Thanks for all your amazing posts, including on IG. ;-)

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  5. We were always held to very high standards as kid (our generation, as a whole) and there are so many kids these days who have no manners, don't know how to sit still and quiet when it's necessary, and so on - and I think a lot of us parents fear that if we DON'T nit-pick all those little things, our kids will be one of those hellions. I read that viral post about Slow Parenting awhile back, and a lot of it really resonated with me - but my word for the year is "intentional" so I'm more interested in Intentional Parenting - nit-picking when it's necessary to raise the kids "right" (i.e. teach them proper respect and manners, etc.) but also just letting them be kids. Too often we "parent" the "them" right out of them, and it's so, so important (and difficult!) to find a healthy balance.

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  6. As a mom of 2, this just made my day. Thanks for keeping it real and helping me put my issues into perspective. 😊

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  7. What makes you an amazing mom is that you actually heard henry and are taking his words seriously and always striving to be a better mom!

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  8. About a year ago I came across a post on Maskcara about some similar issues. She ended up reading & recommending a book called Duct Tape Parenting. They are both great reads, you might enjoy checking them out.

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  9. I spent most of the month of May soli traveling with my little one, and although I had family and friends around the entire time, I felt the burden of parenting him alone, especially towards the end like you said. I kept thinking "single parents are superheroes". Good for you for pausing and being introspective!

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  10. Two things: congrats on you for not only recognizing this but also talking about it in a public space, both hard to do and I so appreciate your honesty and candor; secondly, kudos to you also for raising a child who, rather than clam up or continue with challenging behavior, expressed his feelings to you. That's a really big deal and he obviously feels adored and supported to do so. We all have moments that are not our best, but they turn into the best when we recognize the bad and change it. Safe travels and thanks again for writing this post...

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  11. We are there right now with our 3.5 year old son, I even felt my husband getting grumpy with me for the amount of telling off I was doing. You're right, there is a line and this was a great post to read right now! Thanks

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  12. When I saw expecting as the title I totally thought this was gonna be a pregnancy announcement!

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    1. This is the second time I've accidentally done that recently! I need to be more aware! hah! Sorry ;)

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    2. I thought the same thing!!!!

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  13. I'm having such similar feelings lately. We were at the beach Monday and I kept telling Lyla not to do this or that and getting angry with her, then I look around and I'm like wow she is acting better than 99% of the other children around and their parents are probably looking at me like I'm a lunatic. I wasn't yelling or anything but clearly I was expecting perfection from a 4 year old who just gets very hyper and ecstatic from being at the beach! (We are in Ocean City NJ!!). At the end of the day I sit back and think maybe I'm just the one without any patience and she's acting totally normal for a 4 year old.

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