I am a quick tempered woman. I grew up in a house with a lot of anger and sometimes even frightening rage. But this isn’t a post about placing blame on my parents or my situation or how I was raised to excuse my own behaviour, but one about standing up and owning up.
It is true what they say, that a child will bring out both the best and the worst in you. They will coax it out of the most unexpected places I assure you. The good, the bad, the brilliant, and the cringe-worthy. My biggest flaws are my fast anger and easy frustration. I snap quickly and recover quickly, but my words during that brief and red hot time are no less hurtful or unproductive.
As a stay at home mom of two little ones I am taken to my edge everyday. By the time Mike gets home I am often mere moments away from twitching and rocking on the bathroom floor. I wake up with grand visions of a day filled with frolicking in the fields wearing a sun dress taking beautiful photos of my beautiful children just like so many other bloggers I follow. They rarely, if ever turn out like that. I am usually running around from one chore to the next while intermittently changing dirty diapers and re-filling empty sippy cups until I finally get to go to sleep only to have our 9 month old wake up 5 or 6 times in the night only to refuse any comforting, singing, swaying, rocking, or patting that isn’t accompanied by nursing.
I know I am often my own worst enemy as I flail and muddle through our unstructured days. I crave boundaries and rhythm just as much as children do and when I don’t get it I get unruly.
I recently had a shocking realization that if I were paying someone for the care I am providing for my own children I would be incredibly disappointed and disheartened.
That was hard for me to say out loud.
I still stand by my decision to stay home and believe wholeheartedly in its importance.
There is no other job I would rather do.
But it is hard.
Harder than I had ever imagined or prepared for.
It is often a lonely, mind numbing job.
And some days I am just angry.
This isn’t to say I am giving up. No, no, no. I may be a lot of things, but a quitter I am not. I am simply lacking the tools and structure I need to make these early days good ones and I have access to plenty of wise women both online and in the flesh to remedy that. I have armed myself with many of the great books I see recommended by other bloggers I admire including Seven Times the Sun, Heaven on Earth, Creative Play for Your Baby/Toddler, Living Simply With Children, Above All, Be Kind, etc. I have even tried following some of the guides offered through Little Acorn Learning.com. Perhaps Poppy is still too young or perhaps I should just keep to the routine and wait for her to catch on. I don’t know, I’ve never done this before. All the books paint a lovely calm picture of free play and helping with house work, but it never happens that way. She would rather bang the broom over Silas’ head or dump all the water on the floor than “help” with sweeping or dishes. Am I doing something wrong? Am I expecting too much from her at 2? We don’t have Waldorf schools nearby to observe so I really don’t know if I have a good grasp on what to do in daily situations. And it doesn’t have to be a purely Waldorf day either, I just appreciate the calmness and ritual aspects that a lot of daycares can provide. Let it be known that I am in no way against good daycare, but would like the best of both worlds in which I can watch my kids grow and change while giving them the benefits and activity daycare provides.
I would love to hear your suggestions on life with the under 2 years of age category, but in the meantime I have created a plan in hopes of getting on track. I have found that the best way to get my mind in the right headspace is to treat this as my job and our home as my “daycare”. I know this may seem odd, but it really hit home when I thought about what I would want in an ideal daycare provider and then realized I wasn’t giving that to my own children on a daily basis.
I started with a list entitled “Daily Rhythm” with the outline of how our days will flow; our inhale and exhale is you will. It includes things like waking, chores, meals, snacks, outdoor time, nap time, story time, crafting, baking, family time, bedtime routine etc.
I then broke it down into a daily work sheet to fill in so I can organize meals, snacks, and activities for the day and added a weekly colour, letter, plant, animal, and number to work into our daily activities. I did this so I can be sure to have all the necessary supplies in the house when the time comes. These will evolve as the kids do and as I become more inspired.
I am doing this for my own sanity as much as I am doing it for my children. My anger is deep rooted and often more than spilled milk and broken items, but sometimes it is just that.
I am working on it.
go gently + be wonderful