I'm in a really bad place right now -- totally frustrated and feeling unappreciated... and tired. Very, very tired... I'm looking for inspirational stories of small changes that made big impact...
I've got 4 kids from 16 mos to almost 8 years old... and our family life is not so harmonious. I feel like I bend over backwards for the kids -- but I don't get the same thing in return. We homeschool (border on unschool -- the philosophy really speaks to me) but my kids are just soooo... ungrateful. I need to change something, but I'm not sure what... (and I also feel that they just don't listen to me... (ok, they can sometimes be so sweet too -- like right now they're all playing so cute together... even including the baby... ) (the thing that set me off tonight... the kids want to make an art gallery for this saturday when everyone is here for ds#1's first communion... and they wanted to sculpt big animals. So we spent the afternoon doing paper mache... but of course it went long so I literally had maybe 20 minutes to throw something on the table for dinner before ds#1 had to go to communion practice... I scrambled together and no one even took A BITE before declaring they wanted sunbutter and jelly instead... )
Sorry to ramble... please share some inspirational stories...
I don't have inspiration for you but maybe some new lenzes
- the cps - collaborative problem solving approach's mantra is ' children do well if they can and not if they want to ' - so they are doing the best they can .
Byron Katie says we can't fight reality , we must first accept the reality , this liberates us from our negative feelings about our kids and puts us in a position to think creatively
we must be selfish and nurture ourselves - it is for the kids
homeschooling - some kids join with other homeschool kids for certain learning - try to find ways to make things easier for you
I hope this helps
I have only two boys, age 6 and 8, not homeschooling, so I'm sure you have a lot more on your plate than I do. But, I've had similar thoughts. So, if you're looking for a mental trick or outlook that might help, here's one that has helped me sometimes. That is just clarify for yourself what is really important to you, what your priorities are and what you're trying to teach your kids. For us I am trying to focus on respectful communication and problem solving, with me, and with each other. That has become the issue that is bringing me down most in our family life lately. So, that helps me prioritize where I get frustrated, and what things I am happier to let go. For dinners, (and I often tend to quickly throw together something for the kids, but sometimes plan ahead a bit more) at least one kid often rejects it and just wants cereal. So, I have to decide really do I care? If I do, then it's easy for me to know that I insist he take one bite, or at least choose one veggie and one protein to have (he can get it himself from the fridge) before getting himself the cereal. If he asks politely and is following our table manner rules - then I am fine with him eating anything reasonable and I don't really take it personally that he doesn't like what I made. Other parents will have different priorities than me, of course. But be in control of what YOU feel the important rules are, and you'll be better able to explain them and hold kids to them. I am talking more about the older ones here, so you can give more responsibility (or insist on them taking more responsibility) in certain areas. That's another attitude shift that can be hard to recognize - that some are old enough to start to do more, and you can bend over backwards for them a little less. Lots of disjointed thoughts, but there they are.
I find two things help me in times like these:
1) get sick. Or pretend to be sick. :) It takes a house full of sick kids, or just me being sick, to realize my standards have crept wayyy past the basics. When things get bad, I try to remember that feeling I get when illness (or our recent plumbing debacle) have made me relax my standards a bit... and realize that things do get better.
2) I keep Unconditional Parenting and Playful Parenting next to my bed. Flipping through those to read underlined parts seems to sort of re-set my mentality and take a bit of the pressure off.
Of course, Mothering works this way too. And that's why I'm here tonight.
Distraction is not the same thing as play.
Be part of the diaper free revolution.
DS1, 6 years. DS2, 4 years. DS3, brand new! (April 2012)
Great idea for a thread! I have a few off the top of my head:
- Talk less (this works especially well if we find ourselves in that "I talk all day and my kids never listen" mode).
- Get to a place of genuinely high expectations - assume the best
- Have a "yes" day where you try to say yes to as many things as possible.
Brilliant!! and so funny! Love it mama - a good "in case of emergency" idea.
And a daily ritual about gratitude might help your kids get that concept and get to a place where they can feel and express gratitude better. It sounds (based on the first communion thing) like you're part of a religion where you say grace on a regular basis. Maybe include a little bit of expression of gratitude to you for making the meal, to farmers for growing and harvesting the food, etc.
Good luck! I've had the experience of no one wanting to eat a dinner I just worked hard on and it drives me crazy too!