Every day I struggle with the daily grind of waking up (the biggest struggle of all), meal preparation duties, mother duties, job duties, household duties, friendship duties, bloggy duties and on and on. More importantly, the duty to take care of myself too, both physically and spiritually. I can’t seem to get the motivation to be up and about. I start a project, then I quit. Most days I use the excuse of Chronic Fatigue and pain associated with Fibromyalgia, other days I put it down to just plain laziness. I’ll go along for a while then I have to tell myself “get ahold of yourself, woman, you have things to do”.
My will power and determination is as undisciplined as a two year old toddler. I need to snatch it up and tell it to grow up and take responsibility. But, all it does is stick it’s tongue out, laugh at me, then run away. Of course, this is very depressing and I begin to doubt my skills as a parent, my worth as a person, and my value as a friend.
In the middle of thinking about writing this post and trying to pull it all together, I encountered a minor moment with my daughter that was not the most pleasant. I am very relaxed about keeping a spotless house, therefore, I’m not an extreme stickler for her room always being spotless. We spend a lot of time just by ourselves and for the most part this works for us. It has been pointed out to me lately, frequently in fact, that I am allowing her to be selfish and lazy. Well, that IS the role model that she has… me, so what can you expect?
The “moment” with the other person involved crying on her part, hurt feelings on both sides, and a little bit of blood pressure rising. I, of course, had to step in and protect my daughter, that’s a mom’s job, right? I know I spoil her, I give in a lot, and she has got my number. She will even tell you that she has me all figured out. Nobody understands that my daughter does not always get her way, but I always get my way. Because I’m the mom.
I do little things to make her happy though, I cut off the crust of her bread, not because she is spoiled that way, but because of her eating issues, she has trouble eating the crust. I squeeze the tube of toothpaste for her, not because she is lazy, but because of the limitations in her fingers and hands, she can’t squeeze the tube. I brush her hair for her because she has limitations in her arm and shoulder and can’t reach the back to brush it completely. Any stranger that came in and saw me doing those things for her would naturally think I was spoiling her. Sometimes I forget that.
The “moment” I mentioned before involved a Christmas present my daughter received from her Grandmother. A guitar that is still in the box, leaning up against a wall in my bedroom. She has asked several times to play with it, but I have been sick in the bed for the past 3 days and I just haven’t felt up to listening to it or sitting with her while she is learning to play it. Earlier today she asked for it, and I was on the phone, and I didn’t answer her. So, the “moment” arrived later this evening. She asked for the guitar and when told “no” by the other person, she started to cry. It all escalated from there. I came from my sick bed and sent them to seperate corners.
First, I spoke to the other person and asked that she not be talked to in such a manner. Leah was being told she was “selfish” because she was not being considerate of me during my illness and that I needed rest. She cried and said she didn’t have anything else to play with. Uh, hello, you have 10 million things in your room that you can play with. And the crying got worse, and the blood pressure was rising. That was the point where I separated them. My BP was up too at this point, so it was taken out on the other person, in protection of my daughter.
Again it was pointed out to me that she wins, I always take up for her, defend her and she gets her own way. There is some truth to it. But the point is, I don’t approve of telling a 7 year old they are “selfish”. I try to be more creative about getting my point across instead of just saying that at the top of my voice. Unfortunately, my friend does not see it that way. I was asked, “Do you want her to grow up being selfish? How does she know she is acting that way unless you tell her so?” Fine, tell her so, but not by calling her names at the top of your lungs, and making her burst into tears. Call me crazy, but I just can’t take that. Unfortunately, my efforts to get my point across to the other person hit a brick wall. Our issue is still unresolved, as usual, for this is not the first time we have had a discussion on this subject.
I then sat down with my daughter in her room and explained to her that she needed to be more considerate of others. In fact, we later remembered that was part of her Daisy Girl Scout law and promise. That was a letdown moment for her. I apologized to her, and told her that I had intended earlier to let her have the guitar, but I forgot about it. Now I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I gave her the guitar now, it would appear to the other person that I was letting her have her way. Of course, the other person did not know of my earlier intention.
I have to keep in mind too, that this person’s intentions were also good and really not trying to be hurtful, but trying to be helpful. I’m not sure my daughter understood the reasoning I was trying to present to her. So I tried a little redirection, I told her that if she would clean up her room, I would do something in return for her. So the rest of the evening smoothed itself out with no more fuss. We ate dinner, she cleaned up the table, fed the dog, picked up the dog’s toys, brushed her teeth, and went to bed. Both parties apologized to each other and hugs were shared. All with no more mention of the guitar. And, no, she did not get the guitar. 🙂
So, as I mentioned at the beginning of my post, I constantly doubt my role as a parent and I always feel off balance. Just before going to bed, my daughter came to me and threw her arms around my neck and said you have the best parenting skills ever. Now how in the world did she know that? It’s not something I’ve spoken to her about. I brightened considerably, and on the inside I felt some of the constriction release around my heart and the tension ease from my body.
Earlier I mentioned that I was working on putting my thoughts together for this post, but I hadn’t found a true focus on it yet, but I already had the title in place “A Mission A Day”. I think I was going to focus on a plan for the new year, not necessarily a New Year’s Resolution, but a motivation for keeping my focus on the “prize” from each day, or a mission completed for each day.
Today I feel that a mission was completed, a confirmation that I do have a set of parenting skills that work, even though they don’t fall in the parameters of what somebody else would call good parenting. Now I feel energized and that I can accomplish one of my “duties” for the day. Even if it is only to get up and brush my teeth, brush my hair and put on clean pajamas (don’t forget, I’ve been sick in the bed for 3 days).
So, I am committing to recognizing a mission I completed each day during 2011. Whatever that mission may be… reading my Bible devotion for the day, or retweeting posts for my online friends, or having a small moment with my daughter to make her happy. No matter how small, I need to recognize it at the end of the day and be thankful that I am able to do those things. I want to present myself as a better role model for my daughter, and it’s time I made that change, to take responsibility for the good things, not remembering only the deficiencies in my life.
I have a few blogging challenges that I am considering joining in on that I hope will help me to focus on things that are good and delightful. I am so ready to end my day remembering the joy that occurred during that day and thanking God for giving me that experience.
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