Saturday, March 1, 2008

Self-Improvement

My precious boys are back from Florida. Emily squealed so sweetly and passionately when they got into the van. We stopped to get some fast food near the Cleveland airport, since it was dinner time and all were hungry. Toward the middle of the meal, Emily looked up at me, from Daddy's lap, with just a hint of sadness. I think it dawned on her that she would have to go back to sharing me. It seemed like a short-lived disappointment, almost as though she decided, in her fourteen-month-old wisdom, that her brothers were worth it. Life is good. My cup runneth over. Lord, thank you for bringing them back, safe and sound.

I told the boys how much I missed them and Daniel said, "I had too much fun to miss you. Is that bad to say?" I told him no, that wasn't bad at all. Surprisingly, I was not hurt by his statement. Or was I?

My husband and I did not grow up in homes full of humor. Not surprisingly, we aren't parents who crack jokes or laugh constantly, and sometimes I feel badly about that, for the children's sakes. Many other families probably laugh much more than we do. I feel strongly about the value of humor, and of fun, and I have to work harder than many to ensure that it is a part of our lives. The fact that Daniel didn't miss me means he had five days of joy, of play, and that makes me so relieved, so glad.

My heart tells me that there is a lesson to be learned from his statement as well. I am too much of a worker bee, resulting in too little time spent just BEING with the kids during the day. Sure, they get one-on-one time with me through homeschooling, and that's good and rich. But it's not the same as just hanging out, enjoying each other.

Trouble is, without my husband suddenly picking up fifty percent of the household work, I don't know how I can reform my worker persona, so that the children find me more available and more relaxed. This has been on my mind for a while.

A month ago I had instituted a "Special Time with Mommy" segment of our day, but it has gone by the wayside. I need to bring it back and figure out how to make it stick, no matter what. As well, I need to really ask God for help in not going to my favorite website until all are in bed. My MOMformation habit is excessive. I read posts as they come up through the day, rather than reading them all at night after the children are in bed and Don is at his second-shift job. Granted, it only takes a few minutes to read them, but it is distracting to me and actually a bit of an addiction. Emily's nice long naps give me opportunity to sneak away to my computer too often.

All these self-improvement issues are so draining for me. I realize that most people have something in their personality that is excessive in some way. It is part of human nature, really. However, while raising children, the excesses can get in the way of best-odds parenting. I don't want to be living with regret ten or twenty years from now. Regret is ugly and sad; I hate it. I want to turn around and run, just run, far away from regret. Help me, God. You alone know my heart. Help me be the parent I want to be. I know you can't suddenly make me a comedian. Nor can you change the fact that I relish time alone. But you can help me be a person of balance. I'm confessing my need. I can't change on my own. I need you.

5 comments:

Mama P said...

Arwen says the same thing about her addiction to stuff like Momformation. You two should chat.

Also, I won't be offended if you take yourself off the RSS and then just check in every few hours. Support is good, but distraction, not so much.

I have been there with the writing, too. Has someone new left a comment in five minutes? It's too much. It starts running my life rather than enhancing.

Time to come up with a plan, girl! You can do it!

And yeah on getting your boys back.

Ashley said...

I've been falling into the Momformation addiction trap too - it's just so nice to see other moms writing. I also feel it has an effect on my parenting, and my constant prayer is that I don't eat the bread of idleness. Do you want to be accountability partners?

I'm so excited to learn you homeschool - I plan to do that with my children too. I've already done a little preschool education with Isaiah, and it's so rewarding to see him learn from me. I'm glad you have your boys back, and I have no doubt God knew what he was doing in making you their mom, despite the fact you aren't a comedian. You are just who they need.

Evenspor said...

There's something comfortng in knowing so many others have the same problem as me. Let's all work on it together. :-D

Ashley said...

I'm so happy you want to do that! My e-mail address is ash.walz@gmail, and I'll definitely check it and pray for you. I also want to limit my Momformation time to Isaiah's nap after I've done my devotions and the evening after I've gotten the house picked up and lunches made for the next day. My husband and I are reading through the New Testament together in 40 days right now because we have approximately 40 days until our little girls is born. I'm hoping that reading my daily passages while my husband reads them on his lunch at work will help me stay focused during the day on the priorities God has set for me!

Ashley said...

How did today go? I actually had a pretty easy time sticking to my goals, partly because God provided me with a surprise power outage in the middle of the day, so I didn't have access to my computer anyway.