Thursday, May 14, 2009

Parenting Self Speak

How is your parenting self speak these days? Do you find yourself going through your day with thoughts such as this: A good parent, finding some free minutes, would go into that playroom right now, get down on the floor, and play with those precious kids. A bad parent would go check the e-mail. Then, feeling like the lowest form of life, you go check your e-mail.

Is it because as moms we don't actually have a boss? When I work the church nursery I play with the kids. So why can't I play with toys at home? I prefer puzzles, reading books, or playing learning games, to actual toys. Toys that require me to get down on the floor and make a vrrooom vrrooom sound, whilst running cars over newly created roads - well, that kind of playing is beyond me. And I hate that about myself.

I saw the same thing in my mother. The kids would ask her to play with them and she always found a reason to say not now. I do the same most of the time. My husband is the player and I'm the worker bee. That has more or less worked well for us, but now that Daddy is busier - looking for jobs, doing grant paperwork - he can't justify as much play time. Mommy now must pick up the play slack. Studies show that children whose parents spent some time playing with them had better overall social skills (read that last year). I don't mean hours of play - just some minutes per day.

So I fail at that miserably. And I have this self speak that says good parents have orderly homes. They are never looking for matching socks while the congregation is starting the first song of Sunday service. No, good parents don't allow such ridiculous disorganization.

Last night during AWANA Award's Night, I saw that several children got more than one AWANA book done, plus review books. Our children were not among this group. The boys got only one book done each. Good parents, I told myself, spend a lot of time on Bible Study, and they do it consistently. No skipping days to put out various fires around the house (not literal fires, mind you).

How can I change my self speak so as not to feel like the lowest form of life? Last I looked there were no perfect people. But there are people who do their best. I want to be one of them. Am I doing my best but have so little leisure time that I check my e-mail for time away from it all? This job is so constant. There are no morning and afternoon breaks, no hour for lunch, to help rejuvenate one. Two fifteen-minute breaks plus an hour for lunch totals ninety minutes. Should I allow a time suck (blogging, e-mail, reading news) to take up ninety minutes and not feel guilty about it?

Tell me about your self speak and how you deal with that punishing parenting voice in your head. If you're one that has a cheerful, I'm-so-good-at-this self speak, tell me your secret.


ctdeyo said...

Oh, Pam! I could have written that second paragraph verbatim. And every time my butt hits the desk chair to check email, etc., the kids are in whining at me to play with them. It is my escape, too, but it does make me feel guilty sometimes. I just don't like to "play."

Carolyn said...

I love your transparency -- you're so real. I feel this way all the time. I especially like the part about trying to find matching socks on Sunday. LOL, my kids learned the definition of "phrenetic" this year and have made it a part of their regular vocabulary when we are rushing out of the house :). Todd Wilson, of Family Man Ministries is a former pastor and homeschool dad who has written several books on homeschooling. One of the books he wrote is called "Lies Homeschoolers Believe". It was a great book and was a tremendous encouragement to me. He also has three books of homeschool cartoons. Grace pulls these out when it looks like I am on the verge of a melt down.