Saturday, July 12, 2008

Keepin' Up

It seems that recently I have read several blog posts about the difficulty of parenthood. Maybe I notice it more because I am struggling too. I'm searching for the answer on how to be a better parent. So I read them and realize that I am not alone in this struggle. That I am one of millions of of you, who care about you children and want to teach them to do what is right, to be kind, to be obedient. And when things don't go the way I think they should I get frustrated, impatient and ,yes, angry. And so I read again and again how others struggle, too. I am not alone, you are with me and most importantly Heavenly Father is with me.

I read this post and it really settled with me. So much so that I told Webby about it. Now if you haven't gone and read it yet, go do it now...I'll wait. Back...okay. If you decided not to read it, yet, it's about expectations. Not just just with our children, but with each other and everyone else. But in this context I'm talking about my children. I really have been trying to look at my relationship with my girls with new eyes. When things start falling apart I need to take a step back and ask myself if I am expecting too much. Honestly, 99% of the time the answer is yes. I expect Sweetie Heart, who is only 6, to understand when I explain something like a 16 year old would and when she doesn't I get frustrated. I expect Sweet Girl to act and understand like a 6 year old or the previously mentioned 16 year old and get frustrated when she doesn't. I spend so much time sending them away to "think about what they did wrong" that I'm not looking at what thy do right. I'm not thinking about how I'm not communicating effectively to them.

Sweetie Heart has this tendency to micromanage Sweet Girl and it drives us crazy. She feels it is necessary to repeat or clarify what we are saying to Sweet Girl. It looks like she is stepping in as a parent and trying to usurp our authority. And sometimes she is. BUT after I read the previously mentioned post I got to thinking. I do that sometimes. Maybe, just maybe, she is trying to clarify things because she doesn't want Sweet Girl to be confused and get in trouble for not understanding. Maybe she's actually being a kind and loving big sister who is watching out for her little sister. And I really do believe that this is the case. Of course, there is still the fighting and yelling, the manipulation and bossiness that goes on. And that just gets under my skin. And so I send them to time out together. And, funny, then seem to get along in there with nothing to do just fine. But when I'm on the edge and just don't know how much more I can take, I take a little advice from a propaganda poster from Britain during WWII.


Those five simple words can make all the difference in the world. And I suppose they did. But the lasting effect in my home is great. I made little ones on my computer, mounted them on red paper and have them hung all over my house. That way no matter where I am, I am reminded what I really need to do. Just Keep Calm, take a deep breathe, and carry on, do not take it personally.

I know that I expect too much. I know that I am very critical of my parenting. I seek guidance from friends, teachers, even family therapist to do my best to figure out how to be a better parent and still I feel at a loss. And over and over the words are echoed in my ear from so many, "You are a great parent!" But I still don't believe them. I expect myself to be better, maybe perfect? I have said to myself about my children, "Lower your expectation," but I don't do that for myself. Yes, I need to continue to strive to be better, but my best is enough. And it's probably better than many who are out there (not you, though.) I am thankful to all of you for your help and support. As we mentor each other be become better, love can flow through us and touch, not just the lives of strangers, the lives of those we love so much.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I love your sign idea - I've been wanting to put one up about the small and simple things to help me keep it all in perspective. I've been having similar overwhelming feelings lately.
Luckily, we had a great lesson in RS a coupla weeks ago about 'by small and simple thingss, are great things brought to pass'. I came home and did a little homework. You oughta read Elder Wirthlin's "Little Things Count" and Elder Ballard's "Daughters of God". Good Luck!