Thursday, March 4, 2010

Captain Mommy on Deck Makes Me Ill at Ease, But a Good Hug Means Fair Sailing

I'm cultivating a little more of an "attitude of gratitude" after delivering a little shakabuku action to myself while rereading what I've been writing lately.

An article about a new book caught my attention about cultivating happiness in your family's life. The author of Raising Happiness, Christine Carter says to ask yourself two questions:

1. When are you happiest with your kids?

2. What part of the normal day with your family routinely causes suffering?

My happiest moments with my kids tends to be when they wake up in morning, and sometimes even more so, from a good nap. In fact, I love, love, love, the things that come out of Big Kidlet's mouth when he wakes up from his afternoon nap. It's like busy little electricians have been furiously working on the wiring inside his little head, and when he wakes up the light switches have been flipped on. In the morning, I look forward to the moment when I open his door, and he pops up in his crib, unzips his crib tent (yeah, it's only for show these days), and fairly trumpets "Good Morning, Mama!" followed by all the things he can't wait to tell me. When I lift him from his crib we share a big hug, and recently I noticed that he has picked up my habit of humming while hugging. Now Little Kidlet also comes in with me, and he grins and wiggles to see his brother, and Big Bro Kidlet is equally excited and eager to get at him and insists on choosing one of his crib animals to share with his little bro while he's getting his diaper changed. In these moments I feel so incredibly blessed.

My hardest moments are in what I'll call the "have to" moments. "You have to wash your hands," "You have to climb into your carseat," "You have to let mama change your diaper." These are when my patience is at its most stretched, and usually it is exacerbated by an equally as impatient infant close by. When I forget, or am too lazy/distracted to build in extra time for Big Kidlet to move through these transitional times, that is when we suffer, and the meanie mommy monster muscles her way into the situation. I have a snarky habit of saying "aye, aye, Captain," to my husband when he gets bossy and commandeering, which is a not so veiled reference to my childhood with a Naval Captain. Well, truth be told, the anchor didn't fall too far from the ship. Madame Captain reporting for duty.

Where do you find the most joy with your kids in your daily routine? Where do you find the most woe?

I also read a quote that is post-up-prominently-in-my-house worthy:

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter don't mind, and those that mind, don't matter." ~Dr. Seuss

Write that down...

Photo from the George Eastman House Collection

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I had to google crib tent. I had no idea what it was. lol

    Times I find the most joy with my kids on a daily routine: breastfeeding, of course, because we take time to really slow down & just be (unless I'm nak :o ) and whenever they have discovered something new to do or see. I love watching them discover the world and who they are. My heart grows larger than my body every time I see it.

    Times that I find the most woe: Those times that hit my triggers. I was parented in a way that showing emotion was unacceptable. So, crying, yelling, whining, etc, always bring up a surge of irritation in me because that was my example. I use that feeling as a wake-up call to reconnect, get down on their level, and really see what is happening. Lately, it's bedtime because ds1 is going through a developmental stage in which hours of crying and kicking feet try my patience past the point of breaking. Hopefully, this will be short-lived. Saying, "I'm sorry" and modeling NVC reflection is helping whenever I slip and some irritation or anger shows.

    Now, if I could just excise the soul-scarring mom guilt...


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