Saturday, April 19, 2008

Balance

Before Christopher was born, I assumed that Ashlyn would get much less attention from me. I knew that she was just going to have to wait for me to take care of Christopher before I could meet her demands. In part because Christopher is so easy-going, he is the one who gets less. I've put him on the floor in the middle of nursing to rush Ashlyn to the potty. I generally put him in the bouncy seat while I take care of Ashlyn's lunch, dinner, toy, crying, etc.

Last week as we were leaving the commissary, Christopher started getting upset. Because I couldn't feed him immediately, he was screaming from his car seat which I'd put on the grass next to the car. As the bagger put my groceries in the back, I rushed Ashlyn to "hurry, hurry," because Christopher really needed me. Plus, I felt bad that he was just on the ground, screaming. After tipping the bagger, I grabbed Christopher out of his car seat and got into the front seat to feed him. Ashlyn started crying from the backseat that she wanted a "princess snack." I told her that she couldn't have one until this afternoon. She started screaming about the princess snack. As I'm stuck in the front seat feeding Christopher, I started yelling at her because she wasn't going to get the princess snack and we would go home after Christopher was finished and why couldn't she understand that she needed to HUSH!


As I told Allen about my frustration with Ashlyn at the commissary, I found myself saying that Christopher couldn't help screaming, he was only 3 months old, but Ashlyn was nearly 3 years old. Then it hit me, Ashlyn is ONLY nearly 3 years old. I felt terrible about expecting her to be so grown up and understanding. She was hungry too, and had seen me put TWO packages of princess snacks in the cart.


My frustration with Ashlyn didn't end with our shopping trip, though. As I wrote earlier, Ashlyn stopped napping. When one child doesn't nap, I just have a very full day. As I was trying to fold clothes on yet another no nap day Saturday, Ashlyn climbed into my lap. It isn't easy to fold clothes while a child is in your lap. As I found myself thinking "why does she ALWAYS have to sit in my lap?" I remembered again that she wasn't even 3. In just a few short years (or less) she isn't going to want to sit in my lap every time I sit down.

I try to remember to hold onto all these little moments when Ashlyn wants me to come outside and look at the moon. Or when it takes FOREVER to walk down the street because Ashlyn must pick several dandelions, daisies, and berries.

At the same time, Christopher needs some attention, too. He doesn't DO a whole lot right now, so it is easy for Ashlyn to demand more attention. I also need to clean the house, fix meals, and do a few things for myself.

Just trying to find that right balance.

7 comments:

Natalie said...

Argh. I'm short fused and Liv has been challenging. I KNOW that she's only three. But, if you read my latest blog post, I just can't help getting frustrated with her. I know it's not okay. I too am trying to find balance and patience. It's so hard when Liv gives Lila a black eye and laughs at me as she slither's out of her time out chair (while I try to calm Lil down) I just lose it.

And the snack issue!!!! AHHHHH. Why are my kids always hungry? They can eat three pancakes and eggs and be hungry 20-mins later. I'm on the hunt for snacks that keep them full longer. Suggestions?

The Dunns said...

You spoke to the biggest mommy issue ever! Sure, there's milestone comparisons, sleep deprivation, scheduling difficulties, menu frustrations and more. But the biggest guilt trip (for me, at least) is "am I meeting each of my kiddo's individual needs?" and "how much is what I'm doing going to cost me in future psychotherapy bills?" ;) And they each have such different needs, different "love languages". I find myself expecting Daniel (4) to act like a little adult, Mikey (2) to act like a 4-year old, and Ezra (6m) to entertain himself when I need to tend to everything else.

I have an advantage in that Daniel and Mikey have built in playmates and they do play so good together (for the most part).

I find it just as important to go easy on myself as it is to go easy on my boys. God's grace can cover a multitude of failings.

Ok, time to get off the computer and pay attention to my kids! :)

Farrah said...

The search for balance is not limited to parenting, that's for sure. I find myself wondering how I can work 8,000 hours a week, thus meeting the needs of my clients, how I can spent time with Mike and go to his soccer games, how I can clean the house and feed and play with our three needy pets (please, Snuffy, do NOT jump on the bed again at 1:00 a.m., and don't ask again if I can take you for a walk!!!), how I can prepare to teach twenty adults how to seek the heart of Christianity, how I can prepare for Monday night class and serve on the Vestry too, and oh, my, how I can cook something to eat. The resting, well, I can't fit that in yet. There does have to be a balance, because otherwise we are tired and empty, but the demands seem so imminent. Best wishes for patience and joy.

Jackson said...

Well I don't know much about balance - I've only got the one boy. and at 16 months I try to just encourage him as much as I can to be independent. I heard/read somewhere that this may help a bit with Ashlyn - place a "special Ashlyn box" filled with different and special toys/snacks that she may not get all the time and let her go get something out of it when you need time just with Christopher. It may give you 5 or 10 minutes without the constant interuption. Jackson has his own snack space in the cupboard and I let him go get one thing for morning tea and again at afternoon tea - he gets so excited about getting a treat! (homemade oatmeal and raisin cookies) that he yells "COOKIEEEEEE" like a hundred times.

I'm getting off track - basically I think you are doing a great job finding the balance - or juggle as it may be some days. xoxoxo
christal

Harrisongranny said...

WHY do your posts always make me cry????

Because they remind me of what I WISH I had done more of....and what I KNOW I didn't do!

All of my daughters-in law are far more astute(?) at being able to choose how to parent than I was at that time in my life! I wish that I could've done so many of the things differently...so I can only apologize now to the GUYS for not being more patient and more attentive to them when they were the ages of my grandchildren now. I THOUGHT I was doing so...but looking back now, I can see so much differently!

You are doing a super job...and just as I told Christal when she was here...THE REASON that our grandchildren are SO PRECIOUS...is because their parents have done such good jobs with them.

I feel so fortunate to have SO MANY grandchildren who are being raised by such loving and mature parents...SEVEN OF THEM!

Hey...maybe we DID do something right back then...even amongst all the impatience of those times!!! :)

The Far North Krabbenhofts said...

Wow, do I hear you Angie! It is so hard to know/do the right thing all the time, heck even half the time! It's easy to fall into expecting more than you should of your older children. I often find myself giving very little attention to Nicholas and then I have to catch myself and focus on what he is telling me. I agree with Christal's response, it's more like a juggle than a balance. And, the more children you have, the better juggler you must become! The fact that you are conscious of it is the main thing, now you will know to have realistic expectations for Ashlyn, even if you don't all the time, at least it is in your mind. Take care, you are an AMAZING mom and person!!

sara said...

You are a great mom and juggler, Angie! Kids don't mind too much if you drop the patience ball every now and then. They know everyone has bad days. After I yelled at Max the other day (for something that was, in hindsight, really stupid) he just looked at me and asked if I had had a bad day at work. I promptly cried & got a hug & it was better.
I think moms feel like they have to do everything perfectly & they are selfish if they do anything for themselves. Perfectly clean house, perfectly behaved kids & perfectly put together selves. Its impossible. (says the woman with the dusty house!) Take care of your self & the kids will be happy