Saturday, August 29, 2009

Working on regrets

I (like most of you, I'm sure) have the image of "the perfect me" in my head that often seems just out of reach. I need improvement in so many areas it's hard to know where to begin to make changes, so often I just do nothing more than I'm already doing. Last week in church someone suggested we take 1 goal and work on it exclusively for a shorter period of time like a day or a week. I really started thinking about this today.

Since coming home with Walt I've felt like an escalating broken record with Dean. Part of it is because he's having a hard time adjusting, "Please don't touch him. Get off of him. It's NOT NICE TO POKE HIM IN THE EYE! What did I just say? LEAVE HIM ALONE! For the love!!! If you do that once more you're going into time out. That's it!" But some of it comes because he's just at that stage where he feels compelled to get into everything. "Get out of Dad's desk. Please don't open his drawers. Don't play with his stuff. I said DON'T TOUCH HIS STUFF! You can't eat his candy. You CAN'T EAT HIS CANDY!" He's figured out how to pull a chair to the counter and climb on up. Looks like I'm going to have to start locking up my knife block. I feel like I yell a whole lot more than I used to and I don't like it one bit. That needs some attention.

Another struggle I've run into is family meals. My family ate 2-3 meals together every day growing up. I think it's super important. There are lots of benefits to it. Despite my feelings on the subject, we don't eat meals together as a family at the table. At all. Well, Dean and I eat breakfast together in the morning, but Matt's never ready to eat before he goes to work, so he takes a yogurt or something with him. I rarely eat with Dean at lunch for some reason. And then dinner. Ugh. Don't even get me started. Ok, I'm started already so I might as well finish. Dean has an early bed time, 7. That means we start his bed routine at 6:30. That means if we were to eat dinner together it should be between 5:30-6. When I teach piano I'm usually not finished teaching till 5:30, but it doesn't really matter since Matt's not ready to eat that early anyway. So I generally end up slapping something together for Dean, getting him ready for bed, then making our meal. Nearly every night Matt and I eat in our computer room, doing our own thing in front of our own computers, barely interacting. Sometimes I wonder how this came about, though I know full well how it did. (After talking about it with Matt, we've decided to try and institute an earlier family meal time at the table.)

Then there are health related regrets. While I consider myself a generally healthy person, I definitely have my days where I don't drink enough water, eat too much sugar or snacks, don't eat enough lunch, don't eat enough veggies, etc.

And we can't forget how I fall short of personal and spiritual goals. I don't study my scriptures that often and even struggle to read them sometimes. Prayers could use some attention. We used to be really good at FHE, but that's fallen by the wayside. I'd like to waste less time in the evening at my computer and either read or get more projects done.

Ack. As I write this all down it feels like my list of "NEEDS IMPROVEMENT" is longer than I originally believed.

So, I think I shall try a goal a week. Focus on 1 thing specifically that week. For example, this week I will try to have dinner made and on the table by 6 at the latest. Next week maybe it will be no yelling or harsh words, regardless of how ornery or disobeient Dean is. One thing at a time and hopefully some things will stick.

Wish me luck.


marzy dotes said...

Good luck! you certainly are not the only one who struggles. I could post the same thing about myself. There is only so much time in one day and when family members are demanding your attention every second it is hard to be "perfect". Having kids is like going through a refiner's fire. It's anything but easy, and because it is so hard, we have the opportunity to turn those weaknesses into strengths. Opportunities we wouldn't have if raising kids were a piece of cake. It's a good thing these kids are worth every ounce of hard work! I like the idea of working on things one at a time. It does seem a lot less overwhelming.

Also, I am sure you are doing more things right than you think you are. :)

Writer Mama said...

Read the title of your previous post, Celia. "One month and one day"...since you've given birth!

Give yourself a break. Especially after having a baby, life freaks out a little. Dean's feelings have changed, and he's into the 2-year-old non-stop crazies. You're exhausted and Matt's probably feeling weird, too.

Put your knife block in the cupboard (mine's been there for years!), pull the chairs away from the table so Dean can't get up there, eat with your hubby as much as you can and if Dean goes to bed 15 minutes later, it's no biggie. Really.

I was around Ali for two weeks straight this month. She just gave birth to her third and her life is NUTS. I am amazed what a different stage I am entering, and how I've already forgotten some of the "life in the trenches" of new babyhood. It'll pass oh so quickly, and then you'll breathe a big old sigh of relief and kinda wish you could snuggle that newborn again, crazy times and all.

You're doing a great job. You're considering how you can improve, and that says a lot about you.

Sarah Pace said...

I totally understand. we all feel the same way and know that there are things that need changing.

What helps us and makes the day feel not so insanely crazy is family walks in the evening to kinda wind down. It seems to help our crazy life! just an idea.

Don't get to down yourself just, like you said, one thing at a time!

Juls said...

You and I struggle with the same things, sad to say I am still struggling with some of these, don't beat yourself up! I am glad that you and Matt already tried to work out earlier dinner (maybe for piano day you make crockpot dinners) and like the other comment, it will not kill Dean to go to bed 15 minutes later (although I know how precious after bed time is) good luck sista!!

Lady Steed said...

Your 'Needs Improvement List' sounds exactly like mine. Thanks for making that list up--now I know what needs fixing.

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

Don't worry. I'm not in the depths of despair or anything. I am just taking a personal inventory of how I'm doing with life. I'd give myself at least a solid "B", so I definitely don't count myself as a failure! =) I never was satisfied with B's though.

I found it quite satisfying to have a real dinner made for ALL of us and that we could eat with Dean even though Matt wasn't hungry. (He still ate with us.)

And you're welcome L.S. anything to help! =)

AmyJane said...

Trust's not just you. :)

Couldn't we all write a post just like this and list out the things that we need to work at. But we could also probably write posts about each other, listing the good. It's always easier to list the good about others and the yuckies about ourselves. I always feel glad that Heavenly Father has a more accurate picture of me than I do.

FWIW, we had a similar experience with mealtimes when Patrick was about this age and I started thinking about how he was going to start having real memories of these years and I really wanted us to eat together. So, we just did it. I started cooking breakfast every day, even though I'm not really that interested in food that early in the morning. Sean started eating dinner with us at 5:30 or 6:00 even though he's not usually all that hungry at that hour. We just kind of forced it along and within a few months it was just habit and we really do enjoy that time together now. Good luck instituting!

Ali Seaman said...

oh for pete's sake! you just had a baby. please don;t be too hard on yourself. it's good to see the need, but don't over do it! this is to myself,too b/c i feel the same way!

Lois said...

Just a reminder: You cook, clean,wash clothes, play on the floor, read stories, read scriptures with Dean, get the fam to church, make quilts, change diapers in a timely fashion, go to the park, bathe kids, love the kids Dad, use car seats, make a space for Dean to color, and then do it all again. Glad you are working on eating as a family. That will bring you joy in the long run.

Celia Marie (W.) B. said...

thanks mom.

Kristeee said...

I feel this way all too often. It's not that I hate myself or anything, but that I take inventory of my life and find that I'm wanting in various areas. Typically the feelings pass in a week or so, so I have to be careful to make an action plan before my "I'm doing just fine" attitude kicks back in.

Good luck!

Amanda said...

I think it's the hardest part of adding your second child, that you truly can no longer do everything perfectly anymore. Instead of having some personal time each day when child #1 takes naps and goes to bed, you have to take care of child #2 for SO MUCH of that napping and break time. Plus you are never fully in control of the situation again because you can't control how your kids interact with each other in a lot of ways.

Also another lesson that I have learned is that you should take what you can from both of your families, but you have to remember that your family is different in so many ways. Plus, you remember "home" the most when there were mostly teenagers at home, not infants. Your life is completely different now than mom's was when you were a teenager (not to take away from the great job mom did of course).

I have been thinking about time outs too lately, and I remember that when Chelsea was about 18 months, I put a gate at the end of a hallway that made an area about 3 feet by 3 feet. She went through a biting stage, and whenever she bit, I put her in the "biting jail" and firmly told her not to bite. I think I only left her there for a minute, but after a few days she totally stopped biting. I think that it worked so much faster than a traditional time-out where they go in their room and have fun toys to look at and play with. Anyway, maybe that is an idea you could try for Dean touching/poking Walt.

And of course, as everyone else has said, you have to give yourself some major breaks for a while. These boys will be best friends before you know it, but it might be the hardest couple of years until you get there, and then all you can do is try your best. I think that imperfection is good for us in that it makes us humble and empathetic and makes us rely on Heavenly Father more. Good luck!!!