Thursday, January 31, 2013

Day 14: Humour 20 days towards more mindful parenting

Last year I attempted to go through the twenty day exercise of being a more mindful parent that was started at The Parenting Passageway. However I only lasted until day 13 and even then it was several months between posts 11 and 13. Well as fate would have it Carrie is going through this exercise with her readers for the second time and it looks like I can pick up where I left off.

The topic is humour. Perhaps it is time for me to finally read Leonard Cohen's "Playful Parenting". I've had it for years and read sections of it as needed but I've never read it front to back. Maybe it would give me some tools and insights into my broody son that I plopped in the snow is his sock feet this morning. Yes bad parent moment. He did get his boots and coat on eventually but what could have been a funny, break the ice, moment just ended in a whole lot of mad.

I remember when I was younger I felt embarrassed and totally lacked confidence in anything except my academic abilities. Even then I didn't put those on the line in anything I could fail at. I remember a particularly humiliating moment when I grabbed something off a shared plate at a restaurant at dinner of which there were only two. My parents were shocked and let me know in no uncertain terms that it was unacceptable. I felt the sting of humiliation on my cheeks and in my eyes and the awful fluttering in my chest. I don't know if I apologized... I hung my head but I doubt I apologized. It always felt embarrassing to say I was sorry, still does. Watching my son I often wonder if he feels the same way. If my harsh words and criticizing tone that comes out all too often make him feel ashamed. I need to learn to laugh at myself more. My husband has helped me with this over the years by gently teasing but even he knows he can't push it too far or I will clam up and get angry. Wait... that sounds just like my boy. How can I help him learn to laugh at himself when I have barely learned to do it myself.

He is boiling over right now and perhaps laughing is just what he needs to get him to express himself. He is doing a drama class in school. It's mandatory and he hates it. He hates putting himself out there and feeling silly. Perhaps we need to institute a little silly into our day. It might be awkward for the both of us since serious is our main game but it is something to try. Right now we need something.

The Balancing Act

It's been a while, almost 2 years since I wrote a blog post. Life has been busy. I am a graduate student taking a double degree in nursing and informatics. My husband had a car accident 2 months ago that injured him. My mom moved in and then moved out. My brother got married. My grandmother in law passed away. Yeah life's been moving at a fairly fast clip. I feel like I need to slow down. I am only taking one course with a full time coop this semester. That means 3 courses next semester though.

My boss in the computer world wants to know what my future plans are and if I plan on continuing to do a couple shifts a week there. The thing is I can't afford to. I like the experience and the people but the money isn't enough. Working Monday to Friday when you are used to the shift work and having weekdays off to catch up is quite the adjustment. I am not adjusted yet. I am wondering if I made the right choice. It is a mental challenge but there's a huge risk of failure which puts me on edge all. the. time. I thought perhaps I was striving for management or an executive lead position out of these degrees. Now I am thinking that the kind of lifestyle that brings with it. The late nights, early mornings and weekend work are not what I want at this point in my life. I am not cut out to be the stay at home mom but am I cut out to be the Executive mom who never makes it to her kids events because work is always in the way? I doubt it. Is there a middle ground? Can I have my career and be a present parent too?

As for the kids D is turning 4 this month. She is turning into a very emotionally insightful little girl, even if that means that she cries a. lot. She likes to dance and sing. She hates to compete unless she knows she can win (and then she gloats). Stress overloads her to the point of bursting at the seams. She is a clumsy sort and falls down standing still on a straight surface. She is loving. This morning I am home sick and I sent the kids to school and daycare. D had tears in her eyes and she snuggled her blankie and told me she would miss me. I could feel my heart tearing in two. I wanted to keep her home but knew I would get no rest then. Sigh... was I being selfish?

M is 6 and in grade one. He now reads and sings in both French and English. His logical, analytical, rule following brain helps him do really well in school. So well in fact that he is 'helping' another student who is doing less well in school. However the teacher mentioned that he would be 'helping' and they would get lunch treats on Fridays in their 'meetings'. The way that M explains it is that he has to remind this other child not to talk to much. It sounds like he is being rewarded for being a nag and a tattle which can't be making him very popular with the other kids. I really don't agree with this but I'm not sure if it harmful enough that I should request that it stop. I cannot picture what kind of fall out that would have.

This parenting thing is hard. Which is part of the reason I decided to not have any more kids. I made the decision on my own without my husband who had been on the fence about this for a long time. I always thought we would have one more. But the thought of a baby at this point in my life makes me want to cringe. There are all kinds of factors like money, time, career aspirations, personal fitness goals that impacted my decision. I always thought I would just 'know' that I was done but I think I needed to feel good about me and where I am at before I could close that door. So it's closed, but not locked for a year as husband wants to wait that amount of time before making it permanent if you know what I mean ; )