Monday seems to be my new day for posting. Happy Monday to everyone out there in blog land. I actually like Monday morning; it's the day I go in to work late so I can stay later in the evening. Once I get the older kids off to school I have a few hours to run errands, catch up on housework, and recover from the weekend before starting a new week. (Don't ask me how I feel about Mondays later tonight. A busy morning followed by 8 hours of work usually leaves me exhausted by 10).
I've been re-learning a few lessons these past few weeks:
1. Not everyone is going to like me or like the things I do. I recently got called to be in the Primary presidency as the secretary. While I'm thrilled to be in a more active calling and I love being in Primary with the kids, I'm remembering what it is like to serve in a presidency and to be more exposed to the gossip/complaints/opinions of those in the ward. I've been running into similar problems at work, as my personality and my opinions have run up against those of other people. It's easy to make myself a little crazy trying to make everyone happy and do everything that others suggest. I can't do that. I have to make choices and own those choices, in a positive and not defensive way.
2. Even if other people are negative or don't like me or make bad choices, I can always choose to act instead of react. This is kind of the corollary/counterpoint to number one. It's easy to just say "I don't care what people think because they'll never see things my way so I'll just do what I want." I can be dismissive at times of other's opinions and even condescending when they don't do what I want. I'm still trying to smooth out some of my less kind mannerisms and learn how to present a more calm front even when I'm upset inside. I keep reminding myself "I set the tone" in my interactions, because it's true. Last night we were trying to have Family Home Evening and P.Bibby was throwing a major tantrum because she wanted to hold (and rip) the puppets Little Dude had carefully made for his lesson. I tried putting her in time-out, but she just got more hysterical. So instead I wrapped her in a tight hug, sat on the couch, and chose I Am a Child of God for the opening song. By the time we got to the third verse she had stopped sobbing and we were all able to have our lesson in peace. I was proud of the fact that I didn't let an angry toddler and a generally bad day ruin a good moment for our family.
3. I really do love my kids even when they aren't behaving like I want them to. I need to figure out how to let them know that I love them. January has been a hard month. The weather has alternated between freezing cold with terrible air quality and massively snowy. Little Dude's foot has been broken for the entire month, so he needs extra help with everything and S-Boogie is feeling neglected and resentful. P.Bibby has discovered her autonomy and her whiny voice and thinks that "but I want it" is a good reason for doing whatever she wants. We really haven't left the house for a month, but despite that fact the place is a giant, cluttered mess. The kids have had way too much screen time with movies and their iPods. I'm not sure we even like each other anymore. But, deep in my heart I know we do. I haven't always been patient with them and I haven't been enforcing rules and routines like I should. Everyone is feeling stressed out and out of whack. Like I said in number 2, I can set the tone. I'm going to make February our 'month of love' and we are going to do things that help us feel love for each other. I have long felt that love is a choice, and while being in a family presents a chance for us to love each other, that love isn't automatic. One of my biggest priorities as a parent is making sure my kids now I love them and helping them love and bond with each other. I've been neglecting that lately but I feel a strong urge to try harder in this area. We'll see how it goes.