There are some basic ingredients to growing my family - love, patience and understanding. The ups and downs of life will always happen but as long as our foundation is built from those three qualities then I feel prepared to not only enjoy the good times but also to weather whatever storms come our way.
At times it can feel like the pace of our everyday lives takes over. When days start to drag but years fly by I know that it is time to think about how I am living - how I am parenting - and make some changes.
You see, like many people, my heart and my mind are filled with hope. I hope to be the best mom for my kids, the best wife for my husband - the best me for myself. I hope to make a difference and leave my mark on this big bad world. I hope to teach my children well.
When I am perfectly honest with myself (which, ahem, is REALLY REALLY hard to be) I realize that I have been slipping up. I have not been teaching by example and showing my kids that love sometimes is simply just listening, patience is answering with a warm but firm “no” each and every time my three year old asks to “help” fry the potatoes for dinner and that understanding is knowing that my one year old is not purposefully screaming at 3AM with gas pains (of course he actually wants to be asleep too.)
What’s my excuse for being bothered, impatient and annoyed? I’ve been skimming over the basics because I am at times too much: too busy, too stressed, too tired, too worried, too overwhelmed. Frankly, continuing to be honest with myself - GULP - I am human and can let myself be pulled in a million directions.
That is when sometimes I can snap, and I am not proud of it.
Before anyone gets all worked up I don’t mean “no more wire hangers” kind of crazy.
I just mean when I step on a lego after asking...telling...and finally firmly stating that all the legos need to be picked up I might then yell that the legos NEED TO BE PUT AWAY. NOW. Right now.
The result of any such outburst is usually me feeling bad, my kids momentarily wondering why mommy is red and then immediately I am left regretting my behavior and my kids go back to playing. It’s not really a productive way to be.
The thing is though, like everyone else I have a bunch of external pressures on my life. Work is hard, sure. There are not enough hours in the day, of course. Some jerk cut me off at stop sign this morning and I spilled coffee all down my last pair of clean pants because the baby’s been sick, my husband has had to work over time and the laundry didn’t get done. That’s just life.
The key to reminding myself how to always love, be patient and understand is remembering that what happens in life is not who I am it’s just the temporary details of my longer story.
Sure, there are weeks where everyone is sick and I am surrounded by bodily fluids pretty much 24/7. There are also weekend and day trips to the beach, time at the place where my family has the most fun - the aquarium - and of course all those tiny little spaces where laughter erupts at the dinner table or my sons give each other a genuine hug after a long day apart.
So, for me, 2016 is all about forgetting the outside pressures - shaking them off and going back to basics. Remembering that life’s little annoyances are details - they don’t make the story - they are just part of the description.
Basically, I want to stop yelling and nagging at my kids and have the way I behave be the loudest thing in the room.
I want what I do to shout out “Be good! Stop misbehaving! Mommy loves you but you have to be respectful!’ After all I am a writer - I don’t want to have to say anything! In all seriousness what going back to basics means for me is that every day, in every interaction, I will practice putting these words into action: love, patience and understanding.
I want to be sweet with my boys, smart with how I handle them testing boundaries, sensitive to them when they have a question or concern. I want to show them that the right way is to love and be respectful of others and that it is wrong to treat yourself and others badly even if it feels right in the moment.
I hope to raise sweet, smart, sensitive boys who grow into men who know right from wrong. I hope my boys become men who appreciate beauty and love with open hearts; men who respect others and because of their values and confidence are respected.
All of my hopes would be nothing but folly if I didn’t know a big secret. You must actively hope - your hopes are not something you can sit back and watch unfold for you. You have to work toward making your hopes become reality just like any other goal in life. In my experience if you do nothing your hopes will likely never become reality.
For this reason it’s important to me that how I am living reflects the hope I have for my kids and my family. Simply put: I want to raise loving, patient and understanding children so I need to, as a parent, practice approaching everyday life with love, patience and understanding.
If you'd like to read more about my highs and lows as a parent visit betterlifedesign.com where I share my own experiences as a mom - the good, the bad and the sticky.