My children have been out of school for exactly 13 days, and already, my parenting standards have dropped to an all-time low.
Summer got off to a shaky start this year, and I’m not sure whether to blame that on planetary alignment or if the fact that summer vacation came abruptly early had something to do with throwing us off (our school district is one of those in the Northeast that paid us back for unused snow days, hence, the school year ended several days ahead of schedule).
We have been struggling to find our summer groove. It’s a hectic summer, for starters. In years past, we have gone from a busy schedule to no schedule. This year, we are going from a busy schedule to a different busy schedule. There are swim lessons for my younger kids, swim team practice for my oldest, Swim meets on weekends that require us to travel to neighboring towns at ungodly hours of the morning, enrichment classes for the boy, and Miss F’s competition cheer practices (which require a blog post of its own).
I have not risen to the occasion as valiantly as I would have hoped. At least not so far. I have committed many parenting sins the past 2 weeks. Below are my 7 deadliest:
1. I allow the TV to be the babysitter
Laundry, bills, blogging, cleaning toilets. I used to have a few hours a week to get these tasks done while the children were in school. Now that they are home with me 24/7, it has become more challenging to get through my to-do list. Since our monthly cable bill costs the same as hiring a babysitter for one afternoon, TV is king when I need to get something done.
2. My kids' eating habits are not always compatible with my nutritional beliefs
If you are a regular on this blog, you know my disdain of processed sugars and preservatives. Yet, there are days that my children live on this stuff for the sake of convenience. If I run out of time to feed them on our way out to swim practice, we hit the bagel store. I have already nuked more chicken nuggets that I can count, when I am trying to quickly get everyone out of the house for an afternoon at the town pool. If I spend the morning with my head buried in my blog, I don't always plan ahead enough to ensure healthy meals. And then, all of the sudden, I am cooking pasta for dinner. Again.
3. I glare and hiss at my kids
For the most part, I have stopped screaming (thank you, yoga). However, I still, on occasion (on occasion meaning daily), hit that point of justcan'ttakeitanymore. When "focusing on my breath" does not compensate for whatever button is being pushed, I find myself talking in a snake hiss. It's almost as if I reflexively go to the most opposite place of screaming, which is a whisper, instead of going to the scream. But it's an evil whisper, that of a nemesis character in a sci-fi movie. My eight year-old does a mean imitation of it.
4. Sometimes, the occasional curse word flies out of my mouth within their earshot
When focusing on my breath and hissing does not alleviate the pressure valve of a tense moment, mumbling a stream of consciousness rant to myself, including a teeny bit of foul language, takes away my impulse to scream. There is an odd and unexplained correlation between the two. If you experience this as well, I would love to know!
5. I use sarcasm more often than I should to regain control of a situation
When focusing on my breath, hissing and cursing don't work, I have been known to use sarcasm. "Don't forget to whine," is one of my classic lines with my eight year-old. Like she'd really forget?
6. Sometimes, I still wind up screaming
And then I feel awful and apologize profusely afterwards. Screaming may not ruin their day but it ruins mine.
7. I don't always follow through on punishments
In the heat of the battle, I've been known to hiss such statements as, "You will spend the entire day on the bench next to me at the pool club!" (in my sci-fi nemesis voice, of course) or even worse, "No TV this week!" Like I'd be willing to go a week without the cheap, built-in babysitter.
This week, I found a great blog link up called the Weekly Chase, created by Melissa of the fitness and motivational blog Live Love and Run. The Weekly Chase is a forum where we list our goals for the week and then report in the following week on how successful we were in meeting them. This week, one of my goals was to spend more time with my children. Despite the different type of juggling I have to do in the summer, I want them to be my first priority. As a blogger whose mission it is to help my readers live the life they love, I must remember first and foremost that love begins at home.
I believe that we are all trying the best we can at any given moment, although, there are times when there is a mighty line between my intentions and my actions. Hopefully, when my children are older, they will remember how much we laughed more than they will remember the hiss. Hopefully, they will recall how they slept with my arms wrapped around them on stormy nights more than they will remember the occasional curse word. Hopefully, they will remember our lazy afternoons at the town pool more than they will remember the hour here and there in front of the TV. Hopefully, they will remember the love more than the mistakes.
©2012 Ilene Evans