Friday, February 8, 2013

NOT Parenting with grace

Tonight is one of those nights that I am glad I changed the name of my blog from "Parenting with Grace".....because there was certainly NO parenting with grace in this house tonight.  

My oldest twin (they are really 3 months apart) has been naughty ALL. WEEK. LONG!!!!  I am at my wits end with her.  She is a very strong personality and has a "take charge" kind of attitude.  I have been struggling with how to encourage this trait in her while also ensuring that she also learn how to obey directions from authority (ME) and not overstep her boundaries.  

Here are just some examples of her behavior that have driven me to near madness this week:

1. helped herself to a bag of chips after I specifically told her "no snacks". (It was an hour until lunch and I had told her I would get lunch ready in a few minutes). 

2. slammed the door in my face after I asked her to leave it open

3. Played Wii after she had lost the privilege of Wii for the day!

4. After I had asked her to sit in dining room while I made her hot cocoa she gets up and heads into living room to see what baby sister is doing.

5. Left my broom on the deck (in a snow storm) after I had told her to take care of it when she was done.  When I told her to go back out and get it she hollers at the other twin to "GO GET THE BROOM!"  

6. Removes the comb from the bathroom and loses it in play room. (special comb needed for our two African beauties-I was unable to do hair tonight because of this-they all know that this comb is OFF LIMITS!).

7. Repeatedly knocking her drink over at the table because she has an incessant need to touch EVERYTHING in her sight!

8. Hitting her sisters....

Ugh....the list goes on and on.  I have struggled to figure out what exactly it is that she is doing and why it bothers me so much.  I mean, come on, when one child seemingly keeps getting in trouble don't most parents try to figure out what the root cause is?  My conclusion is that she just can't stand to not be in charge.  She has to always know where everyone in the family is and what they are doing.  She is constantly taking things from her younger sisters because "she can do it better."  She is a boss. She is a bully.  And I am at a loss!  

I have taken away privileges, spanked her, used time out, sent her to bed early.....And, I've even tried the opposite....keeping her busy to make her feel like she's contributing to the family (she used to love to help), playing games one on one with her, fixed her hair nice including beads (she loves to feel "pretty"), etc.  NOTHING is working!  

Tonight I snapped!  I sent her to bed in anger, lashing out harsh words one after another, not even listening to myself and how ridiculous I must have sounded, dishing out one command after another about staying in bed until I came and got her in the morning, and taking away all dance privileges for the rest of the year if she didn't "turn it around" in the next few days.  (Now that's a clear order any child can follow, right?)  She was sobbing. I was yelling and slamming doors.  It was ugly! 

Meanwhile, the other twin was laying in bed in shell shock from this ridiculous behavior on the part of her mother.  I'm sure all of the behavioral psychologists out there must be cringing at the damage I have done in our attachment therapy, which has been a slow process since adopting her 6 months ago.   

I know I need to make things right, but for right now I just need to distance myself from her and cool off.  I am praying that tomorrow  will be a new day and that she will miraculously turn it around and start behaving, but somehow I doubt that will be the case.  For now I need to pray that I will be able to "parent with grace" for each instance that I'm faced with.  


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ask for Help!

So, many of you know my crazy husband, who is filled with grandeous ideas to save the "at risk" child at a time!  This drive of his leads to many trips around the world.  His latest endeavor has him in India for 10 days.  That may not seem like a long time, but when you have a husband like mine, who is ever so helpful around the house and is actively involved in the day to day care of our children, then his absence is sorely felt by all!

When he first started on these trips I would smile, wave good-bye, then begrudgingly undertake the day to day grind of caring for our family.  I would "suck it up" and pretend like I had it all together, because, after all, isn't that what "good" wives and moms do?

Many years and many tears later I have learned a valuable lesson.....ASK FOR HELP!!!!!  Nobody expects me to manage caring for a household of 5 young ladies all alone. (I was the only one who was holding myself to that standard.)  So, yesterday, I did just that.  I picked up the phone and called my trusty SIL and asked her to take my Monday afternoon carpool duty, which involves dropping D off at 2:30 to piano lessons, picking D up at 3:00, dropping S off at 3:00 for guitar lessons, taking D to math tutor, returning to pick up S at 3:30, then returning to pick up D at 4:30.  And if that doesn't sound crazy enough I still had dance lessons and swim practice, so guess what I did?  Yup....I picked up that trusty phone again and texted my neighbor and asked her to take dance "duty" for the night, and if she would mind dropping S&D at swim on the way (so they were a little early, but it's all in the name of my sanity, right?)

Now when I first started asking for help I felt....wait for it.....GUILTY!!!!!   I am glad to say that I didn't feel a twinge of guilt yesterday. I felt a sense of relief. I knew I was doing myself and my family a great favor by not putting such high expectations on myself that I could never live up to.

By releasing myself from transportation duties for the afternoon I was able to focus my morning on homeschooling my girls, knowing that I would still have time to make dinner for my family, which we were then able to share with SIL and her husband as a thank you for their help.  It also gave me some much needed time together with my little girls, which is sometimes hard to come by in our crazy evening schedules. (My two oldest girls swim 5 nights a week and my husband works evenings, so much of our time together is spent in the car.....not always so much fun.)

I wish that I had learned the art of asking for help much earlier on in my motherhood.  I think many moms fear asking for help.  Society places such high pressures on us to be able to "do it all".  We "should" be able to hold down a full time job, get the kids the best education possible, cart the kids to all of their extracurricular activities, make the family a home cooked meal, and still look good for the hubby when he comes home.  For some reason we still live with the "Leave it to Beaver"  and "Happy Days" mentality of motherhood.  I encourage you to LET. THAT. GO!!!!

I did and my family is ever so grateful that I did!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Name Change

When we got back from Latvia this past summer, I actually thought about changing the name of my blog.  Let's face it....there wasn't always a whole lot of "parenting with grace" going on in our household and I found myself, on more than one occasion, not wanting to share things in fear that it wouldn't exactly be what people were expecting when they logged onto a blog with that name.

When we returned home I was the proud mother of a 12, 11, 5, 5 and 3 year old.  In less than 2 weeks my oldest will turn 13 which has led me to think about what life will be like with a "teenager".  This led to my new title, "Teens, Tweens, Twins & a 3 Year Old".  (I'm still not sure what I'll call it when my youngest turns 4, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.)

I'm in hopes to be better about blogging some of daily life in our household. My goal is to share that I am just a "normal" mom with a crazy schedule, who sometimes blows her top while trying to parent this brood of girls.