Saturday, June 21, 2008

Why do I always feel like I am paddling upstream in rushing rapids

**Update** While typing this, Jacob asked to go lay in his bed- he has been sleeping for over an hour, I think I will take a deep breath a associate some of this with being tired from all the activity over the past few days.**

Raising three kids that are 4, 3 and 2 (almost) is a difficult job. I think raising one child any age is difficult, but why does it always feel like I am paddling upstream in the rock mountain rivers? Where are those moments that I look in the mirror and say to myself, 'It's all worth it?"

It seems that we can never have a day when there isn't someone throwing a tantrum. For months, even years, Isabelle has been 2 hand fulls for me. As of late, she has calmed down, as far as being a drama mama. As I feel hopeful about her new calm state, it never fails that someone else steps into that roll of making life difficult. Just once I would love to report that we have calm waters and joyful hearts and attitudes. For the past few weeks, Andrew has been testing the limits with me, and just as I think he is done and we are moving into a good place, Jacob decides to try out the rocky waters. I'm not sure where it's coming from and believe me I have been on my knees and face today trying to figure it out. Jacob is usually the one who will obey and set a good example. He is usually the one to care about other people and be a great helper to me and others, but whoa today he has morphed into a different person.

I am wondering if it has something to do with the kids he has been hanging out with. He has made choices that I would never have thought he would in the past. He is speaking with a tone and word choice that hasn't been heard. We have sat down, talked, and prayed together about this behavior and today, I had to spank. I hate doing this. I know that he knows better and that we have addressed the issues before. I don't understand WHY he chooses to make the choices he does. I don't know why he doesn't speak up and tell his friends that we don't do this or that because he knows it's wrong. He knows there is a consequence for wrong choices, but that doesn't seem to change anything. I am so tired of having the same conversations with him time and time again.

Am I being too hard on him? Am I expecting too much from an almost 5 year old? I don't think so. I expect him to listen, obey, and treat others kindly and respectfully. That's really all I want. Should I forbid him from playing with the only boys in our neighborhood until he can prove himself? Til I can trust him to make the right choices? Do I continue to say the same things and get the same results and continue the same discipline pattern? These are not life and death choices he is making, but I believe they are character shaping choices and my roles as his mom is teach him the way he should go. I know Jacob won't be perfect, I know he will continue to make stupid choices. How do I balance this? I only have so much time to influence his choices, and my greatest prayer is that he will come to a situation that is wrong and know and choose the right choice to make. When we talk about his choices and behaviors, I try to get a reason, although I know he probably doesn't understand. I always get the same response... "I miss my daddy and want him to come home. " I know he does miss his dad, he idolizes him, but I think he says it only becuase he is in trouble.

I expect crazy choices to be made by Izzy and Andrew and maybe the problem is that I don't expect it from Jake so I come down harder on him than I do the others. I love them all so much, I work really hard day after day to instill positive character traits and when I can't see the results or see the opposite I feel completely defeated. For those of you have been down this road, or anyone else who has some wisdom, please help me. I don't want to alienate the kids, I don't want them to learn to hide their mistakes for fear of discipline, but I do want them to be wise.

I probably sound like a crazy over controlling mom. I take this role/job very seriously. And I take it personally when it seems that I am not being successful. Wouldn't it be bad if I didn't care? I think anyone in the corporate world feels badly when they get bad feedback from their boss. Well, the kids are my boss, and I feel like I am getting bad reviews.

2 comments:

  1. Stephanie,
    I really think it’s having kids so close together. Mine are 4, 3, and 18 months and I tend to expect a lot from my oldest. In my mind she should know better and I know that she does but we’ve been having attitude problems a lot lately and frankly my husband and I still aren’t sure what to do. I think part of her problem is a lack of sleep (the sun shines right in their window every morning) but maybe it’s just the age. Kids can pick up on “not so great things” from other kids and that could be a factor too. Or it could be a bit of everything. I’m trying to remind myself that she’s only four and still very young and she might be struggling under the pressure of being the oldest. When we put the other two to bed at night, she’s great and really for the most part she’s really good it’s just that attitude which might come from being a girl ;)
    I really don’t have any suggestions…I wish I did :) Just know that there’s another Mom out here trying to figure out the some of the same things and if you get any great ideas I’d love to hear about them!
    I’ll be praying for us both :)

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  2. Hi there, Stephanie! Just checked in (it's beena long time since I've read your blog) & saw this post. We all feel it, for sure! Yes, I think we do expect too much of our kids--you also wrote about all the summer time--pools, outdoor fun, running around, and how it's wearing everybody out for great nighttime sleep. It might also be contributing to his attitude, though, as a tired child is a cranky child.

    And, have you looked into diet possibilities? Summertime means more popsicles, and foods offered at friends' houses...the sugar, food additives or coloring, etc. in these might be affecting his mood.

    And, for sure, peer pressure is a BIG deal at almost-five. Take a deep breath. Like you said about your 6-year marriage feeling like 16--time goes by too fast. Especially with the little ones.

    Four was the absolute hardest year for us with our son--and it tends to be a huge transitional year in childhood development. There is a lot of independence, a lot of awareness, a lot of confusion about where the child fits into the family--mine chose the role of boss, which didn't go over so well with his parents...

    We are still working through issues, though. What are the major transitions your children might be experiencing?

    Anyway, you can always read my Mad Mom bog for more empathy!! ;-D Been there, for sure! Still there. It is just SIN, plain & simple. And, they're kiddos, trying to learn to self-govern.

    Godspeed!! You are doing an EXCELLENT job!

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