21 January, 2014

Parenting isn't for wimps

I often say the above as I sigh at the end of the putting-them-to-bed rigmarole and drop into my "relaxing" chair. 

It occurs to me that to compare being a parent to having a job is nonsense. Having a child in your life is no more a job than taking care of your own personal needs is a job. You can outsource it, if you wish, but you can't easily quit it and move onto another, more savoury job. Parenting is a way more personal and emotional role than a job can ever be. These kids are an extension of me and there's no getting away from the fact that we're all flawed humans, trying (or not trying, as the case may be) to live a life together.

One boy
We've been trying to address a particular boy's needs and difficult behaviour with three different strategies over the last few months. For the most part it seems to be improving the situation, but every now and then we have another rotten moment (or ten). 

Had one this morning. Man it brought out the ugliness in me! I've been trying so hard to help our son, that it felt like a slap in the face from him and that all the care and extra stuff I've (we've) been doing seemed wasted. 

Thankfully we both took some time-out and he settled down before he left for school and was even able to hug me goodbye! I hate conflict so much, and I especially hate it when my child is rude and disobedient when all I'm trying to do is get him to school on time or teach him an important life skills, or protect his brother from being picked on or... (And yes, this is an opening for anyone who wishes to criticise my parenting, but I'd rather you didn't. Parenting has enough pain without those who don't have all the information to try to advise.)

Shifting Rooms
One of the things we're doing, I wrote about in this post two and a half weeks ago. We switched one boy into his other brother's room. This has worked well, with only one hitch, the room with two boys now in it is reasonably small, so the younger brother is kept awake by the light while his bigger brother does homework. So, the next move is to totally switch rooms. We'll put the youngest boy in the smaller bedroom on his own and the two older ones in the larger room, enabling us to position the desk and its light further from the bed. 

It's been an interesting process getting the boys to think about the furniture and where it will go. They wanted just to shift it all and try it out, but my instincts were to do a floor plan and measurements to at least get the larger furniture positioned theoretically. Maybe it was my upbringing in an Electrical Contractor's house (who had his own Plans Desk and always seemed to have a tape measure attached to his belt when he was working), that brings on my desire to pull out the big metal tape measure!

Thankfully we have a "long" weekend (for the students only) coming up with no wrestling to watch (except on Thursday night). So we'll have time to pack up the rooms and move the furniture. Which means dismantling the beds! I'm hoping that in the process we can go through all the toys and other junk that's accumulated in their rooms and do some pre-moving throwing out and setting aside to sell at Thrift Shop. On our minds is that when we come back next year from home assignment, our youngest will already be 10! That means he'll have outgrown a lot of the younger boy toys that we've gathered over the years.

Longer term hope
But I'm also hoping that going to all this trouble, only six months before we move out, will be worth it in create more peace in the longer-term in our family. I think that is one of the biggest challenges of parenting: living in the moment, yet keeping your eye on the longer-term.

1 comment:

Hippomanic Jen said...

My Dad is a building designer. If we wanted to change the furniture in our rooms around we had to go to Dad with a scale drawing to prove that it would work. I get where you're coming from.