Sunday, 2 May 2010
Technically I get these breathing spaces every day where the kids are asleep and I have the chance to quieten down and listen to my thoughts. To come back to being me, I suppose.
But the reality is quite the opposite. Mommyhood demands that when the kids are awake I have to engage with them as much as possible, and when they sleep, I have to tend to the other household necessities. Paying bills, working on the business (that’s taking up quite a lot of my time and effort lately), preparing the next meal, wondering what fun things the kids can do next so they aren’t bored out of their minds.
It’s when I work myself up into a frenzy, stressing out about these details that things seem to fall apart. The kids misbehave, schedules go out of order, I lose my temper. The more I try to control things, the more chaotic the outcomes.
Or are they? Perhaps the disastrous outcomes are just my imagination. My warped perception, borne of a crazed notion of what ‘perfection’ is.
So at times like these, when I am sick (which is very, Very rare, thankfully) and I have no choice but to take things slow, I get to observe my loved ones without intervening or impulsively acting on hastily-made judgements.
- The kids can be reasoned with. They do understand that when Mummy’s sick, or if Papa’s tired and sleeping on the couch, they’ll have to take care of their own entertainment. We don’t need to be providing them stimulation all the time. They also learn from playing on their own, both with each other and separately.
- Allowing the kids to sometimes resolve their own disputes is healthy. There were a few times when Andrea cried and screamed when she wasn’t happy with something that Brandon did, but it didn’t take them long to be playing together again. I didn’t see how they actually resolved it (from an adult’s point of view), but it looked as if they just left the matter at that, and moved on to other things instead of dwelling on the source of unhappiness. Interestingly enough, I notice that this doesn’t happen when I intervene—especially if it’s Brandon who’s unhappy about something. He’d bawl and whine and cry as if his world was crashing down around his ears. So it looks as if this reaction of throwing tantrums is more of a way to gain our attention rather than their desire to achieve a specific outcome.
- Han has a different way of disciplining the children, for which I am really thankful. I’m the one who’s blowing my top, screaming and yelling when the kids get out of line. But Han doesn’t really raise his voice, and always keeps his sense of humour about him. No getting worked up and frazzled. Brandon misbehaves in the shower? No problem—just turn off the heater and spray the boy with cold water, which he hates. I would have given him a smack on the bum. Andrea throws a tantrum when she wants more singing before bedtime (after we’ve gone through a slew of songs)? Han asks her if she would like to sleep in the bathroom. She stops her crying.
I guess what I’ve learned this time round is that I don’t have to, and I’m not expected to, always jump into the fray and fix things. Sometimes it’s best to let situations run their course and save myself tonnes of aggravation in the process. Although I am their guide, the children also need their space to explore their surroundings. Their intentions aren’t always to cause trouble—all they want to do is Discover.
As for myself I won’t feel guilty about slowing down on normal days. Tasks are done much better when I am Happy.