I don’t understand myself sometimes. I have extremely high expectations of myself and extremely high hopes for my childern. But I also don’t lay down the law when I’m tired or worn out or even when I’m rested. I wait for their “cues” which sometimes is helpful, extremely helpful, and other times I think, “Ooops… there was no cue. I was suppose to jump in and lovingly lay down the law. They would just continue on and on, it’s up to me.” As I write this, it sounds like that is the perfect balance. But it doesn’t really feel that way right now. Right now, I feel mad at myself for not LOVINGLY laying down the law in areas that I CAN control and letting things slide where I can’t control. I let things slide sometimes out of fear that my “lovingly laying down the law” will bring a tantrum. If it’s just MY idea or MY law then I easily, and sometimes not as easily, let the idea or law float away in order to stir clear of a tantrum.
I feel like I don’t take very good care of myself. I just bare and grin it most of the time and, actually, I’m really good at it. In fact, I think one of my gifts and talents is being easy going (another way to say being flexible, watching for cues, not laying down the law.) As far as taking care of myself, sometimes being easy going isn’t always appropriate. And after listening to a quick tip from Love and Logic, taking care of myself so that I can be an emotionally HEALTHY role model for my kids is really the ONLY thing I am responsible for and the ONLY thing I can really do. This makes sense. I can only control myself (sometimes THAT’S even arguable) and so I’ll I really can do is be a good example. Saying things like, “right now, I am tired. I feel like I need to take a nap. What are you going to do while I take a nap? It’s not my job to play with you. My job is to be happy and to feel good so you can learn how to be happy and feel good. In order to feel good, I need to take a nap.” “Right now, I need to work out. My body is important to me, it needs me to exercise. What are you going to do while I exercise? I really like to listen to music while I run and I really like watch the road, not kids, while I run. So I will run a lap, and then we can run a lap together. You decide what you want to do while I run my lap. Do you want some ideas? Stretch out, play with toys, play on the swing set, etc.”
There is so much pressure on me from myself to sit and play with my kids all day long. I totally and completely love my kids and even WANT to be around them. But when I guilt myself into playing with them a few too many times each day, I start to completely not want to play with them. Deep deep down (a place where I only let the guilt of truth come through and haunt me) I know that I’m not responsible and it’s not even needed that I sit down and play pretend with my kids. But every single day I do and I hate it and I pretend like I don’t. This is teaching my kids how to fake listening and how to fake actions. Happy day. This is teaching my kids the steps without teaching them the music. Music is found by finding the VALUE in the action. The value is more easily found when I feel like I’ve taken care of my physical, emotional and spiritual self. That’s why sometimes I resent playing with them - it’s because I haven’t first taken care of myself and deep down I know that, as crazy as it might sound in all this parenting pop culture, taking care of myself is actually more important and essential to taking good care of them! Slightly unbelievable how kind Heavenly Father is. He loves me and wants me to be healthy and happy just as much as He wants my kids to be. Sometimes it’s hard to believe life could be that grand.
I need to start using my gift and talent of being flexible by watching out for my own mental cues. And then honoring them and explaining out loud (to teach and be an example) why I MUST take care of myself. I can’t wait for time to pass to take care of myself because a healthy happier me is needed (very much so) NOW. I can't assume that others around me are going to take care of all my needs. I need to first do my best and then their loving actions and help won’t fall on a resentful heart but rather on a grateful and unexpecting heart. Elder Holland says that the Lord loves to bless those that don’t expect it. (laborers of the vineyard).
Phew! I’m off to try and kindly, patiently, and lovingly apply this. And to pray and ask for Christ to take away my short comings, guilt, and to bare my burdens once more!