I’m in the midst of potty training Grace. I’m…um…doing some…potty training fine-tuning with Cameron (I don’t want to talk about it). That means I have to be consistent about sending them to the bathroom. How do I do it? I set a little alarm on my phone.
We have new activities that we’re involved in now that the fall is here: a twice weekly play-date/pre-school thing and a couple of reading times that take place at some local libraries. How do I remember what’s happening when? I put in on the calender on my phone.
I have been completely outvoted on what we get to watch on television (no Disney, no peace) so what’s the quickest way for me to stay updated (read: freak out over) the presidential election? The internet on my phone, of course.
Recipes? Parenting question? Kids’ videos? Phone, phone, phone.
I’m sure my grandmothers would both be both confused and amused to know that they have a granddaughter who uses technology so much to parent and run a household. I actually find it pretty funny, too. But, one of the things I learned early in this whole parenting thing is using the tools that you have. It’s not like I’m using old t-shirts to make blankets, or catching and plucking my own chickens, but this is my small way of trying to be better by using something I already have in my purse.
Oh. And when I’m feeling like doing something a little out of the ordinary, I even make a phone call or two on it. Crazy, right?
I’ve been working to get better at disciplining the kids. Before I had kids, everyone told me they saw me as being a “nice” mom — too nice to be mean when I had to be. I always argued against that. I hate seeing ill-mannered kids! I would not take any crap! I would be fearsome!
Yeah – no. Cameron and Grace aren’t…bad. But I know that I need to be more firm with them. I need to establish good habits so that they know how to speak to me, how to speak to other adults and…um…not act a damn fool and embarrass me in public. Ahem.
I think that I am, by nature a gentle person, so it’s hard to be firm. I also have hippie tendencies, so I don’t wanna harsh anyone’s buzz or squish my precious little angels’ dreams. I want them to be happy – but within normal boundaries.
My kids are incredibly bright and incredibly stubborn. Whatever they want, I want them to have because I love them. Also, they sometimes convince me that they need it, so powerful is their whining and crying. It feels unnatural for me to assert myself with them. But I have to. They need to understand that I’m not Lisa, the lady who they debate with. I’m the mommy. What I say goes. I run this.
I’d love to say that I have come up with a solution. That I now know the perfect way to discipline my kids without being too overbearing or too gentle. Nope. I’m still working at it honestly. I’ve been using a timer for time outs which helps me stay focused. With two kids running around, it’s easy to get distracted so that the prisoner takes advantage of the opportunity to escape. I also have to bark a little bit, which honestly feels weird. But it works. My mother, who was an elementary school teacher told me a saying among other teachers, “you don’t smile until November.” I’m not going that hard, but I am trying (oh how much of a wimp do I feel like for even typing that) to not seem so “nice.”
And now? I’m tired. It wears me out stepping outside of myself, but I know I have to do it.
A preamble – I have not historically been the most organized person on the planet. Actually, I am not even usually the most organized person in my car. One of the reasons I even have this blog is that it’s a way for me to fumble my way through this parenting/adulthood thing learning as I go, with the end result being not only have I not dropped my children or left them in a bar – but that I’ve turned out a pretty good family.
And now I will write about a rudimentary part of organization that I am just now using in my 31st year of life: list making. This summer, like last, I have the kids all day every day.
Last summer didn’t go so well. It actually went very poorly. For me, it felt chaotic and anxiety producing. I’d careen from random thing to random thing, always feeling like I was late for something else. It was too late to be taking them to the park because it was almost lunch time. I should have already thought about what we were having for lunch instead of waiting until 11:59 am. I should probably get some education into them so that they will grow up to be co-presidents of the United States. Except then I would just let them watch another two hours of Sesame Street and the Wiggles while I talked myself out of a guilt-hole. It wasn’t pretty.
Oh, last-year-Lisa. I want to go back and hug myself. Then pat myself on my poor, dumb head. Lists! Lists make life better! Lists mean I know what options I have for fun activities to get out of the house (and away from Sprout), what other adult responsibilities I need to handle, and I can even get some writing done in the process (see: this post). Instead of walking around fretting about the seemingly million things that need to get done, I write it down and have a good handle on what actually needs to get done and when.