Every year at this time I seem to find myself reflecting on where I am, what I’m doing and where I want to be. Where I want to be, is not at all where I am! Let me explain.
I want to have a relaxed, simple, calm lifestyle where we celebrate the seasons do lots of arts and crafts and have a very peaceful daily and annual rhythm. This is not how I was brought up (that was very mainstream: children seen and not heard, strict behavioural code and do what society expects and be “correct”, whatever that means), and I find that I just don’t know how to make the change. It’s so hard to change parenting styles, mid-flight I guess! Plus I am a very anxious person, so relaxing and “letting it go” is difficult for me. My 3yo DS seems to have inherited these traits. Where we are is chaos and, over the past year have descended to a place that involves lots of me being angry with him.
Anyway, I find myself spending lots and lots of time (and ££) reading reading reading- books, blogs, forums….and I need to start doing. The computer is my source of inspiration, and angst, since every free moment I have, I’m on it. Plus I had all, or most of, my creativity beaten out of me as a child (long story that…mostly for my psychiatrist!), so for activities/stories unless I have an explicit materials list and instructions, I’m at a loss. And my poor son, if he tries to do something his own way, and not the way it’s “supposed to be done”, I get all anxious and don’t know how to proceed. I don’t want to beat the creativity out of him so I end up just kind of sitting there, and things that were supposed to be Mommy/son end up being just son.
My son does go to school in the mornings, four days a week (all his choice), and pretty much doesn’t nap anymore (although he needs it, so early evenings are quite an experience). I would LOVE to have a more structured afternoon for him. The trouble is I always find myself needing to do other things (like cooking, laundry, tidying….) and with the exception of cooking, he’s not into helping me out. Or he tries and just makes ultimately more work for me (which stresses me out). He ends up getting lots and lots of time for free play. He does have a younger sister (1 yo next week) and they do play very well together. The trouble is, the play lasts just a few minutes then he gets bored and tries to get my attention, usually in a negative way. DD is starting to become more independent, but she does not like it when she can’t see me, and often needs to be in direct physical contact (preferably with a breast in her mouth!), so I find myself struggling just to get time for myself (and lately have been feeling resentful about it).
What I’m curious about is, how much do you guys plan and how much is free flow? How do you get or do you get your kids involved in your projects, both art/craft and homemaking? I do sew and have been just itching lately to do some projects, but needles/shears+little kids just seems like a bad mix to me. How do you handle it when they just end up making more work for you? Where do you get your inspirations from for your daily and annual rhythms? I don’t know most of the festivals- we were raised very strict Anglican, but rebelled, so outside of Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving (I’m American) I don’t know many traditions. I’d like to have seasonal celebrations, from Christianity, but also other traditions and help my children be more aware of the passing seasons. I’d like to create more seasonal memories than just Midnight mass on Christmas eve and hunting Easter eggs at church. The blogs/forums are useful for finding these things out, but I really am an old-fashioned girl and need things on print/paper that I can easily refer to (preferably while I’m laying in bed). If you had to limit yourselves to two books on this topic, what would they be?
If you do a lot of planning, do you have a pretty detailed week (by detailed, I mean daily activities and stories spelled out for each day, all the necessary materials assembled etc etc….kind of like lesson planning, but hopefully more fun!), or do you have a vague idea and just wing it? I’ve tried doing the planning, but find that either my self-discipline gives out, or my son just isn’t interested. He likes looking at books for example, but will not let me read stories to him (stories are for bedtime apparently and well, for him bedtime is a baaaaaad thing). I bought a set of finger puppets, but haven’t gotten them out. Need to do that, but odds are he won’t sit still for it, and again for me it needs to be scripted and memorised. I hate that about myself!
Anyway, this is long enough. Hopefully you got this far! If you did, thanks and I’m looking forward to what insights you have to share.