Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Good Mom, Bad Mom and other random thoughts

Today was a typical Tuesday at our house. No preschool for Jack. Steve worked (today, he left for St. Louis for a few days). I took the boys with me to Jazzercise class. We went to the library afterwards. We played. We ate lunch. We attempted to nap during rest time. We played some more. We watched TV. We ate dinner. I put Reid to bed. I bathed Jack and put him to bed.

And throughout all of this, I check my phone and the computer almost compulsively.

Tonight while I was bathing Jack, I realized what a problem I have with checking Facebook, email, Twitter, Pinterest, news websites, and whatever other social interaction via technology I can find. No, I wasn't using the technology while Jack was in the bath. Instead, I was talking with Jack. Just me and him. No distractions. It was probably the first time all day I wasn't thinking about anything else but what he and I were doing and talking about (we were talking about our favorite parts of the day and how the bath cup works). I really enjoyed the moment, and I felt calm and relaxed. That's when I realized what a problem I have.

See, during the day, I feel rushed and anxious. I'm always thinking about the next thing I should be doing. This is ironic since I really don't have anything I HAVE to do other than feed and care for my children. Yet, I stress about what to make for lunch, getting to the library, throwing a load of laundry in. It's all pretty silly. What I should be worried focused on is the people I am with and the moment I am in. Cliche, I know, but true.

So tomorrow, I am going back to something I tried to do about a month or so ago. I'm going to limit my Facebook/email/Twitter/et al usage to 30 minutes a day, and I'm going to wait until the boys are in bed to do it. Please send positive thoughts my way. I think this is going to be hard. I'm also going to try to find other ways to relax my brain. I think I use the technology as a momentary escape from whatever I am doing, and it has gotten out of control. So when I need a moment to myself, I think I'm going to try closing my eyes and mediating instead. Again, this is going to be hard.

What does that have to do with the headline on this post? Well, that's one of the random thoughts. On to the Good Mom, Bad Mom stories.

Over the weekend, I think it was Saturday, Jack damaged a library book during rest time. I couldn't lay with him to help him calm himself (I was taking care of Reid at that moment). The poor book suffered an almost completely ripped page and a broken spine. In the heat of the moment, I told Jack he would have to pay for it with his piggy bank money. Many tears ensued. But I also told him he would have to talk to the librarian when we took the book back and that he could only check out 1 book this week so he could show me he could take care of library books.

Over the next fews days, we talked about the library book a little. Jack was getting very nervous about having to tell the librarian what happened, and he was even more nervous about having to do it by himself. I reassured him that he wasn't going to do this alone. We decided I would tell the librarian what happened and he would apologize. He was still a little scared. I spent lots of conversations reassuring him that it would be okay (there are no police at the library arresting people for breaking books) and that I would be right there with him.

Today was library day. We went to the desk, and I told the librarian about the damaged book. She thinks they "might be able to mend it". Without any prompting, Jack apologized for breaking the book and explained that it was an accident. The librarian looked him right in the eye and told him not to worry, that accidents happen. She also told him his was a sweetheart for apologizing. As she walked away, Jack turned to me and told me how he had worried that this would be scary, but that it wasn't that bad at all. I think my son learned the power of taking responsibility for his actions today. And he's only 4.

That was my good mom moment. Here's the bad mom.

Jack has battled rest time for at least the last year (if not since he was two). So yesterday after soccer, I decided to let him watch a television show while I got Reid down, and then Jack and I were going to rest for 30 minutes. He felt asleep after 20 and slept for 2 hours. Today, I decided to use the same tactic. I would put Reid down for a nap (he goes to sleep like a champ, by the way) and let Jack watch a "Jack show" for 30 minutes and then we would rest for 30 minutes. We did this. He did not fall asleep even though he was yawning and quiet the entire time. Bummer. So we came downstairs and he asked for another "Jack show". I figured what the heck, he's pretty tired, maybe he'll rest a little more and then we can play. Jack watched television and I started cleaning. An hour goes by, I decide to invite Jack to help me sweep and mop the floors, a chore he loves to do. He says he wants to help, right after "Martha" is over. Okay, I say. Another 30 minutes goes by and "Cat in the Hat" starts. I explain that I'm only sweeping and mopping today, he's going to miss his chance. He tells me he help "next day when you do it". The stinker knows I will have to clean again. In the end, my floors and kitchen are clean. Jack watched 2 hours of television. We went outside to play when Reid woke up. I still have mom guilt over the long television time today (especially since that wasn't the end; I had to make dinner too!).

Okay, so I alluded earlier to favorite parts of the day with Jack. My favorite part of the day: watching Jack figure out how to get his wagon up the steps in front of our house. He found rocks from our landscaping to put under the back tires. With the front tires already up on the next step, this lifted the back tires off of the ground enough for him to be able to pull the wagon completely on to the step. What a little engineer! Jack's favorite part of the day: our plan for a jammie walk in the wagon. Unfortunately, Reid fell asleep before we could do. I promised him that we will go tomorrow, even if we have to take a sleeping Reid.

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