Dear Family: I Am Listening…

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My goal has been to really, really listen to my family’s words and actions. That is what I posted about this morning. Here is what I have been hearing.

My family is jealous of my phone

My family needs a clean home

My family needs me to smile and dance

My family needs me to provide healthy meals and snacks

My family needs my undivided attention

Yesterday, I officially decided to homeschool my children. Yes, I know I am already teaching my son to read and am currently researching preschool science curricula for the fall. However, I have been on the fence due to my low opinions of my abilities (despite my early childhood education training) and my exhaustion level. But, I am quickly reaching my limit with worried parents bringing their children into therapy because they are falling behind in school. Sometimes it is bullying, and usually they have ADHD. These children are starved for healthy attention, to the point where they start destroying my office when I am conversing with a parent! They need me to get on the floor with them and play. They need undivided attention.

They do not need therapy. They need healthy attention. They need their teachers to sit with them and individualize their work so they can learn the material on their level. They need their parents to read to them and play with them (even if it means falling asleep on floor while the children drive cars over the parents’ backs), no matter the parents’ level of exhaustion. They need their parents to shut the television off and take away the iPads and video games. I am not judging their parenting, because the Lord knows I fall short. I yell at my son, I spank (yes, I do spank, and may write a blog at some point regarding using this method of discipline correctly and not harmfully) at times when a discussion and a hug is more appropriate, I fight with my husband in front of my kids, and I sit my son in front of the TV when I am exhausted (though he is the one who asks me to shut it off before the movie is over, because he’s bored and wants to play).

I have decided to delete my email off of my phone for now, except for when I am nursing. When I did this today, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders because I did not feel chained to my phone. I listened to my husband’s frustrations with me for replying to a text instead of focusing on whatever sports clip he was trying to show me, and I apologized for hurting his feelings. I let my son help me vacuum. I cleaned my kitchen- I mean really cleaned it, because my daughter’s new-found mobility seems to have her finding everything she cannot have and shoving it into her mouth before I can reach her. I opened my windows and breathed the fresh air. I danced with my husband and children. I engaged in silly banter with my husband. I noticed my husband’s change in mood when I began laughing with him. I decided to run regularly, both with friends and on my own.

I do not have it all together by any means. I have just decided that I need to stop complaining about how much I am struggling and I need to just do things differently. That means making a better choice in the moment. Do I fall apart in despair? Or do I realize that my husband’s comment was not trying to hurt me? Do I hide from my family? Or do I embrace them?

Though I am standing bold today, that does not mean I’ll be standing bold tomorrow. But it means that I recognize my ability to make choices. It means I am finally listening to my family.

Photo credit: http://www.iphixni.com/apple.html

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A Brief Homeostasis

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I surprised myself today when I opened the file containing my novel (so surprised that I promptly minimized the document and started a blog post!). I have not worked on my novel in at least a year… partially due to lack of time and exhaustion, but mostly because I feel I need to make a conscious effort to only write when I am doing well emotionally. I do not want my elaborate fictional world to become a sanctuary for me, because I have seen fictional sanctuaries become prisons to the hurting person. I want to be able to make the choice to walk into my fictional world and write, and I want the choice to step out of it when I need to.

The fact that I even opened the file means I am reaching a sort of homeostasis. Thank God. It has been a while since I have felt stable for several days in a row! My house is cleaner than it has been since I was nesting and eagerly awaiting the arrival of my daughter. My son is well-groomed with a fresh haircut done by yours truly (with help of clippers and four different number settings), no wax in his ears, and clipped nails. His 4T winter clothes have been replaced by his size 5 (this boy is tall and skinny) summer wardrobe. I have done schoolwork with my son every day this week. I was even considering dusting because I’m caught up on the clutter!! Strange… I have also been doing regular devotions, and am doing this: http://31dayswithgod.wordpress.com/

I don’t know why I have had the energy or sound mind to complete these tasks, but it almost feels as if my family is normal. I feel slightly uneasy because I don’t know how long it will last, and I know that a single trigger could send me into deep despair. But I am enjoying feeling normal. I am thinking about how I want to enhance my already completed novel, and pondering whether I will have the courage to attempt publication this time. I am brainstorming my afternoon with my kids and writing a grocery list. I have also topically applied the essential oil “Balance”… we’ll see how it goes.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, of power, and of a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7

Photo credit: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/21/1057124/-We-re-going-to-write-a-novel-Part-4