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okay, everybody just calm down

I think some people are maybe taking my little experiment the wrong way.

A few weeks ago I decided I was fed up with being fed up with the kids. That's not to say I spend every moment yelling and fighting. If that were the case I would need to get a nanny and commit myself to some sort of institution. No, most of our days today are lovely, filled with enjoyment and enriching activities, and I would much rather parent them than have anyone else do it.

The thing I was finding was that my frustration level tends to build during the day, on account of 1) feeling like I just CAN'T get done the things I need to get done and 2) feeling sick or in pain. After I've felt really sick for a while or really thwarted sometimes I do break out and yell. Not all the time. Not very violently. But the guilt about it does weigh on me.

In order to work on number 1 (feeling thwarted) I tried to pear down the number of things I feel I need to accomplish in a day. This meant putting a stop to the knitting and sewing and basket weaving projects, because while I absolutely love to create things, starting a project means there's something in process on the kitchen table, making me feel thwarted till it's finished and also thwarted in my need to clear the kitchen table for lunch. Also, I've been sleeping so poorly that it's just stupid to try to stay up late to accomplish something. There is only one thing I can do about number two, feeling sick, and that's sleep. If it's gotta be in two-hour bursts then the first one needs to start at 8pm.

My reaction to this experiment has been largely positive. I don't feel that the kids are thwarting me as much, and I feel like the house cleaning is a little bit more attainable, because I'm using my free time to clean in little bursts rather than weave a few rows of a basket. Also when I get my 30-minute union break (that's what I call it when Dan comes home and gives me a break from the kids) I mostly fold laundry instead of ignoring the mess to run straight to the sewing machine. It's not as glorious, but it means we mostly have folded laundry in the drawers. Look, cleaning is always a bottomless pit and even now there are things all over the floor and two baskets of unfolded laundry. I'm not saying my house is CLEAN. I'm saying I now realize that an hour a day of dedicated cleaning time is the minimum this house needs to function, and if I'm not doing that I'm either being unrealistic or selfish.

This is not to say that I have thrown my adult personality out the window to become Cinderella with stretch marks. We do participate in two adult church meetings a week (three if you count church!) and those are non-negotiable. I am right now blogging, which is a semi-adult activity, because the kids are both napping (thank you over-stimulating Discovery museum!) There are plenty of opportunities I have for self-actualization without messing up my house pretending to be Martha Stewart.

I think there's a tendency in our culture to say if parenting isn't going great then you should just parent less. Give the kids to a sitter and just go out. Or let them watch Dora. Or put them in daycare and go back to work. I don't want to get into a judgey thing, it's just... that's not my thing. I don't know if it comes across in the blog, maybe it doesn't, but I feel like I'm trying to DO something here. I'm trying to raise children in an authentic way, some way that's integrated with my values no less than 100%. I'm trying to raise makers, naturalists, revivalists. I'm not gonna... fuggin ... back off on the main goal of my life just because I'm dealing with a little exhaustion.

As Bill Johnson said about his kids, "I have a lot of dreams, but THEY'RE my dream."

Anyway, I'm aware I've been a wee bit whiney on the blog lately, and I apologize. It's not the most gracious season for me. I hope someone else will find the rawness interesting without suggesting I commit myself.


I think it's great what you are doing. Having fewer expectations of all the things to accomplish in a day and just relaxing and being there with the kids. It makes life a lot less stressful and you get more enjoyable time with the kids hopefully just enjoying the little things.

I think it's always a good thing to minimize and create more focus (at this point, for you it's for the kids)..especially if it gets you more rest and sleep! Being sick so much is not a good thing. And it sounds like you're following your heart on how you need to raise your kids, but also trying to take care of yourself, very important! You've got my support, 100% :D

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