Thursday, January 17, 2013

One Little Thing

I didn’t make New Year’s Resolutions this year unless you count the following:

Try not to tip over while pregnant and walking;

Have such low expectations for my domestic abilities while raising four kids that anything I do will look like magic.

My resistance to commit to anything comes from not wanting to bite off more than I can chew. We have a ton on our plate, so I don’t think attempting to throw more on is going to make me feel successful, just like I can’t accomplish it all.

However, there are places I need to do some work, so I’m going to try to commit to focusing on something I want to fix or improve for a week and then continue it as habit while I move onto the next improvement. It seems easier in small parts, and there’s less likely of a chance I’ll forget what I’m doing before the week is over, though it is possible. I am going to try to post these every Thursday so it will be out there and I’ll be committed for the week.

Week 1: Stop Lying to My Kids

That sounds bad when you actually see it in writing. It’s not awful; let me explain.

Kids ask for a lot, especially when you are home with them all day. My kids actually start asking me for things before my head is off the pillow such as: a three course meal for breakfast; to wear certain clothes; to go outside while naked. It’s daily. I should be used to it, but it’s still a startling alarm clock to have little voices in your ear saying, “I want my eggs fried today instead of scrambled, and maybe you could get up and cook them now even though the sun is not up yet.”

I have gotten into the habit, especially with two babies in-utero, of putting off requests. For instance, I tell them I will make the eggs in five minutes when I am vertical, have my glasses on, and have determined we should not all still be sleeping. And then I usually follow up. I don’t think there is anything wrong with kids having to wait.

The problem is my kids ask for so many different things in a 24 hour period that sometimes I forget I’ve told them I will do something. They usually remind me. It’s just that I realize I’m not really thinking sometimes about what my response is. I need to be more specific for all of our sakes so I can do what I say I’m going to do when I say I’m going to do it (it was probably six hours before Wren’s hair actually was put up the way she asked for it to be simply because I forgot for six hours).

I am going to try to start considering every request and giving an answer that I can measure the outcome of, such as: no, never, you can’t play in the snow without pants; yes, but not now and then set a specific time and actually do it at that time; sure, yes, now.

I want to be a person of my word, and it occurred to me today when I told the kids we could cook soup together but they got busy playing and I did it without them that to a child that could be seen as not keeping a promise. I don’t want to be that person, even if it was much easier to cook soup without broth all over the floor and both of them arguing over who gets to stir. And they didn't really care becasue they got to eat the soup, but still.  For seven days, I will honor the words I say, even the small ones, like you can wear your Flash mask to any place we go today. As long as they are not wearing just the Flash mask, we should be good.

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