Thursday, August 02, 2007

For Judy: Surviving life as a mother

This is a bit of an answer to my sweet sister, but also a bit of a sorting out for myself.

Elliott is gone this week. He flew off to China, the lucky guy, but has promised to bring us all home some kind of treat. The kids asked for toys, and I made him promise he wouldn't get anything little and cheesy that resembles a Happy Meal toy, but I know either way the kids will be happy.

It is true, it doesn't take much to make a kid happy. Mine enjoy playing board games, having a water gun fight, playing with Legos or Barbies, or "doing screens" as we call it in our house. The thing is, they really enjoy it more when mom is doing it with them. Kids thrive on attention from their parents. A happy side effect of playing with your kids is that your house stays cleaner. For instance, if my kids are entertaining themselves, I will come into a basement full of games they have gotten out and not put away. If I am playing games with them, we clean up one before going to the next. Fights are also less likely to break out when mom is there to referee. Not that I think I should constantly be playing with my children... That would be unhealthy for all of us. I want my kids to become problem solvers by themselves, and to be able to do things independently, but I think they need a good healthy dose of my attention each day.

So now that the kids are happy, how do I maintain my own happiness? For starters, I am diligent about keeping up my relationship with Heavenly Father. There are a lot of things you can sort out during prayers, especially at night when all is quiet, and you have had a busy day. The other thing I do is give myself goals to work towards, and I am talking short term, a day or week to finish.

For instance: With Elliott gone, I determined I would get a lot done to keep me busy, since he isn't here to entertain me. Also, we have family coming to stay with us at the end of the month (can you believe Andrew is getting baptized already!!) So my goals for the week are: Deep clean laundry room (done!), organize master bedroom closet (halfway there!) and paint our bathroom (it's coming along...) I can't tell you how happy I am to be accomplishing these things. I look around and think... wow, I did something! Of course I would rather sit and read a book, or sew, or be on the computer. These are things that I use to escape, but I have found that if I set manageable goals for household chores, it is more satisfying.

I love walking into my laundry room now... it is so neat and tidy!

I am getting rid of mounds of clothes that just don't fit... Maybe I will sell some, mostly I will donate them, but I have so much space now, and I am not even done in the closet yet!

As for the bathroom, well, it is a never ending story. This is its third color of paint. We just can't find one we like. And it is, like all bathrooms, not easy to paint. The problem is, this color is not right either, so it is turning into more of a primer to get rid of the bright blue we had previously.

Finally, I do need an escape that will satisfy my crafty side. Tonight is my last night of painting, and then I plan to finish up some little hand sewing I have going on.

So dear sister, you see, you have to force yourself to work. Then, reward yourself with play. Now that Loi is back, I think it will be easier for you. And remember, never underestimate what a good date night can do. Good luck, and call me before you run away!

Back to the closet I go...

PS to anyone reading this... I am far from perfect (as my sister knows), but I am pretty happy. This is just a little musing for her benefit and mine!


The Queen said...

Thanks, Ging.

kelly said...

great advice for anyone... thanks for sharing!