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November 30, 2010 / MrsH

Parenting Without the Experts

My month of self-imposed no reading of parenting materials is over.  Well, it’s over tomorrow.  Close enough.  In my last update, I was only a week into it and remembering how great it is to intentionally set aside the books.  I didn’t do any more updates because for a little while I forgot to be very intentional about the whole thing, I just didn’t read parenting stuff.  Then I went through a brief phase where I really wanted to.  I mean, I really had a hankering for a good ol’ parenting book and almost asked for my favorite book back from friends.  I don’t even know why, I guess because it’s such an easy thing to turn to: I love reading and learning, and it’s clearly a topic that’s relevant to my life.  Instead I picked up All the Way Home by Ann Tatlock.  I’m so thankful, what a great book.

About a week ago I spent an evening sewing.  I made a Strawberry Shortcake pillowcase for the Little One.  I used reverse applique to transform a ripped pair of Middle One’s pants into a pair that’s got an airplane on the knee (with many thanks to Koala Brains and Crafting a Green World for both inspiration and tutorials on this).  That same night I also dug up this purple curtain that I had in college.  Not just any curtain folks, this is a beautiful purple satin with flowers.  Truly gorgeous, and truly completely not usable anywhere in my home.  Except, for my Eldest!  It just needed a little work to fit on her curtain rod and she’s so happy with it.

Some days, when I felt really stressed or overwhelmed, or just like I needed to hide from all the emotional overload that exists in my family, I did open that computer and on three occasions hid the “+” on my reader, under the “mothering” category.  I guess it’s better than heading to the snack cabinet.  I’ve become really aware though how  much I enjoy about how well other parents have it together.  They write these inspiring posts about their lives and make me think “wow, maybe I could be more like that!”  Many include beautiful pictures of smiling cherubs and happy mothers.  Then I’m reminded though that we all put our best foot forward on these blogs.  It’s where we write about our successes, our up moments, far more frequently than the moments of utter despair, confusion, or even hopelessness.  I still haven’t found a “good” way of coping in my most stressful moments though.  I’m open to your ideas!

Here are my take-aways from this month:

  • Read fiction on a more regular basis (recommendations?).  Particularly in bed before falling asleep.
  • Find other ways of coping in moments of stress.  I think things that either help to physically and emotionally separate me from the kids for a brief period of time, and or something really rhythmic would help.
  • Remember to check in with myself, my own heart, before jumping to the experts.
  • Make it a goal to sew one night every two weeks or so, just to keep things moving and keep me fresh.

By the way, I also ironed a shirt.  I don’t think I’ve done that in about two years, but somehow I felt inspired one morning.  We also night-weaned the Little One, but that’s for another post…

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2 Comments

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  1. Sarah / Dec 7 2010 6:19 am

    I think about that issue of blogs ‘putting best feet forward’ too, and the fine line between being inspired or dispirited by the ‘perfect’ lives of all the beautiful bloggers out there. I know that I certainly don’t whip the camera out on the tired-tantrum-horrible days! I see my blog as a way of recording the highlights – those ‘fleeting moments’ that would otherwise pass by and be forgotten. I also find that on my not so good days, being able to look at what I posted the week before can remind me that we have good days too, and that can be inspiring. Don’t know if that makes sense or not! I just don’t think I’ll want to be reminded of the tired, boring, grumpy, difficult days down the track.

  2. Sarah / Dec 7 2010 6:26 am

    Oops, wanted to say that I too find sewing a really great escape, especially if I can squeeze it in while the toddler is napping and the preschooler is crafting or having a (brief) period of TV in the afternoon. A walk around my neighborhood always cheers me up (if I can leave the kids behind!) and I agree – reading fiction is great. I used to flop in front of the TV, exhausted at the end of each day, but I don’t turn it on anymore, and I’m not ‘quite’ so exhausted. I think night weaning will absolutely help too (a good night’s sleep is gold isn’t it?).

    Sorry about the comment overload!

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