Saturday, March 17, 2012

Burnout

On days like today, I'm reminded that writing is a most valuable tool to me. With all of the challenges we face in every day life, sometimes it is tempting to only write about the "good" things--the things that are comfortable and bring peace and contentment. I think it is worthwhile to also write about times when we are frazzled, beat-up, tired, mopey and/or generally displeased with life. While letting these things out in a tangible form, I can then have it out of my head and be reminded of all that for which I have to be grateful.


I'm constantly challenged by my daughter. She is growing and learning so fast. Her attention span lasts 3-4 minutes (maybe, depending on the subject matter). It's hard to know what will pique her interest on any given day. Today it seems to be moving bar stools and trying to climb them. So, we reach deep into our reserves of patience and hopefully explain a) "how we don't want you to get hurt" and b) "it's okay to try new things." Her spirit is so playful and happy! I am extremely grateful for that. She is very willful and stubborn too, but not in a way that is off-putting. She genuinely loves to be around other children and loves to run and play. I am frustrated with trying to teach her boundaries and limits. She has no fear, and that's not always necessarily good. Her determined spirit will serve her well later in life, I know this. Right now my fuse is quite short. I wonder when all of the "teaching" will begin to sink in. I seem to be giving myself a time-out every 10 minutes.

Fast forward 4 days when I finally sit down to finish this post.

The day I began this post was awful. I really did not know how to cope with that day. It passed, I'm rested, everyone is fine. But it sure felt as if my pot was boiling over. It's interesting how those days look in retrospect...I know they will come again, but now it doesn't seem like such a huge mountain. I do still feel that burnout is an appropriate title, because it is the best way to describe what I was feeling. The desire to hide-out comes on me more than I'd like to admit. Sometimes I think I'm still living the life I did before children, and trying to fit her (and soon Josiah) into that life instead of molding my life to fit them, which is arguably the easier and more appropriate thing to do--so why does it seem so difficult?

Jer and I are thumbing through some parenting books. I used to thing they were a bunch of hooey. You were just supposed to get in there and get things done. Now I am actually taking some advice seriously. Some methods about which we have read are definitely not for us and some are useful. I think the best thing I've learned from this reading is that you can pick and choose what works for you in terms of discipline, growth, attitudes, etc. I like black and white, but it does not apply. Flexibility is key, and I've got to let go of control.

Oy. There's the word. Control. 3 years ago I made a commitment to let go of the death grip I had on my life and that I tried to have on others. Do you know how exhausting it can be to try and micromanage your life and the life of everyone around you? Talk about a recipe for squashing all opportunities for authentic relationships! There were things I was doing to others that I didn't even know I was doing. Through the process of various types of counseling and recovery, I have been able to let go of a lot of those habits. Sometimes in parenting I feel them bubbling to the surface again. One important thing I read is that children are not pets to be trained (this is not the same as discipline). I do not have to micromanage my kids. I do not have to stress out because one show is watched more than others, or that fixations on certain foods jump up. A spilled cup of milk is not the same as running into the street. It really is a whole new world of learning for the children and for parents.

I'm lucky enough to have a partner for my life...someone who considers me an equal. We do the best we can. We're learning too. And that's enough for me to feel grateful. I love my daughter and I'm ready to meet my son (7 weeks and counting). For now, we'll jump in the rain puddles together and laugh as much as we can and let go of trying to control everyone and everything.


5 comments:

nmpreach said...

Love this B2! And isn't it true that kids raise us at the same time we're attempting to raise them? God's got a bigger and better plan that we will ever imagine.

JENNY said...

Thank you for sharing! Such a good reminder. I definitely have 'burnout' days!

BrandyMcD said...

Thanks for your courage in posting this Beth. You are in the thick of it. Every age, every phase has its plusses in minuses. But toddler-hood is H.A.R.D. It's very monotonous to say no-no and redirect, no-no and redirect... Rinse and repeat forty thousand times a day.

I've actually really enjoyed parenting books and like you, found each has different things I can take away. My favorite, for what it's worth, is Boundaries With Kids.

B2 said...

Brandy, Boundaries With Kids is one that I am reading. I had so much growth of my own in reading the Boundaries and Boundaries in Marriage books, that this was a no-brainer choice. The other we're looking at is titled Unconditional Parenting, and frankly it is a bit odd. Some of the psychological insight is interesting, but I'm hoping for it to get better. If not, well, that's okay too.

married yoshimi said...

I feel you, sister. That is all.