Tuesday, June 23, 2015

One instance of brilliance this summer and a whole lot of dumb

Watch this first.

Basically, what the second turtle says is what I've been saying to myself ever since June 5.

Going to Disney?
Signing up for a grad class I actually have to attend in person versus online?
Signing up for this in-person class that begins the day after I return from Disney?
Scheduling doctor visits for the kids on Monday, Tuesday AND Wednesday mornings this week?

I'm used to this, of course, since it pretty much sums up any number of parenting decisions.

I have had one singular moment of brilliance.

Even though I blogged yesterday about not caring, that isn't entirely true.  I am me, and as long as I am me I am always going to have to try some kind of little snippet of structure, of engaging the kids in some way.  I have discovered a tiny bit of something that allows me to comfortably and without guilt let the kids do whatever they want as long as they do these things each day.  The only kind of "schedule/routine" that I can handle:

That's it.  The brilliance.
Every other idea I've had has been dumb.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

The parenting progression to less anxiety (too tired to care anymore)

For years, YEARS, I felt anxious just being in the house with my children, especially during the summer.  I couldn't ever relax and do what I wanted, whether it be work on a craft project or read a book.  I felt like I had to be in their faces, engaging them, structuring their minds and activities, completely and totally present.

I have blogged about my struggle to have some kind of routine in the summer, which is impossible when one child awakens at 6:00 am, another between 7:30-9:00 and another whenever I haul her butt out of bed (between 10:30-11:00).  No matter what "system" I tried, whatever routine I tried to implement, it failed or felt like a failure.

Somewhere along the line I stopped feeling anxious in the house with my kids during the regular course of the year.  I stopped worrying every second about interacting with them, engaging them.  I certainly didn't make a conscious decision to stop worrying; it just happened.  I think I just got too tired to spend so much mental and physical energy on it.

And now, I think this has finally happened with summer.  I think I just don't care anymore.  The only anxiety is feeling like I might suck a bit as a mom because I don't care.  It feels a little like giving up, and I'm generally not a "giving up" type of person.

I think I'm to the point where "Just leave 'em alone and let 'em do what they want" sounds like a pretty good idea.  Maybe because I just want to be left alone to do what I want?

In one way, that sounds callous to me, like I don't care about being a mom, but that is anxiety talking.  That is the brain that felt like it had to be engaged every second with my children.  The more rational, more tired part of my brain knows that I give a ton of my energy to my children, their education, their lives.  It knows that there is something valuable about just being available to my kids if they need me.

That part of my brain also knows that I have sacrificed 11 years of my career and interests and friendships and sanity to raising a young family, and I want a break.  And even though my life will change dramatically in August when all 3 kids are in full-time school, it isn't like I'm not going to still be sacrificing many of the things I would like to do in an effort to raise my kids.

The truth is that, if I wanted to, I could put my kids in all kinds of camps and structured activities, but I don't want to.  I don't want them to have 8+ hours (or even 4+ hours) of their summer days doing something.  One of the best things about not working full-time is having the summer flexibility to let my kids kind of have the summer I had as a child.  Waking when you want, doing nothing if you want, that much-needed down time, which often makes a kid rather ready after two months to get back to a routine.  They've had ample time to wind-down and feel ready to get back to doing something structured and organized like school.

Because to structure their summer time in this way would be more work for me. I'd have to drive them, thereby putting myself right back into a schedule which I was ever so grateful to get a break from when school ended.  No more piano lessons, no more Girl Scouts, no more speech sessions twice a week.  And I'd have to pay for it.  Having a 1970s-type summer is extraordinarily cheap.

It's not like I don't have any anxiety over this because I'm blogging about it, which is where I go to explain my own anxious feelings to turn them over and examine them closely.  But there is some feeling of triumph in identifying that I might not have the energy, I might not care to fight this battle anymore and feel okay in not forging ahead on a more productive, more involved, more structured path.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Orlando photos and accompanying snarky comments

Before the photos, a commentary by Jim Gaffigan, which a friend posted on my FB page.  Sums up this trip to a T.  

N and G rode the Price Charming Carousel.  M refused to go on.

Ahhhh, the beauty of tired, cranky boys who barely had to move or walk
 and had ice cold beverages poured down their throats. 

I even considered riding coasters in order to avoid being the one
who had to hang with the male grumpy pants.

The Dumbo ride.

Someone enjoyed "It's a Small World."

Rainy Swiss Family Robinson Tree House

Jungle Cruise.  Someone needs to stop taking photos of
 someone else's mid-section, for crying out loud.

 People Mover, our all-time favorite ride because it is so lame.  

M gets to meet Mickey Mouse.  
The adult in line before us had no children 
but was talking to Mickey as if he were real.  

Goofy.  He's not real either.  

Pluto put M's bracelet on his snout.  Hilarious to a 5-year-old. 

M has a skinny black growth coming out of his nose.  

Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin.  G had like 19,000 points.  

Mamaw and 3/4 grandkids.  

Universal Studios.

Woody Woodpecker.  

D drinking the closest thing to beer he can stand:

N drinking butterbeer.  Call CPS. 

I considered feeding him to real sharks because of his complaining,
 but this is as close as I got.

Popeye playground:  Me Ship, the Olive.  
G carried on and on about wanting to play on this.  

Hot studs in the hot tub.

N got to visit the American Girl, Orlando store.  

Back at Disney--Hollywood Studios.

The Jedi knight ate an ice cream bar.
The Jedi knight is a messy little f*cker.  

Another opportunity to feed children to sharks. 

Universal again.  Dr. Seuss area. 

G was fascinated when N could get her wand to do magical things.  

Sometimes the big witch had to help without success.  

Jurassic Discovery Center.

Three Broomsticks restaurant in Hogsmeade.  

Camp Jurassic.

Last few shots before saying adios to Universal.