Sometimes my kids are completely absorbed in the wonder and magic of beautiful moments. But many other times, they lose this ability and get swept up with worries and complaints. I wonder if something I am doing may help this transition.
I often feel myself getting irritated and not enjoying family outings, and I have been trying to pinpoint why exactly. Of course every day is different, but I have noticed one trigger is when the kids get the *whiny-greedies*.
We went to an outdoor festival last night, and while I was happy to absorb the atmosphere, enjoy the sights, sounds, smells – the kids were immediately asking for snacks, how much longer they had to walk, complaining of sore/tired feet, whining about the music being too loud at the outdoor concert, and poking/pestering the siblings. That can at times be enough to sour my enjoyment or memories of the day. Especially when it gets me and hubby on edge and snapping/scolding.
I’d like to change the pattern of behavior, but I wonder if I am just expecting too much. But then I wonder if I have somehow spoiled them, or encouraged this less than desirable behavior. (Am I a bad mom? seems to be a daily question I must thwart and stuff away)
I have been personally practicing living in the moment, and enjoying life immensely- lately. But I can not figure out how to use this new skill effectively while parenting. First of all, I have to think ahead, because forgetting diapers or sunscreen can really ruin your day. But then once we get somewhere, I have to constantly be on guard for the kids to not climb the rocks/fence/light poles or kick/hit/poke/punch/pinch each other, and especially make sure they don’t blindly run in to the street or wander off from us. I try to hold their hands, but then I have to hold their snacks and drinks and coats, and we try to just keep them very close. The whole thing causes such anxiety just to keep them safe in a crowd, that I no longer live in the moment, always looking ahead to keep them out of danger and be less whiny. Last night I wanted to hear a band, but once we saw how far we’d have to walk to that bandstand with already whining kids, we decided it was not worth it to push them to fatigue and have to carry them back to the car. My kids are too big for a stroller, but too small to just walk and walk without complaint. I have learned if you make them walk anyway, you not only suffer the complaints, but then they fall and scrape a knee and you miss the concert anyway tending to the wounds.
And then I laugh, because I raised kids that not one of them would try the fried cauliflower, but they all gobbled up a fried oreo with gusto! (yes I’m a bit ashamed I ordered such a devastatingly heart clogging/waist increasing creation, but had to try it once in my life)
So we had a nice day, but I wonder if I get too upset by kids acting like kids, and feel guilty for being impatient for them to grow up already. I try to plan fun family activities, but often can’t enjoy them myself. Is this just the price of being Mom? Or can I learn to manage these feelings too?
After all the complaints, we sat down, had full tummies, and when it got dark and I passed out the glow sticks, the magic happened. I saw each one twirl and spin and write imaginary letters in the air as we waited for fireworks – I saw each kid living in a magical happy moment and was able to let myself absorb and focus on it. I felt all the tension melt away and just soaked up the giggles and grins. I’m pretty sure they won’t remember the whiny/fussy moments, so why should I?
And something to think about – even with all the terrible parts of my childhood, I do have some of these magic glow sticks/fireworks moments to recall, as long as I take them out of context, I can pull out some happy moments for myself to hold on to. I wonder how my attitude might change if I work on recalling more of my own happy childhood moments instead of always processing the abusive ones?
- Glow Sticks, Giggles and Rock Concerts (howlandsleapoffaith.com)
- How to Raise Happy, Self-Confident Children (parentingpractically.wordpress.com)