Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Parenting Failure

Lately after I tuck my kids into bed at night I walk down the hall feeling like a complete parenting failure. It is a frustrating feeling, a feeling of helplessness mixed with incompetence, like I should be doing things so much better and yet I am not.

In my head a good parent has obedient kids who are polite, follow directions the first time and are incredibly respectful. In my head, good parents have control of their kids.

As my kids are getting older I am realizing that I really do not have control of my kids. I am a failure at controlling my kids.

My boys are loud. They are boisterous and fill a room completely when they enter it. People look at us in Target or smile on me with pity in the grocery store. Just today an older couple, after seeing my boys run out of a store and race each other to the van, said, "You've got your hands full." They tantrum and cry when they don't get their way. They fight with each other, both with words and with their hands and feet. They go silent and fall behind me when a grown up tries to talk to them. They leave toys everywhere and whine when they are told to clean up and do their chores.

The noise and chaos often overwhelms me. I feel out of control. And yet deep down I know that my kids are not out of control.

But neither am I in control. I do not have control of my kids because they are growing up, they are making more and more of their own choices, and they are starting ever so slowly to take control of their own lives. This doesn't mean that they can take over our house do whatever they want. There are consequences for bad behavior, consequences from us and consequences from the world.

My parenting failure is not that I can't control my kids. My parenting failure is buying into the idea that I can control my kids, that I should control my kids.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Community - People Should Come with Warning Labels

I have been thinking a lot about community this winter and have a couple of blog posts on the subject. One of the things I realized recently was that community would be so much easier if people came with warning labels.

"I have great intentions but I am a flake."

"I over share. Don't tell me your secrets."

"I am a drama queen. Don't take my woes too seriously."

"I have been hurt so don't trust easily."

"I am quick to judge."

"I make horrible first impressions but give me another chance."

I have recently discovered that my warning label would be "Just when we become great friends, I will move away." I feel like I need to start letting new people I meet know this about me. I am a serial monogamist when it comes to community. I am quick to jump in and get involved. I am committed. I show up. I am loyal. Until the moving truck shows up. And if it is has been 2 years that we have lived in one place, then know the moving truck is coming.

We have been in the Pacific Northwest now for 2 years, exactly 2 years this week. And while the moving truck is not coming until this summer, the decision to move has been made, the house hunt has begun, and we are starting the process of disconnecting here and reconnecting there. Thankfully for us our there is back in the Bay Area where we lived a few years ago. A place full of friends, a great school community, and a strong church. A place we know and a place the kids, well some of them, remember.

This time I may not need to put on my warning label. We hope, as we did during our last move, that this one is permanent. I think we are getting closer to what is best for our family long term. I think we have found the right school system and the right hockey program for our boys. A hockey program that will not conflict with church anymore. We are moving back to the sun which makes me so very happy.

And yet, we have to say goodbye, again. Goodbye to amazing friends. Goodbye to a church family full of people who held my boys when they were babies. Goodbye to our small and tight hockey group.

With the advent of Facebook and blogs it is really not so much a goodbye, as let's stay connected via our iPhones. Which is really not so bad after all. Much better than saying goodbye.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Eerily Silent

I got an email from a friend today checking in on me. She wrote that I have been eerily silent, no blog posts or emails. I like that phrase eerily silent. Thought I am not happy with the silence. I am not happy that I have let my life get away from me, me queen of saying no, queen of the boundaries. Not only has my schedule gotten the better of me, but the grey, wet days up here in the Pacific Northwest have beaten me down. I am finding that I don't have anything nice to say, so as Thumper's mom says, I'm not saying anything at all.

And yet, by not sitting down with my laptop to write, I am not giving my mind space to stretch. I have not been giving myself space to be with my own thoughts. I have been avoiding my thoughts and I am not really sure why. They are not dark. They are not harsh. They are not even confusing. Mostly though I think I am very aware that I don't really have any deep thoughts worth turning over in my mind and on my computer screen.

It is my own fault. In this grey, dreary time of year I find myself canceling workouts and turning to coffee to get me through the afternoon. It is so wet outside that I turn on the tv to comfort shows instead of getting out and seeing people or visiting the library for a new book. And when my schedule gets busy, I find myself procrastinating everything for no reason at all. Some people thrive on activity and busyness. I apparently shut down a bit. Not really a good trait when there are things to be accomplished.

So I am going to try to make time for myself to read, time for myself to think, and time for myself to write. I know with things that are coming up in my life, I will certainly have things to process and writing is a great way for me to figure things out.