Tag Archives: stress

“I Can’t!” ~ Enough Said

a compass and attached chainTransitioning from the baby to toddler years, from a place where you do everything for them to teaching them how to do things for themselves is nothing less than a challenge, in my opinion.  Every time I would push for them to have more independence, they would struggle, and then I would wonder if what I’m expecting of them is more than what their age can handle.

So far my oldest son is just like me, independent.  He’s has taken the reins with maturity and independence and run with them.  So one would think I would have the perfect compass to go by, right?  All I’d have to do is pay more attention to when he achieves a milestone, so I can expect the same from the younger ones.  However, that doesn’t always work either.  For instance, my oldest rolled over at 3 months, sat up at 6 months, and knew his letters at 18 months all without my help.  When my other sons achieved those milestones at different times, that’s when I learned each child is different and what one can do by a certain age doesn’t mean the others will achieve them at the same time.

The words “I can’t” come mostly from my anxiety-stricken middle son as well the baby of the family.  The two of them combine to pose a challenge.  The baby, actually not in the baby stage any more since he’s 4 ½, looks up to his anxiety-stricken brother.  I think he would do a lot better, since he does have a strong-willed nature, to look up to his oldest brother, but that’s something I can’t control, only encourage.  His “I can’ts” come from playing the youngest member of the family cards, otherwise known as the “baby card.”  When the baby card is played, it’s a hard one to ignore because he is my last one. But I do my best.  Seriously, I do!

Then, as I mentioned before, there’s my son who struggles with anxiety.  His “I can’ts” happen on a regular basis, and when they do, I either get stubborn and make him follow through or take another direction to get through his insecurity.  It all depends on the situation in regards to the approach I take.  For instance, I planned for all three of my boys to go through 2 years of preschool since our Kindergarten is a full day.  Due to his anxiety every morning, he cried the two years he attended, which made it hard getting through the morning routine.  Then the last step of getting his shoes on was the ultimate challenge, and these were my stubborn times where I new he could do it and I was consistent in my expectation.  I spoke with the Psychologist about our preschool mornings and was told with a child like him he needs to be pushed, children his age can put their shoes on.

Now that my oldest is in 3rd grade, and has a helpful nature about him, he helps me with his younger brother when it comes to Kindergarten homework and “I can’ts.”  There are times Mr. Anxiety struggles with working with me, when it comes to homework. So I take the big brother approach to get him through it, and it works like a charm.  Thank goodness for my helpful older son.  He was born to be a big brother, just like some women are born to be Moms.

Being the doormat/people pleaser person that I am, I thought I would struggle with parenting, but thankfully my stubborn nature keeps me from doing that, especially when the words “I can’t” are uttered.

by City Chic On A Farm

Photo graciously provided by nullalux, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

When You Lose Your Ambition, Take a Break

hammock hanging between 2 trees in green restful settingI had a wonderful Great Aunt who had the cutest sayings. I attended college near her home, so I spent weekends here and there visiting her. She was in her late 80’s at the time so the visits usually consisted of eating meals, watching television, and just keeping up with the dishes. Then we’d chat, play cards, and possibly go to the grocery store. That was about it for excitement but that’s okay. Those were wonderful weekends.

My favorite memory of Aunt Edith was when she’d be sitting in her recliner in the living room and she’d turn to me and say, “I don’t have the ambition of a flea,” and then laugh. Then we’d just continue with our sitting, perhaps watching a show or reading. Ahhh, peaceful times.

Yesterday I met briefly a friend that I only see once or twice a year. She was a little off-balance and said she’d just woken up from a nap that had been well over two hours. She’d been extremely busy for several weeks with her son graduating from high school and family visiting on top of her already busy life and she was just plain worn out.

It occurs to me that there was great wisdom in saying, “I don’t have the ambition of a flea,” laughing, and taking a nap. Sometimes we all need a good rest. I got to that point last week; after a full week of school and kid activities on top of my own work and volunteer efforts, I was completely wiped out by Friday.

My neighbor scheduled a garage sale and invited all of us living nearby to participate as well. It sounded like a great idea until about 2:00 Friday afternoon, when I was sitting in my garage and the weather was about 90 degrees F out with no perceptible breeze. I was so hot! And tired!! You can throw in a bit of frazzled there too. The boys had been squabbling all day and weren’t terribly helpful with the sale, except to repeatedly ask me “Has anyone else come through? What did they buy?”

I knew Hubby wanted to take the family to a movie that night, but even that much effort seemed completely overwhelming. As soon as I closed down the garage sale and finished my errands, I made it to the couch to lay down. After a power nap I was ready to go to the movies.

It took the rest of the weekend of moving slower and more naps before I felt ready to get back to work.

And you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes you get to the point of exhaustion in life, and you have to stop. Don’t feel guilty for it, just rest. By taking naps and only doing what was actually necessary this weekend, I’m ready to get back to work today. I did do a little cleaning last night, but that was because I wanted to; not because I felt obligated to work while exhausted.

Sometimes as parents we get tired out too. Don’t feel guilty! Take a nap, declare a family vacation from chores…whatever it takes to rest and recharge your batteries. It’s even helpful to declare that you don’t have the ambition of a flea. The work can wait for a little while.

by AmyL

Photo graciously provided by tonigirl, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Don't Be Married To What It Looks Like

a path through a grassy meadowParenting is a journey. It’s a non-stop olympic event. It’s a gauntlet we voluntarily run. And you and I want to make it work, to achieve success as often as possible, so our kids become the adults of our dreams. But in the process, at times, we make ourselves crazy, especially when our kids stray from the desired path.

Sometimes it’s little things. Sometimes they demand to wear two different-colored socks. Or they choose to hang out with a kid we’re not overly fond of. Or they won’t say hi to Pastor Mike on the way out of the sanctuary.

And sometimes it’s big things. Sometimes they demand to have an extra hour out on a Saturday night, even though there’s that family visit early Sunday morning. Or they insist on not studying for an upcoming history exam. Or they refuse to apologize to their sister for hurting her feelings.

We want to get our kids to do these things, and in the moment, these things matter to us, a lot. And we get wound up about them. And we pull our hair and cry into our pillows and allow the frustration and the worry to consume us like a plague.

And I get that. It’s real. The pain, the anguish, the deep-seated, pit-of-our-stomach worry is real and it’s reasonable. It’s part of being a serious, devoted parent.

But sometimes it’s just not necessary.

So I say this to myself, and to you: Don’t Be Married To What It Looks Like.

In other words, when my kid heads down a path that is not one I would have them choose, I pause and check with myself, asking myself a few questions: Will they die? Will two different socks endanger them or cause them irreparable social outcasting? Will a night of staying out late and getting less sleep stunt their growth?

If the situation is serious, then sure, I’ve got to deal with it, and with my kid. If they’re making a poor choice and I need to convince them to choose a different path, then so be it. Maybe there will be a tense conversation, but I’ve got to accept that and get in there and do my job. However, if the risk that they are taking will give them a healthier ego, and if the worst possible outcome won’t be too much of a big deal, then I need to let them go and do and be happy with themselves, no matter what the result may look like.

If I keep a loose grip on my idea of success, if I keep my expectations balanced, if I accept whatever results emerge from the efforts of my children, I find happiness at the end of the day.

by Stu Mark

Photo graciously provided by fd, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Communication Break-Down

phone hanging from cordMy husband and I have been married for just over 10 years. Most of the time our relationship is easy. We have our moments, but truly they are few. We seem to parent as a team with minimal effort, although this has taken time and an understanding of what is important to each of us as parents. However, when something BIG happens in our life we stop communicating.

We both know this. During our infertility journey we participated in couples counseling and acknowledged our communication break-down. Then we had another snafu after our girls were born 10 weeks too soon. Again we used a counselor to help us get through this difficult time. We were reminded about how we stop talking to each other when times are tough.

I don’t know how to explain it or really why it happens. My husband tends to climb into a shell never to return. In the past I have yelled and screamed to get a reaction from him, but it never worked so I stopped. So, now I follow his pattern and allow the Pink Elephant to grow larger and larger in our house.

Since he broke his leg life has been stressful for both of us. He doesn’t talk to much about how he is doing, how painful it is or even how bored he is sitting around. When he calls from work I can hear a lightness in his voice that doesn’t exist at home. I don’t blame him for the broken leg. It wasn’t his fault and there was nothing he could do. I think he thinks that I am mad at him, which I am not. However, I am tired, stressed and somewhat overwhelmed with my increased responsibilities. And to top the weekend off, I have a sore throat. Ugh!

So, I have decided to address the Pink Elephant. Otherwise, we’ll continue to drift farther apart and that is something I do not want. But the real challenge is to stop our pattern so that we don’t have any more Pink Elephants from entering our lives. Or is that unrealistic?

by Kelly Damron

Photo graciously provided by Hello Turkey Toe, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved

Parenting In The Media: Easing Fears Through Bedtime Stories

Kids have fears. We all have our thoughts on how to address them. The noted literacy activist, Pam Allyn, wrote a thoughtful essay on how bedtime stories can ease childhood fears. The essay also includes fantastic recommendations for bedtime books (and who doesn’t love a good book recommendation?) –

    “When the sun goes down, fears come up. The blessing of a transcendent story for any age is that it helps us to escape, to relate, to connect and to understand the perils and magic of our mortal universe.

    Great children’s literature assures us that frail looking boys with scars on their foreheads can become heroes, spiders can write words to save lives and bunnies can go to bed fearlessly. Great children’s literature inspires us to want to live backwards: to live as openly and tenderly as a child.”

Read the rest of the essay here.

Don’t know Pam? Here’s her bio from Scholastic: Pam Allyn is the Executive Director and founder of LitLife, a nationally known literacy development organization providing innovative, research-based professional development for K-12 educators. She was the Director of Funded Projects for The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project and also the Founding Director of Books for Boys, a reading initiative for New York’s foster care children. Allyn has received several commendations for her work, including a Points of Light/Disney award for her literacy work and a James Patterson Page Turner Award.

Any thoughts? Got some ideas for fear-reduction? Do you play-act or have family forums or private talks? Do you avoid fear-talk (to avoid exacerbating the situation)? What’s your way to defeat the boogie man?