It has been a tough going couple of weeks. To be honest, now that I sit down to write about it, I'm not really sure that I know why fully! Oliver hasn't been here much at all (home 1 day in the last 7), and I'm tired. Joseph wants to stay up later, and the physical task of getting the boys ready for bed alone and completing all the essential jobs that need doing every evening to keep the household ticking over means that I am getting to bed later without a rest in the evening. In addition, Joseph is needing me close by a lot at the moment. He seems to worry if I am out of his sight for too long and likes to know that I am focused on him and his needs. Callum has always liked a lot of close physical contact, and Charlie has some impressively mischevious strategies for maintaining my attention, so I'm feeling stretched. Perhaps the fact that Oliver is away a lot may be contributing to Joseph's feelings, although its interesting that it was around this time last year when I wrote My mummy's boys, and the fear I can't be enough, and I wonder whether the fact they all have their birthdays soon may also be playing a part. I'm not concerned about Joseph's need for me in the longer term, but I am thoughtful about what if anything in particular may be provoking it, and on being mindful about our relationship in the shorter term.
I could go on a bit more about the various things I've been finding difficult recently but it seems a misdirection of energy! A couple of nights ago I had a difficult evening with the boys and felt thoroughly fed up, and guilty that I had been grumpy with them. I began to write a checklist in my head of things it would be helpful to remember when I am feeling overwhelmed, that perhaps I could sneak off and read to give myself a pep talk and use to get back to a more peaceful place. Very often when I find myself getting cross a feeling inside tells me: you won't always have a 4-year old and two 2-year olds, so let this pass! The difficult moment is only a moment, and remembering that helps me to move into the next, which usually feels better!
Yesterday morning I woke with an idea to record something lovely that happens each day, because there is always something no matter how challenging the day has been! So I began the day with that intention, and before I knew it the day was full of wonderful moments to mentally record. Here are a few from the top of my head....
- The boys all sat at the kitchen table eating porridge and watching one of their favourite programmes together on the iPad, and while they did, I stood back looking at them and having a moment of absolute love! :)
- Joseph and I had a brilliant sword fight, where he laughed so much he could barely stand up!
- Charlie came into the kitchen while I was making lunch and sprinkled some (invisible) magic dust in my hand and told me to eat it. When I asked what it was for, he told me it was for hiccups! He then said he would like to help make lunch.
- When getting shoes on to go outside I put one of Callum's shoes on him and was momentarily distracted. Instead of getting cross with me he said, "I can hop out to the garden!"
- We played football in the garden, and Charlie carefully carried a snail around while kicking the ball!
- Callum found a worm, picked it up on his spade and brought it for his brothers to see!
- I found some dinosaur pictures that Joseph had made and saved on my iPad.
- Joseph and I looked at a book about Egyptian soldiers while I made dinner, and then when Callum came into the kitchen, Joseph showed him some pictures and told him what a battering ram was for!
- While we ate dinner, Charlie climbed onto my chair and kissed me on the head.
- Oliver arrived home before the boys had gone to bed, and Callum and Charlie told him in the beautiful way only 2-year olds can, how we had made a bug catcher in the garden and found some frog spawn and a frog in the paddling pool!
Maybe I will jot a little something lovely down every day, and record it here to keep me focused on how good life is; today I was looking for lovely moments and so I was showered in them. If I had woken intent on recording my woes I'd probably have seen more of those!
I feel better than I did two days ago and nothing has changed other than my focus. It would be nice to send Ollie something nice about our day at home when he's away, rather than send him a text message saying I'm too tired to chat on the phone. Feeling good has a funny way of spreading when its allowed to! :)
How I manage my own stresses and challenges is really important in a home where we've decided to learn without school, and lead by example rather than doctrine.