Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I shall have Patience

This is how I look like most of the day to my daughter. You see, we have this combination of little time, loads of work, dawdling, dreaming, requiring endless attention, seeking constant reassurance, not independant enough, very needy. Throw in worry about medication and her health issue and well, that is what you get. Everyday I get stressed to the max and exasperated beyond control.

I have to make sure that she gets enough sleep, rest and exercise while making sure that she completes her heavy workload of homework at the same time while worrying about the effects of the medication and any recurring seizures. It does not help that she does everything very slow. Going to the toilet for a pee can take 20 minutes. Mealtimes an hour. Bathtime more than half an hour. Doing a page of homework can be an hour. This won't do when you have pages of work. I have to make sure that she completes her work and still get enough time to sleep and rest and exercise. I just don't have enough hours in a day to make all that happen.

And in trying to ensure that it happens, I turn into an impatient monster. Like a fire snotting draggon with porcupine spikes.

It does not help if I talk to her nicely to explain to her why she has to learn to do things faster. It does not help if I yell at her (ok sometimes it helps) but then she is reduced to tears while doing her work, so pitiful, it does not help if I ignore her and leave her alone to manage her own work. Everything gets delayed and we have even less time. I just don't know what to do anymore. I have no solutions. Nothing works. I face this each and every day. It is driving me nuts! Everyday is a rush. And the end result of rush is impatience and finally yelling like in the picture. Not enough time = Rushing = Impatience = Yelling.

Somedays, I tell my husband, I give up! I give up! I don't know what to do. A lot of help that is! Of course, a statement like that only causes more problems and stress. He would tell me I am not trying my best. I think I've tried everything. Or he would say you are only telling me the problems, not the solutions.... and then I may tell him ok then why don't you try to get things done and he would say why don't you go to work then. Aaarrrghhh! Blah blah blah. Ok I don't want to go into that or this post will become even longer.

The point of this post is. I know I cannot have more time. There is little I can do about her schedule. She has minimum schedule from extra curricular activities accept for her piano where her piano teacher is rushing her like mad to complete her piano theory plus her school work of course. No other activities. No tv, no pc games, no dance classes, swimming, other games, extra classes from school etc. So sad for a kid. No time for play.

Just school work and music. I have informed the piano teacher to slow down on the practical part because we cannot manage it but as for school work. There is no way the teachers will slow down the homework just for one child so we cannot change that unless we change school. She is only in Standard Two. I cannot imagine what it will be like when she has to stay back for compulsory classes plus compulsory extra curricular activities in Standard 3 next year but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Right now we are almost drowning.

So, ok, I cannot change her schedule very much. She is a rather needy, anxious child with low self esteem plus she is a perfectionist which delays her work even further. Everything must be checked and rechecked and erased over and over again to perfection. It just drives me crazy, the amount of time it takes to complete something. I know that losing my patience and yelling at her does not help her.

Some articles about patience in parenting suggest that you should lower your expectations on the child and on yourself. However, I feel there is no room for us to lower expectations. If we were to do that, work does not get completed and the consequence of that is even worse for her. Getting scolded by teachers, fear of school. There is no way around it. We just have to complete the work that is given. We cannot delay it.

So, the only thing I can change is my reactions to the situation. So now, I have a new goal. To cultivate patience in myself. Starting (from yesterday), I shall control my reactions. I shall give myself mental talks "How will this help?" I shall try to turn exasperation into humour. I shall control my emotions. I shall not get out of control. I shall work towards becoming more patient. I did quite well yesterday too. I shall persevere and work towards patience.

Lastly, some patience quotes to help myself along. To me, parenting is a lifetime journey of discovery not only about your child but about yourself. It is about growing and changing yourself for the better all the time.

Patience is the art of caring slowly. - John Ciardi

Our patience will achieve more than our force.- Edmund Burke
To lose patience is to lose the battle.- Mahatma Gandhi
Patience is the ability to idle your motor when you feel like stripping your gears.- Barbara Johnson
If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.- A Chinese Proverb
Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure. Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a rational outlook, which eventually leads to success.- Brian Adams

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Thursday, June 03, 2010

My Boy, My Girl and My Man

My boy is 6. He is an all smiles, little cuddly bear. Oh how he loves to hug and be hugged. He likes to stroke my face and hair lovingly too. His vocabulary is growing each day and now likes to add words like "lovely" and "cozy" into his sentences. He tells me he likes to hug me because it is cozy and he called me "my lovely" while requesting that I call him "my child". lol.

He had been pinching the pimple on my chin for the longest time turning it into a perpetual pimple. It was hard to "wean" him from doing so but finally he stopped. The other day he looked at my face and said "Mummy, your pinch is gone now!" :)

He is a very smiley boy but he can really pout too, crying and hiding under chairs and tables when he is feeling disappointed.

We are currently using a reward system for good behaviour and he loves it. He is so good. He would wake up on his own, brush his teeth, change his clothes, have breakfast, go to the toilet all on his own. He would do his homework, practise his music, eat  his greens, go to bed etc all on his own.... all for the sake of collecting stars! :)

My girl is 8. She is smart, intelligent, inquisitive and very very honest. She is very diligent in everything that she does. For example, she has a good set of teeth because she takes care of them so well. She is the straight type who does not feel comfortable about lying or hiding the truth.

She is very manja as well. Whenever she has any small injury or hurt, she would ask "Mummy, please sayang for me". A small pat or blow is enough to make it all better. :)

She does not like dolls or toys very much and prefers reading, drawing and crafting.  She loves to skip, sing and dance and play word games or finger plays. She also loves attention and longs to be heard.

My man is a wonderful father and husband. He is a family man. To him, family is always first. He knows that by doing so, he may not go that very far at work but to him his priorities are very clear. Sometimes to go very far at work you have to work really hard, log in long hours, do a lot of travelling etc. Occassionally that creates a work family imbalance even though you are in fact working for the sake of your family. The catch is you don't get to spend very much time with the family that you are working very hard for. If you don't spend time with  your children when they are young, that time is gone forevery and you have missed out on the wonderful chance to bond with them.

My man makes sure he has time for us. He takes time off during the kid's birthdays etc. He spends time teaching them whenever he can. He has always been a hands on father, right from that first diaper change. He is a very involved dad. My kids are very lucky to have him as a father.

My man loves it when we do things together. I have climbed up roofs, repaired ceilings, painted walls, cut electrical wires etc all with him. We do a lot of DIY ourselves from plumbing to fixing airconds etc and he loves it if I am there to do it with him. Otherwise, he would pout like my boy. Haha.

He is very simple and eats anything I cook and rarely complains. He is a very positive person and it is he who taught me how to be happy with the little things in life and to have a more positive outlook.

He is a very organised and disciplined person. I think I drive him a bit crazy because I am the opposite of that. :)

Ahh... after yesterday's post and now this. Can you tell that the endorphins have kicked in? Or do  you think it is because my period is late again and my hormones are out of sync? Actually it is very simple. It is important to sometimes think about the good things and qualities of the ones you love and write them down in order to get your perspectives right again. If you look for the positives, you will feel positive and great. If you can only see negatives, there will always be something to be unhappy about. Do this simple exercise when you are unhappy. List down all the happy things and happy thoughts and you will not feel so blue.

I was down for a while. I was worried about my girl. I could not sleep at night from watching her. A few days ago she had some rashes and I was a worried. The doc had said that the medication she prescribed could cause some life threatening rash after about a month of consumming. That was about the time she had the rash and I was worried. I had a bad cough. The doc thought it was pneumonia. I am still having the cough. It is the second month now. I missed a period. The doc said it was a hormonal imbalance. It is late again now. I had arguments with the man because we were both under stress. And nothing seemed right. I lost interest in doing anything. Not even blogging preferring to do mindless stuff instead. Each day was a rush.

I hope that we can get back to some normalcy now.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Resentment Trap

The other day I was reading a letter written by "Distressed Wife" where she wrote about her desperate pain as a SAHM. I can feel and understand her pain. She sounds like she is at the end of her tether now, thinking of ".........divorce and leaving the kids with him." I think she wants to give a loud wake-up call to her man. What she really wants to say is "WHY DON'T YOU PUT YOURSELF IN MY SHOES AND DO WHAT I DO FOR A CHANGE!" No mother wants to leave her children. The fact that she can even think about it shows her frustration.

I have no good advise for her but I can truly understand her pain and desperation. She has been getting all sorts of advice from "train your kids to do the housework", to "spend couple time with your husband" etc but it is all too easy to say than do.

I think that as a SAHM or housewife, we need to shift our focus (and I am not talking about her, I am referring to myself) to ourselves instead of our spouse. We should think about how we can improve things for ourselves and how we can better take care of ourselves so we can take care of the household and the family instead of focussing on how much he is not doing.

Many times, I do feel the pang of resentment, when I feel that my husband is making an unreasonable request about the way I handle things. Sometimes the request may not even be unreasonable but it is tough to handle and carry out for example.

I too want to shout out, "WHY DON"T YOU DO IT!" I feel resentful, when I rush about handling the kids while he has a warm cuppa and lies in bed watching tv because he needs to go to work the next day. I feel resentful when he asks me to train the kids to go to the toilet in the morning or make sure they get enough sleep and go to bed early and tells me "JUST DO IT. DON'T GIVE EXCUSES." I feel resentful when I am rushing to help one kid with his/her school work and the other with his/her music practise and he tells me "You are being biased. spending too much time on this kid and less time on the other." Hey! I do know what I am doing and I know that I am being fair and I rush around to help both as best I can without favour.

It is all very well when everything is going smoothly. Work, money coming in, everyone healthy, you have the time for holidays, gifts, each other.

However, under stressful conditions, like when your doctor tells you that you have a hormonal imbalance and your kid starts having a seizure and is diagnosed with epilepsy and starts taking medicine, the same medicine that you are taking. And the whole family is sick with coughs and colds for two months and the kids have ear infections and nasal problems etc etc. And you never seem to have time for anything. And you never seem to celebrate your wedding anniversaries or birthdays because there is always something more important or pressing that you have to think about like how your kid will react to anticonvulsant medicines or whether you can still keep your job as the single breadwinner because you have imsomnia and it is affecting you.

And you wanted to buy the kid a birthday cake to bring to school because it so happens they are having a party in school for Teacher's Day but the spouse tells you "No, I have other more important things to worry about." The problem is .... there is always something more important to worry about!!!

Under such conditions, then you have to rely on yourself to not fall into the resentment trap. You have to remember all the goodness in your spouse that you have stopped seeing because you are under stress. You have to remember how to remain a good spouse yourself  because once you give up and stop doing that than your relationship will go down the drain as swift as water.

The girl was hopeful to have the birthday cake because she said when she asked teacher whether she could bring a cake for her birthday, teacher said yes and everyone looked at her and now she is no longer afraid to sing in front of the class because now everyone knows her. A cake with everyone singing to her would surely make her happy but then... no... you have to let it go or have the biggest argument with your spouse over a silly cake. So you tell yourself, nevermind, she is only 8, she won't even remember if she had a cake in school when she grows up.

Yes, you have to learn to let go of things like that. You have to learn to make yourself happy. You have to learn to make your spouse happy. You have to learn to make your children happy. You have to learn to let go of building resentment. You have to learn to take care of yourself so that you can take care of those around you. Sometimes the overated and much suggested, go out shopping with girlfriends, or have date nights with your spouse or take a holiday, have a break, go for a spa whatever just isn't possible. Sure anyone would love it if they could do those things to rejuvenate but it is not always practical or possible. In that case, you have to do a mental shift. Talk to yourself and turn your resentment around. Be happy with yourself in your mind. Do things for yourself at home in your own solitude like crap in your blog for example. :P

Ok enough said. I am writing this silly, long crappy post because I am having a hormonal imbalance. I think I should go and do some exercises now to release some endorphins. And hopefully, I will be myself again soon.

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