Sunday, July 8, 2012

Parenting

Today was a rough day. I love summertime. I love being home with my children and having a break from working so hard. I love planning lots of outings and going lots of places. I love having extra time to read. But there are days, like today, where it is hard. Where my children spend a lot of time arguing with each other and with me. Days when Gabby empties literally 30 different pieces of clothing onto the floor to find something to wear to church and refuses every outfit I suggest. I could force her to wear what I want her to wear, but I believe in picking my battles and for the most part, clothing isn't one of them. As long as what she is wearing is clean, fits, matches (usually) and is appropriate for the activity (in this case church) then she can wear it. (We are now going through all of her clothes and I'm getting rid of anything she doesn't like to wear or that doesn't fit well. As the youngest of 3 girls, she has a lot of clothes...almost all hand-me-downs, and many outfits that I think are very cute but that she refuses to wear. So we're getting rid of anything she doesn't like. No point in keeping it and having it clutter up her drawers and room. I generally go through clothes twice a year at the change of seasons and switch them out and give away things we don't need. But she has too many and so I'm doing it now and will do it again around October.)

I know that my attitude and response to my children's bickering and frustrating quirks determines to a large degree how the day will go. And I haven't handled it well today. I also know that my children need to get enough sleep. I push bedtime later in the summer, probably shouldn't, but I do. But I have noticed that on nights when they are getting ready for bed by 8:30 or so and in bed by nine, I am able to follow our normal bedtime routine. They go to bed quickly and fairly easily and things are usually pretty peaceful. But on nights, like tonight, when I let them stay up later and we're not getting ready for bed until 9:30 and in bed by 10, then things fall apart. I need to be consistent about bedtime in the summer, except on rare occasions. So I'm committing to that. I have read some research about sleep. Even a little bit of sleep deprivation leads to more behavior problems, less ability to concentrate, lower brain functioning and more emotional reactions in children (and I'm sure adults too.) So why do I let them stay up later? Because they are playing with friends, or we are watching movies together as a family, or we are visiting friends/family, or I get busy and because I'm not so worried about us being up early, I don't realize what time it is. But I am going to work hard to be more consistent. It makes for a healthier, happier family.

I love children in general, and my own children specifically. I am generally pretty good with children. So it surprises me at times how many mistakes I make with my own children. But I am trying. I am learning. And I know that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13

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Today was not all bad. I was able to visit with my Uncle Dan, Aunt Suzanne, cousins Emily and Melissa and my grandma. We also had a wonderful combined Priesthood and Relief Society Meeting with our Bishop. More about these later.