Learning As I Go

graphic reading "Little Joy Map"

 

I wanted to update on loving my kids though. As mentioned in my last post, I am a working on loving my kids this month. Trickier than I thought. I very specifically started working on not saying to my kids, “you’re OK.” Instead, I’m trying to acknowledge what they’re feeling–anger, frustration, pain, etc. I’m certainly not fabulous at it, but I am getting better.

I will tell y’all about a bit of a funny moment, though. The book I’ve been reading about love styles give some specific ideas about how to embrace feeling and teach your children to cope with them. One method is to acknowledge their feelings and then just hold them until they seem to be feeling better. I tried it once with Louie and it went great, so I thought, “I’ve got this!”

Well, the other night Charlie got up at four in the morning and was screaming. I thought he’d had a nightmare or something. So I calmly acknowledged that he was scared and then wrapped my arms around him.

That child pushed me right off and started yelling! Apparently he was not scared–he wanted to watch Lady Gaga videos.

You win some, you lose some, right?

The Lady Gaga obsession is being curtailed now--no Gaga after dinner.

The Lady Gaga obsession is being curtailed now–no Gaga after dinner.

 

 

Love Game

graphic reading "Little Joy Map"

When I decided I wanted to write about love for the month of March, I’m not sure I quite knew what I meant. I mean, I know what love IS, but how it would help me or help the kids, well, I wasn’t sure.

But I already printed the list and love is a good thing, so I ordered some books and here I am reading about how to love my kids better.

So far I’ve realized that my love style is “avoider.” This is not one of those love language things–I haven’t gotten to that book yet. This is a different book, and they really hit the nail on the head with me. I am easily overwhelmed by other people’s feelings. When my kids cry, it’s like somebody is twisting my insides. I don’t know if I’ve always been like this–I don’t think so–but definitely after Charlie was born. Even a tiny peep from him and I was convinced he was dying.

So, the first thing I need to work on is letting my children have emotions and acknowledging them. This will be hard for me–I like my kids to be happy and relatively quiet. I don’t want to talk about WHY they’re crying–I just want them to stop.

Clearly I have some work to do, which stinks because I thought this was going to be an easy month!

Other love styles in this book are: Pleaser, Vacillator, Controller, and Victim. I can identify a lot of people in my life on this list. Do you see yourself? What’s your style? What about your kids?

Good Sleep: Everybody Wins

graphic reading "Little Joy Map"

I was reading the Weissbluth book about sleep and in the very beginning he mentioned that by sleeping more, he was actually a better father. He said he was warmer and friendlier.

And that stood out to me. You see, Mr. Bird on the Street took a very demanding job a few years back. And then he re-upped his military commitment as a reservist because we needed the delightfully cheap health insurance they offer. This meant he had to to start running so he could pass all those delightful physical fitness tests. And so, in the last couple of years, he hasn’t slept very much. We also had all those babies, which aren’t really good for sleep either.

And I love my husband–I do. But he wasn’t nearly as friendly as he used to be, and he never wanted to do anything around the house. I didn’t help things at all because being home with all four of your children so your spouse can go work out? Cue the jealousy!!! I mean, I knew it was for the whole family’s health insurance, but that didn’t make taking care of four kids any easier, and a lot of times I would ask him to go after everyone was in bed. As you can imagine, that made him stay up even later.

dog sitting on a porch

Our Brave Protector

So I made one tiny change. I vowed to make everybody’s sleep important–mine, his, and the kids. If he fell asleep on the couch, I’d encourage him to go to bed. If he said he was tired during the weekend, I’d suggest a nap. I let him sneak off to the gym an hour before Charlie’s bedtime. I also kept reminding him how important sleep is.

Guess what? It made things awesome. When I started valuing his sleep, he started valuing mine. He thanks me OFTEN for being so “considerate.” I think I’m exactly the way I used to be except for that one tiny change.

Moral of the Story: We need to prioritize everybody’s sleep because it’s good for all of us.

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