Friday, April 1, 2011

I'd Forgotten What I Knew

For the past few weeks I've managed to keep FireGirl & I on an actual, real schedule. Mostly. I've been more productive at work than I have been, literally, in years. I've felt better about my work self than I have in years {{ working moms insert golf clap }}
The fact is, when I put myself, really put myself into my work, I rock. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but yeah, I rock at my job.

But at the same time that I was having success at work, remembering how awesome I am at my job after all, how much I really do rock and all, FireGirl was hitting the Terrible Twos full force.

Cue working-mom-woes. Success in one area, and bam! it falls apart in another.

Anyway... FireGirl had become as defiant as all get-out. We'd been fighting several times daily, and let's face it, there is no reasoning with a toddler.
She started hitting me. And I mean hitting. No, really. Little devil.

We tried time outs. Talking to her. Reasoning with her. Taking away toys, books, etc. And it just got worse.

And worse.

And then she hit FireMan.

And then she hit Grandma.

We were at our wits' end.

The irony, of course, was that we are not against spanking as a form of discipline, and this was the first time our little angel was doing anything severe enough to warrant spanking as a disciplinary measure, but... we both agreed that spanking as a punishment for hitting just didn't make sense. Especially when the child is two-years-old and certainly would not understand the difference.

So... what to do?!?

Her behavior had gotten so out of control, so unlike herself, that my parents actually suggested that we consult a child psychologist. And remember, they have been around FireGirl more than anyone, so if anyone knows her besides us, they do.

That's how bad it had gotten.

We left FireGirl with them on a Friday so that FireMan & I could spend the weekend in Indianapolis at FDIC. This gave us a lot of time to talk about the situation, and me a lot of time to think about the situation.

And so I did some thinking. And then some more thinking.

In between the fire trucks and flashing lights and vendor booths, I thought about it.

On the drive home it hit me.

Something had to change.


And I'm the mommy, so I have to figure it out and be the catalyst for change.

Because something had to change.

And somewhere on that drive, I realized.

The schedule.

See... Our family doesn't normally operate on a schedule. Not really. We have certain routines that we do, but no real schedules.
Oh, sure, we have to go to work & church & preschool at certain times, but other than that... no set times for activities. Not really. Not at all.

Not even FireGirl.

When FireGirl was born... heck, when I was pregnant with FireGirl... people told us how our lives would operate on a different schedule, insisting that this tiny little being would have our lives timed down to the minute.

Yeah, things didn't exactly work out that way.

We've never had FireGirl on a schedule. Not even when she was a newborn. A routine, yes. A schedule, no.

It just doesn't work with our family. Especially with FireMan's alternating shifts and how that impacts the rest of our life. A daily schedule just isn't in the works for us.

Until recently.

Things have been really stressful at work, and I've ended up working real overtime for the first time since FireGirl was born. FireMan's business is taking off, and he's been putting in more hours there, plus they're starting to train new divers for Water Rescue, so he's busy with that as well. With all the added activity, it's been all but necessary for us to have a schedule so I can try to manage it all, so we can get it all done.

The schedule.

The schedule had to go.

Because the truth was, the only part of life truly benefiting from it was my work. I was more productive at work. My work self was doing well. But my home life was falling apart.

FireGirl & I were fighting constantly. She had managed to drag our fights out so long that the schedule that had begun with me getting more done at home now left me getting less done at home. The house was a disaster, we were both stressed out, her to the point of lashing out with hitting, and yes, the stress at home was beginning to affect my work. How ironic.

And so... this week... I threw out the schedule.

This week, I stopped and chatted with the babysitter for half an hour while FireGirl blew bubbles before leaving. Why not?
In that conversation, by the way, I found out that one of the other children hits their mother, and has done so in front of FireGirl. Interesting...

We've taken the long way home, past the horse farms, and alpacas, and chickens. Found a new horse farm to drive by and dream by. And when no one else is coming, I stop and we roll down our windows so FireGirl can talk to the horses. And watch. Oh, how she watches them.

We've been stopping and playing with the dogs before we ever go inside the house. Okay, she plays with the dogs while I make multiple trips carrying whatever number of loads I have that day inside. And then once I'm done we play with the dogs for a few minutes longer. Because... why not?

We eventually get our bath done, and our PJs, and snack, and this week she's gotten to bed no later than 30 minutes past her "scheduled" bedtime.

But with virtually no struggles, unlike the past few weeks.
Oh, sure, we've still had a couple of arguements.

She is two, after all. And I'm her mother, and although I'm tons of fun, we still have rules, so I still make her mad.

But no hitting.
For the first time it at least two weeks, the first day I threw away the schedule was also the first day of no hitting.

I like our life better this way. We like our life better this way.

And I need to remember what I knew.

What I knew from the beginning. What I knew about being a mom without anyone telling me. Despite what everyone was telling me.

I know my family. I know what works.

And for us, this works.

1 comment:

BlazinMama said...

Your right! Different things work and don't work for different families. I keep us on a laid back scheduling system.It works for me being on the fire department and we can do more. I love that if something dosen't happen at a certain time, say dinner at 630p my son dosen't melt down like some. It works for us but won't work for others. Just because you choose to do things different then some families dosen't mean your any less of a mom :)

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