Sunday, September 07, 2008

Things that are working, things that aren't

Ok, so, time to vent. Life has been a bit too crazy around here for me....and for the kids. I've basically been in obsessive land for the past week trying to get things done and purchased and cleaned and researched and sent and put together and made and the poor kids have been severely neglected. Instead of being a priority they've mostly just been in the way, and it's pretty clear from their resulting behavior that they're pretty tired of it.

So....mostly to help myself out of this strange's my list of things that are working and things that aren't.

Not working (warning....this is a very realistic and pretty sad picture of me as a mom):
  1. Saying to my kids "wait just one minute" over and over and over again.
  2. Not responding to them when they ask really nicely for something (because I'm so engrossed in what I'm doing)....this results in them asking for things in a frantic, loud, crazy tone which I then get mad at.....and then at least they get some attention so the next time around they don't start out by asking nicely but instead start at a full volume frantic tone. (And I've been asking myself why they're SOOOO freaky outy....duh!)
  3. Not waking up before my kids. What a luxury, I know I should enjoy this....but people, they sleep until 8:30 and often have to drag me out of bed. Sweet Charlie with his really very patient calls from his crib "mommy! I want to get out please!" and Hazel with her quiet tugging at my arm. She even knows to bring me my eye drops and glasses so that I can get up.
  4. Giving the kids each a bowl of cereal first thing in the morning so that I can go and snarf mine down while checking my email.....of course I have no email because I was up till midnight and checked it just before bed. Sadly, I'm not nearly popular enough to warrant checking email so often.
  5. Being stuck to my computer chair after the cereal is gone for a while checking all kinds of dumb things just to give me more time before I have to turn my brain on. This results in the kids getting up from their breakfast (clearing their bowls....those little sweethearts) laughing their heads off at each other and then eventually fighting. Their fighting is usually what pulls me away from that stupid something that I'm "checking." It's pretty pathetic!
  6. Trying to run a gazillion errands in way too little time so that I'm rushing the kids around stores and getting extremely frustrated that they're kids and want me to look at things that are exciting to them. In my frazzled state they just seem in my way, so that I can't concentrate on what I have to buy for YW/work/joyschool/jeff/dinner/camp.
  7. And finally, vacuums. We've been through three vacuums this week that don't work....and that alone has turned me into an obsessive woman. Finally, after way too much running around and researching I settled on a $50 little gem that seems to get the job done.
That was a depressing list.

Now, on to the few things that thankfully are working in our life right now:
  1. my new camera. I love it. Can't wait until I actually have some time to go and shoot with it.
  2. Thanks to my good friend HK we have now instituted a family devotional at night before the kids bedtime. This has REVOLUTIONIZED bedtime for us. We have the kids race to do "pee pee/hands/teeth/PJ's." They usually do this really quickly because the winner gets to pick out a story book. We meet in our extra little room upstairs and read a story, read a scripture story or an article from The Friend magazine, sing a song and then kneel for family prayer. As HK suggested we don't talk before the prayer and it (usually) brings such a nice spirit into the room. I think one of my favorite parts of the day is watching Charlie as he so earnestly closes his eyes and folds his arms during the prayer. I love it. Then we plop them into bed. Easy as pie. I love it.
  3. Happy's and Sads. When I tuck Hazel into bed she's been telling me a happy and a sad from the day. I love being able to get a little glimpse into her little brain and emotional makeup. Today her sad was that "Charlie made a bad decision and was crying." Her happy was that her friend Jo knows just what to get her for her birthday.
  4. Praise. It works miracles around here. If I want Hazel to snap out of a funk I just need to find some tiny thing that she's doing right and praise her sincerely for it and she slowly turns back into my sweet little girl.
  5. Yoga. On the rare morning that I do get up before the kids I've been doing some Yoga and man does it make my day better....calmer, more comfortable, more focused. I love yoga.
  6. Putting Charlie to bed without his diaper. Not one accident yet....and the best part is that I get to take him sleepily to the toilet at night before I go to bed. I know I've said this before, but I love that part of motherhood.
  7. The repenting step. This is an idea I stole from my parents. When the kids fight (which is a little more often lately with all this neglecting I've been doing) I ask them to go sit on our stairs. When they're "ready" they call me and I come over and ask them each to tell me what they did wrong. Surprisingly it didn't take them too long to figure out that the easiest way off the step is to admit what they did to contribute to the argument. They've also figured out that if they don't know what they did they can ask the other who can certainly tell them in great detail. Once they can both admit to their bad decisions they say they're sorry, ask to be forgiven and give a hug. Seriously guys, it works like MAGIC, and the totally melt my hearts as they so sweetly repent. Then they're off to play like nothing ever happened and they're the best of friends.
  8. Cleaning the kitchen before bed. If the kitchen is clean everything starts out a little better in the morning.
So....writing this all down (and publishing I really going to click publish?) leaves me motivated to make some resolutions. Life needs to work a little better around here. Here's what I'm going to try:

  1. No computer AT ALL until the kitchen is clean, the kids are fed and dressed and played with (at least for a few minutes) and the day is planned. Can I do this? I really hope so.
  2. When I am on the computer, I need some structure.....any ideas on this? No more mindless blog or craigslist or ebay checking.
  3. No more crazy consuming. I just made a short list of things that I actually need to find and buy before the baby comes in November. I am going to commit myself to only buying these things, and not let myself get suckered into thinking that I need more....beyond this short list it's all obsessive consumption....and it has to STOP! So, if you my protruding pregnant belly squashed into some too small pregnancy clothes or I'm sporting some seriously out of style maternity fashions just know that I'm sticking with my resolution to stop being least for a little while....with stuff.
  4. Either arrange for child care swaps when I have a ton of errands to run or be realistic about time so that I can help my kids enjoy the errands (i.e. stop to look at something they find fascinating....).
  5. When I need to get stuff done for work, or my calling, or our family life, play with my kids full force for 10 min first. Get them into something before leaving them to get my work done.
Those are my best ideas right now....I'm hoping that having written them here will hold me to them.

Please, please, please leave a comment if you have things that work for you and your family that I can try. I feeling extremely humble and open to suggestions right now. I need to find (and embrace) more things that work.

And congrats if you've made it to this point in this post.....sorry for all the honest there anyway on blogger to make some of your entries private?


  1. no way to make just a few private as far as i know joy. i think that what you are doing as a mom is great. we need to try the devotional thing...thanks for that.

  2. I just want to give you a big long-distance hug. Just the fact that you're asking those questions and seeing what's not working means you'll find some good answers.
    I liked the bank account analogy--if you make enough "deposits" of listening, playing, reading, attention, etc., then when you need some cooperation or patience, you can usually make a "withdrawal."
    I like your ideas about errands. Those are some of the most frustrating times for moms and kids. I found that if I was under any kind of time pressure, that's when I turned into a Witchy Mommy.
    We love you. You're a great mom. Hazel and Charlie and lucky to have you (and so are we!)
    Love, Nedra

  3. i'm so glad you put it in writing-i'm right there with you most days. computers are addicting, when it should really be our kids. i know you'll find the balance-you always do! missing you!

  4. Sayds I'm with you. Life is too crazy to have a computer around. Ha ha. Good luck and I love you!

  5. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!!! I honestly think I am addicted to the internet. (Notice the time stamp on this comment...yeah, it's past midnight, I should be asleep so I can be creative and fun tomorrow but no, I'm checking out what's going on in cyberspace.) It's not ENTIRELY unproductive, because I get to catch up with you, but really, sometimes I feel like I need to put a lock on my computer.

    I commend you for your anti-consumerism. I think that is awesome. You are my minimalist role model. Let's catch up by phone soon. I have some funny stories.

  6. sayd, thanks for the ideas on what works....that'll save me lots of work. We actually just started doing something super similar to your little works for us too. One thing on that that works for us too (so that paul and I can also do our personal scriptures study which is hard lately) is to pick a topic each night and both of us on our own find a scripture about it and share it in our devotional and why we chose it. Then we both have personal scriptures and family scriptures.

    Anyway, thanks for the post...inspiring!

  7. So I am a friend of Meredith Switzler, and a bunch of other people who know you (so I am not entirely a voyeur), but I just wanted to tell you that every once and awhile, I read your blog and think you are an amazing mother! Don't beat yourself up about the things that "aren't going right" because you do so many things that are right. I am so impressed! And I have nothing to add. You have it more under control than you think.

    BTW, can you tell me what kind of camera you got. I love your pictures, and really have a great desire to get into photography at some poing. A bit to tied up with my computer currently (ironic), but at some point soon.


    Amy Poulson

  8. Hey Saydi, Marian here, Cambridge first ward '03-'05. Ah the computer. Good luck with the no computer until after morning clean-up. I've tried that since we have been home from summer madness and it really helps. I also try to remind myself that I did not die reading blogs just once a week while on vacation, so at home it should be OK too. It sounds like you are going to make it!

  9. You're allowed to give yourself a break Sayds! Don't forget that you're very pregnant and (I promise it's true) you won't be forever. You do a great job and should be proud of the good things you do. And keep it up with that yoga in the morning too--yoga-and-a-prayer--it's my favorite. PS add me to your friends! :P

  10. Hey Saydi, I love it! I love your descriptions of your problems AND your ideas for solutions! (Especially because I've been on the computer for the last four hours!)

    My best advice for you is to enjoy every single day you can sleep in and have those little kids pulling at your fingers and toes to get up because that is a once in-a-lifetime-until-you-have this-next-baby-or-your-first-child goes-to-school-luxury. After that, the party's over but you can always remember with fondness when you are sleep deprived for the rest of your life that you did it!
    Your other mom

  11. Oh man I am SO glad you posted this. You are an inspiration Saydi. I love your honesty and your ideas. These kids are so lucky to have you and that baby in your bump is going to so blessed.

  12. First, thank you for hitting 'publish'. I loved your entry. It is 11:37 pm and I am reading your blog. Shows that I am right there with you. Though I must say I got more out of this one entry than the seven others I read before it. one thing that works for us, and maybe it is b/c we have a 2 year old and an 8 month old is that we say our prayers before we read the story. At least for now, j stays quiet and will actually say the prayer if there are books to be read afterwards. It looks to me like you have things well under control. Good luck in November!
    p.s. What kind of camera did you get? I have been on the hunt for a good one and your pictures are really great.



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