Sunday, August 9, 2009

not that kind

I've been thinking about all this (see prev post) pretty much constantly the last few days and trying it all out with my kids. Here's where I've landed:

1) I think my friend Erynn is right (ebp from the comments section) that this kind of constant play and attention gives children a deep sense of security.

2) What I want to be able to do (and what I think Wendy does) is incorporate my children into all my activities rather than compartmentalize and see playing with them as one thing and my housework as another, etc.

3) It's possible that temperamentally I will not be able to do this.

The only thing I've ever aspired to be (when I'm honest with myself) is a mom. The only thing I deeply want for my children is a sense of security. I've been taught to believe that if you want something badly enough you can work for it and get it. But this--maybe not. Parenting pushes me sometimes to my edges, and then I'm not the parent I want to be. It's possible I'm not acknowledging my limitations, not looking realistically at who I am and of what I'm capable. My husband is convinced that I would be happier if I were working part time, and maybe he's right. It makes me sad, frankly, because I so badly want to be successful at this. But perhaps being successful at mothering, for me, means being with them only part time.

Acknowledging my limitations.

Today is the third day I've been alone with them, Mitch in Chicago for a conference. I'm stretched, I'm tired, I'm frazzled. I have a feeling that the post nap activities might involve a good bit of the idiot box. And right now I feel great about that decision, certain that it's the healthiest thing for me and for the group in general.


Wayne Thompson said...

A friend once told me that God doesn’t call us to be successful. He calls us to be faithful. Could that apply also to your children? Maybe being successful at child rearing in your case means giving them some emotional space...some time away from you (maybe even each day). Maybe they’d be happier with you if you were less involved with them, not more involved. Isn't it true that you be faithful to them without making them the center of your life?... or the only center? Maybe you need a second center? A part-time job? And don’t neglect the third center... your husband and his work. You should be having fun being a faculty wife. You are truly privileged. You have a fabulous husband who loves you dearly and is a great father. He needs you too.

When you go to the gym, you’re away from the kiddos physically, but you’re probably still with them mentally and emotionally. Another activity (like a job) that requires your concentration and commitment might provide the kind of space for you and them that will enable all of you to re-energize yourselves... to everyone’s mutual benefit. It may help you love them better and appreciate them for who they are... and assuage your guilt over what they are not, and what you’re unable to make them be. It may help them appreciate you more as well.

Just a thought. I love you.

C.L. Hand said...

I like the play idea as a way to establish security, really I do. Currently I'm reading the aforementioned Playful Parenting book and liking it. But, that said, I also have a ripple of unease at the idea of focusing on playing with my son all his waking hours. I love my son, of course, and really truly enjoy playing with him, especially now that he's two and doing and saying so much wonderful, creative and CUTE stuff all the time. I want him to be secure. But I DON'T want him to be completely self-absorbed, either. Living here in CA, I see a lot of kids with their SAHMs that whole-heartedly believe themselves to be at the center of the universe. When they express a desire, their parents jump to make sure they're happy. And I always think, what kind of messed up lives will these kids have when they're adults, when their parents lead them to believe that it's all about them, all the time. Secure? Sure they are.

I always look back at the people of the older generations who led such amazing, courageous, GOOD lives. Did their parents PLAY WITH THEM ALL THE TIME? Absolutely not! The kids had their roles and duties as part of the family. The family did not REVOLVE around the kids.

Okay, stepping down from the soapbox now. I'm just saying. i think play is good. I think it's loads better than TV, anyway, and one on one interaction with your kid is good for both of you. But your kids also need a sense of contribution to the family that is outside of themselves, I think.

Cali said...

Oh thank god, Cindy. Thank you for that. I needed to hear it.