Bedtime Battles…

I think every parent deals with the perils of bedtime. My daughter, who has been pushing limits left and right, has been doing everything in her power to delay bedtime lately.

In part, I think she’s pushing because we’ve been pushing back so much. In four short months we’re going to have another little person in our midst, one with much less ability and much more need. SweetPea is going to have to start being a little more independent.

For the first time in a couple of days, we actually had a relatively pleasant evening. Only one short tantrum before meal time. However, once it was time for the bedtime routine (snack, stories, hugs, and bed) everything changed. She had her choice of two snacks. After asking her four times what she wanted and getting no answer, I said it was her last chance to answer or there would be no snack. No answer, no snack, followed by tears and screaming and asking for, “one more chance.”

It was Daddy’s turn to read stories (we trade off every other night) but she wanted Mommy. Another tantrum. Last time Daddy tried to read, she got no stories because she threw such a fit. Tonight, she finally calmed down. I always go in for a hug and a kiss after stories, and lately, she’s taken to begging me to “stay a little longer.” Sometimes I’ll give her a couple more minutes, and that is enough to appease her. Not yesterday, and not today.

I don’t know that a three-year-old is capable of emotional blackmail, but it sure feels that way when they are begging you to stay “because I love you” when you’re pretty sure she just loves delaying bedtime.

Okay parents. Tell us your battle stories, and what finally worked for you!

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Scared stiff AND at peace. How can this be?

I was having a conversation with hubby the other day about my decision to become a stay at home mom once Baby Number 2 arrives. I came to a stunning conclusion: I’m both terrified and completely at peace with my decision.

I’m terrified, because I could have quite a few days like yesterday, when my three-year-old screamed at me for 10 minutes because I carried her into the kitchen, wrapped a blanket around her, and then set her down, when what she wanted was for me to wrap the blanket around her and then carry her to the kitchen. And then screamed at me because she didn’t want to go potty. And then screamed at me because she didn’t get to watch TV. (There were probably a few more episodes of her screaming at me, but frankly, they all start to run together after a bit.) The power struggles right now are enough to make me want to pack her in a crate and ship her to grandma’s until she’s 20.

And yet, my decision to leave my job and be home has me completely at peace. I’m standing on the edge of the great unknown, and normally at moments like this I feel total anxiety and super stressed out. I know I did as I prepared to have Baby Number 1. There was so much to do to prepare, and so much unknown.

It’s strange: I have just as much to prepare for this baby, though very different things, as I did for the first. I have to finish preparing the baby’s room, create a transition plan at work, figure out how I’m going to structure my time at home so I don’t go crazy, and plan for entertaining a three-year old with a newborn in the picture. And yet…

I feel like I’m in the driver’s seat for the very first time. My job isn’t going to dictate my time. I can reinvent myself (with the Masters Degree that I just finished) into the parent and independent freelancer/part time worker that I want to be. I don’t know what that means yet. The world is an unpredictable place and this new me is nebulous at best. And I’m totally okay with that.

Ideas in Jars

One of the things I’m hoping to do with this blog is keep a running list of ideas for kids activities to help me stay busy – and sane –  with my little ones. Ran across this today in a Facebook post.

The “I’m Bored Jar” from iMOM is a printable page of ideas to cut up and stick in a jar for the day your kid looks at you and says, “I’m bored.”  It is a great start, and I think it would a good idea to think up your own ideas so you could have a greater selection. And if you’re afraid or rewarding boredom (as some parents are) maybe it can just be the “I’m stuck” jar – for ME as a parent.

Also, a great idea from the August 2012 issue of Parenting Magazine: The “Yes” jar.  “Every time you say, ‘No, not today,'” write down the activity the kids wanted to do. Stick it in the jar, and every now and then have a “Yes Day” or use those activities as more inspiration to make your time interactive.

My first “For the Last Time”

Yesterday, I had my first “last” moment. You know, a moment when you realize that you’ve done something you love (or hate) for the last time.

For the last 5 years, we have had a 350-450 person group come to campus (I’m an event manager at a college) that has challenged me, frustrated me, and also made me feel so appreciated for what I do. Each year, I’ve gone to their evening gatherings full of youth (7th-12th grade) and handed out a few prizes to the pumped up crowd. This happens four times during the course of the week, and yesterday was my last time for the week. And ever.

I told them it was my last time, and how special the group has been to me as I’ve watched them spend their week on campus each year, and how I know that they will be well taken care of after I’m gone. They went wild. They were on their feet, screaming and hollering and cheering. Made me feel like a rock star.

I went home and cried. Not for long, and not very hard, but it reminded me of the day I packed up all my Christmas ornaments separate from my family’s because I knew I’d be married and in my own house the following year. Something is changing; I’m moving into the unknown. Something big is changing, but something small reminds me of the change and how big it is.

I’m leaving a job I sometimes love and that sometimes makes me cringe and rage. That was one of the moments that I loved.

What were you touched by or sad to experience for the last time?

I may be crazy…

And if I’m not right at this moment, I may be in the relatively near future. Is any mother really sane?

For the record, I’m a bit of a workaholic. I set pretty strong boundaries between work and home, but when I’m at work, I work. I work hard. And I feel strong attachments to the people I work with, and derive great pride in doing my job, doing it well, and finishing what I start.

Me, the workaholic. “Scary Efficient” my husband said.

I’m leaving that world in the coming months. My second child is due in early December, and I’ve made the harrowing decision to stay home with my kids. I’m terribly excited, and terribly scared. If my decision were based solely on temperament, my husband would be the stay-at-home parent. He keeps his cool when I lose mine. He finds natural ways to teach our daughter during play. He doesn’t mind being an observer, or relatively inactive, while I’m a doer. I crave doing.

But my decision isn’t based solely on temperament, and is instead based on so many factors that I choose not to list at this time. And because my decision is not based solely on temperament and I recognize that my temperament is perhaps not ideal to be a SAHM, I’m using this blog as forum to vent, to document this experiment in parental psychology, and to explore strategies for helping me create a fulfilling life as a parent.

I want this for my kids. And I want this for me, even if I don’t quite know what that means yet. (I’m getting choked up just typing this!)

So SAH parents, and especially former workaholics like me, I’m counting on all of you to help me figure this out!