Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Reality check, please

This has been a challenging day. Baby has been up much the last two nights, for no real reason I can find, other that just wants to nurse all night, then play. Then she falls SOUND asleep at 6:00 am, just when I should be getting up. I have not been able to get up then, with only 3 hours sleep, so we have been getting a late start on school. Today our septic system backed up, which was inconvenient. So, I dealt with that, instructed the kids to look over their assignment sheets (well worth all the time I spend on them on Friday afternoons), and get busy. I had 5 laundry baskets full of clean, folded laundry to sort, and so on. At 4:00, when my 6yo was leaving for choir, I asked my 6th grader for an update on what he has accomplished today. NOTHING. On one hand, I could see he was tempted to lie, but didn't. Good for him. On the other hand, he deceived me all day by acting as if he was busy every time I checked on him. I was so mad, I didn't know what to do about it. Yelling is a waste of time. So I just said, 'You're in big trouble, as soon as I think of a punishment, I'll let you know." I felt hugely ineffective as a parent, but I was so ticked, I couldn't even think. Since then, I have decided to shut him down til Friday bed time. This means he will do nothing but school work, eat, and sleep. Should he get finished, he'll start on Monday's work. I just get so torn, when it seems that if I stay on top of the kids and their school work, the housework gets behind. I catch up on housework, and the kids take advantage and get behind. I feel the effect of so much darkness on my productivity as well. Once it gets dark, I start to slow down. Since it happens so early, I am literally dragging myself around the rest of the day. Anyway, no one said this is easy, but it is soooo easy to get discouraged. I don't pray enough, and even when I do it's pretty weak and whiney.

My ideal me would be one that would wake up bright eyed, walk down to my icon wall, and spend 15 minutes in prayer. Then get a good work out for 30 minutes, then make breakfast and enjoy a quiet cup of coffee. Then wake the children, have them get dressed and eat, then tidy the house as a cheerful, cooperative team. Then we would start school, the little ones would play quietly at our feet. We then would break for recess, and I would do some quick housecleaning. Then We would cheerfully resume school, and the baby would go down for a nap. We would eat lunch while I read aloud, then the rest of the little kids would go to nap. Baby would continue to sleep. I would begin a healthy, tasty and colorful dinner, that will be done right on time. The children would spend the afternoon finishing school, or following independent persuits of interest. The children would set the table for dinner. Every one would eat it and thank me. Then the children would clean the kitchen while dh and I would have witty and fulfilling conversation. We would play a family game, say family prayers, then the children would retire. Dh and I would have a little more time to ourselves, then go to bed. Oh, I think I forgot to have the baby wake up. Well, she would wake up near the end of the school day, and then go to bed again when the other children do. When she wakes up at 3:00a.m., I will take delight in our one-on-one time, and treasure every moment. I would quickly go back to sleep, and wake at 6:00 am the next day, bright eyed.

Maybe tomorrow I will write about what it's really like here. The comparison of the two certainly explains my discouragement though. This ideal me is so ridiculous, and yet, I still suffer from not meeting this image. What is wrong with me?? I need a reality check, big time.


Blogger Essy said...

LOL...I like your 'ideal' day very much...but it doesnt' happen here either...I guess we should be grateful for that though...because it is God's plan that we are to follow and not ours...and all the little curves we get thrown along the way just helps us with that particular lesson.

Many blessings to you and your family.

January 20, 2005  
Blogger Armywife said...

You sound just like me. I am so relieved to know someone else is out there feeling this exact same way!! What I always tell myself is at least we are trying, right? One day our kids will be able to see that! I completely relate to with the baby waking you up. I guess you and I are both up at the same time every night!

January 22, 2005  
Blogger Armywife said...

I forgot to ask about your icon wall. You mentioned that. As a convert I am lost on how to incorporate things like that into my home. I wish I knew how people set up a family altar and things like that. I would just love info or even pictures on that.

January 22, 2005  
Blogger Mary Poppins NOT said...

Throughout our family life, we have tried to have a family altar. This usually consisted of a table, a statue or two, patron saint pictures, a few candles and our roasaries. This problem we had on a practical level, is I couldn't keep it up high enough to keep little fingers out of it. After becoming interested in the Eastern Catholic Rites, I started learning about icons. Now we have an icon wall, which was a small built in glass shelved display case in the living room. We removed the glass shelves and hung the icons on the back. You could just use a flat wall, though. We have one shelf about 3/4th up the wall to place an inscensor, and an icon of Christ the Judge painted on an egg (Russian). We have a hanging candle attached high to the wall, that hangs down in front of the wall about 1/3 of the way. I try to light it daily as a reminder to pray often. The wall itself has maybe 20 icons on it. The shelf I described is in the center, St. John the Baptist to the left (my husband's patron), the Theotokos (Mother of God) on the right. Under those 3 icons, there are 7 small ones hanging, a patron for each child. These they are allowed to touch. To the left of the children's icons is space for a festal set, which means feast day. Each Feast day has it's own icon, and we usually keep the past one out as well. Above the main three we have icons in fairly random order. Some are of Gospel scenes, some are of other saints, and a variety of Theotokos and the Christ Child. Tender Kissing is my favorite. We have three depicting creation. We have one of the face of Christ. One of all the Old Testament prophets on braches surrounding Mary and Jesus. Since the wall is indented, there is a shelf about 2 1/2 feet up, and there we keep prayer books, plastic statues, and many other things that the kids place there. We pray there as a family, we pray there individually, and it is the central focus of our home. The candle is lit daily, and we add inscense when it seems like we need it. Either special occasions, or special problems, or just in the mood for letting "our prayer rise like inscense before you. And the lifting of our hand as an evening sacrafice." I have been learning how to paint, or "write" icons, and have the 4 I have completed the mantle of our fireplace with votive candles in front of each. There is Tender Kissing, Christ the teacher, St. Nicholas, and Holy Elijah the Prophet. I don't know how to use the pictures for this blog, but if I figure it our I'll let you know. I know I may not have described it as clearly as I thought, so feel free to ask anymore questions.

January 22, 2005  

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