On Discipline

One thing parents of large families are often (if not annoyingly) asked is:

“How do you DO it?”

And my direct and honest answer is…. not well.

I heard once that there are two types of large families- highly organized, and greatly disorganized.  Guess which category we fall into?  But, I think organization is only a component of the truth.

The thing is, I often see blogs and YouTubes and reality shows of large families who are killing it.  It seems, from the well-edited snippits of life that they show, that the kids are doing really well together, and not trying to rip one another’s heads off.

That’s where I got confused.  Because quite often, mine are on each other like a pack of starving wolves with a fresh kill.  Not always, of course, and I wouldn’t want to throw my dear… wolves… under the bus.  But really?  It can get pretty chaotic around here.

I think that aforementioned “highly organized” family is the result of something else, something bigger, and more encompassing.

Discipline.

Now, I’m not talking about rods and switches and chore charts and motivational stickers, but the big, all consuming problem: as a family, we are running around, chasing after what we feel like doing, instead of taking care of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.

And guess where that starts?  Um…..right here.

I have never been very disciplined.  Call it my personality, blame it on my upbringing (baby of the family, y’all), point to the fact that I’m a lazy, crazy lady- any way you slice it, I’ve been pretty undisciplined my whole life.

And I’m sitting here at 40, overweight, with a messy house and fighting children, looking at the things I want and have wanted to accomplish, left undone, unexplored, never sought after with any real consistent effort.

I feel like there is a lot that I’ve missed out on, because I lack quite a bit of discipline.  And now, I see it affecting my children.  And that’s not good.

Yesterday, we embarked on a new focus to enforce some consequences on a particular child who pretty much ignores much of what is asked of him.  While we’ve read a crazy amount of books and spoken to numerous people and tried all sorts of “plans”, the bottom line is, this particular child hasn’t had a reason to fulfill what was asked of him.  He hasn’t been reminded on a regular basis that when he doesn’t do “x”, the consequence is going to be regrettable.

We’re setting him up for a pretty miserable existence, then.

I do think, however, that there is more to learning discipline, than just avoiding the negative things you want to avoid.  After all, by being disciplined, there is so much that is good and enjoyable that you can have access to, whether its a clean room to play in, a fitter body to run after children with, or just having a personality that people want to be around.

Its tough to teach a lesson to your children that you need to teach yourself as well.  But hopefully, but attacking this head on, I can show my kids that yes, you can change for the better.  Maybe I can set an example of recognizing my faults, and doing something to change them.  Hopefully, I can give them tools to help them live a good, no… great life.

The next question is, of course, how?  Have you found yourself in place where you needed to discipline yourself more?  How did you overcome that darned inertia?

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I had such an amazing weekend this past week.

For two nights, I went away with Katie’s AHG group as an extra female chaperone to go camping and whitewater rafting.

Please note: the most important part of that sentance was the words “I. Went. Away.”

For approximatley 48 hours, I didn’t get a single meal, I didn’t run around outside yelling, “Tooooooommmmmmmyyyyyy” at the top of my lungs, or break up a single fight.  No laundry was washed, no shopping was completed or even contemplated (except for the M&M’s I picked up when we stopped for gas), and I didn’t put a single kid to bed.

Instead, I chatted with adults, had at least one meal served to me by three river guides, one of whom, thanks to his impressive red dreadlocks, looked like he could play a troll in a movie (which made the  meal extra tasty), got some excercise, sat in my tent and gazed at the stars for AGES because I could, and generally calmed the heck down.

To say I “needed that” is the understatement of the century.

Now that I’ve been back to real life for the past couple of days, I’m seeing how easy it is to fall into bad habits.  I got home late from running an errand, the kids wanted to see me, we stayed up too late watching videos on YouTube, and I didn’t get any quiet time with The Hubs last night. I realized when I got to bed that I was available 24/7 to the kids again, and without any hard stops in the schedule, Mama might end up running off and becoming a white water guide herself.

Complete with dreadlocks.

I’m not sure what to do about this.  The need to get a million things done will always be there, and the needs of  the family will be a priority, but I need to figure out planned respites for myself to let steam off the valve so that I don’t blow. Maybe its time I really commit to that early morning walk by myself, and enforce a true “quiet time” in the house.  That last one is tough, though- I’ve tried for years- but its tough to get compliance.  But I will do it.

How about you?  How do you get regular time to yourself?  What do you like to do to unwind and recharge?

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Life

Five kids kissed good bye and shuffled out the door.  Two of those kids had hastily scrawled out envelopes thrown in their folders as I stuffed cash in them while running to the bus.

One eating her breakfast, one asleep in The Hub’s office, finishing off his night.

A quick shower for me, snuck in between the rollout that is our kids’ leaving for school in the morning, necessary, because I just couldn’t find the time yesterday.

You really didn’t want to know that, did you?

Drop off, groceries, cleaning, and the ever growing to do list that I’ve learned to use and not dread await, and I’m sitting here, blogging.

I’m sure there are far worse habits I could be indulging right now.  Really, its more of a guilty pleasure than bad habit.  Kind of like sinking your teeth into a Boston Cream Donut after dieting.

But there was a small crash downstairs, followed by a conversation between the aforementioned breakfast eater and the aforementioned Hubs, so I need to wrap this up.

And now a random alarm clock is going off.

Welcome back to our little nuthouse.

 

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I’ve moved, come join me!!

Last time, I promise!

http://www.ourlittlenuthouse.com

Yep, dotcom, baby!  And I’ve moved back to blogger because its prettier.  Tres shallow, I know.

If you would, I’d love it if you’d follow me there.  There will be reno projects, painted furniture, and all the updates on all the crazy things my kids are doing.

See you there!!

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7 Quick Takes on Friends, Felines, and The Plauge that Keeps Finding Us

Joining Kelly for another round of Quick Takes!

1.   We have our first mouse in the house.  This isn’t new territory for us, no sir, as we did have a couple of run ins with mice in the old house.  When I saw this little guy run through the kitchen this morning, I did, however, yell “We’ve got a mouse!” loud enough for the Hubs to hear down the hall.  I was pretty sure he replied, “It’s about time!” but when I went to his office to see if he REALLY said that, I was quite happy to hear that he didn’t.  He did, however, snark that the mouse had plenty to eat.

Honestly.

I for one am glad that a)I’m not seeing things and b)the place isn’t haunted.  I mentioned this to The Hubs and he replied, “Nope, just infested.”

2.  Never missing a beat in her quest for feline companionship, Katie got a big, beautiful smile across her face this morning when she came down for breakfast and I told her about our newest pet.

“You know, you don’t have to set a cat!” she pointed out.

Tru ‘dat.

3.  I played house with Lilly today which was really a very interesting study in behavior.  Really, she’s mimicking me (nooooo pressure there!), from spooning out Lincoln Logs into 17 different cups (it does seem that way!) to the washing of the dishes.  This was my favorite part.  She stood there, at her play kitchen, for a good ten minutes, and boy hardy did I recognize someone there.  She used WAY too much pretend soap as she meticulously washed her dishes, stood with her weight on one leg with her hip jutted out (every chiropractor’s worst nightmare) and punctured the silence of her diligent work with a long, yet pointed sigh at one point.  Poor thing didn’t understand what I found so unbelievably hysterical.

4.  We’re having some serious, gale force Mary Poppins freaking wind out there. You know how wind occurs when cold air meets warm air?  Well, apparently the 35 degree weather is “warm” in comparison to the 5 tiny degrees its going to be on Sunday, and we’ll see if I even decide to leave the house.  Mass is going to be tough.  Right now, though, I’m wondering what kind of mettle this house is made of and I keep re-asking the Hubs about the state of the trees outside despite his reassuring words that “anything that looks like it might fall will surely fall on the neighbors first.”  And with that I’ll sleep well tonight.

5.  Wow.  I just blogged about the weather. I am so sorry.

6. I went to my first HOA meeting tonight for the ‘hood, and really, there’s nothing interesting to say.  I did, however, take some time to hit up Walgreens on the way home (pro tip:  that’s where you find Victor brand mousetraps), and eight traps, several office supplies, six Valentine’s candies and a new Burt’s Bees lip shimmer later (love these!!!), I arrived home just in time to stash the Valentine’s treats and say hi to the fam as they got back from Sea Scouts.  Of course, the boys went right to the traps, and at one point I heard a “Snap- OW!” from Alex.

“What are you doing?” I asked, not sure if I wanted an answer.

“I’m trying to launch a clementine,” he replied, with the citrus at his feet.

Ever the engineer, he is.

7.  I am super excited because we have friends coming over for dinner tomorrow night!  These are friends we haven’t seen since our oldest kids were the ages of our youngest kids, so its going to be all kinds of wonderful to see them.  I’m so glad I’m done with my Whole 4.

Enjoy your weekend, and for goodness sake, stay out of the cold!!!

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My Whole 4

So…  guess who started a Whole 30?

I’ll give you a hint:  its the same person who ended it four days in.

Yep. This Girl!!!

Now, before you up and “oh, you fell off the bandwagon” me, do realize, I did not fall.  I jumped. With grace and aplomb, I leaped from the bandwagon, turning a double somersault Mid Air, and stuck the landing worthy of a German Olympic Gymnast.

It was rather impressive.

So, yeah, I ended on Day 4.  While a part of me really wanted to complete this challenge, a much bigger part of me said, “really?  You know you shouldn’t be eating so much sugar.  Do you have to make yourself miserable for 30 days to drive that point home?”

Apparently not.

I came to this conclusion after walking into The Hubs’ office for the 83rd time in three days (clearly a benefit of working at home – NOT) declaring that this elimination diet was for the birds, and quite frankly, I’m not a bird.  Ever the patient man with me and my crazy ideas, he just looked up at me, reassured me that I could do it and took a sip of his gin and tonic.

How I restrained myself from reaching across the desk, grabbing his drink, and chugging it like a dying man in the middle of the Sahara, I don’t know.

So, why quit, you ask?  (Ugh.  I hate the word “quit”.  It sounds so ….quit-y.)  Really, it was more of a “conscious un-depriving” of myself.  Yeah, that’s it.

1. I hated having the,”you can’t have that!” feeling hanging over my head all. the. time.  While its “only 30 days,” its a long time when the first four feel like a week and a half.

2.  Its a pain.  You have to make up a second meal plan for yourself, if everyone else in the family is eating like normal humans, which mine were.  Not to mention, is a little spendy, even if you’re not purchasing only grass fed beef that was raised on the west side of lavender farms that listened to pan flute music while they ate.  Because I didn’t.  But, I did get organic chicken and wild mushroom sausages and they were rather tasty.

3. Its another thing to do.  Lets look at this for a second, because I didn’t really think this one through when I started.  Doing the Whole 30 is a project in its truest sense, because you have to take the time to make a meal plan, take the time to really cook and prepare food that other people are not having, you have to devote mental energy to thinking about whether or not what you are about to eat is “compliant”, and then you have to look pitiful and sigh deeply when you are serving pumpkin muffins to your children for breakfast that you aren’t allowed to smell.  I’m already underwater.  I don’t need another project, I need another glass of wine. (though I do want to make some quilts for the kids’ beds while its still chilly– wouldn’t that be adorable??)

4.  I’m still nursing.  While everything I read sounded like Tommy would be fine, (and really, aren’t I supposed to be eating the way Eve would have before The Fall, minus the organic chicken and wild mushroom sausages?) I still had a nagging guilt in the back of my mind that it might adversely affect the bambino, and I really don’t want that.

5.  I’m not entirely against the idea of comfort food.  Now, I did weather a very tumultuous discipline storm one evening when, after all was said and done, I would have happily chewed through someone else’s left arm to drink a chardonnay (and I don’t even LIKE chardonnay!).  That episode actually left me a little proud of myself, knowing that I didn’t have turn to food or drink to help me get through a difficult evening.  But, once in awhile, it would be nice.

I will admit, however, that this wasn’t a complete waste of my time.  In fact, I had immediate results.  Seriously, day 1 I was prancing around, chewing on carrot sticks and declaring that I’d eat like this FOREVER if it meant that I’d always feel this good. (young, naive me).  I had more energy, a bunch of random aches and pains had vanished, I no longer felt like my brain was wearing an itchy wool sweater, my demeanor was calmer and I lost 5 pounds.  Life was good.

But, I’m not good with the “there’s no way out, no end in sight, and you can’t have ANY of what you want, at all.” feeling.  And if its going to stress me out, then its just not time.

All that being said: there is far more room in my life for the good stuff.  Fruits, veggies, meats and good nuts, and limiting sugars and carbs.  I don’t want to give them up, but they need know their place.  Over there.  Just out of arms reach, so that I have to actually work to get them, and make myself think twice as to whether or not ingesting this (fill in the blank forbidden food) is worth it.

So, how about you?  Have you done a Whole 30?  Ready to take on the world now? 😉

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2014 Recap, Rewind, Review and Relocation (that was August)

Hey there!

Linking up with Dweeja today to recap all that I managed to get onto this blog these past 12 months.

Can I just resolve to be a better blogger in 2015?  Amen.

Without further adieu, I give you:

January:

(This did not happen in January)

I cvetched about the cold.  A lot.  And while I know in my hard of hearts that this area of the country isn’t “the Midwest” or “the Canada,” I just hate being cold.  And I hate trying to get kids to stay outside when they don’t want to be cold, either.  I’ll try to contain myself a bit more this time around.  I also gave some really great advice (not) on what to provide for when looking into life insurance with your husband.  (Note to self; make sure the rider for lipo is still in my policy). That poor guy from the Knights of Columbus didn’t know what he was walking into.

February:

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I reposted a post on my love affair with compression stockings while pregnant, did some quick takes about cleaning my bedroom (yikes, sorry!) and bringing my sweet baby girl to the ER on St. Valentine’s Day , took Kenny Roger’s sage advice on homeschooling, and dumped my purse out for the whole world to see.  I see the deep winter does not agree with me.  Duly noted.

March:

(okay, I didn’t link to this post, just a bunch of quick takes, but this picture makes me laugh every. single. stinking. time.)

After an awesome homeschooling retreat with Aunt Lelia from Like Mother Like Daughter, I jumped on the 40 Bags in 40 Days bandwagon and started decluttering the homestead.  We saw the Lego movie as a family, which was huge, because we never take the whole fam to the movies (we may as well just buy a new tv for the price!) but I’m also surprised that it was March because “unseasonably warm” doesn’t begin to fit the description of the loveliness that was the weather that day.

God is good, and He loves us.  Amen.

But, it was Lent, so the weather must be gross, and it was, and Jesus asked me for my McNuggets.  I think. 🙂

April:

One. Single. Post.  I linked up with Kendra and talked about myself and Easter…snore….zzzzz……

May:

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Me. Pregnant.  With the Tomster.

So, apparently, the first time The Hubs leaves the country for work, I fall apart.  I am lame.  But thankfully, in the end, people stay in utero, on this earth, and out of jail, so I’m happy.  I waxed on, and waxed off, about motherhood on Mother’s Day, and discussed the physical joys of pregnancy that no one shares with you before you endure, ahem, experience them.

June:

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I announced that I was going to blog for a month straight (because I’m insane) and then didn’t (because I’m human), started nesting (why, Why, WHY do I miss this warning sign every single time???), begged for help to name our baby, (and I just realized that someone did pick Thomas- good job, Amy!) and then stopped blogging until July because I HAD THE BABY THREE WEEKS EARLY!  (but everything was fine.)

July:

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The month in which everything was insane.  We had a newborn and decided to move.  Doesn’t that sound like fun!  Blog dropped again….

August:

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We get the house set to sell.  That was …. insane.  And it was all I was talking about.

September:

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Found me in the throuhes of a new baby, a new house, a new homeschooling schedule, and carpooling like a maniac.  So I wrote down a couple of funny things my kids said that I wanted to remember.  We also went to a few farms and I was even more convinced that I was as rural now on a couple of acres than I’m ever going to get.

October:

I prove I’m not a perfectionist by not blogging.  Yep, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

November:

You’d think I’d recap my awesome Thanksgiving or, anything else, but no, I showed up with  7 Quick Takes.  Just once.  I’m barely rolling by the end of the year here…

December:

I talk a little about getting over my blogging perfectionism (heaven help us and save my readers from me…and take your own advice, Anne!), and remember that sometimes, we are being distracted from what is important in Advent.

Well, I’m three pictures off, so take a gander at these:

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Happy New Year, friends!  Best wishes for an awesome 2015, and I hope to see you around the blog a whole lot more in the coming months.  Thank you so much for reading!!

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