Mayhem and Motherhood: September 2006

Friday, September 22, 2006

blessed sleep

I just finished reading a book that I believe God sent my way. It is on sleep in babies and little tykes and a overview of what "the experts" are saying about it.

I have had a tough week recooperating from last week with everyone sick and crabby. Tough because everything i've done so far to accomplish this overwhelming task seemed to be screaming "you idiot, you did it all wrong". If only... (this one gets me alot) you would have put them on a routine from the beginning you wouldn't be having these problems with them napping at different times and sleeping differently at night. if only you had taken maddie to the doctor more consistently she'd have had her colic and poops figured out by now, if only you'd been consistent with the bottle kate would let daddy put her to sleep, if only you hadn't gotten in the habit of nursing kate to sleep she'd just miracuolously be put down in her crib awake, know it's bedtime and figure out how to fall asleep on her own. It's called sleep training apparently and parents work at it from birth to establish healthy "sleep routines" for their kids so they don't get stuck in the situation i'm in... night waking. I just figured my kids would know what to do and when it wasn't working for us I'd figure out what our options were. I didn't know I had to become an expert on parenting before I had kids.

So anyway, back to this book, it brought up everyone's opinons about the topic and really took alot of pressure off of me for having missed what it is I should have been doing. I didn't miss the boat, I was doing what I thought was best and that is what I should have been doing. Whether it works for me or not is up to me to decide and if it doesn't than I need to decide what it is I need to do about it.

I really shy away from reading about "experts" because I end up walking away feeling badly about myself and my approaches and decisions. Somehow I got this idea in my head that just because you have written a book about it you know more than I do about the topic and you are right while I am wrong. Unfortunately for that theory I know Hitler wrote alot of things that were his "theories" that the world refuses to accept now as true and thankfully are disregarded into the "painfully interesting history" pile.

It got me thinking though about why I feel subservient in my opinions. I'm not sure what my parents did or didn't do to undermine my confidence in myself and my decisions. But as I went down this road of thought I read about a book by an expert on breastfeeding and it was written by a man. A doctor nonetheless but a man. "what does a man know about breastfeeding?" I asked myself "and why is he considered an expert on it... has he ever done it?" How would a book written on prostitis, or penile problems be received if written by a woman as an expert in the field? curious thought isn't it?

so most of these sleep theories are written and tested by men. Mostly in a doctor role and not as a father role. And in my experience, no offense to my husband, I happen to be up tending to the night waking alot more than my husband and I wonder whether Ferber was the one to do the night training in his household even. so where does this cultural stereotype come from that seems so 1960's that says" the doctor who wrote the book knows best" when I'm the one who knows that kate is a cuddler and needs more snuggle time than maddie. that crying it out would not and will not work with kate at this stage of the game. and if it could i'm' not sure i want to bring that havoc on our household. If it was just her and us that would be different but we have 2 other sleeping kids to think about that make silence even more necessary for me and having her scream for a few hours every night for the next week just doesn't seem like an option.

i am reminded of how emma potty trained. resistant to my efforts when I started "when the books suggested, the way the books suggested" and when she was ready it took her 2 days. no fighting, no bribing, no setting my timer, just ready and done. I think that's just my parenting approach and it'll be harder to change that considering it's based on my values, beliefs and own understanding.

I just about bought a book for 53$ u.s. that touted itself to be the answer to all my problems. and guaranteed, money back, to have my kids sleeping through the night 12 hours, without needing a pacifier and being able to put themselves to sleep on their own. I think now that i'm going to save my money and spend it on latte's enjoying my time away from my kids writing my own book on parenting... then i'll be considered an expert on the subject.
Rhonda at 11:12 PM

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My monster

Among other things this last month has been emotionally exhausting. What I've been learning about myself is that when i am "low" I have certain monsters that show themselves. One I've been spending alot of time with lately has been jealousy. A close second to this has been judgment. What yucky yucky things to waste my time on and yet it is so habitual I've been struggling with how to get out of the web i'm stuck in.

What i've also been noticing is how I distance myself and judge those i'm jealous of. curious.

Being the one voted "least likely to survive stay at home mom status" in highschool I have many many friends that i compare myself to and thus get jealous about thus distancing myself from and judging all to appease my pain. I was praying about it the other day and I got this funky little life cycle diagram in my head that i will share with you.





Now i'm not sure if you can just jump into it at any place of the cycle or if it can go both forwards and backwards but considering that sin is sly and i get caught up in it before i even realize it I bet it'll do anything to get me sucked in.

What struck me about it was that my judgment of others was so clearly linked with my own insecurities/inadequacies and fears that underly my jealousy. And also how I HATE seeing myself judging others and to ease the pain of my shame and awareness of my own sin I just compare myself to someone else to ensure I'm not as bad as I initially thought. Phew, someone whose worse than me, i'm not as rotten as I thought.

The two verses that came to mind that if I lived out of them would just erradicate this cycle were

"I am the vine and you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing"

"I only do what it is the father tells me to do"

Now if I believe that I'm living out what the father is asking me to do and it looks different than what you are doing why should I judge you or be jealous of you. I am exactly where I'm supposed to be doing exactly what the father is asking. And it is possible you are exactly where you are in his presence doing excatly what the father is asking you to do even though it looks different. To be anywhere else is meaningless. Unfortunately we always see the disappointing things about our life and compare them to the fabulous things in others. Not fair anyway, but what should it matter if I'm just being faithful to what it is God has called me to do. And if I'm not constantly ensuring that i am in the vine, the things that I am doing are only because I am in him. So seeing someone doing something different than me is o.k. because what's most important is not that we're the same but that we are sure we are living out of his presence and following what he is leading us into. it was very clear in my head and apparently not as easy to explain with my fingers.

So, I hope exposing my own shameful ways will allow God's light to come into dark places and extinguish the darkness. I don't want my jealousy and judgment to be the thing that keeps me from you. Nothing about the kingdom of God is about division, it's about multiplication.
Rhonda at 11:16 PM


Hello friends. Just thinking as I'm up for air that I haven't updated on the kiddies for a while.

This has been a terrible week as all girls have been sick. It doesn't take much extra stress to just push me over the edge. and I have had many parenting hall of shame moments this week. I just keep hoping that Emma at 3 1/2 is still too young to remember any of them. but really i'm running out of time on that one.

So the girls just hit 6 months. when I have some time to figure out how to post a picture I'll do just that... Katie is almost 19 pounds, still really easygoing and smiley, and a big mamas girl. The problem lately is that no one else can put her to sleep so it's made it tough on dad and on mommy's afternoon off. Mad maddy is turning into a really cute little girl when she's not struggling with constipation, gas, bloating, hunger, tiredness or rolling herself into a corner. she's totally got the million dollar smile. How is it possible that when I'm describing each of them I'm tempted to say seperately that they individually are the cutest baby ever. I really think that of both of them and they are different. Maybe this is how you love two wives equally for the bigomists reading my post.

Life around here is almost indescribable. I have never been so busy in my life. I have never tried to maximize my time and thought ahead 3 hours as to what to do to get ready for that time. If I don't wake up at 6 a.m. I may not have a moment to myself until bedtime thus the incentive to do so. I also live for my breaks, like someone coming to help, or daddy getting home, or my wednesday afternoon to be by myself. Maybe this is a stay at home mome thing, but I often look at the clock to see how much longer until this day is over, and then say to myself wow the last 20 minutes went by pretty slowly. But I'm learning to enjoy the reprieves like this one when they do present themselves. They are here and there, but it is impossible for me to say when they would be. It's so weird that the only thing I can control is my attitude, my hygiene, my thoughts, and how others fold my laundry. I never thought I was a control freak but having so many people helping out in my house has made me a little bossy with how others fold my laundry only because I like it a certain way (only towels, tea towels and washcloths really) so I honestly have told people how to do it the way I like. Can you believe that Yvonne? I'm a little horrified myself and yet it speaks volumes as to the control corner I've been pushed into. Of all the things I can't control, these 3 little things I can.

I've hired a friend two afternoons a week to be a consistent 2nd adult in the kids life to allow me to get out to do errands or just breathe. It's been fabulous and it's only been 2 weeks. Also Jon and I have made some major overhauls as to how we do family life and work life and have set ourselves a bit of a schedule and am trialling saying NO to everything extracurricular for the next 2 months. All these areas of discipline that up until now we've been able to ignore... rearing their heads.

And onto the finance department, thank you readers for all the great comments. I'm curious to know who my mystery reader is who thinks I'm sweet. It's like having a secret crush, maybe it's better for it to remain a mystery. So this is what I've decided to attempt to do (thanks to another friends idea) I've gone through how much we have left after all the monthly stuff is paid for and am just putting it into a seperate account and when it's empty it's empty. Feels kinda not like budgeting, but at least it feels realistic to me. And it encourages me to be on top of how we're doing in the account and if we really need it and if i see something that's a good deal I can still find room to say yes once in a while. maybe the only way I see this working at the moment is because the only things we really buy lately are groceries and gas and baby stuff, and so I don't have to decide what categories to divide what into and how much to alot for each. i'll let you know if it sucks. I'll probably be calling to borrow some money!! :)

I really appreciated your comment Nicole about the generosity of others when they know there is a need. Funny how difficult it is to really be honest with others about our needs even though we have so many wonderful people in our lives who would love to meet them.

anyway, i'm off to bed.
Rhonda at 10:51 PM