Scaling back my expectations

When I started back to work part-time in February, I spent a good deal of time beating myself up for wanting to go back to work instead of wanting to spend 24/7 with my children. After two months of chaos as we all adjusted to my new schedule and the new nanny, I finally came up with a routine that seemed to make everyone happy: I worked Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday and made sure that I spent most all of Monday and Friday hanging out with the kids (meaning not emailing, trying to get other things done, etc.).

Recently with all the nice weather, we’d even started to do a weekly Friday outing to the zoo, the park, or somewhere else and it was working really well. No more temper tantrums from Gabriel because he wanted so desperately to get my attention, no more sleep issues from Lily (well, except those caused by her pesky molars).

Then, a few weeks ago, our house went under contract yet again and we geared up for the big move. Weekends turned from 100% carefree to packing/organizing insanity and my Monday/Friday play date with my children had to be modified to fit in packing up our entire lives and dividing it into two piles: going to the apartment with us & going into storage.

Today, Gabriel rebelled. The second I picked up the phone (man, moving requires a lot of phone calls, and not just to my Mom to complain about packing 😉 ), he moved into prime 3-year-old-I-make-the-rules mode. Yelling at me to put down the phone. Hitting Lily or shoving her to get my attention. Throwing things at me. Then, finally, hitting me. All of this in the course of 2 5 minute phone calls. I got off the phone as quickly as I could, sat down with G on the couch and explained to him why hitting Mommy and Baby Lily was not OK and he said, “But I don’t want you to talk on the phone.” Fair enough.

I’m trying hard to see all of this as a short-term thing (we should be able to get back to a more normal routine fairly quickly after our move July 20th because we’re not taking that much stuff to the apartment with us, so there shouldn’t be too much unpacking!) and just do the best that I can.  But it’s hard. I don’t want to spend the next three weeks in a constant battle with Gabriel (especially because when he thinks I’m not giving him enough attention, he refuses to use the potty instead of his diaper!) and I’m pretty sure Lily is sick of bearing the brunt of Gabriel’s anger.

Tonight we went to the park after dinner and I’ve been trying to take a break for about 15 minutes of every hour to just purely play with G & L. It was a rough day, but maybe Friday will be better…Right now, I’m sort of looking forward to three “free” days where I can just get things done without feeling like I’m hurting anyone’s feelings…

2 thoughts on “Scaling back my expectations

  1. Thanks, Shannon 🙂 You know, he woke up really cheerful this morning, so I think the little bit of extra attention last night helped. I’m just looking forward to being moved and settled and being able to take time to just be goofy with the kids instead of living in constant dread of all the packing & organizing…Jeez, I hated moving before I had kids, now I really hate it!

    🙂 Julie

  2. Hi Julie,

    Don’t beat yourself up! It’s hard to keep all the plates in the air. My schedule varies between work and home and it can be really tricky. I’m a better parent because I do work, and I’m a better librarian because my family always comes first. Having flex time is HUGE in my life, and my husband having flex time is HUGE too. My kids do a preschool three times per week and it has been an excellent experience and great for their social, emotional, and cognitive development.

    I have a three year old and two year old. Right now we have a “safe space” for Lio to go to when three year old emotions are just that, three year old emotions! I’ve found just saying that it’s o.k. to be angry, upset, etc…… and it is o.k. to express your emotions, but it needs to be in a safe space and not directed towards your family. I just keep expressing that it’s o.k., and when he’s ready we will talk about the situation. The safe space and a “reflection” room for time outs has been very helpful for us. Umm….that and a “happy helper” chart that rewards positive behavior has really helped.

    Good luck with your move! Shannon

Comments are closed.