*All you overwhelmed moms: here you go. My kids are great. They surprise me everyday with some form of amazingness, but it is easy to get bogged down in just one area that just seems to jump on that one nerve. The following is about that nerve on a very overwhelmed mom.
My kids might need hearing aids. Or maybe listening aids. Do they make those?!
I haven't had their hearing tested for a while. Probably since kindergarten. It might be time.
Seriously, folks, if it's not one thing, it's another! We dealt with bickering not that long ago. And constant whining. And complaining about dinner. And math facts. And washing hands after going potty (praise Jesus that hasn't been an issue for years!). We've dealt with the same outfit for 4 days in a row (please put that in the laundry) and greasy hair (for reals: if you can't remember the last time you took a shower, it's time to take a shower). How to deal with the drama with your friends (that you, more than likely, caused). Never ending issues.
Sometimes (but rarely) you get to deal with just one issue at a time. Sometimes they overlap and you have two or three. Sometimes it seems like 45 different things come to a head in one day! That is the day I sneak up to my room and hide from life, pretending like I'm in college again and it's totally acceptable to watch TV four hours in a row. Okay, that doesn't happen very often because there are a few more people that rely on me nowadays, but every great once in a while I give myself the grace to turn off the brain for an extended amount of time and to just not think. That might not fall into the "adulting" category, but it definitely falls into the "surviving as an adult" category which is just as important, in my personal opinion.
Okay, but back to my current issue: my children's hearing.
I always think that they hear me because they often respond with an "Okay Mom!" when I ask them to do something. I usually insist on eye contact as well so I can ensure their focus (HA! That's a bunch of malarkey! They could be looking directly at me, nod their head yes, AND repeat back to me what I said and STILL not do what I asked them to do!) I don't understand. Is there maybe 2 parts of listening - the " I heard you " part and then the "I committed it to short term memory" part because those are very different things.
A couple of days ago, I called to my daughter across the room: "Hey - did you leave this Sharpie out last night?" This is not a big deal, but it was an opportunity to teach a lesson that needed to be taught (and apparently needs to be taught for the next 6 years...) She looked at me and told me she had forgot to put it away. I explained that it wasn't a big deal but that I'd really like her to focus on putting things where they belong, especially in any room that wasn't hers. Hint, hint: the kitchen. She nodded in agreement and life went on.
Do you know what I found on the kitchen counter that afternoon? Can you guess?!! I'm betting you can. IT WAS ANOTHER SHARPIE MARKER!!! Now, perhaps I didn't make it clear enough that when I said I'd like the markers to be put away, I meant both the fine tip AND the wide tip. Yes, maybe I could have been clearer. BUT FOR REALS. Again, a Sharpie marker on the counter? What's the big deal? Let me tell you what the big deal is:
As I have gotten older, I have found an interesting coping mechanism for myself when I am overwhelmed. I like to have one room/space put in order. Typically it's the kitchen.
Currently, life is very overwhelming. God's got everything under control and has placed an amazing calmness and peace in my heart, but in my home, not so much. And I just need one space that is not chaotic. And it needs to be the kitchen. That Sharpie was just another thing added to the dishes that hadn't been cleaned from baking earlier (also not mine) and papers and pencils on the kitchen counter that just cannot make it back to the school room after we are finished with them (HOW HARD IS THAT?!) and the chaos was just adding up!
I didn't yell at her, but I did point it out to her once again and she again acknowledged that she had left it out and she understood the big picture: put stuff back where it belongs.
I am so very tired of telling my kids to get something done 4 times in a day only to see the dishes they promised to put in the dishwasher still sitting on the counter right above where the dishwasher is located. Or to see the sweatshirt sitting on the floor near the stairs so they will remember to pick it up on their way up to bed. But no. It'll sit there until I actually hand it to them on their way up the stairs. Or the empty popcorn bowl sitting in the living room, waiting to be brought over to the counter in the kitchen. Or the garbage, laundry, pets, brushing their hair, WHATEVER it is: they don't remember a bit of what I ask them to do unless I am asking them to dish up some ice cream from the freezer.
I certainly don't have this figured out, but I have employed a couple of tactics that seem to help, when I have the time. First of all, I add it to their daily to-do list. They have a daily list of things they need to get done for school before they can play outside or have any screen time. I just add stuff onto the bottom of their list and they have to show me that everything is done on that list before they are "FREE!!" That tends to help. And if I notice later on that they didn't get it done, they lose screen time.
The other thing I do is make a pile of all their crap-o-la that's left all over the house and then I make them sort and separate it all and put it away. Then instead of the mess being in 4 different rooms, it's in one pile and I can handle one pile a whole lot better than the 25 little piles they leave around the house. Daily. Every day. All day. So much of the crap-o-la. Seriously. Where does it all come from and where does it all go? It's like Cotton- Eyed Joe (Feel free to disregard that music quote if you don't recognize it. There rest of y'all: enjoy that in your head today along with me!)
I don't know how much more of this I can handle, friends. Please tell me that I'm not the only one who has children who need some prayer for a listening miracle and please feel free to lay your suggestions on me. Otherwise I might not ever come out of my room. It's the cleanest, most sane room in the house. And y'all know I need a little sanity in my life...
I'm not sure why my kids aren't perfect yet. Sheesh! I've been working on this for years already!
And no, I do not want to look in that mirror you're holding...