Adventures in Unschooling

Heart to heart: parenting.

Posted on: January 12, 2010

I am finding myself in desperate need of a heart to heart and also finding myself without someone to do it with.

My husband is usually great at being my shoulder to lean on but he has plans with his brother tonight. I get to go out with a friend later this week so I can’t complain about that.

Anyways, back to my actual complaining.

Sometimes I feel totally inept as a parent. I try my best to be patient and kind and allow my kids freedom of choice.

But then we get caught up in the most idiotic fights and I just blow my lid.

It’ll start with something like him wanting to do something I disagree with. It could be like them wanting to eat my cheese. It’s the only block I have and I am saving it to make a pizza. I will say, “No, you can’t have it” and I will end up with an apocalyptic grade power struggle on my hand. It escalates when they refuse to accept my answer and choose instead to crumple onto the floor crying. Then I try to stop them from crying by explaining why I am saving the cheese or whatever.  This response is returned with more crying. I hate crying. It grates on my nerves, disrupts my inner peace and makes me feel like screaming. But if I give them what they asked for after I have said they can’t have it I will ruin my credibility. So I stand firm.

He won’t budge from his weeping, kneeling position on the kitchen floor. So I get mad. He cries louder to cover my voice as I try to calm him down. I start to yell and scream and send him to his room or I leave the room and go bananas when they start following me around just so that I can hear them crying.

And then I hate myself for losing control. I hate that I try so hard to be a well attached mom. And that I let them do the kinds of things that my mom would have NEVER let me do and yet they finds it necessary to throw a full out tantrum over a water bottle or a friggin’ piece of cheese.

I let them do whatever activities they want, let them pick their own outfits even when we go out in public. We let them choose their meal times and bed times. They have more freedom than I would have even dreamed of growing up. Yet…it’s never enough.

And when the anger from all of this is well set in, I start to feel like I am wasting my life. Of course they don’t realize this but all of my hopes and dreams are on hold so that I can school my kids and give them the childhood they deserve. Then they grow up, leave me behind, forget to call me on my birthady and I am stuck starting from scratch all over again. Lonely and unskilled.

So…I sit back and see myself seething and him bawling and wonder if this is really better. I get tempted to send him to school. Thinking maybe he’d appreciate the way that I slave over him all day long.

For example: I am in the middle of something and he wants a drink. I say, “I’ll get it in a moment.” He reminds me every three seconds. I don’t have Alzheimers! I’ll get it in a minute!

But until he has the juice in his cup I won’t get a moment’s peace.

And when all of this goes down and I am at the end of my teather I have no one to talk to.

My family, doesn’t practice this kind of “free” parenting. So when I complain about this they just say that that’s the fruit of my lack of structure and discipline.

At times I see tremendous fruits (creativity, joy and spirit) and at other times I could just throw in the towel.

God I miss peace and quiet.

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4 Responses to "Heart to heart: parenting."

I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you last night M. I feel like running on little sleep myself but it probably would have been good for both of us had I made the effort to listen then.

Not being in your shoes I have no idea what the solution is but the challenge sounds very familiar. I know my mother, and other mothers too, who have struggled with the same sorts of things. Other than acknowledging you’re not the only one the only other thing I can think of is that the concept of time doesn’t seem to set it until closer to age 8 (I think that’s about right).

I know that in the kindergarten the rhythms within the days, weeks and seasons all help to build the understanding of time but I’m not sure how to find a language other than minutes that will help the boys understand that you can’t give them all of your attention immediately. Perhaps you could have them sing a song (while you finish up what you’re doing) and have the end of the song be the cue that you will now get up to serve their need. I’m sure there other ideas out there but that’s what I came up with for now.

Good luck and I hope you enjoyed your play date!

That’s OK. Thanks for what you did do.

Oh…I so get this. My son is just over 3 1/2 and I too get to the end of my rope and feel like there are times that I have no one to listen. (When my husband is working…or just not available for one reason or another.) No one in my physical circle practices unschooling or attachment parenting, not to mention my family. But like you said, there are so many fruits to be found.
Oh…and the reminding every two seconds to do something. Enough already. I HEAR YOU!!! And then there’s, “Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, Mummy…” Seriously, I’ve considered changing my name.
But at the end of the day, when Isaac is curled around me in bed and nursing as he drifts off, I realize how lucky I am to be aware of the benefits of this type of parenting; to have evolved beyond what my parents did. Our kids will be so much MORE because of it. And my nerves? They can grow back, right? 🙂 -Debbie

The good days are oh so good. I am so proud when I see my kids growing as a result of our parenting. For example, my eldest son (4 1/2 years old) mediated a fight between two siblings at a playground the other day. I can’t imagine kids that get spanked and put on time outs know how to resolve issues at the age of four.

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