Wednesday, April 9, 2008

a painful examination of self and soul

when things seem to be going so well for me from an individual standpoint, a broader view of my life reveals trouble. i am finally getting my health on track, and i am improving my spiritual health (and consistency), but my family is suffering despite my personal success. and if my family is suffering, how can i view myself as truly prosperous? thriving is about success in every facet of life.

i have never been a june cleaver type, but lately things seem like they're getting more out of control. i work out on my lunch break, so it's not like i'm taking time that used to be spent with the girls or cleaning. it's just coincidental, i think, but quite frustrating. it seems like my temper has gotten shorter, too. combine that with pooka's reaction to missing kisu, and we are sparkier than ever.

my heart is heavy with guilt over the way that pooka gets treated. i, of all people, should understand how she feels not seeing kisu, but i have trouble showing her compassion. (that starts with my ingrained ice-queen persona.) it would be easier to do if she articulated her feelings more, but she's still just 6 years old. even with her advanced vocabulary, it would be more mature than her years. but the fact that she manifests her fears and sadness as disobedience makes it even harder to be sympathetic; it just lights my fuse.

top it off with a nearly-toddler who wants to stick her finger into every light socket in the house, and it's abundantly clear that i have my hands full.

but pooka's disobedience is not in the same vein as bug's mischieviousness. where bug actively seeks out schemes that elicit "no-no's", pooka is blindly and resolutely contrary. bug's behavior, however trying, is completely developmentally appropriate for her age. i don't think the same can be said of pooka. whether i say, "get ready for school," "eat your dinner," or "jump on the bed," she flatly refuses. "i don't want to, "she says. i could tell her to sit down and eat a carton of ice cream and she would decline, just to be difficult.

it's maddening, partially because it highlights how little control i have of my temper. how can i expect pooka to appropriately channel her emotions when i cannot demonstrate the technique?

much prayer has gone forth regarding my ability to control my temper, to show patience and compassion, and to remember that pooka is, at this age, mainly the person she is molded to be by her parents.

so far i have determined three main steps to try and right this ship:

i need to manage my anger, period. that is my responsibility alone and my children (nor my husband) should not have to suffer my bungling of it.

prepare us for success. i created checklists for pooka so that she would know what needed to be done at significant points of the day without needing to be harped on. i need to make some for myself. prepping lunches and clothes the night before, along with getting to bed on time, is crucial for the correct launching of our day.

focus on family. i need to stop multi-tasking so much. there must be time for pooka and i to sit together without distractions, urgent or otherwise. this will most likely happen after bug goes to bed, but it needs to happen. various combinations of our family personnel need to have these 'moments' to concentrate on and connect with each other.

although there are few, they are important steps and hopefully i will be able to implement them. truly then, i will be able to call my life complete. yeah, right. but at least i might be proud of the job i'm doing both as a mother AND as an individual.