Showing posts with label frustrating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frustrating. Show all posts

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Why I HATE Reading To My Kids

I remember the days that my daughter would return from school with little notes to all of the parents. The reminder was that we should be spending at least 15 minutes a night reading to our child. While many mothers saw this as a kind honorable reminder I saw it as a personal attack for a few reasons. The first reason was that I already knew the importance of reading to my child. I see the signs, hear the PSAs, and am even reminded by doctors and teachers. This was not a new concept to me. The second reason was because the note made it seem like they were saying, "it's only fifteen minutes of your day, isn't your child worth it?" It wasn't only fifteen minutes a day, to me it was FIFTEEN MINUTES a day. The final reason was because the picture of a mother happily and lovingly looking over her child's shoulder as he sat quietly and peacefully in her lap was in no way my reality.


So today I thought I would put a new spin on things and tell you why I hate to read to my kids. I hope that by the end of this either you will find some comfort in the fact that you are not alone if you also hate it, or to help you understand why some parents don't read to their children so you may better support and encourage them.

Why I hate reading to my kids-

It is Frustrating... As I sit trying to read the story Abigaile becomes fidgety. She starts to pick at her fingers and her skin. I try to focus on the book but my eyes keep being pulled to what she is doing. I lovingly place my hand on hers, our little sign that she needs to try to stop fidgeting, and search for my place in the book. She begins to gently  tap her pencil on the table and I again loose my place. I then ask her to stop and she having not even noticed her actions quickly sets the pencil back on the table. I find the word I ended on and try to begin again but can not seem to get my eyes to focus. I notice that the entire time I have only been repeating the first few words and I can't seem to continue. I feel like a scratched record that continues to skip. I am filled with frustration and shoot her the good ol' mommy scowl, but my frustration is soon turned into guilt because I know that it is not her fault that I can't focus.

It is Anxiety Provoking... As Elizabeth proudly and excitedly brings me a book her eyes beg for me to read to her. I agree and make room for her on my lap. I open the first page and boldly read the title page. When I flip the page I notice an avalanche of words pouring from each page and trapping me. I am filled with anxiety just at the thought of trying to read all of the words. I had hoped that since it was a child's book there would be more pictures. I try to decide if I could make up a story instead and lie about what the book says but it is too late. I am frozen in fear of the idea of climbing out of each page and making it to the summit. I close the book and pray that she will be distracted by another simpler book.

It is Embarrassing... As I begin to read I feel confident in my abilities. I have already pre-screened several books of which my daughters could choose, many of which I am very familiar with. I begin with a good pace and sail smoothly through the words and pages. Then it happens... like a wave crashing on board a ship I am caught by surprise and stumble on a word. I quickly recover and continue on with my face slightly flushed from the embarrassment of the error. As I continue to feel embarrassed I seem to have lost course. The words seem to become more and more choppy, like the the uneasy sea throwing a boat around. I begin to doubt myself and my skills as a parent wondering "What kind of parent can't even read Dr. Seuss to their kid?" I begin to wonder if they notice how much I am struggling and most of all I wonder if they are embarrassed of me as well.

This is what reading to my kids is like. This is the struggle of a dyslexic parent. It makes me wonder how many of those parents who don't read to their children are secretly facing similar battles. If that is the issue for someone.. I promise a little friendly reminder to read to their child won't help. They may need encouragement or help with their own struggle. I hate to leave things on a negative note and I wanted to offer comfort to those who also hate reading to their kids.

Why I make myself read to my kids-

They are Rewarding... I get to see my children's passion for reading grow. I have never read a book just for the fun of it, but to see my child do it is an amazing feeling. When I ask them questions about what they have read, their eyes light up and they so clearly articulate all the fascinating things they learned. My oldest daughter also struggles with dyslexia and I am able to watch her push through and learn to read. There is something so beautiful about watching your child overcome something you yourself have battled with.

They are Understanding... I often have to remind myself that my daughters don't care if I skip words, make up words, or even mess up words; they are just happy that I am trying to spend the time with them. For them it isn't about the book, it is about us being together and going some place in their imaginations that we could maybe never go in reality. I am truly my harshest critic and my children are my biggest fans.

They are Loving... I have learned just how loving they are through my transparency with them. I have learned to openly tell my oldest daughter when I am struggling with reading and together we push on and continue. It gives me a chance to also teach her that we aren't defined by our struggles but by how we handle them. I hope when she is struggling with reading that she can remember that she isn't alone. She gives me so much encouragement when I have a difficult time reminds me that her love for me is not based on how well I read to her.

The biggest reason I make myself read to them is so that they won't hate reading to their kids. I hope to break the chain. I also hope that they will not just tolerate reading but will find their own passion for it.

I have found that through making myself read to them it has gotten better and I have begun to enjoy it more. So I say out of a place of understanding and love, read to your kids. Not because you love it but because you love them.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rescue Me

Have you ever had a moment where everything seemed to come crashing down around you? Where frustration turned into tears of distraught and no matter how hard you try to pull yourself out of that bad place you were stuck feeling stranded and alone? 

Most of the time I would consider myself pretty easy going. So many things happen all the time that even though they might bother me I am able to just keep going. Most of the time I am Dory... I just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim. 

But occasionally I find myself in a place where I can't swim anymore and I just need rescued. 

Last Tuesday, I had one of those moments. Let me set the scene for you. 
I had been battling a case of bronchitis for a week already and began to get worse. I hadn't been sleeping well due to being sick and due to the littlest one waking up every night at 1am and staying up for three to four hours. Both of my poor little girls were sick too. This day also seemed to be a more hormonal and emotional day to begin with, thanks to the pregnancy hormones. Even with all this I was doing alright. For some reason we thought that it was a good idea to switch the bedrooms and build the girls bunk beds at 7pm at night, when the house was already a wreck from everyone being sick and nothing being taken care of. All of the beds got taken down, halls were filled with dressers and stuff, there was no access into many rooms, and both girls were high energy and needy. We got the bottom part of the bunk finished when it was time for the hubby to leave for work. Even at that point I was alright, I was swimming right along. Then IT happened. I could not get a screw into the bed. I tried over and over and it wouldn't go. That screw threw me into a dark place. That moment the frustration overwhelmed me and I suddenly noticed all the things that I had been swimming past. I noticed how sick I was. I noticed how tired I was. I noticed that the girls were driving me crazy and weren't listening. I noticed that I had no place for them to sleep that night. I noticed that I was all alone building something that seemed impossible. I began to break down. I was angry that I was left with the problem. I was sad that I wasn't being a patient mom. I was frustrated that the stupid screw just wouldn't go in. I was stranded and alone with no hope. I needed to be rescued. 

I called my mom and dad to see if the girls and I could crash at their house but there was no answer. I was at a complete loss of what to do. Then my phone rang. It was my daddy. I tried to tell him what was wrong and why I was calling but I struggled to force out the words while holding back tears. The lump in my throat grew and it became harder to breath. Then with these few simple words relief flushed over me, "I'll be right there." I was being rescued. Like a true knight in shining armor... my dad didn't only take me away from the problem.. he fixed it. He stayed there patiently working with me to build the beds. While he built the beds, he played with the girls and gave them the attention that I didn't have in me. He made the huge unconquerable mountain fun. It turns out the company didn't even give us all the right pieces that we needed but with him there it didn't seem to matter. He helped get a place for the girls to lay their heads and gave me peace of mind. Even though the beds couldn't be made into bunk beds yet, we got them all set up and he even stayed to finish the ladder so we wouldn't have to worry about it when we did get the pieces in. He rescued me and in such a loving and patient way. I felt like that little girl that ran into her daddy's arms to seek comfort. 


We are called to be examples to our children of God's love for us. What a great example my dad was for me. I know that when I am lost God seeks me out with open arms, comforts me, and fights for me when I am not strong enough to fight. 

Isaiah 40:28-31 
"Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint."

Planetshakers -Rescue Me

When im alone the world is such a different place
Sometimes its hard to keep the smile upon my face
It seems like I try so hard and still I let you down
Its taken so long but now theres one thing that Ive found

When everyting starts crashing down
When all I know falls to the ground
When darkness comes and I can't see
You're always there to rescue me

Just when I think that Ive got it figured out
You open my eyes and let me see that theres no doubt
But you've got it all within the power of your hand
It seems like the more I know the less I understand

When everyting starts crashing down
When all I know falls to the ground
When darkness comes and I can't see
You're always there to rescue me
When all my strength has turned to fear
When I wonder if you're near
When I dont know how to break free
You're always there to rescue me

I wonder if Ill make it through this darkest night
I need to know your strength in me gonna win this fight
Im reaching out wont you take my hand show me to the light
I know you're by my side

It seems like I try so hard and still I let you down
Its taken so long but now theres one thing that Ive found

When everyting starts crashing down
When all I know falls to the ground
When darkness comes and I can't see
You're always there to rescue me
When all my strength has turned to fear
When I wonder if you're near
When I dont know how to break free
You're always there to rescue me
You're always there to rescue me
You're always there to rescue me
You're always there to rescue me
You're always there to rescue me

Saturday, January 5, 2013

From One Mother to Another

Tonight my heart is heavy with concerns for mothers who feel insecure, scared, and alone. I don't think that personal struggles are expressed openly in our society and I fear that it is causing more mothers to feel alone in their struggles. For example, postpartum depression is not often talked about amongst friends and yet it supposedly affects 11-20% of mothers. Personally, I wonder if the number would be higher if women did not feel guilt when admitting their struggles. 

Let me start by saying that I truly feel that motherhood is an amazing gift from God. I am so blessed to have my children and wouldn't change a thing. 

Now that I have said that, I am going to let you in on a dirty little secret. Motherhood is hard... actually it is not just hard. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. It is overwhelming, stressful, tedious, frustrating, painful, and the toughest things I have ever had to do. There are times that I am so overwhelmed that I can't decide whether to yell or cry. There is overwhelming fear that controls you when you think your child is in harms way. There is frustration that can lead to your body physically shaking in anger when you have no idea how to get through to a disobedient and disrespectful child. There is the exhaustion of waking up through out the night with a baby or a sick child. There is the physical pain of trying to carry everything and care for everyone. Motherhood is hard. I am not saying all of this to bring you down or create fear if you are expecting a child. I am saying this to let you know that you are NOT ALONE! You are not a BAD mom for having these emotions! All of these things are completely worth it and can actually bring you closer to your child. It doesn't matter whether you have a newborn or if your child is already an adult, some of these feelings still apply... most of all the feeling of inadequacy. 

So often I will feel that I am not a good mother. I am not doing enough. I didn't respond the right way. I didn't do things like other mothers. We feel like we could have done more to help our child. I truly feel that my mother is an amazing (perfect if possible) mother. She is everything that I wish I could be. Yet, I know that through the years she herself has felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and exhausted. She is always wishing she could help us more, protect us more, and show us that she loves us more. Though it may sound twisted, it gives me great relief to know that my amazing mom struggles too. She understands me all that much more after facing it herself. Even though I am in adulthood, I know that my mom still worries about me at times. It doesn't matter how old we get... she is still a mother. 

MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia defines postpartum depression as  "moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later." (If you click on the link the page describes some of the symptom.) After I had Abbie, I struggled with postpartum depression. I had heard of it before from my doctor but I had never heard friends openly discuss it. It seemed like it was a embarrassing secret. At first I would fear that others would think of me as a bad mom or that people would take my baby away from me if they knew. As I began to open up about it I realized how common it really was. This is my story...

After Abbie was born I didn't feel as connected with her. I loved her as I thought I should but I didn't feel attached to her. I was already battling with bipolar but something seemed different. My husband was working two jobs, one of which was overnight. When Abbie was only a few weeks old I went to give her a bath. As I was bathing her a terrifying thought came into my head. "I could just hold her under and drown her." As soon as the thought entered my head I grabbed her out of the bath and put her in her crib. I didn't even throw a diaper on her but instead placed her blanket over her and left the room. I sat the the recliner for hours weeping as she slept. I was so scared that if I told my husband, he would take her away from me. When he got home I told him what had happened. I also told my mother. I was so scared that I would harm my baby. What kind of mother would even think of hurting her child? We setup a plan to protect her. My husband and mother would give her baths and if I ever had thoughts like that I would make sure she was safe and physically separate myself from her. I held onto the guilt from that incidence for years. It wasn't until much later that I realized how common it is for some mothers to have thoughts of harming the child. The thoughts aren't what makes me a bad mother.. it was the actions if I had gave into the thoughts. I never had that thought again after that day but I still use the guidelines for myself. If I am angry or emotionally upset by something I do not punish my children. I separate myself until I am ok or until their father can handle it. 

It is ok to need physical and emotional space from your child. I call this a mommy timeout. When a newborn is crying and you are exhausted and feel like you are on edge, it is perfectly fine to put the baby down and walk away for a few minutes. Being hormonal, sleep deprived, stressed, and not know what the baby wants can be perfect setup for disaster. Another tip is to have a friend that you can be open and honest with during the situation. It is nice to have the extra help but even just venting can help. 

Being a mother is hard. It is physically and emotionally exhausting. It is overwhelming, stressful, tedious, frustrating, painful, and the toughest things I have ever had to do. It is also the most amazing thing I have been blessed to do. There is the times that they smile at you full of love and melt your heart like butter. There is the pride that comes with the times they do something new for the first time. There is laughter when they say or do something hilarious but have no idea what they did. There is the the peace when you watch them as they lay sleeping. There is the hope you feel when they realize a mistake a change their behavior without being disciplined. There is the strength you feel when they run into your arms for protection and care. 

I know that I am a good mother not because of what diaper they wear or what grades they get. I am a good mother because I do my best, I love them with every cell of my body, and because I point them back to God. 



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Running the Race


As she runs out of the room, I know she wasn't really listening. She arrives before me with excitement and with a feeling of accomplishment only to be welcomed by a frustrated and inpatient tone. "Abbie, I said 'go into your room and get the baby wipes. Not a tissue, not another diaper, and definitely not a toy!" I can feel my frustration turn into anger. "Forget it, I will do it myself. Do you think you can keep an eye on your sister so she doesn't fall off the couch?" I finish changing Eb's blowout of a diaper and the guilt sets in. 

Abbie has a problem listening. Her hearing is perfectly fine but her listening does not work. I try tricks like repeating myself, looking her in the eyes when I say it, making her stop moving around, and having her repeat it.  She still somehow gets distracted and brings me the wrong item. Oh how lucky we are to have a father who has so much patience than I could ever have. 
There are so many times that I might know what God has told me to do and yetI still seem to get distracted. Things of the world can catch my attention. I don't set out to become distracted and my intentions might be in the best but if I don't listen to what God has to say, it happens. I find that I have to set my eyes on God and set what He says on my heart. Often I have to repeat His words in order to keep my mind where it belongs. We are in a race and we must set our eyes on God. 
This reminded me of horses and race horses. Horses are animals that have peripheral vision. They need to have blinders on to keep them from becoming distracted and running off course.  

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Hebrews 12:1-3 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fix in your eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 
What is distracting you?