Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Filling His Bucket and Dealing With Anger

A few funny anecdotes from my youngest son, Bubba J.

Yesterday, I took my youngest son with me on some after school errands because he gets awfully cranky and I wanted to make it easier for my oldest son to watch the other kids. Bubba J asked why he was going with me and I said that he was often cranky after school and it would be easier for everyone. He said, in a very serious tone, "I have a lot of anger inside me." When I asked why, he said, "My sister makes annoying sounds and they make me very angry." I chuckled and left it at that. The next morning, my daughter was whining/crying because she wasn't feeling well. I asked her to calm down and stop crying so she could eat. She stopped and Bubba J said to her in a very kind voice, " Thank you for stopping. You were starting to fill me up with anger."

After Bubba J helped me with my errands yesterday, he said, "I was a good helper today. I filled up your bucket." I thought he was talking about a literal bucket and asked him what he meant. He explained to me that at school they talk about filling their invisible buckets with good deeds and kindness. Since then, we have talked about how we fill up each other's buckets. I love that he is so aware of how he feels and also wants to feel good. He is also aware of what helps him feel good. He is so self-aware.

The last incident made me a little grumpy but later made me laugh. One morning, my older son, T, was having a hard time getting out the door. He frequently gets distracted and constantly needs to be redirected. I lost my temper and shouted at him to leave. After he walked out the door, Bubba J turned to me and said, in a gentle voice, "Mommy, if you would speak to T in a gentle, soft voice, he would listen better." I guess he missed the part where I had talked to his brother that way. However, he was right. My five year old is very wise and many of his gentle ways make a big difference in our family.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Mothering Happy Moments

I've read a few articles here and there about how the rewards of parenting are vague and are long-term. The other surprise is that parenting makes you less happy than your childless peers. I suppose this can be true. There are times when I feel profoundly unhappy being a parent--when the demands of six kids are overwhelming and my house feels like a cesspit of disgusting crap. That is usually temporary. I disagree that most of the rewards of parenting don't come until later. Here are some of the rewards and happy moments I experienced in the the last few days.

My baby woke up with a howl but as soon as I picked her up, she quieted. She patted my shoulder and snuggled me for a good 10 minutes. I don't know about you, but snuggles from a baby are probably better than the best dark chocolate around for calming my stress and making me feel happier.

My 13-year old son raced frantically through the house trying to find his track shirt this morning. The frantic rush made me mad because I hate the last minute dash. It's stressful. However, my son's commitment and effort in track make me very proud. My son is a little guy who isn't super athletic. He also has some serious struggles with ADHD. He is the slowest kid on the race track, but he doesn't give up. He doesn't think he is a failure because he is always last- he just keeps trying. I couldn't be prouder of his effort and dedication. He doesn't have to win--because I think he has already won the real race.

My oldest son is probably one of the most interesting people to talk to that I know. He and his little brother argue a lot, which is challenging. However, the other night as we drove home from a church activity, he told me how protective he feels of his little brother. He said that some kids were making rude remarks about his brother on the track the other day. Then he said, "but don't worry, Mom. I got them back." He discovered they were cheating on some assignments and tipped off a teacher. I'm not sure how to feel about the business of revenge, but I do appreciate that he cares about his brother and found a way to defend him.

My third son makes me happy frequently. He is really good with his hands and loves knitting. It is calming for him. At church he knits away during sacrament meeting which is great and a lot more peaceful that his earlier antics. This week he received the Student of the Week award in his class. This is a big deal because my son has a reputation for being a smart alec and was on the no-waffle list for several weeks because of his antics. Not my proudest mom moment. The reason this is so awesome is that he recognized that he needed to do better and he worked on it himself--without my interference.

My daughter made me a card and song telling me how much she loves me. I am so proud of who she is and is becoming.

My youngest son is always ready to give me hugs and kisses. He is plucky and hardworking. He is loving and kind.

Look, I'm the first one to tell you that mothering isn't all roses. It's messy, complicated, and difficult. However, I've lived long enough to know that the happiest and most joyful moments aren't the ones without struggle. I've learned to count the daily moments of sweetness and hold them high above the negative. I treasure the snuggles, the words of love, the laughs, the talks, and the moments of accomplishment. They overshadow the yucky bodily fluids, the messy bedrooms, the mounds of laundry, the endless meals, and the bickering. Maybe I sound like a Pollyanna, but I'll take it any day over the negative.