Friday, May 7, 2010

Discipline/ Purposeful Parenting

As Easton nears his first birthday, he is getting more capable and can do so many new things. I love it, but every day poses new challenges. Each day I understand why they say motherhood is hard in a whole new way. I think I had similar realizations after I got married (why they say marriage is hard), and it really is impossible to truly understand until you are there.

My overarching thought lately is..

that it is so easy to become the kind of mom I never wanted to be.

Everyone has these predetermined thoughts about what kind of mom they want to be. I did and I am sure most of you did. These thoughts probably included many examples of what you didn't want to be- "I'd never let my kids to that!" mentality.

This  monologue may sound like something you have heard before, but just wait. You aren't going to hear me say....
 "Now I understand why that Mom was that way, and I see that it is inevitable for me as well."

Nope. Although I do have a deeper sympathy and understanding for the challenges Mom's everywhere face, I am not giving up on my ideas or giving into difficulties. What you will hear is that now I do understand why some Mom's act the way they do, but it is not inevitable.

What I have been mulling over is the fact that most of the time, when I see Mom's doing something or allowing something I don't agree with- its because it is easier that way. I really do see that it is easier to do things one way, and harder to do them another. Most of my ideals are the harder way. Let me give a few examples to explain.

(*Please do not be offended if you read this and see yourself on either side. Everything a Mom does is personal choice for herself, her kids and her sanity. What I want to point out is that all of the time the best thing really is HARD.)

1. Feeding Your Toddler/Child- It is hard to stay consistant and feed your kid healthy foods. It is so much easier to pull out animal crackers, graham crackers, a granola bar or gummies. All kids will each these things without so much as a squawk.  It takes time and patience to continue offering healthy choices, to plan for them, and to teach your child to eat them. The food industry has made it so easy to quickly choose something less nutritious that you know your child will eat.

2. Naptime- It is hard to establish and stick to a nap schedule. It means constructing your schedule and theirs around it and sometimes letting your kid cry himself to sleep. Easton takes great naps (2 2-hour naps) everyday. But it was hard at first because he didn't always want to do it and he would often wake up to eat in the middle just for fun. If he woke up tired and grouchy, I'd put him right back in bed until he fell asleep. It would be much easier to let him just fall asleep anywhere and get him up if he fussed.

3. Church- It is really hard to even take a toddler to church, much less keep them in a meeting. It is really hard to take enough activities, toys, and distractions to keep your child quiet and in the meeting the whole time. It is so much easier to just take them out to the hall to roam where you can listen and don't have to entertain. This is such a mental battle and exhersion for me. Teaching this takes a long time and lots of patience and creativity.

4. Outside Time- Its hard to make the effort and remember to go outside frequently with Easton. If the weather isn't really warm and sunny (a rare thing here), then I would rather just stay inside or run errands in the car. Planning activities for yourself and a one year old is not something that automatically happens.

5. Personal care- It is really hard to get up earlier than Easton to get my workout in. I never really know when he will wake up and I need to be back from my run or walk before Soren leaves. Its hard to go to bed and to get up and do it- especially if it is dark and cold. It is easy and the default option to sleep until Easton is my alarm clock.

6. Nursing- Two parts of this are hard for me. Nursing itself, while I believe in it wholeheartedly, is hard. Its hard to keep doing for months and months and months. Its hard to be tied to a baby or I guess have one tied to you. The other hard part is quitting. Easton is not showing any signs of wanting to be done, but I so am. My goal was a year, but its not looking like I can stop real soon. It would be easier to keep nursing until eternity (his choice), but I need a break before this next baby so at some point I will be doing the hard job of cutting him off.

All of these things are hard, but the benefits to me are really what I try to keep in mind. I am not perfect at any of them, but these are what I want to be. I can totally see why some Mom's choose otherwise and for me I can see that unless I am disciplined- its easy to take the easy way out.


eden said...

i like this list. and while i'm not a mom, so i don't totally get it, i've observed the exact thing you're describing. way to go on staying invested in doing things the hard(er) way. (:

Duthries said...

You know there are a lot of different things that can overwhelm us. Every mother has a strength and it is hard not to compare our weakness to that strength. I think you are very disciplined and that Easton is such a lucky boy to have you as a caring mother... and I will do my best not to compare myself to that strength. :)

Courtney said...

I agree with you totally. It's interesting, because I have found myself doing things I never thought I would do! And I do them without even thinking about it. I've been trying lately to make a more concentrated effort to battle those things that I do feel are important.
I also think it's important to assess certain things and be flexible, though, and not to feel guilty if things don't always meet the ideal.
It's interesting-- from the title of your post, I thought you were going to talk about disciplining issues with Easton, but really it is about having discipline for yourself, and I'm not sure I had thought about it in those terms.
This is a long comment, but I really enjoyed this post. :)

Soren and Kilee Nickels said...

Like I said in my post, please don't feel like you need to match my ideas, but I thought it was something that we all ought to think about. I like how you put it Courtney, its amazing what we do when we aren't practicing purposeful parenting. Not everything has to be well thought out, but the more we do think, the more often things will go as we planned.

Seidi said...

I'm super proud of you, Kilee. And I am totally comforted because these are almost the SAME things we are dealing with right now. Seriously though, who would have thought that our lives would be the same again? :) Keep at it! I'm motivated to know that you are dealing with it to! Love you. We should talk soon.

Maman A Droit said...

Great post! While I disagree on some of the specifics (we are doing "attachment parenting" so we never let Baby cry-it-out"), I totally agree that it's important to be very inentional about the way you parent.

On a different note, I'd love to hear your suggestions for healthy baby snacks! We don't do many snacks, but when we do it tends to be Graham crackers or cheerios just cause I don't know whar else to give him. He loves green beans and carrots for his actual meals. I just don't know what's healthy he can eat without a bib when we are places like the park!

Griff-Fam said...

You are awesome. I agree with everything. Kudos for still nursing! I was really disappointed in myself for quitting at nine and a a half months this last time. I missed it so much after he was weaned. But as Moms, we shouldn't beat ourselves up too hard! But the hard choice now, usually sets us up for easier times in the later years. Have you read Love and Logic-Parenting Magic for birth to six years? You would really love it!

Rob and Marseille said...

good post! the kids in our primary whose parents are disciplined are so much more pleasant than the other kids!
And, how is nursing while pregnant? are you more/less sick? I assumed that if I got pregnant I'd have to stop nursing Michael because I'd be too sick.
When you wean easton, you will just need to follow the same discipline you talked about with eating. plan food to give him. Do it when you are busy with fun things so he is distracted. CHristopher (@ 13months) seemed to not drink whole milk well for about a week, but then he loved it. (and don't go cold turkey (I went from 2ish to 0) -that is painful!)

melanie said...

I think moms care about different things. What you would consider the easier route may just be less of a priority to that mom.