Today is July 16th. Phoenix has ten days of summer school left. First grade starts in four weeks. Paxton should be starting Head Start. I've been overwhelmed with my own emotional garbage and honestly, not a lot has been happening that I'd consider blog-worthy.
We've done a LOT of swimming; Phoenix has finally decided he's not scared to jump in & even though he still uses a floaty, his swimming is getting better & better. Paxton has stepped off the stairs with no lifejacket twice now but hasn't managed to drowned himself yet. We've managed to avoid camping so far, for which I am incredibly grateful. I've been attempting to get Paxton potty-trained, which he has staunchly refused to do. Yesterday, he managed to go without a diaper for a trip to the bank & the store but promptly pissed all over himself and the floor when we got home. At least it wasn't in his car seat.
I started reading Parenting with Love & Logic and I have to admit, I didn't think it was going to be as preachy as it is. I understand that religious people enjoy connecting passages from the Bible to real life but those of us who choose not to follow an organized religion realize that you don't need religion to be a good parent or person and I find the implication that religion is a key element to being a good parent completely insulting. That being said, I have been able to apply what I've read, with positive results, so I'm sticking with it and just skipping over anything that mentions church or scripture or God.
One of the biggest things I've taken away from the book is letting the kids make their own mistakes & giving them responsibilities, NOW. The boys love helping me, even it's a little frustrating for me and they're learning how to take care of themselves before they actually have to take care of themselves. Since I take them with me when I grocery shop, I'm showing them how to shop smart, how to put meals together & how to pick foods that are good for you. Phoenix has started helping me make dinner while Paxton helps me with laundry, putting clothes in the washer or dryer. I've stopped keeping their room clean. Instead, I wait for Phoenix to complain about how messy it is then explain to him what I would do to clean it. I supervise, offer words of advice and encouragement; I empathize when Phoenix feels overwhelmed but I'm trying hard NOT to do for them what they can do for themselves.
This has GOT to be the hardest thing about parenting. It's so easy to do everything for them. It makes life easier for all of us but it's not teaching them a thing about responsibility.
I struggle with being a SAHM some days and it's not just worrying about the kids. It's not just about the kids being happy & healthy; Jay & I are still a couple and we need to be happy too. With ourselves and each other. That can be a serious balancing act and sometimes (a lot of times), it's overwhelming. We don't feel like equals. I'm jealous of the time he gets to spend out of the house. He's jealous of the time I get to spend with the kids. He doesn't want to go to the store or do dishes when he gets home & I can't blame him. I get completely lazy on the weekends because all of us are home & it's twice as hard to keep the place clean. I know this pisses him off. We fight about bills, money, the kids, which is totally normal but leaves me feeling sort of lost.
I don't expect any part of my life to be perfect or even easy. All I want is a sense of understanding.
And neighbors who have a sense of respect for others. That would be super nice. I mean, I love rude people because they give me an outlet for my rage but I can't handle living right next door to someone who has absolutely NO understanding of how to live in close proximity to other human beings. I'll admit, this is my only experience living in something other than a single family home & I knew there were going to be some issues with noise, being in between two other units but when you wake me up at 2 o'clock in the morning, we're going to have words -- serious words -- so just knock it the fuck off. Stop trying to steal our cat. Don't feed him or let him in your house. Stop smoking meth & blasting your music at all hours of the night. Stop running out to your car for some imaginary object every time you hear Jay's truck pull into the lot. DO NOT come out of your house without a bra on. JUST STOP.
It's enough to make me fantasize about running away for a night or two. No kids. No neighbors. Just me & Jay -- and a hotel room. A night or two for us to pretend it's just us; a young couple, out enjoying each other's company, sharing their lives with each other. A night or two to reconnect & remember why we're still together, to remember how much we love each other. A little bit of time to actually love each other, to be really blunt.