Friday, May 26, 2017

Of Stress, Mess, and Not Much Else

This week has been absolutely mad. I was working on a job-related paper every single night. The girls have not been sleeping well. I've been doing the absolute minimum with the family. Forget quality time and relaxed conversations. It's been a rush of getting ready, fixing suppers, packing lunches, cleaning dishes, hurrying out the door, working until midnight, reading until midnight.

I have a tendency to procrastinate that escalates horribly when I have a project that is uninteresting. This paper I was writing - 100% uninteresting. It got done, eventually - but the price is sleep deprivation, neglected kids, 3 fun books that I read instead of working (because anything, anything is more fun than that), messy house, and grumpy husband. Because when I get stressed out (due to procrastination and that awful paper over my head), I tend to withdraw from life, people, and have a strong aversion to any conversations or cuddles. Especially cuddles - I'd much rather have a fight. Now it's turned in and I am working on a project that's even worse. A nightmare project. If I didn't just get a raise (and a nice salary increase! so exciting to be making more money!) I would be tempted to think about quitting.

The school  year is wrapping up... kids are counting days until  the summer break. My mother is coming to stay with us for 2 weeks, and then it will be summer camp for the rest of summer.

My parents are still looking for a house... last week's offer didn't work out. Someone outbid them. They made an offer on a different house this week, but that's not working out, either. The seller is not willing to come down in price and my parents aren't willing to pay more than what they think is house worth (I agree with my parents, that house is overpriced).

Our strawberries are coming in. The wilds ones would be delicious if the kids were patient and would actually let them ripen. Instead, they taste almost bitter... but the kids have a blast picking them. Ah well, they'll figure it out. The Mulberry tree is forgotten for now - and I hope that those berries will have a chance to turn black and sweet before our kids descend on them (actually, I should say, raise their heads, take notice, and pick the tree clean). Peas have flowers. Blackberries have flowers. Backyard is awesome. House - not so much... needs to be organized (go-through-stuff-and-throw-everything-out).

Out for now.

Friday, May 19, 2017

House-Hunting for my Parents

My parents are looking to move to our area. Currently, they live across the country, in the Pacific NW.  They came a couple of months ago and stayed for a couple of weeks with us, hoping to find a house they liked for a price the were willing to pay. It didn't work out. My parents have some savings and they have paid off their current home, but they are  not the Rothschilds. They are reluctant to spend all their savings on a new house. They also want an all-on-one-level living situation, privacy, garage, quiet street, newer construction and open-floor plan, not too much yard, enough space for mom's full-size grand-piano, but not a huge house (because too expensive to heat and cool).

I went with their agent to look at a place that's less than 15 minute drive from our house. It's nice, cozy, all-on-one level (including a washer/dryer)... but no garage and the price is about 100,000 more than their ideal price. I told them my husband and I would be more than happy to chip in. Really - thank G-d, we can afford it. They need to decide quickly, because this house will be snatched up in no time. The hardest part is - they have to make a decision without even seeing the house!

After months, and months, and months... i just want them to find something that hits if not all the marks, then most of them. This house definitely does! The house-hunting has been driving them crazy. I just want them to start driving each other crazy about something else - packing up and moving their stuff, for example. Deciding on paint colors for the rooms. How to position furniture in their new place. Who gets which bedroom.

This house - it's small-ish, but not tiny. There is a separate room, with a separate entrance, that could work for the grand piano and mom's students. The yard is not huge but has enough space for grand kids to run around, and there is a patio with a roof where one could put a table and chairs. It's in a very nice neighborhood. They could walk to a small park. They could walk to a bus stop and take the bus to a train station if they wanted to go into the city. The could take the bus to the mall. There are grocery stores and Lowes within a close drive. It is only 15 minutes from our house!!!

I hope it works out. I hope they make an offer. I hope they don't totally hate it when they see it for the first time!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Relaxing with children

One thing I have been an absolute failure at -

Being relaxed and calm, enjoying life at its fullest.

Being relaxed and calm can be extraordinarily hard when little ones are running around, always demanding things.

They are hungry, thirsty, have a belly-ache, all 3 want to tell me things right now at the same time, they need to go potty, they need a tissue, oops they spilled milk, they want to go outside, they want to go inside, and please mommy can they have candy, and no, they don't want to practice piano/violin, do homework, chores, get dressed or brush their teeth.

I am glad I did not know how hard the parenting thing was going to be before I had any kids. I wouldn't have understood, anyway. Now, to be honest - my kids are pretty easy-going, without major behavioral problems. So this is more of my own problem - I find parenting so hard because I kind of suck as a parent. I loose patience. I yell. I get mad.

One thing I've started noticing - the kids, when they talk to each other, they get mad and start yelling because they are mimicking my husband and me. My husband yells, too.

No, I don't yell all the time - I am a sweet and quiet person, about 70% of the time. If I don't get enough food or sleep, I am a sweet and quiet person about 20% of the time. Most of the yelling is the "Son! Come down for dinner!!! Can you hear me????" "We are late!!! Get your shoes on!!!" type of yelling. Yelling to get the attention, because the kids are in a middle of a game, or far away, or not responding after 5 times of normal-voice calling. Occasionally, it is the super-angry "How could you do this? What were you thinking? I am so mad and disappointed!!!" And then there is the ugly full-fury screaming, which happens rarely, but freaks everyone out (including myself).

So what are need are coping methods to substitute the yelling. Coping methods to deal with kids who often are not listening, coping methods to deal with anger that stems  from being exhausted and hungry, coping methods that help me reduce yelling (clean up your toys! put away your laundry!) and still get the kids to do the chores.

And oh, their messy rooms, dirty socks lying all over the house, and food squirreled away in a closet - that's a definite trigger for yelling.