Friday, September 2, 2011

Finding Center. Priorities of Parenting as ...Me.

It's been an interesting few months. This pregnancy has made me want to turn inwards more than any other pregnancy before. Maybe it's because I'm parenting two verbal and very relational young children (aka not one baby 12-19mos old like last time!). I've really been distancing myself from social activities, just trying to BE as much as possible. And I've been feeling guilty. I have great friends, I feel so blessed to have so many kinds who listen to me and share with me. Who are real with me. Add to that, I do love people. But I can't be around them right now. I feel like I either say too much, and can't filter myself. Or am processing too much internally and have nothing to share at all.

This blog post from Simple Gifts really gave me a lot to think about. After reading that, I don't feel guilty anymore. This is what I need to do right now.

This part especially I realize, I have been embracing 
-Don't over-commit. Especially if you're a relational introvert, don't commit yourself to more interaction outside your family than you can handle. A couple of outings a week seems to be my limit as a mom of smalls, unless, of course, I'm just hiding in a corner of a coffee shop with a book by myself. I have a few close friends that aren't counted as "outings", because they're more like family.
 At this point: maybe one outing a week is all I can handle. I get home from even just a short time with friends and I feel like I need to sit the kids in front of the TV for 2 hours (or try to) just to recoup....Some times I do it. And it's just not worth it. My kids need me right now. So we go out alone, I sit alone and think while they play and chatter to me in bits.  It's what I need, and that's okay.

Also THIS POST on INFJ's blew my mind!

This part is like some one took every thing I've been learning the last few months and put it in a neat little HELPFUL nutshell (Thank you SIMPLE GIFTS!)

Really, in my own life, bringing the reasons for my anger to my awareness is key. A lot of the reasons I feel the urge to blow up are due to my own expectations, which are built on my own issues. My expectations are what I need to take responsibility for course-correcting, and when I set aside purposeful time to talk about it or self-reflect, usual become apparent really quickly.

Once those unrealistic expectations bubble to the surface, I ask myself: Why is having this met SO important to me? What need is it meeting? If I can identify the need, I can often get it met in a healthier way, outside of that intense moment, so that when the trigger for a huge, angry justice reaction to my children arises, it's much more easily manageable.

Why is this so important? What do I NEED here?

One of my big triggers is being interrupted. I live in a house full of extroverts. Hubs is a BIG "E", Friendly is an "EEEEEE" (oh so in your face at this point) and Roo... Has a very outward way of processing things: I can't decide for sure if she's an E or an I...I'm leaning towards a small "e" as she does tend to get cranky when she doesn't get enough time one-on-one: she thrives on that...But she doesn't exactly love group activities. 
Anyway, I get so annoyed when I get interrupted. I mean it is understandable I have 3 other very  social-seeking people in my immediate family: being interrupted is LIFE. I can handle the little things: stopping what I'm doing in the dishes to fill up a water sippie...Dropping what I'm working on to get snack the first, second and third time in two hours. But as the day (or week depending) wears on my frustration builds. And then I blow. I yell, some times I cry, I stamp my foot and (yes, shame) "WHY THE HECK CAN'T YOU WAIT ONE SECOND?? I deserve a SECOND TO DO WHAT I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF!!!!" Often times this gets spewed alll over hubs. Sometimes, unfortunately it's all over my kids.

-I need uninterrupted time to process.Not always possible in the time lengths I some times need when I'm going through a lot.

Another trigger is when I've cleaned some thing and it's a mess 30 mintues later... I can let this roll off my back a few times. My biggest Love Language  is "acts of service" When I have some thing extra in my tank to give, I GIVE. I love to clean up for them...I love to do some thing that will make life easier for them, more enjoyable a clean house is one of the ways I do this. (And I gotta say Dr. Sears wasn't kidding when he said an organized house = an organized mind: my kids are SO much happier if I can keep things moderately less chaotic). I love (okay not LOVE) but want to show my husband I love him by cleaning out his car, or washing up the pots and pans he messed up baking for us (an act of service that blesses me). It's when my "act of service" is walked all over in the form of two toddlers who could care less that I just cleaned up that freaking tub of toys TWICE in the same day...
Friendly doesn't care (and she like to clean up), she is just SO proud she figured out how to open those "child proof" tubs: DUMPING, spreading, hiding and in general whatever-she-calls-playing, ROCKS her socks!

-I need to feel like the atmosphere of our home is orderly. Disorder, random unexpected messes, and extra work drain me. I appreciate acts of service: it fills my "bank" so I can keep the "clean cycle" going.

So I think my list of needs, would be very similar to what she shared in her blog post.
At this point would include:
  • Need for time alone to process
  • Sleep
  • Exercise (this really helps how I sleep and it's a good time for me to process things as well)
  • Quiet or at least back ground noise that isn't asking for my attention.
  • Physical Space
  • Limited Commitments Socially
  • *Order* (especially in my visual field): especially when I'm tired, worked hard, and don't feel like I have a lot to show for it. Straightening up just one corner of my home can make me feel a lot calmer.

Will these always be met perfectly? No. But I am excited to have processed this, have it written out and I plan to come back soon. And with that I close.

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