It’s been a funny old week. Looking after small children definitely has it’s lows as well as it’s highs and I feel it’s important to record those times so I don’t end up with a unbalanced account. To put it simply it is just never being able to complete a task in a straightforward manner that is just so difficult to deal with sometimes. There is just so much to do and each job would be enough in itself with a small baby, let alone doing them all. We all need to feel we are moving forward and achieving something out of the day and it’s hard when you’re feeling that you can’t even keep up let alone get ahead. My head runs away with me sometimes and I so often start several jobs optimistically – cooking something with Anton while helping Luc out with his work while putting a wash on and then I stupidly answer the phone or perhaps Dante kicks off or Anton drops something over Lucas’s book – any of those things will just tip a reasonable morning over the edge in to the sort of chaos that is hard to return from. Then sometimes the dreaded lethargy takes over – why bother trying to complete something when it’s simply not going to happen and that precious feeling of achievement is always out of reach? The mountain of stuff that needs to be done feels overwhelming and the sheer monotony of doing jobs that will be undone within seconds is soul destroying.
I don’t ask for much. I don’t ask for time to myself for instance which is a good job because with Joth working more than full time and me working part time, when I’m not working I am looking after the children and that is that. I don’t even crave anything other than being able to tidy my desk or get my accounts done. We run such a tight ship that it feels rare for one of us not to be working from 8am-9pm every day except that we meet for meals. I’m very happy with the fact that my most important job is being a mother but along with other mothers the world over the amount that I expect from myself in that role is not realistic or achievable, so every day I feel I am failing in one sphere or several. It’s very difficult to feel any pride in what I am managing to do when there’s so much that I’m not getting done.
For instance I have just been up to kiss the older two goodnight. Dante is asleep in clothes that actually fit for once (as I have just managed to sort out the next age range of clothes and stopped squeezing his 8 month self in to 3-5month clothes) and I remembered to smear Anton’s chapped lips with balm (I can do anything when he’s just fallen asleep). I kissed the older two who have had showers and are now falling asleep in clean sheets while listening to Prince Caspian on audio CD from the library. So I will try to focus on all the good things there rather than think how I forgot to check whether Lucas had taken his steroid inhaler, Anton didn’t have a long enough story time (which I think is one of the most important times of his day as calm, one to one, focused time is hard to come by in this house) and I didn’t remind Oscar to pack his cookery ingredients so we are bound to fall out in the morning as he can never do anything like that quickly.
One of the things that doesn’t help my feel good factor is my continual questioning of everything I do – healthwise, education wise and how we relate to each other, among many, many other things. For instance, the recent Steiner fair sparked off more thoughts about how I can create the best environment for Anton. (Not that I would ever consider the Steiner school but the ideas for early play make interesting reading). I want to make sure that he has plenty of chance to lose himself in imaginative play and I bought a book on Toy making Steiner style. Ooops. So now I am looking around at our house and wanting to do a complete overhaul and throw out all the junk and replace it with silk scarves and wooden building blocks. I find it all too easy to get carried away and I’m trying to tone it down and just throw some good ideas in to the mix rather than feel rubbish about everything we do.
With that in mind I had ordered a felting kit and some wooden bases which arrived in time to give us a lovely end to our home ed week on Friday. Lucas, Anton and I made some gnomes together (which even involved some simple embroidery) and then Lucas got really carried away and made a house out of a box, sleeping bags (Anton sewed his own with help!), a table out of a wooden disc and some drawers out of matchboxes. They even needle felted pillows (which Anton did while keeping his fingers well out of the way!) I love seeing the different way that Lucas is able to throw himself in to such creative and imaginative play with Anton and then play shoot ’em up Xbox games with Oscar and talk the banter of the preteenager. I think Lucas has a really good balance. He also does a lot of reading at the moment. It’s nice to see him snuggled up with a book, enjoying peace and quiet and his own company.
Anyway, I felt that lovely crafty, gnomey session calmed me down and made me notice all the other times when Anton is loosing himself in play. He has his little penguins in the bath that he chats away with and his woodland animals that he sends on adventures. I have also sorted out what I think of as the more magical, beautiful children’s books (of which there aren’t as many as I would like) to read more of.
Lucas’s little gnome
needle felting a pillow
making the sleeping bag
my attempt at needle felting. I hope to improve!
Anton’s gnome. He embroidered the stars very carefully.
Now I’m just trying not to get carried away with imagining the gnome houses we could build. I made the mistake of looking at some online like this one! Oh my goodness! How beautiful is that. This one looks a little more manageable so I might just go for this instead…