Perhaps it is this phase of my children's lives that has brought some new realizations to light. Maybe I'm just a slow learner. Whatever the case, I've been learning a whole lot recently about my kids, my tendencies as a parent, and how we work together.
1. I wish I could be more like Kelly Bates (the mom of 19 on United Bates of America), except I don't want any more kids. She's kind and patient and she never yells or complains. The only time I fit this description is while I sleep.
2. I have FINALLY learned to communicate with Jack and Sam. My relationship with both of them has improved tremendously. Most things I'm doing are common sense and other good moms have been doing it all along, but not me. When I teach them an expectation, we practice it. A LOT. We practice the right way and the wrong way. They are behaving much better for me. I think I assumed they knew all this.
3. Audrey and I are enjoying our special time together every night. We're reading By the Shores of Silver Lake (a Little House on the Prairie book) and studying the book of Matthew. We've read three other prairie-set novels since school started. This one is longer but well worth it.
4. My kids watch too much TV. We've cut out a LOT of it. I am considering dropping cable. I think less TV has been directly proportional to better behavior.
5. I am not a competitive mom. I hate HATE hate YMCA sports. I hate the yelling. I hate the parents grousing when another kid (often mine!) screws up and the team doesn't score. We will not be participating in any more competitive team sports this year- Audrey is going to take tennis, and the boys might do martial arts. I want them to learn discipline, dedication, and the joy of a skill. I don't want people screaming at them.
6. In order for our family to function well, we must spend time together. The more the kids are at the grandparents, in activities, or doing their own thing, the more we fuss and grump.