Confessions of a Narcoleptic

Pull It Together

So lately I’ve been feeling a little bit like I’m constantly drowning; that I am just trying to keep up and I just can’t get on top of things. I’m talking about my TO DO list, but also about my parenting. This week was me coming close to rock bottom – although, I can imagine it could get and feel a lot worse than I felt this week. I’ve spent a lot of time on the verge of tears or in tears, berating myself for my frustrations and failings and I feel like I just need to PULL IT TOGETHER.

This post is hopefully going to be therapeutic for me. I am a write-it-down, find-some-accountability kinda girl. I am hoping that by working it out on “paper”, I might be able to solve, or at the very least, improve on, some of my problems. Why the public forum? Because, like I said, I need accountability. I am hoping that some of you might want to do this with me. You can post about it, write in your journal about it, talk to me about it…whatever. But I need someone(s) to check up on me, or it will be all talk and no action.

I’m going to start with my frustrations. What is it in my life that is making me so damn unhappy right now? Why am I so cranky all the time with my kids? Why do I feel like I can’t get enough air? What is stressing me out? (OK, so there are a lot of things I’m not going to put on my list, but these are things I can not change, so I’m going to worry about what I can change.)

  • I am ALWAYS late. (Jason hates it when I use words like always and never, but in this case, it’s pretty darn accurate.)
  • My kids DO NOT listen to me.
Basically, all the things that stress me out boil down to those two big problems.

Now for all of my excuses. I am full of excuses. I have excuses for everything, right on the tip of my tongue. Mostly because I have spent so much of my mature life coming up for reasons why I am late, why something is not done, why I missed/forgot something. Am I lying? Sometimes. So here it goes…

  • Always numero uno on my list of reasons why I CAN’T or DON’T is the narcolepsy. I hate to use it as an excuse because I feel like I should be able to keep up, to do what all the other moms do, and when I can’t/don’t, then its because I am too lazy, not because I have a physical disability that impedes me. But I am going to be 100% honest. MOST of the time, the reason I am late comes down to sleep. I have to have a nap before I do most anything, which means I have to work that into my schedule. Often, there is not time for a nap, so I either forego the nap (and fall asleep at inopportune times), forego the event (which sucks for obvious reasons) or have the nap and am late. Even when there is time to nap, I have THE HARDEST time waking up. So I sleep longer than planned and therefore, I am late. My kids are late for school every day because I CAN NOT make myself get up on time. See? It just sounds like I’m being lazy, but I’m really not. It’s a huge struggle for me. This week, I didn’t wake up and Jax was an hour late for a birthday party that he was very excited about. And that is one example of a million.
  • I don’t plan ahead – I procrastinate to the very last minute, which means there isn’t time to get everything done that needs to be done, but has to be done, so we do it anyway…TA DA! We are late.
  • I underestimate how long it will take me to do something or drive somewhere.
I always WANT to change. Every night I decide we are going to be on time for school the next day. Every morning, we are late. I NEED to change. It’s starting to be out of control. So my goals to help with problem #1 are…
  • Go to bed at a reasonable hour, at the same time every night.
  • When I have to get up and be ready in the morning, make lunches the night before.
  • Set the alarm for the same time every morning and GET UP NO MATTER WHAT.
  • Don’t procrastinate napping for other activities. Napping takes priority over FB, Pinterest, TV, etc.
OK, onto problem #2. Lately, I feel like I am talking to thin air, all the time. My kids literally do not listen to me. I don’t just mean that they don’t obey me (that’s a problem sometimes too), I mean that I speak and they do not hear me. So I ask them to do things in a nice, calm voice, about 3 or 4 times before I lose it and I scream it at them. THEN they listen. Sometimes. How do I get my kids to HEAR what I am saying? How do I parent without yelling?
So I’ve been reading this book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. It’s a great book, by the way. It suggests working on each step for awhile, recording your progress and then moving on. I tried just reading the book and implementing it, but I think I am going to have to be more deliberate. Here’s the part I thought people might want to participate in. Each week or so, I am going to post about one of the steps in the book. There is a nice little summation of each chapter at the end to help remind you what to do. Then I am going to work on that one thing and report back. Anyone want to join me? Feel free to get the book, I’m sure the library has copies, or just use what I post online. There are so many great examples in the book – I feel like I have been through so many of these exact situations and the suggestions for alternate ways of dealing with your children are so helpful.
So this week, we start with HELPING CHILDREN DEAL WITH THEIR FEELINGS. Here are some of the ways we usually respond to our children expressing their feelings to us:
  • Denial of feelings
  • The philosophical response
  • Advice
  • Questions
  • Defence of the other person
  • Pity
  • Amateur psychoanalysis
  • An empathetic response
The authors ask the reader to consider an adult situation in which you might have upset feelings and imagine people using all of the above responses on them. It would be frustrating to have someone respond in any of those ways except the last. (For good examples of all of the above, check out the book.)
Here is how we can help with our children’s feelings…
  • Listen with full attention.
  • Acknowledge their feelings with a word – “Oh…Mmmm…I see.”
  • Give their feelings a name. (“That sounds frustrating”)
  • Give them their wishes in a fantasy. (“I wish I could make the banana ripe for you right now!”)
All feelings can be accepted. Certain actions must be limited. (“I can see how angry you are at your brother. Tell him what you want with your words, not your fists.”)
All of these must be used with an attitude of compassion, or else we will seem phony or manipulative.
The authors also suggest – hold off giving advice and to resist the temptation to “make it better” instantly.
OK, so the assignment of the week is: At least once this week, have a conversation with a child in which you accept his or her feelings. Record what is said while it is still fresh in your mind. You are also supposed to read the many excellent parental examples of real situations as well as questions and answers; so if you have the book, do that too. It would be fun to discuss with people what they think!

7 thoughts on “Pull It Together

  1. Lahni

    I’m in – lately Isaiah has been FREAKING out over the smallest things, things that are completely expected too. Like when he gets home from school I ask him to do his practicing EVERY. SINLGE. DAY. and yet some days he just loses it – it’s ridiculous. So next time he has a fit I will accept his feelings and help him understand that they way to express his frustration isn’t through a major song and dance. I want that book – do you own it?

  2. Mandy

    So, I LOVE LOVE LOVE that book! It seriously saved me from near insanity. I have to go back to it from time to time to review it and every time I do, I find it helps.

    As for the late thing…there’s a lot I have to say about that but the few most important things are these:
    If being on time is of value to you then you have to figure out how to make it a priority. So weather that means that you have to suck it up and get out of bed and then come home and nap after you take your boys to school then that’s what you have to do. Get in the frame of mind of OVER-estimating how long it will take you to do something or go somewhere. Live by the mind set that it’s better to be early than late (ONLY if that’s something you TRULY value). Don’t do it to save face or look good. Do it because you WANT to do it and you CHOOSE to do it. Maybe you can try to figure out on average how long it takes you to wake up. Maybe you can’t do that because every time is so different. But if it’s approx. the same time then when you go down for a nap, take that into consideration. Your family, your life and your health should take priority over most other things (yes, even friends ; ) or t.v. or crafting etc). Write down a list every night of what you NEED to do and what you WANT to do. Then prioritize those lists. Once you get done what you NEED to do, then go onto your list of things you WANT to do. On the list of needs, make sure to put in a nap or 2.
    You CAN do this! I know you can! I will try to be in on the weekly challenge thing too. It will be a great re-fresher. Good for you for making the hard choices. We all go through these phases…I guess it’s just part of the ebb and flow of life.

  3. Alice

    You are brave. I want to do things like this all the time but I could never put it out in public.
    Good luck with being on time. It is hard with little kids, and I don’t have a reasonable excuse like you do. Do your best, but don’t stress out about it too much. I imagine that would just make it all worse.
    I’ll try to follow the weekly challenges. Heaven knows I need it. I have the book somewhere… Not sure I have the guts to post about it though!!!

  4. Lara

    My kids don’t listen to me either. I think they hear a drone in the background like a buzzing bee, but they can completely ignore it. I know they aren’t deaf because they listen to their dad just fine! It’s wildly frustrating.
    I’ve also gotten in the bad habit of staying up too late and then being tired all day. But I just keep doing it. Thanks for a little extra motivation! I need to get my butt in gear 😉

  5. Amanda

    Jamie, I’m with ya! I struggle with both those things as well. Mandy, love your comments! I will try to implement them, especially the over-estimating thing. Thanks!

  6. Kristin

    Sometimes I think I am going crazy because I sound like a broken record – get your shoes on, get your shoes on…blah! One thing when I remember it is something a pediatrician taught me years ago. She said every child learns so differently some are auditory, some visual and some kinetic and it was important to know where your child’s strengths were. She went so far as to suggest if my children were running out in the street and a car was coming I needed to know which to yell to “Connor stop your brother!” because Connor would hear me and Easton was more visual – he might notice the car first however. I try to think about it in daily life. I notice if I stand in front of Easton and tell him to get his shoes on he responds much better. Connor if I touch his shoulder to get his attention, he will listen better, it is a few more seconds of effort for me initially but it saves me from raising my voice and and my children looking at me shocked that I am yelling about shoes because it is the first they’ve ever heard of it 🙂

    As for late I’ve found the stove timer is my best friend, partly because it keeps beeping until I turn it off. I know that it takes us about 15 min, from the time I say shoes, coats to get into the car with seatbelts on, so I think about travel time add 15 mins for the out the door dance and last min grabs (forgot library book, etc.) and set the timer. That way I don’t get caught daydreaming/checking email/doing dishes/whatever and suddenly departure time has past and we are late. For example school is 5 min drive, the bell rings at 9:15. I set my timer for 8:55. We do whatever until the timer goes off, then the scramble we are out the door and never late (when I do this) plus I think the children rally for the timer, its kind of a signal.
    There is my (long-winded) 2cents.

    I’m excited to join the challenge, I’ll try and comment on it. Acknowledging feelings here I come!