Most families are a mom and dad plus a kid or two or five. Parenting can be difficult with that formula, but what about when mom and the kids are one family and dad and the kids are another? What happens when mom has one idea and plan for raising the kids and dad has another? Different values, different schedules, different finances? What if the mom is a bit of a control freak?
This is where I come in. I have in my mind what I want Nora and Noah to become. Their behavior and career are etched into my plan for their lives. Patrick takes care of the kids just fine. He feeds them, loves them, gives them baths and takes them to school. Our values are just different.
I had the kids for a few hours today. I see them about once a week for five hours. I talk to them on the phone probably every other day. I am seeing what it has been like for Patrick to see the kids sporatically and he is seeing what it is like to be a full-time parent. I have learned a lot. Patrick used to call me to see if he could drop the kids off a little early and I would say no, mostly because that is not what we agreed on and sometimes I just wasn’t home yet. Well, when I had them the other day, it was about 230pm and I was supposed to drop them off at 3pm. We were at Funtasia playing mini-golf and we could have went home which is what we had planned to do or dropped them off early. I was screwed either way. If I drop them off early, I look like I don’t want to spend time with the kids and if I am late I look rude and irresponsible. I chose to drop them off early. Then today, Patrick had asked if we would keep them overnight and I agreed before I talked to Jason. It turns out Jason was going to work on the floor tonight and there is no way he could have done it with the kids here because it is ridiculously loud scraping old linoleum off to replace it. I was too prideful and didn’t want to say to Patrick, “let me talk to Jason” because it drives me CRAzy when Patrick says, “let me talk to Trish” or vice versa. That one came back to bite me in the butt!
After not doing the daily stuff with the kids and contemplating how I parent them and some of my own issues it was good to have them today. We went to the Lakeland Choral Society concert at FPC. This is not really a kid thing, but is something I wanted the kids to see, with a huge choir and a small orchestra with the violins and Cellos, french horns. We have had a really tough time with Nora lately since she thinks she is a princess and gets anything her little heart desires. She cries her heart out as loudly as possible when you tell her “no”. We made it through the concert with the last few minutes spent with Jason and Nora in the hallway and Noah falling asleep on me. We headed home (which has now become Jason’s and Patrick’s house is called home) to cook dinner and let the kids see Harley and the mouse. Noah’s mouse missed him, I swear! Harley…not so much.
Since Nora doesn’t stop crying until she gets what she wants and mommy wasn’t giving her what she wanted, it took a while and a bit of sitting her on her bed until she quit crying and played nicely. I was also analyzing my behavior.
Instead of being a control freak and expecting perfection from my children, I simply wanted obedience. During the concert, I just wanted them to see the choir and orchestra and be still and quiet throughout the short concert. At home, I simply wanted them to play nicely and ask for things instead of telling. It has been three weeks and I was wondering what it would feel like to have the kids here like old times, it turned out to be good. I learned that I value quietness. The last time we met with Trish and Patrick I saw a big difference between the two couples. Jason and I are quiet. I can let loose and roll out the belly laughter with the rest of them, but mostly I enjoy quietness. I think Noah does too.
Jason and I have seen a big change in Patrick and also in Noah. As Patrick has learned to control himself, so has Noah. It is really nice. I was a little worried about Noah, from seeing him last, but he seems to be doing well.
I was talking to Jason about being more of an influence and less of a controlling person to my children. He balances that pretty well, but for me it is more about good behavior and less about character. I want to expect and teach and influence good character in my children. I wasn’t sure I understood the difference beforeall of this. I have started reading a very good book called Sacred Parenting by Gary L. Thomas and it has helped me see a bigger picture. Trying to raise children in two different households and still have good boundaries is difficult. Noah and Nora will grow up with two different examples, much as I did, and hopefully will grow up to make good choices because of this.