Sunday, October 2, 2011

Writing, anyway. About balance.

I have a picture of Pookie when she was I look at it, I see a beautiful little girl with all her baby teeth in a gorgeous, full, lights-up-the-room smile, her hair dolled up diva-style, with nothing but fun on her face.  Love pours out of my heart for this little girl.  I think of how much she has grown up since that day and I think of all that she has been through and accomplished and I think about what five more years will do to grow her up.  I also think about who I must have been back then verses today and what five more years will bring for me. 

She's a whole lot of adorable, persistent, talented, smart, spirited, and truly just an amazing kid.  But we are seriously in the throws of sass.  And I am not a fan.

We are working on that magical word over here at Chez Jackson -  Balance.  I think it's hard in life as a general rule to find "the balance" - it's almost maybe even trendy to seek the elusive ... thing...{as if balance were a thing versus an act }... but we seek it. 

So where does balance play in to sass?  I think that as her mother, I must remain consistent with Pookie that we do not and will not tolerate poor treatment of others.  It doesn't present itself so much in what is said as it does with how it is said.  But it is often.  And it enflames me.

Add to that, a general lackadaisical attitude towards the basic concept of work.  I know we are not the first family in the world to deal with kids getting something out, using/eating/generally being responsible for it being out in one way or another, dropping it, then moving on without regard.  Yet, I can't stand it.  I feel like I am constantly going through the house picking up everyone else's junk.  Plus my own.  I busy myself cleaning one room only to turn around and see that the entire house is a disaster.  It makes my blood pressure rise.  There is no balance in fun vs. cleaning up the house when I am constantly cleaning the house.  And please don't tell me these days of little ones are fleeting and the housework can wait - because that requires balance too, doesn't it?  Or we would all be eating dry rice from a box while wearing ... well, nothing, neck deep in plastic McDonald's toys.

So lately, I have been seeking balance.  A sense of everyone working together towards the relative success and happiness of our home and family.  I have settled on nothing.  We have tried rewards and punishments revolving around electronics, cash, goods, services, kissing your sister smack on the lips (forced affection - eegads!).  I am almost constantly reinventing the wheel but the wheel is square.  Or maybe a quadrangle (using those fourth grade math skills, baby! ... I digress).  I insist that each kid has a 'zone' to clean and a chore to own, and the responsibility of picking up their things plus putting away their clothes.  Then tonite, stuff comes falling out of the closet.  That we spent the entire afternoon cleaning yesterday.  And I am undone.

I lose my balance.  Or is that my cool?  {Is cool a direct correlation to balance?}  The work of caring, managing, and maintaining this household - and imagine if there were more people about, or if the house were bigger!!! - is daunting on the best days.  Sometimes the little things - boots, a sleeping bag, and a sweatshirt shoved into the closet are the proverbial straw that broke it, you know?

So I spend the entire night folding, sorting, and placing laundry in respective rooms instead of typing up pages and pages of directions and requirements and expectations of what should, is, and will be done before and after school.  And then I blog about it. 

And I wonder ~ about balance.  About writing.  About getting it right, what 'right' is, and just how do you get there, exactly? 

And I think it probably starts with sleep.

edited to add:  Seriously, I just clicked over to check my emails before heading to bed and what do I see but an article from Martha Stewart's daughter lashing out at her mother for expecting her to be 'perfect' throughout her childhood.  And I get that I am a total perfectionist.  So I struggle regularly, as well, with finding the balance between asking too much and asking too little of my kids.  I really do.  And some day, I want them to read all this and just realize that I was always trying to do my best - and I only expect them to do their best, as well.  But sometimes your best means actually putting your sleeping bag, sweater, and boots away.

And then again.  Sleep.
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