Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Monday night, I pulled a classic Alissa mistake. I got too focused on the "plan" for the evening instead of adapting to the current reality. I was really excited for our planned dinner of Chicken Carpese Sandwiches, so I walked in the door after work with Owen and headed for the kitchen. It's not an elaborate dinner - one that can easily be completed in 20 minutes and one with a decent set of options for my pint sized helper to participate in the preparation.

However, the situation on Monday included two tired, cranky, hungry people (one 2 year old, one pregnant lady). Instead of being a happy helper, Owen was begging to be held, throwing tantrums, and whining for foods that I just couldn't produce. I was apparently not in stellar form myself - misjudging portion sizes, dropping food on the floor, and getting more frustrated with myself and Owen by the minute. And so went the downward cycle that left us both angrily sitting at the kitchen table, Owen refusing to eat dinner and whining for strawberries (we have NONE) and me frantically downing a sandwich trying to prove that the effort was worth it.

It was not a proud parenting moment and put me in a worse mood the rest of the evening.

What I should have done: Recognize that Owen was tired and crabby after a long day at school - I had plenty of signs on our drive home from daycare. Recognize that I was tired and crabby - at 37 weeks pregnant, this is kind of a no brainer. Set the planned dinner aside, reach for the fish sticks, and be glad that frozen peas and milk mean a Owen will still get 3 food groups in his dinner. That would have given us 15 minutes of "mom&Owen time" to decompress and reconnect while the food cooked...

But no, I was too darn focused on those sandwiches. And the result was not a pretty scene when Scott walked in the door. Thankfully, he was up to the challenge and took over the Owen duty for the evening - to the extent that I even took a mini nap while Owen was in the bath. I got to re-connect with my kiddo while reading bedtime stories and all was well in the world.

I realize it all comes down to expectations. Both setting realistic expectations and ADJUSTING those expectations as the reality of the situation becomes clear. And I realize that I need to be even more focused on staying in the moment (and letting go of the expectations) as Baby #2 joins our family.

Parenting is a constant learning experience... and one that will keep teaching you the same lesson over and over and over and over and over until you (hopefully) figure it out.

On a positive note - Today was a day of NO expectations and Owen was in a remarkable "go with the flow" mood to accompany my tired, achy, sluggish body. We played happily at the auto repair shop, made some halloween crafts, ran a lazy errand, and even managed to vacuum the house. Oh, and I did the dinner prep while Owen was napping.


Peg said...

Hmmm....funny how I have those constant learning experiences even without being a parent! No really figuring it out you know - just a journey. You'll remember the important lessons and times - like reading together and making Halloween stuff. No doubt you'll forget the cranky times. You guys are doing great - be easy on yourself :)

Cailean said...

What a great great lesson that seems to need to be taught to us moms regularly as our kids and family grows and changes. I think we can all try to do better at this. But the sandwich sounds divine so I can see how it would have been very hard to opt for anything else!

Katie said...

Well said!!! I think all parents can relate to your experience and the "expectations" that we set for ourselves and our families! It is all a learning game and it seems like you are doing a wonderful job handling all on your plate these days!! Praying for you and baby #2 - I know there is a lot going on these days but don't forget to stop and enjoy the moment every once in a while!