Type A Parenting: Not as Fun as it Sounds

“Why does one great day always have to be followed by one crappy day?” I posted on my Facebook Page this afternoon.

Almost as soon as I posted it, I started wondering what exactly made yesterday “great” and today “crappy.”

It took me a few hours of mulling and whinging, but I finally figured it out.

Incidentally, I’ve decided to make the switch to the term “whinge” instead of “whine.” Whinge sounds like “cringe,” which is appropriate because that’s what I do when my kids whine. “Whine,” on the other hand, sounds like “wine,” which is what I want to drink when my kids whinge. Either works, but I’m not sure I want to think about wine as often as I do. So, whinge it is!

I determined that I was whinging today because the day didn’t go precisely as I’d planned it. Yesterday did. Well, to within a half-hour of how I’d planned it. It took fifteen minutes longer each for our math lesson and our history lesson, which put our exercise time at 2:30 instead of 2, which pushed our reading hour from 2:30 to 3:00, so we had to start dinner instead of spending an extra 30 minutes playing. But aside from that, things just went smoothly. The kids even helped clean up the toy room and went to bed without complaint.

Silly me, I expected today to go as well. I should have realized it wouldn’t go that way when I couldn’t even get through my Morning Pages without someone sitting on me, grabbing my writing arm, asking me to help them with puzzles, or hitting each other with plastic mail trucks and fire engines.

I should have just chalked it up to “that kind of day” and surrendered to the chaos then. Instead, I fought through it. And for much of the morning, I did so in the presence of three other moms in someone else’s kitchen, where my son broke a coffee mug, my daughter refused to talk to the other little girl there, and I snapped at my daughter for being indecisive about tasting the butter we’d made. Which, of course, made me even more self-conscious than usual and contributed greatly to my crappy mood in the afternoon and led to the whiney Facebook post. Er, whingey Facebook post.

But I rallied during dinner prep. I changed plans mid-course and made a homemade curry paste to season (along with some cashew butter) the swiss chard I was cooking, then I put batter into a squeeze bottle and wowed the kids, my husband, and myself with whimsically shaped pancakes.

Things got back on track after that, with a brief detour for an impromptu pre-bed Chutes and Ladders game with my daughter.

And here I am writing, which is my stated goal for my me-time in the evening this week! I feel like writing fiction, but I’ve settled on my topic/story idea for NaNoWriMo, and I’m afraid that if I write fiction, I’ll start working on that and then have to either not report the word count I get for these last couple of weeks of October or lie about when I wrote it. Or come up with a different story idea (and since the supply of those is, of course, finite, this is the most scary possibility). I’m not up for that level of ethical problem-solving, so here I am blogging. But that’s writing. It counts. So would journaling, writing a letter to my aunt, or reviewing a book. But commenting on blog posts or streaming episodes of The Office wouldn’t.

So, score!

Oh, and my new, custom-made-for-me handbag I bought off etsy arrived.

Double-score! Even my husband made “swanky-swanky” noises when he saw it, and he doesn’t care about handbags at all.

And tomorrow we’re going to a homeschool program about turtles. And then I might indulge in a glass of wine before dinner. If I keep my focus on those two things and avoid scheduling our time to the half-hour, I think I can handle whatever whinging, whining, or pouting the day might hold for us.

On second thought, I fear I might be tempting fate with overly confident statements like that. How about, if I focus on turtles and wine, I might be able to let myself have fun with my kids, even if we get a little off schedule.

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