19 May 2011

Are my kids getting enough attention?

The answer is a resounding NO. Which makes me feels sad, guilty, an awful person... We moved house just under three weeks ago with only two weeks notice. Over the past 5 weeks they really haven't been getting all the parenting they could or should be. Somehow when you are right in the middle of a situation, you just cannot see it for what it is. They have been acting out A LOT. They haven't been listening to anything I say, I have to repeat myself 10 times, they are incredibly mischievous and their latest game is to steal things from me. They have stolen my jewelry box twice in the last 10 days alone, but I am so frazzled I keep forgetting if I have lost it or if it could have been taken.

It all came to a head in the last two days when we had friends over on two consecutive days and I was embarrassed by my kids behavior. I desperately looked online last night looking for answers, especially for my 5 year old girl who has been the hardest. And there it was in black and white, it could be that she isn't getting enough attention. Of COURSE this is the case. So why is it that instead of coming up with that solution myself I was racking my brain trying to think what it could be. I thought it might be that she is tired of listening at school so wants to act out at home, that it was a phase, that she was hormonal, having trouble adjusting to the move. Frankly I feel like a complete idiot, not for the first time in my parenting journey by any means.

Today was my new start. From the moment I got up this morning I was determined to give them all the attention they needed, not to mind about the household chores that needed to get done and to really just focus on the kids. Today coincidentally was the first time I had left Cuddles at Preschool for 4 straight hours, he only goes once a week now, so I had time to go and visit a really good friend who I have never managed to see without any of our kids being present. This meant that once I was with the kids I felt rejuvenated and in just the right frame of mind to continue my new program.

And it's working, it's working really well for today at least. I'm putting it on here so that I am beholden to you and to my new resolution. I'll never change the fact that they both have very cheeky personalities and love to joke and be silly, and really I never would want to. But this afternoon they were cooperative, I didn't have to ask them a million times to do things and now that it's bath-time we are all still in a pretty good mood.


  1. So awesome. LOVE the thorny heart pic!!

    Not sure I know anyone who ever felt they got enough attention. :)

    If you ask Mia, she'll say she wants more more more attention, and I know that if I feel guilty about not giving more, she and I get into that same dynamic with the acting out thing.

    A few months ago, Mia was going through this awful phase, testing testing testing the boundaries all the time, every day, making me (and Todd and Minerva) CRAZY! I finally figured out it wasn't because of something I did wrong (lack of attention, etc)... but that this is a natural phase of development in the space to grow as individuals and independent thinkers. So it's really more like a backhanded compliment that you're doing a great job. :)

    One thing that could be happening is that you're triggering the acting out. If you're feeling guilty that you imposed stress on them with the move, you may feel you have no right to stand up for yourself by enforcing a boundary when they act out, and thus deserve all of their "shenanigans"....

    BUT, if this is the case, it is completely reversible.

    Moving is HARD. It's a loss of a home, utter upheaval, all seemingly YOUR responsibility to bear, and laced with fear of the unknown and unfamiliar. You DO deserve a little space to feel and process, my dear. I know you've put their feelings ahead of yours all along, but they have your unconditional doting support, so I'm guessing they're not as shaken by the move as you must have been.

    I'm also willing to bet they're more in the moment with each passing day, and that the move is a distant memory, where they may just be completely oblivious and poking at your sanity because they're sensing that you're still dealing; in which case, it's OK to expect them to occupy themselves while you cry/write/drink/punch pillows... :)

    Cheers to your new home! It's SO lovely. :)

  2. ah, i love love love what you have to say. thank you so much, you are very wise!