08 February 2012

What to Do When the Novelty Wears Off

It was spring of the year 2007. My husband won't let me forget my words, spoken in the very early morning, just a few days after our first child was born. I wanted to go out for a walk. The three of us. This fresh brand new family. He groans and rolls over in bed {after much disturbed sleep with a newborn in the house} and I say "but honey, the sun is shining and the birds are singing!"

Novelty. I probably hadn't even taken the tags off his sleepers yet. He was life and breath and everything to me. I waited for him to wake up so I could feed him. I watched him sleep during the day. I changed dirty diapers happily, because now I could dress him in something new! Wow, is anyone shaking their head yet?

Here's the deal. It's not fresh anymore. I no longer jump out of bed at the slightest cry, aching to hold and rock my boys. I'm tired of the repeat attempts to flood the bathroom.

Sometimes we lose our first love.
It happens all over the place. Our marriage gets a bit dry and crusty. We don't think about grace much anymore. The ingredients change in our favorite vegemeat.

What to do when you've been parenting for almost five years and you're tired? I can see a "I'm-gonna-throw-myself-on-the-floor-and-scream-about-it" moment coming from miles away. I'm quite weary of the nightly "but I don't feel tired" and "I wanna go out". And if one more meal gets the shove with "I want yogurt instead"......

Homemade valentines sometimes just don't fly.
I get tired of playing Uno and Mille Bournes.

And then, when I'm finding something of personal interest to do, he comes over to add a fresh dose of guilt -- "I want to do something with a parent!"

Oh my. I probably worry about this a thousand times each day. Should I be inspiring their creative play right now? Do I need to get down and get a story line going with those Little People? Don a fireman's hat and find a pretend hose? They've been heading to the computer or picking up the phone far too often after complaining of boredom. I need to intervene. But then -- the simple truth of independent play. They really need to learn to entertain themselves and learn to work together to solve problems that might arise. I want to raise self-reliant children. And I need a sanity break. But at this age, they do need a role model. A personal trainer. And they need someone to shuffle the cards.

So here I am. Doing my best at the job of a lifetime. Wishing I could fabricate a fresh burst of energy, inspiration and parental enthusiasm.

What to do when the novelty wears off??

Here's what I've learned so far:
#1. Take a deep breath
#2. Assess what isn't working
#3. TRY AGAIN
This morning I took a deep breath and made homemade play dough. I knew I was taking a risk, but I was willing to try. And this time -- the activity took wings and flew! They loved the colors, the texture. Peter made cookies, then a pretend car you could pretend eat, then Ezra made a cake, then someone mentioned candles and Ezra shouts "get the fire!" and points to the lighter on top of the fridge. We made fire. And they were happy.


When the novelty wears off and it's laundry day AGAIN and we do the same things every. single. day. and today is just another cloudy day in February -- sometimes we need an intervention.

I love how Kelle took her girls on a Moon Walk the other night. It's what they needed to do to re-align their focus after a day of stuff. Walking together under a full moon sorta blows away all the chaff and leaves you with the full grain to chew on. Life has meaning once again.

So maybe we'll put on all our winter gear and picnic in the park sometime.

But now, TODAY, I'll put in that next load of laundry and then I'll cup that little boy's face in my hands, look deep into his eyes and, before he can squirm away, plant a kiss on his nose. Because one day....one day a looooooong time from now {I know, I know} things will be way too quiet. I'll only have myself to entertain. And like Jamie says in her book Mindset for Moms, I'll "recall days gone by--when loved ones surrounded [me] from morning to night, when chubby hands gave cuddles, and when there were plenty of ups and downs, but love covered it all." *tear*

So, take a deep deep breath, figure out what might not be working with your current situation, and try something new. Or something old, tried and true. But try AGAIN.

Because one of these times you're going to see something beautiful, all over again, for the first time.