Monday, June 23, 2008

This is War, and I Need a Peacemaker

If you're looking for a post about our country's current political involvement, move along. If you have some good mothering advice, please read and help!

My parenting these days is less than stellar. In fact, I have never been too great at this mommying this, and these days I'm pretty much drowning in it. Summer is here, which means heat and long hours stuck indoors and two children at home all of the time with no breaks for my weekly Bible study or neighborhood playgroups. As far as I can tell, this state of affairs leads to one thing: all out war between brothers.

Calvin and Hobbes are only a year and a half apart, and they are one another's favorite playmates. Even when we go to playgroups or parties with other children, they tend to stick together and ignore the other kids. Most of the time, this is fine. But it's not working out so well now that we are confined to this small house for good portions of the day. They love one another fiercely, but they can't be apart, even when they are fighting. I am so overwhelmingly tired of breaking up fights or of teaching them once again to ask nicely, to take turns, to share or play alone for awhile. The only solution I have found is putting on a video, and I am doing WAY too much of that lately.

Getting out of the house is great, but we can only go to the pool, museum, library, or mall playground so often. Too many trips out in a week turn my little homebody Calvin into a monster. And now that the humidity and heat have kicked in, we basically have until 8:59 am to get in any outdoors time that doesn't involve water. The water restrictions mean that I can't use the sprinkler hose or the baby pool in the backyard too often, and these were my lifeline last year.

I think you are getting the picture. Have you been here? Do you have any suggestions? I know this is an important time for my children to learn to cooperate, to speak kindly to one another, and to play independently when they need to. I want to foster a pleasant environment in my home, and to teach my children to respect one another. That is hard when I am so worn out from the constant bickering that I get impatient and start yelling and picking fights too. Sometimes it's like we have three children and no adults. Help!


Kerry said...

Oh, I wish I had great wisdom for you...but I don't. :) We have major bickering issues here and they've just gotten worse lately.

I have found something that I REALLY think may make a difference - "Love and Logic". I've read the book recently and have ordered the "Sibling Rivalry" workshop on CD. Hubbie and I are listening to it together and have begun to see where we've been making mistakes. Mostly by "helping" our kids too much rather than letting them help themselves.

Anyway - you might check it out. They have a website with some podcasts and lots of free articles.

Tipper said...

Sorry I don't have any advice-but I do feel your pain! My girls are only 2 minutes apart in age. Like yours they love each other-but man do they like to fight! And they are older than yours-but no amount of reasoning-why don't you just find something to do without the other-ever works. And its never the same one starting it-they do take turns at that! I try to walk outside, loose, myself in a book, or lock myself in the bathroom when its really unbearble. But mine are older than yours-so I don't have to worry as much about leaving them alone for a few minutes. Just know-you are not alone!

Deb said...

My heart goes out to you.
Okay, this is going to sound really hokey...but what about a project...some kind of artsy thing like clay? That's one idea. Also..have you tried books on tape instead of videos? Just asking. Some kids take to them. A sanity suggestion is send them off on two separate play dates once in a while and/or get some local h.s. kid to come over to play with them while you take a break.

I hope this is helpful. Personally, I think advice is often over-rated.

P.S. another idea...put them in the tub with some tub toys?