I am addicted. I have read so many parenting books that I can’t even keep them all in my library. I read one after another after another and swear that each one will be the ONE. Perhaps I should have my Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Kindle accounts revoked?
I will read any parenting book that promises to help stimulate a more peaceful family life where children don’t whine, complain, freak out, help around the house and take responsibility for their actions. I have read attachment parenting, de-tachment parenting, ignore parenting, observation parenting, strict parenting, relaxed parenting, whole child, half child, disabled child, and adopted child. I have even read books about non-existent problems like diseases or disabilities that none of us have, drug abusing children, (just in case) violent children, and blended families. I have gone so far as to read about Baptist families who have 15 children because they always seem so very calm and happy. I have read books about not yelling, books about allowance, books that hate allowance, books that teach chore doing, books that shun chores, happiness projects, happier projects, organic living, clutter free living … I had to purge several shelf-fulls of these books before we showed our house on a tour last year lest someone think I run an unlicensed self- help program from my living room sofa.
What is it that I am hoping to find? I have learned through all this that we are better off than most and that all the stupid little techniques ( time out, money jars, counting, sticker charts, chore charts, journaling, etc.) just.do.not.work.for.me. I am not too distracted, inconsistent, and cannot remember which silly little incentive my mommy-bank is offering this week. Truthfully, our kids are well behaved. They do their homework, generally act appropriately and they don’t chase after us with knives.
We don’t sit down to meals together, no one cleans up very well after themselves (me included) electronics are way way way too present, and we don’t have many routines or “rituals” as the newer-agey books call them. We also don’t have a lot of goals other than getting through the day without any major problems. After several years of lots of stress, just existing felt like success. Things are better now and we have more time. I have often thought that IF Max did not have a disability, I could devote more time to routines and rituals. If I didn’t still have to worry so much about him or carry 60 pounds of him around when he is too tired to walk, maybe he could wash the dishes. However, Sophie is big enough to carry ME around and she doesn’t wash the dishes either, so that blows my theory.
After all these books about bettering our home life, I am still not sure what it is that I think is missing. We have been stuck a bit in some behaviors that need changing, but I really think it is just a sense of fun and satisfaction with things JUST AS THEY ARE that needs cultivating in all four of us. Perhaps being the person who reads at least one or two self-help books a month, I am the only one who is lacking the spirit of satisfaction. I need to work on that. Does anyone have a book I can read?