I've been really wanting to get that last post off the top of my blog for a while now. Well, ever since the moment I wrote it two weeks ago, in fact. That evening was definitely not my proudest moment.
So, here are some of my thoughts on parenting and my bedtime solution.
The morning after my melt down, or smack down, which is probably the more fitting term, I was reading my scriptures and was studying about patience. (Patience. Hmmm. Fitting don't you think? Ya, I thought so too.) I just really felt like I needed a reminder of the mother that I can and should be. All the scriptures talked about being meek and humble and gentle. All the things that I was NOT the night before.
As I continued my search for guidance and strength in being patient, I came upon these verses:
"But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence and with great patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst." Alma 32:41-42
As I read these verses that morning I read them with a different understanding than I have before. As I read them I imagined my children as the tress that I am to be nourishing. I saw bedtime in particular as an opportunity to feed and nourish these little saplings of mine so that one day they will grow into mighty strong trees whose fruit is sweet above sweet and precious above precious and who will bring me such great joy that I feel full. I saw bedtime as more than just a time of day but as one more opportunity to teach my children important life skills. Bedtime can be an opportunity to teach my children about patience even when we are tired. Bedtime is a chance to teach my children about prayer and being grateful. Bedtime is a chance to teach my children ways to cope and deal with frustrations in an appropriate manner. Bedtime can be a chance to teach my kids that sometimes we have to do things we don't want to. Bedtime can be a time to nourish and feed my little trees.
So, in an effort to make bedtime a time filled with less stress and full of more teaching and nourishing moments, I needed a plan. Last year, when we were having similar struggles I came up with the "sand art jars" plan. For every night that the kids went to bed well, they were able to put a scoop of colored sand in a jar. We did this until the jars were full and going to bed well was a habit. This worked like a charm and I needed something similar.
So, this time we have been making bead necklaces. Every night that the kids go to bed well they get to add a bead to their necklace. It has worked fabulously. In the last two weeks we have only had one night where the kids didn't get their beads. It is so nice. Even Meg stays in her bed and we have talked to Sirri and Connor about the influence their good example is having on her. I feel like bedtime is not a fight anymore, I can use the time to teach my kids valuable lessons, and everyone goes to sleep with peace in their hearts.
Being parents can be so tough and much of the time I wonder what kind of fruit my poor little trees will produce some day, but I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who will help lead and guide us in this journey if we will but take the time to ask for his help and study his word.