Thursday, March 3, 2011

Haven: Day 4

Today was day 4 of the "Make Your Home a Haven" challenge from Monica at The Homespun Heart. Today was more of a challenge for me than the other days of the week. It wasn't the physical tone of our home that I needed to work on, it was the emotional one. I have found, as I know I am not alone, that my mood often sets how everyone around here feels, especially the littles. How often have I moaned, "I wasn't up for anything difficult today and Pk has been nothing but trouble today?" When I think about it, I always come to the understanding that she was picking up on my mood and acting out because of it. Today, it was attention-seeking behaviour. I started the day distracted and out of sorts and she responded to it.

I go back to work in a month-and-a-half. It's not the end of the world but it's something that I am really struggling with. We live in Canada and here, we are entitled to a year of maternity leave. That means that the employer has to hold your job for a year and you are entitled to e.i. benefits for the year (a bit more than welfare). It's a great thing when it works for you. Unfortunately for us, it isn't going to work this time. We are both teachers and we don't get paid in the summer (I used to at my former school board but they don't pay for summer up here). I can't afford to take off until mid-June (that's the one year mark), receiving very little and then be unpaid for two months. I know that many people live on one income and do fine but we just aren't at that space right now. Dh had crippling student loans when we graduated, we had to pay for our own wedding, which cost a fair bit (not that we were extravagant but even so, it was expensive) and for the first few years of our careers, we didn't make much. I am not complaining, I am just explaining why things are tight. Honestly, we also don't do well with financial insecurity - we both grew up in homes when there were times that we barely made ends meet and in both cases, we had situations in which a parent had a kind of breakdown and couldn't work, leaving the family nearly destitute. We both have a strong need for economic security.

I had been o.k. with going back and was emotionally preparing for it and then, last Tuesday, I got an email from my principal with my work assignment for next year. I have a grade change and a split grade class (grade 2/3). It's not the end of the world but it will be a lot of extra work and with two little ones and some courses that I was planning to try to do, my plate is now so much more full than it was AND I am feeling so guilty for going back in April when Baby Bean is only 10 months. I haven't slept the last two nights, I've been so upset about it. I have been doing lots of praying, both for peace about it and for the right path, whatever it is, to be clear to me. I woke up tired and stressed and really had to work at making today a "Haven" type of day. It was nice to have this challenge and even nicer that Monica posted the link to the Ten Point Manifesto of Joyful Parenting from Ann Voskamp's Holy Experience the other day - I needed to reflect on that today and I have posted it on my kitchen wall to see while I work.

I continued with trying to make breakfast special but today, I wanted to be a little healthier - pancakes and cinnamon toast are fun but not exactly the healthiest. Pk LOVES fruit and so for breakfast today, I raided the contents of the fridge and made up a big fruit plate for us, which we had with yogurt and blueberry tea biscuits. What a nice way to start the day!

This morning was our library storytime so while Pk was in her session, I got to visit with some other mothers. I love the library moms. I don't know whether it is like this everywhere but they are such a nice group of people. Our group of moms are all very interested in their kids, devoted to books (obviously), educated and they don't seem to be concerned about social status. It's a nice group and most of my friends in town have come from the library.

Afterwards, we came home and did a bit more baking. I was worried that the blueberry tea biscuits wouldn't be enough to take tomorrow for our playdate so I decided that we would make some raisin tea biscuits too. Pk definitely wanted to help. My distractibility was a problem again - I almost made the recipe with cinnamon which would have been bad - my friend's husband has an anaphalatic allergy to cinnamon! We made the lemon zest substitition just in time and they were yummy. It was hard not to get very frustrated when I discovered that Pk had fed half a block of cheese to the dogs while we were cooking but at least the dog was happy.

Baby Bean's contribution to the effort was to happily jump in his Jolly Jumper while we cooked. He can be such a cooperative little guy :-).

After lunch, we had another nap together. I knew that Pk was feeling the stress because she was insistent that she wanted to nap with me, something that she only does when she is needing some mummy-time. It seemed like a good idea to me and after we all had a rest, we woke up feeling much better.

The last part of our day was our weekly trip to Costco. Pk loves the free samples and I love the prices on a few of our staples - we get our milk, eggs, yogurt and some fruit there, as well as our meat when we need it. Baby Bean got to wear his new hat - isn't it adorable??? I bought it for Pk last year and she didn't really like it but I had gotten brown knowing that there would be a little boy to share it down the road. It's a size 18 months to 3 years but with his HUGE head (a trademark of our family), it fits him perfectly already.
It's funny to me to see him in the cart cover. My cousin has a business online selling these and when my aunt sent me one, I didn't think I would ever use it but has it ever come in handy. I also frequently have people stop me to ask where to get it. Here's the link if you want one.
So, all in all, it ended up being a good day. I needed a focus and making our family a haven for everyone was a good one. Thank you, Monica, for helping me to retrieve what could have been a very difficult day.


  1. We all have days like that, I think! Your children are adorable. I did have to chuckle about your daughter feeding the cheese to the dog. My dog would love her! :-)

    Praying for peace for you today.

  2. Thank you, Mary Ann! It's nice to feel the support.
    Since my children have arrived, I think that my dogs are in heaven :-).

  3. Yes, we do all have days that just don't go right. Will be praying for you as well ...

    And, your day looked lovely and very haven-like in spite of your struggles. Your children look very happy!

  4. I am so sorry that you are having work woes. I am so thankful that I don't have to work. The tea biscuits look so yummy and sounded so good with lemon zest in them. I loved your rainbow lunch.

  5. I love that manifesto refer to it daily! I have it printed out and stapled into my daily planner. I'm praying for you, friend. I know you are in a tough spot....

  6. Thank you, everyone, for all of the support. I know it will all work for good and that God will put me where I need to be, if only I am open to Him. I found it very hard to go back to work the last time and in the end, I think it all worked well for Pk - she benefitted from being around the other children at the home daycare and it's like a kind of extended family. It also brought a whole new empathy to my teaching - I try and think about what I would want for MY child. My teaching is one part of my ministry. I just need to make sure that my family never takes a back seat. Being a teacher helps, too - I really don't work the long hours that some people do and since Pk is starting school in September, I won't be away from her much more than I would be anyway. It's Baby Bean that is hard to leave.
    I truly appreciate all of the prayers!