Sometimes I look at my Au Pair handbook and roll my eyes.
It is more fantasy than reality. More aspirational than actual.
I look at the way I’ve described our family life:
“We’re a fun loving family who enjoys playing together“, and I think of all the times I’d have preferred to stay on the couch rather than go for a walk.
I know I *want* us to become an active family, and sometimes I’m just too lazy.
I look at my expectations about mealtimes:
“We like to eat dinner as a family, with simple home cooked meals“, and I wonder if defrosted lasagna counts as “home cooked”.
I know I want to eat only healthy, whole foods, but yes there is a box of Cheez Its in my desk drawer.
I look at how I’ve asked my Au Pairs to treat the girls:
“Never yell at the girls. Take a deep breath, and try telling them a second time what they need to do“, and I think about the number I’ve times I’ve been glad my neighbors weren’t home to hear me completely lose it.
I want to be that cool, calm and cozy mom, not the monster who only complains.
That gap between what I want for our family and what I’m able to create, on any given day?
It’s, um, huge.
And the gap between where we are and where I want us to be?
On our very best days, we make it there. Other days, not so much.
- So how can I even imagine asking an Au Pair to hold herself to standards that I can’t reliably meet?
- How can I keep shooting to achieve what I want for our family, even when I slip up time and again?
Or as this Dreaming?Host Mom asks,
Can we just do a “Whole Family Reset”?
How should I address the fact that the way we *actually* do things is not the we *want* to do things?
Should I choose one area at a time? Or just have a “household reset?”
The 4 main areas I want to rein in & improve our family are:
less screen time / more activity,
nurturing each child one on one, and
a more ordered & calm household.
Our (my) standards have gradually slipped into “survival mode.” I’ll do spurts of healthy meals, evening trips to the park, supervising the older children doing chores, etc. But then I get exhausted and it’s back to unsupervised snacking & pizza dinner, hours of TV while I clean up, and lightning fast baths.
The kids are old enough to understand that we are changing our ways. I don’t think they’ll be resentful or “blame” the Au Pair if things start to change. I’m just looking for practical tips to overcome 5 plus years of (lack of) momentum.
Image of a Blackbird by Neal Sanche on Flickr