Tuesday, April 3, 2007


You can call it the pendulum effect or the yo-yo syndrome. But whatever it's labeled I suffer from it. Consistency has always been held up as a goal in life...in temperament, actions, reasoning, and parenting. Especially parenting. I have this overwhelming feeling that to be inconsistent is to be "bad." Due to this I suffer greatly from my own failures. (Where's my handkerchief? Mr. Bennett!!) I am simply inconsistent in my life. Or maybe I'm just don't know what it is I want?

I buy mounds of books and watch hours of TV.
I fuss loudly at the kids about their computer time while sitting at my computer.
One day I want the kids to be more structured in their schoolwork and chores, the next day I'm online defending the relaxed approach to parenting and homeschooling.
Similarly, I spent one post crying on virtual shoulders over the lack of motivation in my children, bemoaning the fact that they don't "knuckle down" and work, only to write a piece the next week on how children need to find their own way, to "own their education" without control-freak parents.
I get angry that they don't do what I want them to do, while at the same time giving lip-service to letting them make their own decisions.
I want to quit teaching the home school classes, but I also want the strokes that go with it.
I want to home school, but I don't want the kids to interfere to much in my day.
I want to learn new things, but I watch hours of TV. (Did I already say that?)
I want to be healthy but I spend hours a day doing anything besides exercising.
I want to weigh less but still eat too many snacks.
I want my kids at home, but I want them all to leave (at least occasionally).
I want to watch challenging movies, but literally sit there with them in the DVD player and can't push the "start" button.
I want to read the classic works of literature, and can't make myself finish the books.

I'm a yo-yo. I can't make up my mind what I want and what I want to want. I want to be someone I may not be; I'm tired of being who I am; I'm not motivated enough to change.

I know people with as many kids as I have (or not), who home school (or not) and yet are accomplishing great things- owning businesses, going back to school, writing books or articles, doing volunteer work, getting involved in politics and social causes...sometimes a combination of several of these things! Part of me wants to do something I will be proud of, while part of me fears another failure.

So what am I writing about? I haven't the faintest idea anymore. I'm not even sure this makes sense. I've probably changed topics in here somewhere. It's probably not a very consistent post.


SusansPlace said...

Just wanted you to know that I sometimes have the "yo-yo syndrome" too! One thing I know you are very consistent about...your love for your family!

Enjoyed your honest post.


NoVA Dad said...

I think this is a wonderful post, and I can relate to several of the examples you presented. I don't know many people at all who don't suffer from the "yo-yo syndrome;" like Susan, I also suffer from it. In thinking about it, I wonder if it's not indicative of the fact that all of us have points where we wonder what to do next: i.e. this looks like a great book, I'm going to read it -- only to be faced with the fact that something in the book turns out not to have appealed to you as much as you had thought/hoped, and you put it aside.

Robert Frost wasn't far off at all with his "two roads" analogy; we're all constantly faced with different roads, different decisions -- making them is always a struggle. As far as talking to your kids about doing/not doing one thing, and then doing it yourself, you have to keep in mind that you always want better for your kids than you had (or do).

I echo Susan's remark: thanks for such an honest post; please remember you're not going through this alone -- by ANY stretch of the imagination:-)