Here’s the thing. Every parent, at some point, feels defeated, discouraged, and disgusted. In fact, I’m pretty sure admitting to any of those things, actually makes you a better parent. It’s just that some days, I’m not prepared for the rampage of emotion that comes with feeling all of those things, resorting me to the couch pouting with gelato in hand, asking my spoon how I was even allowed to be responsible for tiny humans.
I have a seven year old and a almost-six year old They’ve each spun me around through the twists and turns of their developing personalities, and this is most definitely the biggest time in my parenting career where I am the closest to melting into a six year old version of a tantrum on my living room floor – still spoon in hand.
My kids are angels in the grand scheme of things. Last night, in fact, they put my laundry away (in “surprise places!”), dusted, attempted to vacuum, swept my kitchen floor twice, and taught each other new words. They’re well behaved, they’re respectful, they go to bed when we ask and sleep for 12 hours without waking. I guess that’s why the new level of sass is taking me so off guard, making me realize that I don’t know how to punish.
The other night we were driving home from another busy weekend, and they were fighting in the back seat (shock & awe, shock & awe!). After, I don’t know, seven warnings or so, I finally told my youngest she’d have to go to bed early, alone, AND WITH NO BLANKETS IF SHE DOESN’T STOP. She replied, “and?“. So, as a follow up, I put her to bed early. And while she was slightly miffed maybe, she did it with little complaint and challenged me to try something worse.
I know the key to any strategy is consistency. But you tell me, after working 8 hours, cooking for 2, cleaning for 3, refereeing the kids for 4, and then being blatantly sassed – that you’re consistent and cool. If so, hi, can my kids come live with you?
My other problem is this: We want to encourage independence and self sufficiency, but we want to discourage both if they get out of hand. HI GREY AREA MUCH?
I also know I’m not the only mom out there with girls close in age, with independently sassy, brilliant little faces leaping into the world, and as a mom, feeling burdened with the responsibility of raising them right. It’s just that the weight of that burden some days is unbearable. That’s HUGE you guys, I’m supposed to successfully raise another human. Two, actually.
In any case, I suppose I need encouragement that it’s ok to love but not like sometimes, to lose my temper occasionally, and that my kids will turn out just fine – despite my overwhelming guilt of not seeing them enough, coming down on them too hard, nagging them constantly, and trying to find the gentle balance between love & logic (totally stole the L&L from my friend Christie, hiiiiiiiiiiiii Christie – & thanks for your brilliance and emotion this morning!).
I worry too much, really.
& Ce la vi.
PS! – my friend posted this list on Pinterest the other day, and while some of them are a bit far-fetched for my toddler brains, I LOVE the idea of making our already favorite time of day – even better!
What do you like to dream about?
What is your best memory this school year?
Who is your hero? Why?
How would you describe your family?
If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
What are you most proud of yourself for?
Who is the kindest person you know? Why?
What do you like most about your best friend?
What is one thing you would like to learn to do well?
If you were an animal what one would you be and why?
When is the last time someome hurt your feelings? How did you react?
Do you know someone who is going though a hard time? How can you help them?
What is the scariest thing that happened this year?
If you could keep only one thing, out of everything you have, what would it be?
Who do you think is really successful? Why?
What’s the best thing about your teacher this year?
When do you feel misunderstood by grown-ups?
What three words best describe you?
What’s something that makes you angry?
What’s the best compliment you ever received