Friday, February 11, 2011

I'm your mother

A few weeks ago we witnessed a boy speaking out in taekwondo class.  Sensei's response was that he was not the boy's friend or father and that he needed to show respect.  Last night, my son said to me, while imitating Sensei's tone, "I'm not your friend or father, I'm your mother."  He was joking at the time, but I know the mother he was referring to.  The one he has that bursts out yelling commands and demands.  If I don't want my kids to yell at each other, why do I yell at them?  When I don't yell, I talk and am accused of talking too much on subjects the kids want to go away.

I write about this because it makes me think.  We are not our kids' friends, but are their parents.  There is a difference.  I once read in a book (right now I can't remember which one) that you are not doing a good job if your kids aren't mad at you.  At the same time, I follow a lovely blog by an awesome pediatric doctor, Essential Parenting.  He encourages a wise and loving heart for parenting.  To be honest, I think both are right.  I have a hard time balancing between the two.

This past week, I was tired and cranky.  Hubby was out of town for 2 nights.  The kids were on a roll with not listening.  I had to ask several times for the mundane tasks of getting ready for bed or shoes on in the morning.  I had already lectured the kids in the car about how they needed to help mommy at home.  Everyone said okay.  Well, I'm sure you can guess, they weren't doing any better when we got home with their listening.  I managed to make dinner and the kids all got their homework done.  A few more reminders at dinner and during work time with promises of compliance going forward.  Ha ha ha.  Post dinner they needed to go potty and brush their teeth.  That's it.  I was clearing the kitchen and heard a ruckus.  All four of them were messing around in the girls' room.  Fighting, playing and plain not listening to my requests or demands.  "That's it!"  I screamed.  "All of your Halloween candy is going in the garbage!"  Their screams and cries of "Noooo!  Noooo!" followed.  #1 finally hopped into the long awaiting shower.  The rest sobbed in their beds and blamed others for their behavior.  "It's not fair," they complained.  I told them they were right since they had promised me something they couldn't deliver.  That wasn't fair.  I also ask them to show me with actions, not words.  I appreciate an apology, but only when the behavior is changed to I relish it.

Truth be told, I was looking for a way to reverse the hoarding of Halloween candy.  I had been threatening it's demise for weeks and finally had followed through.  With this, I stated that we would no longer save any candy.  If you got candy from school or a party, you were to eat it all in that day.  For Halloween, they will be allowed to eat themselves sick and have one night of gluttony during a movie night closely following Halloween.  Pfew, got that out of the way.  They seemed kind of excited in the challenge of eating everything when they got it.  But, I digress.....

The day after the great purge, I took a shower.  Upon getting out of the shower I noticed some words written in the mirror (another peeve of mine).  "I hate you."  Well, I guess I accomplished my kids not liking me by the looks of that statement.  #1 is 10 and I have a diary as proof that I felt the same way towards my mother for various reasons at about the exact same age.  Maybe I should buy him a diary so he doesn't mess up my mirrors.

So, which comes first?  A tired, cranky mom or kids who don't listen.  Chris has a point in Essential Parenting that we lead with our energy.  I guess my goal should be to get more sleep to be less cranky.  Then maybe my kids would listen without reminders?!

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