I’m sorry to say that I’m not a very good mother. Oh, I’m a loving mother…and an INVOLVED mother. I’m even a thoughtful mother.
I’m just not very GOOD.
The main problem I have is discipline. It is ever so important to give your kids boundaries and consequences. The best explanation I’ve heard is that if you don’t discipline your kids, the world will.
And the world doesn’t love them.
And I KNOW this, I do. I know that I shouldn’t let the kids get away with 1/10 of the stuff they pull. I just…I don’t like taking things away from them. I don’t like removing privileges. If they have a much-anticipated play date in the afternoon, I want them to GO and ENJOY almost as much as they do. I just keep hoping that if I continually explain to them WHY they shouldn’t (fill in the blank), eventually they will realize I am right and start acting like wonderful little civilized beings, instead of wonderful little maniacs that cause me to lose my freaking mind.
It makes me crazy – I make me crazy, because I know better. They will get away with what they can get away with, not because they’re bad, just because that’s what people do. And I get increasingly irritated with them and soon I’m screaming, no one is happy, and the dog is cowering and I hate it when she does that.
So then I renew my resolve to be firm. Calm. Gentle and in charge.
It’s like a diet, except when I fail I get no chocolate.
Well, today I suspect I may have hit a new low. In the mid-morning lull between chores and school, I sent the boys downstairs to clean up the play room. Max was in A Mood, and things immediately started deteriorating.
“You guys!” I called out warningly, “stop fighting!”
Can you believe that didn’t stop it? No, SERIOUSLY?
While the discord downstairs built to a crescendo, I got on the phone to work out the details of an expected play date for the afternoon. Max was expecting his friend Grant to come over, but as it turned out, he couldn’t come. Oh well. I assured the mom we’d be ok and hung up. As I did, Raphael and Tre came barreling up the stairs, each clutching an injured body part.
“Max HIT me,” bellowed an incensed Tre.
“Max KICKED me,” wailed Raphael. I sighed and headed downstairs to dispense justice. Max was waiting for me, glaring.
“Did you hurt your brothers?”
Just then I got a burst of inspiration. I cut in.
“No but. It’s not ok to hit or kick. I’m sorry, but you won’t be able to play with Grant this afternoon.”
“WHAT?” He burst into tears. “NO, Mom, PLEASE!”
“I’m sorry, but I’ve asked you several times this morning to leave your brothers alone. If you won’t listen, you’re going to lose privileges.” I was calm, I was firm.
He threw himself on his bed, distraught. I told him I was sorry he was sad and went back upstairs.
So let’s recap: poor behavior from my son. I dispensed a consequence that wasn’t a consequence at all, but me taking advantage of the situation to come off like the tough mom I aspire to be.
You be the judge – great big lying phony, or clever mother?
I need some chocolate.