Here they are in no particular order:
1. Do you want to go to bed? (And it’s only 8am) - this one is also repeated daily.
2. If you don’t stop (enter whatever misbehavior is going on), you will never be allowed to eat candy again!
3. If you don’t eat your dinner, then you can just go to bed now. (I confess, the whole bed threat is the most commonly used in our house as it still works!)
4. You won’t be able to have play-dates if you can’t (add inappropriate behavior)
5. Do you want to go to time out? (Time out is just this mysterious threat that never actually happens)
And I'll throw in a bonus threat that I like to drive home from around October until December 24th:
6. Remember. (Insert VERY ominous voice). Santa is watching your every move.
Alas, a sad list of various threats that are thrown around our house... sometimes at our son, but normally at our daughter - who stares at us blankly each time we lose our complete rag! (Irish saying for losing our temper!) Yep, our daughter is one of those ‘old souls’ who ‘rewards’ my pitiful outbursts with some reeeediculous meltdowns of her own. You can imagine my ‘Ah-ha’ moment when I recently read about mirroring!
I was 100% certain during each pregnancy that I would be the most patient, loving, kind, fun Mother there ever was. NEVER would I bribe (bribery list to be exposed in future blog), threaten or yell at my beloved angel children. Because you see there would be no need; my innocent perfect offspring would never in a million years talk back, disobey or misbehave. Nooo, MY family would be perfect.
Well, it’s been six years since numero uno son was born - and it hasn’t exactly gone how I envisioned it. Maybe it was the fault of sleep deprivation, the lack of alone time, or more like the ZERO alone time that causes me to behave like a maniac. Perhaps its the realization that I’m not a patient person, especially with little people who you can’t reason with! (To be fair, I should point out that I am even less patient with unreasonable big people!).
Ohhh expectations. How dare you raise the bar in my life? How unfair of you to sneak into my brain every morning and wreak havoc in there! After launching one of my favorite threats at my children, the guilt and shame that I feel later that night after I mentally review the day is intense. Regretful that I didn’t find more patience, shameful that I would raise my voice at the people that I love the most in the world. Guilty that I can’t keep it together like every other school Mom I see that is so well dressed, calm and happy!
And here’s another valid point. Rarely do we confess to any of our bad moments. How many of you have just got done screaming the house down, only to be interrupted by a knock at the door? Suddenly your hysteria gives way to a painfully fake smile, and soft toned voice as you greet your visitor. (When this happens at my house, my children stare at me with raised eyebrows as they try to discern which of the two personalities they just saw within a 2 minute period is the real me!)
Ironically, I happen to spend a fair amount of my time reading about spirituality, presence, gratitude and acceptance. One would think with the amount of information on parenting available to us that we would be paragons of virtue these days! The penny has been dropping for me slowly and I am coming to acknowledge the following:
1. I need to accept that in choosing to be a Mother, I put my own needs AFTER those of my children.
2. Realize that when my children misbehave, that it isn’t the end of the world.. and more than likely it’s because I am not paying them the attention that they deserve in the moment.
3. Understand that I only get the privilege of hanging out with them for say a good 13 years... at which time they will be way too cool for school and probably won’t want to hang with me!
4. Be happy to know that my kids (and perhaps all kids) just want to have fun, preferably with me involved. Sad to say that somewhere along the way, I have forgotten how to have fun most days.
5. Figure that being the calmer version of me on a constant basis is more likely to induce a better behavior from them!
If I can just remember these few things every morning before the fun begins, then maybe I can take a deep breath and let it go... for a change.
More confessions from me in the future!
If you enjoyed reading this blog, please click here to have a look at a great read on sleep deprivation.