Monday, January 5, 2009
No. Just No.
What part of NO don't you understand? As a mother, I have uttered this phrase an infinite number of times. Why don't our children just listen the first time? I have wrestled with this dilemma. I think it is almost instinctual for a child to fight you on every little thing. "Can I have a candy bar?", says the hopeful child. "No, not right now" says the mom. What follows is one of many phrases designed to wear a momma down. "Why not?", "pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease", "How come?" "All my friends are eating candy bars" Or you can fill in the blank. It is not as if they take the first "no" at face value. They keep trying. They keep wishing that the "no" will turn into a "yes". And at the end of a bad day, about the fifth or sixth "please" a tired mom will cave. I have, if you are being honest, you have. We all have. And because we have caved in the past, hope springs eternal that we will cave again.
When the twins were babies until they were about three years old, my oldest son, four at the time of the twins birth, used this mercilessly. No mercy for the momma. It was a dark time of many diapers and spit ups and doctor visits. I seriously can't remember most of it. I see videos of birthday parties and cannot physically remember being there. I was exhausted. Physically, mentally and spiritually. So of course, being a small child of infinite wisdom, Tyler would take advantage. He is not a bad kid, he is a smart kid. He knew when to hit. He knew when I would cave out of pure desperation for a quiet moment.
If I had been more centered in my faith, reading my bible and praying every day, maybe I would have been better. I know God wasn't a daily part of my life then, just waking up in the morning was challenging enough.
I do believe in discipline. My kids know this, their friends know this, all of us know what we should do to raise kids who will grow up to be someone we can be proud of. I am just saying that somedays, especially if the kids are under the age of five, we cave. I have learned that you can break this behavior and recover control of your house. It comes about when they are all in school and you can actually breathe for once in your parental life. Then you can recover enough to insist your No means No. I have done this, so I know it is achievable.
Keep your chin up moms, today is just one day. You will not screw your kid up in just one day. We all have those days. Give yourself a break. You need one.
God bless you and yours.