Have you ever wondered if you are too relaxed or too much of a drill sergeant (as a parent)?? I ask myself this all the time. I am the mother to a 3.5-year-old boy and a 9-month-old girl. My boy is the one I often butt heads with. Sometimes it feels like a daily battle of wills. Yesterday it was in the grocery store parking lot. I gave him a lot of freedoms at the store – let him push his own cart, pick his own groceries, put them on the conveyor belt…. The only thing I said no to was the candy at the checkout. Just so you don’t think I’m a no-sweets Nazi, we had Pinkberry before we even went to the store! When we got to the car, I loaded all the groceries in the back of the car. It was pretty full at that point because there was also a stroller and some purchases from Nordstrom Rack. Of course my son wanted to climb into the car from the back. I told him it was too full of groceries and other stuff and that he needed to get in the door. I was also wrangling a shopping cart and a 9 month old on my hip (and I’m always tense in parking lots for the obvious reason!) My son kept persisting and started to get pesty and wouldn’t budge. Now, the easiest thing to do would have been to let him climb through the back right? But I got engaged. All of a sudden I’m in the battle of wills with my 3 year old, and by doing so I made the situation way more stressful than the one I was trying to avoid (smooshing the groceries and my new Tori Burch boot box). I ended up corralling him to his door…literally corralling. I mean, pushing him with my body (remember I’m holding my baby on my hip and a grocery cart with my hand) and of course he says, “Mommy, you’re hurting me!” For the record, I was NOT hurting him. But he sure knows how to push my buttons and make me feel guilty! Little did he know how bad I WANTED to hurt him. Kidding!!! But you know what I’m saying. I just needed to get something done and done my way and my son had the SAME idea. He wanted it done, and done HIS way. Please someone tell me this, too, will pass. Next time I’m in this situation I’m going to remember the motto, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Giving in and letting him climb over groceries is not the same as giving him a donut before dinnertime. I think I can give on certain things.
Speaking of donuts, later that day I had another opportunity to be challenged by my alter ego (i.e. my 3.5 year old). We took our dog to the dog wash and next door was the donut store (as luck would have it). My son immediately started whining for a donut. It was almost 6pm, we hadn’t eaten dinner and I am not a fan of giving sweets at night (because I live for my kids’ bedtimes!) I told him No and gave him my reasons, but he kept persisting (I know he’s doing his job). But this time I wanted there to be a payoff for him. “We can get a donut tomorrow morning before school.” He can burn off the sugar at school! The following morning when he woke up, I reminded him about the donut and, guess what, our day got off to a great start! ; )
Lately I just feel like a tired, exhausted, overwhelmed and irritable mom…with my 3.5 year old in particular. It just feels like he always wants my attention and can be pesty in trying to get it. When does the day come when he comes home and runs in his room, takes out his toys and plays by himself? Can’t there be an autopilot switch for just PART of the day? Why do we have all these toys anyway? Am I a bad mom because I don’t want to play with my son–I’d rather him play by himself so I can work on my projects? Am I bad mom because I can’t wait for my kids to be in bed so I can just sit in peace and watch Access Hollywood or read People mag (yes, I love my celeb gossip!) or drink a glass of wine and just stare into space?!! Am I a bad mom because I yell “Shut the BLEEP up” in my head many times a day when the constant chatter and requests (downright demands) keep coming at me like darts in the eyes? The whining, begging, plea-ing, manipulating for movies, candy, donuts, cartoons…whatever their heart desires. It is so easy to forget that they are doing their job. PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES. And we have to be as good at our job as they are at their job. HOLDING THE BOUNDARIES. Sure, the easy way is to cave. Give them the candy, donut, toy, cartoon, movie, but is that good parenting?? I told my husband this morning, good parenting is HARD. I feel like I am always schooling my son….do this, do that, don’t do this, you can’t do that BECAUSE….. you have to do this because….say please, what do you say??, say hi. say bye. wash your hands. flush the toilet. did you WIPE?? The list goes on and on and on. It’s no wonder I feel like I’ve pounded my head against the wall at the end of the day. I love my kids to death(I know, you can tell, right?!!), we all do, but parenting is exhausting…and anyone that doesn’t feel this way…well….I don’t have words.