Sometimes I look at my kids and think, “Who raised you to do that?” And then the stark reality that I’m their mother and spend the majority of day with them sets in. And it hurts and even burns a little. We’ve got three little ones, as different as can be and parenting each one has it’s own set of challenges.
One child in particular – who will remain nameless but probably not anonymous – I am really struggling with right now. Everything seems to be a struggle. Clean your room – fight me on it. Brush your teeth – fight me on it. Put your shoes on – fight me on it. And those are minor things. The constant teasing, resulting in another child screaming constantly gets really old, really fast. It’s frustrating and numbing at the same time.
I realize I am far from an expert so I seek out any good material and advice I can get. Often times I read an article or book and can take a few key points from it to work on. In my desperation this week I sought out articles in hopes of finding better methods that I could employ. My favorite resource comes from the church through either scripture or conference talks but I also see a huge potential learning environment through the internet, and I set out to read even more articles from other moms who deal with the same things I do. I read through one piece in particular that wasn’t extremely helpful to me and I’m not even sure why I read the whole thing.
I probably should’ve stopped reading after I saw that I shouldn’t put my child in timeout – the article clearly wasn’t my style. I agree it may not be the most effective means of resolving things, but lets be serious; timeout is more for me than the kids punishment. I would prefer to always put myself in time-out instead, but the kids don’t grasp the idea of mom being unavailable during her timeout!
Regardless of the no timeout rule – I kept reading.
And although the article didn’t really speak to me – one line in particular stayed with me and continued to bother me the more I thought about it throughout the day. Silly, really, but true.
“Respond in the moment, calmly, like a CEO…They don’t get angry or emotional” Really? I would agree that CEO’s are pretty level headed and even possibly maintain a calm demeanor in many situations, that is until their bottom line is threatened and then they probably get a little angry. But for the most part, they remain calm because they know that at any time if they really do have a large scale problem with an employee they fire them. Then it’s no longer their problem. Parent’s can’t fire their children (as much as many would like to) and they will always be responsible for them. If I had an employee that constantly destroyed company property, I would fire them (calmly of course). If I had an employee that refused to do the work asked of them, I would fire them. If I had an employee that ran away and would hide every time I asked them to report to my office, I would fire them. If I had an employee that constantly harassed their co-workers, I would fire them. In my book – CEO’s and Mothers have vastly different roles. CEO’s have a job of building a business, mother’s are building individuals. I do things as a mother, that a CEO would never do for an employee.
Don’t get me wrong, I agree that we should respond calmly but I read this during a day that a child was testing me relentlessly and I constantly had the thought, “If you were my employee – this would be a completely different situation.” And truth be told, I’m glad they’re not my “employees”, what a different environment that would create within our family.
I see my mindset is shifting as I realize “raising a family” is really not my goal or objective. Instead, my goal is to raise/teach three vastly different individuals with such unique needs which ultimately comprises our family unit. It seems much more daunting when I put it that way but surprisingly it seems more attainable as well.
I need to constantly remind myself I’m raising individuals in a family environment. The struggles I’m having right now (although weighing heavy on me) will not necessarily be the struggles I have in a year or with any other child. But even with that perspective it’s hard. Sometimes it seems as though I’m taking one step forward and two steps back and it’s discouraging. Often – the only thing that keeps me from scratching my eyes out is the idea that millions of moms have the done the same thing, raised many individuals and struggled the same way I do and it turned out fine. It will all be okay. As my husband likes to point out, “Tomorrow’s a new day.”