I’m pretty sure I jinxed myself this week. Do you ever have times when you congratulate yourself, “I’m doing pretty well in this area of life!” and then promptly crash and burn?!
That might be a little superstitious, but I was definitely on a victorious parenting wave on Monday. The kids were listening to me, I had energy to parent and enjoy them and stuff was just working. Pretty sure I actually thought the words, “Nailed it.”
Cue two days of potty training disasters, more attitude than I thought possible from a five year old and a severe lack of patience from mummy. It wasn’t happy for anyone! After actually snarling at Tiny for ignoring me yesterday, I realised something had to change.
So I did two things:
- I reflected on my own responses. They had not been full of love and grace – and they were out of proportion. A toddler refusing to wear her shoes because they are purple is not the end of the world – it’s pretty funny!
- I thought up some actual strategies for the kids’ behaviour. I realised that by reacting to them, I was feeding their behaviour rather than addressing it. I came up with a plan for both of them, talked it through with the husband later that evening and executed it today. They aren’t easy strategies – there were tears from Small as a result, but they will be worth it. We’re seeing change already.
As a parent, my role is to help shape my children’s character and behaviour (in that order). But I’m realising more and more how important they are in shaping mine.
It doesn’t take long for me to realise I’m just doing whatever I can to ‘get stuff done’ rather than thinking of what’s best for them. Getting to school on time shouldn’t be more important to me than making sure issues between us are resolved before the day begins. Once I see my behaviour, I have a choice to carry on or make a change, however difficult that may be.
Children also have a way of holding you to your word that adults often shy away from. I’m so glad that Small isn’t afraid of being impolite to me – he says what he sees even when it’s ugly.
I’m sure my kids will continue to bring out the worst in me, as well as the best, for many years to come!