Thursday, October 24, 2013

Finding What Works

Let's hit the beach. Bring the cooler. Stack it with beer, sandwiches and chips! The room is reserved, and our suits are packed. See you when you get home, babe!  (A year ago)

Butt crack of dawn..wake up, wake up baby, take kids to school, go home, cook myself breakfast, load dishwasher, bring down diapers to wash, pause, why is the baby cranky? Crap, it's 0800, nap time. Scarf food down. Stop what I'm doing, feed baby. Burp baby. Put baby down for a nap....
Wow, how life changed in just a year. I miss stuff from a year ago. I miss the spontaneity. I miss the get up and go. I miss weekend getaways. But, here I am. Thinking about myself. Is that selfish? To think about me for the purpose of recharging my own batteries? But, seriously. There has GOT to be a happy medium! We have these routines in place for a reason. If the kids know what's coming next, there should be less outbursts. True. If the same punishment is used every time (I.e. Taking a toy away) they will also know what's about to happen (and probably make the bad choice anyway).

So, how can we find this happy medium? I struggle thinking this (and worry about it everyday). Whether our kids agree or not, they like a routine.  Their behavior is better and let's face it, that makes for happier parentals as well. Then why is it that these seemingly well behaved children act like fools? Is this typical? Before we go ride a train, I tell them 'okay guys, we're not buying any toys unless you want to use your own money'. 'yes ma'am' Once we step foot in the store, it's like a bell goes off DING...ASK FOR EVERYTHING IN SIGHT. Seriously, even though I just briefed you on what's about to go down? That's how your going to act? Argh...

As I was thinking about my expectations of my kids, my teenager brought home his report card. I already knew the grades thanks to technology! But when one of his grades was less than par, he got all upset when I asked what happened in that class. After turning in a project late, and receiving a poor grade, he barked at me 'your expectations are too high for me.' 

WHAT?! THE?! ... Wow, hmm yes I expect you to turn in your work on time, and get good grades (A's and B's) , and do weekly chores, eat dinner as a family every night, shower daily.... How dare I expect this from my kiddos (sarcasm at its best)?

My whole point is, what do you say? What do you say to the kid who 'knows better' than to ask for toys you explained that you are not buying? What do you say when your kid says your asking too much out of them (when your actually holding them up to their potential)? Why must these kid-turds be testing us all the time?

In all this chaos, I think I know what they need. They need stability. They need chaos:organized chaos. They need to complain about being bored and having chores. They need to know that Friday night is always pizza, movie and popcorn night. They need fun. They also need to know that family vacations (or weekend getaways) are meant to be special. If we took them away every weekend, 1. the chores would be left for mommy during the week (not cool) 2. We wouldn't be teaching them to entertain themselves. 3. It wouldn't feel special.

As I think about the choices I make as a mommy on a daily basis, I truly want what's best for them. I also want them to figure stuff out for themselves. Now more than ever, I constantly think about the things I say to them. We have fun, with a lot of sarcasm! I want them to have tough skin, and not let their sensitive side show with tears. I want them to come to me when there's a problem so we can figure it out together. But, I also want them to be boys. Fighting and yelling at your brother is okay. Don't involve me, tattle tell on him, and work it out between yourselves!

So, here it is: we have found our happy medium...

Teach and learn from each other
Fight and make up
Give lots of hugs
Help someone in need
Love and respect one another
Finish what you start
Dress up
Clean your messes
Cry when you're hurt
And Never be too old to cuddle with Mommy!