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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I’ve Been In Survivor-Mode

I've been stuck in survivor mode without even realizing it. We've been plugging along, surviving the days. We've been just fine. When you are just fine, it’s hard to identify that you’re also not great.

Then the other day I had one of those moments when I felt like an utter failure. This is not how it was supposed to be like, I thought. I was not supposed to be this kind of parent. I felt like I had given up and given in. I felt like I was walking through a perpetual cycle of lunchables, happy meals, electronics, and screaming in the most fish-wifiest voice, “IF YOU DON’T STOP FIGHTING YOU ARE ALL GOING TO YOUR ROOM!” And them screaming back, “YOU HATE US!” I felt my heart breaking and my children are still little. What is it going to be like in ten years? I felt like lost my daughter to some mommy-hating teenager and she’s only 8. I felt like I’d lost my vegetable eating children somewhere in the McDonald’s play area.

Then something happened right around dinner time, the witching hour. Nobody was pulling on me. Nobody was whining for snack food. Nobody was begging to play Wii. The boys were playing with actual toys and imagination. My daughter was up in her room taking her punishment. I called the children to dinner. They sat down to plates of Black bean taquitos, mini chicken and bean tamalitos, Edamame, and oranges. Nobody whined. My daughter sat there popping Edamame with vigor that is usually only reserved for Sun Chips. My son tried four then politely concluded that they taste like a cross between eggs and green beans, so he’ll pass. My three year old ate numerous. They divided the seconds of black bean taquitos amongst themselves without incident. They finished their milk with minimal coaxing. They showered and got ready for bed as instructed. My daughter discussed how she was going to handle Day 2 and Day 3 of her punishment without any you-are-the-worst mom in the world angst.

Whew. We did more than just survive the day - there may have even been some good lessons learned there! I know it’s not the end. I know that we have to keep actively trying, not just putting out fires and surviving. I know that we need to work on a better positive reinforcement plan. I know that punishing my children for bad behavior isn't the only answer. I know they won’t always eat their vegetables but I don't have to give in. I have to actively raise my kids to be healthy adults with good character not just survive their childhood until they grow to be semi-competent grown-ups with high cholesterol.

Heading off to Daddy/Daughter Dance:
She didn't want to go, she didn't want to wear a dress. But she went and made some good memories 
It doesn't hurt to try. Isn't that what we tell our kids? The worst thing that is going to happen is it doesn't work but you won’t be any worse off. Sometimes you make a plan to nip a behavior in the bud with a severe grounding and you think it isn't going to work, but it does. Sometimes you put a strange vegetable in front of your children and they eat it! Just never give up on yourself or your children. Maybe you’ll find you’re not such an utter failure after all.

Maybe one day I’ll extend that just try attitude to my writing life. Stay tuned! 

1 comment:

  1. YAY! Im so happy to hear this :). Great lesson... we moms can all relate in some way :)