I am around my kids all day everyday. I choose to do this so I’m not complaining, but as most, if not all, stay at home moms know, it can be a bit trying to entertain and please your children each day.
One of the quickest ways to put a kink in my day is to have a child throw a tantrum. I will do everything in my power to ensure we don’t go down that path, but it’s hard. I’ll be the first to admit that my kids are spoiled. They want for nothing. I will buy them things for no reason with the intent of saving it for a birthday or Christmas only to give it to them 2 hours after I get it home from the store. However, if they ask for a specific thing, I won’t buy it unless it’s for a special occasion. Don’t ask me why – I have no idea.
Every so often my generosity bites me in the ass and it’s almost always after I have been a little overly exuberant with gifts, trips or special treats. I had to sit Kamryn and Rory down for a heart to heart last week and have a discussion about appreciation. I told them that when I give them something and they keep asking for more, it upsets me because it makes me think that they don’t really like what I initially gave them. I asked them if they understood what I meant. Rory yelled, “Yeah!” and took off running. Kamryn just shook her head no. At least she’s honest.
I asked her how she would feel if she gave me a present and after I opened it, I said “Is this it? I want more!” She told me she would give me more then. She’s sneaky. I told her that wouldn’t be very nice of me to demand more when I had already gotten such a nice gift. I could tell that she still didn’t get it, but really didn’t want to have the discussion anymore so she said she understood. Since that time, I have brought it up a couple of other times and I do think it’s sinking in. Rory, on the other hand…well, he’s just Rory. I’ll work on him later.
Some days I’m just tired. As much as I want to educate and nurture my children, there are those days where avoidance is my sanity. There are a few things that I do that I’m not really proud of, but they have helped my day flow a bit smoother.
Food is a big source of conflict in our house. Rory is constantly sneaking food, but will never eat dinner. Kamryn is always concerned when the next meal is going to be and whether or not dessert will be served. I wish I had a little more self control when it comes to eating, but I don’t. If I get hungry, I eat. I was unable to eat anything without one of my little minions magically appearing at my feet. Now, if I need a snack, I eat it in the cupboard. I open the pantry door, find my snack and start eating with half of my body in the cupboard and half of it out. It muffles any cellophane or other packaging sounds. I can stuff my face in peace without having to tell my kids that they can’t have any.
I discovered a new trick that is kind of mean, but unbelievably effective. A few weeks ago we were walking to the car to go to the store. Rory insisted on bringing along a jump rope. I told him he could bring it, but not to drag it on the sidewalk. The handles are wooden bears and if they get knocked around too much the faces fall off because they are just glued on. He didn’t listen and one of the bear’s faces fell off. I took it away from him, stuffed it in my pocket and buckled both kids in the car. Before I got in the car, I had a bag of trash to throw in the dumpster. The dumpster happens to be completely surrounded by a fence which obscures the viewing of what someone is throwing away. When I got back to the car, Rory was in tears and Kamryn was dangerously close. I asked what happened and Rory screamed, “YOU THREW MY JUMP ROPE AWAY!” HA! Obviously, I didn’t, but it’s very effective to grab something and have it magically disappear without saying a word about it. And if you make a rustling in the trash or turn on the garbage disposal for good measure, well, then so be it.
Sometimes I just pretend like I don’t hear what my kids are doing or saying. The other day Rory repeatedly yelled “son-of-bitch” from the backseat. It was entirely my fault because that was what I yelled when I flew past a CHP on the the freeway going 80 mph. The same went for 2 days later when I muttered “dumb bitch” at the woman blocking the crosswalk with her car. I had to intervene once he started directing the insult at me. I can’t punish my 3 year old for something that was so clearly the result of my carelessness, but I did tell him if he called me that again he better be ready to run when he got out of the car.
As I said before, I’m not especially proud of the things that I do in order to make my day better. I’m also sure there are other moms that have a much more appropriate way of handling things, but just be aware, for all the time you spend teaching your child the rights and wrongs of the world, my 3 year old will probably end up calling you a dumb bitch anyway. Actually, he won’t. I’m sure he’ll reserve that for me when he catches me stuffing my face full of Goldfish in the cupboard.