When the Pie was very close to two I fell into an online community of parents who called themselves “Positive Parents”.
This was a pretty new concept to me being that I was raised in an authoritarian home – in other words, do as I say, do it now, don’t ask questions and if you really mess up – you’re going to get it! (by it I mean the dreaded “S” word – hit, swatted, s p a n k e d)
Now I was sure I wasn’t going to be that parent, not the parents mine were and I thought that was being positive but little did I know that in this particular community, I wasn’t even close. But I learned how to use discipline instead of punishment, consequences that are related, respectful and relevant, how to look for the “why” behind the action, how to redirect inappropriate behavior. And I was good at it. S P A N K became the new 4 letter word (ok, I know it’s 5 letters but you catch the meaning)
Then along came Dervish, and then the girl and suddenly I find myself in not such a positive place.
It’s kind of like the game Sudoku. They call it a game of logic – and I call it a very close imitation of parenting. You start off thinking “hey, this isn’t so bad, what’s so hard about putting some numbers in boxes?” and you’re zipping along feeling like a genius and then ZAP! you’re in a corner and you can’t find your way out – you look back to see where you went wrong and a sea of numbers float at you and your eyes blur. At least mine did when I played.
That’s what happened to me the other day when my Pie came and told me that I was always grouchy and yelling and it was freaking him out. ZAP!
I know I’ve totally lost control – I feel like my mom-ness is slipping down the tubes and I’m becoming even worse than my parents were. The Pie was right! I am grouchy all the time and I am yelling and my positive parenting has gone down the tubes. Time to start the game over.
I know it’s NOT a game … there is no “hint” button or “start over” or “reveal a mistake” (HA! if only there was!!)
This is real life and in real life I sit down with The Dad and we re-assess and try to fix our mistakes.
What did we decide? We decided that we messed up – that we let the tide of life and stress carry us too far from our goals, our plans, our parenting and it was time to step back and aim at repairing the damage.
So, restructure the routine – the daily routine has gone for a dive and it’s time to salvage it and put it back in place. When there is no routine (I don’t mean boot camp, just a simple routine of household operations) things get crazy, no one knows what to expect and everyone is expecting different things and not getting them – it’s crazy making!
Plan time for each of the kids on a regular basis. One on one time with each parent individually and FAMILY TIME. Too little of that has been happening too.
Quit expecting 3 year olds to be 6 year olds and 7 year olds to be 10 year olds and 11 year olds to be 20 year olds! Bottom line, kids make mistakes – they are kids! that’s what they’re supposed to be doing and tossing a ton of bricks on them every time they make one.
Have some fun! We’re missing the whole fun thing of parenting and what’s the point if that’s not happening.
There was more but that’s the gist of it. Parenting is like a game but it’s a serious game – you can find yourself in a corner but no “play another game” button, you have to face that sea of numbers and fix them when you mess up.