Before having T I had a mental list of things that as a parent I told myself that I’d never do, such as this, or that, or even so much as the other. But the truth of it is, I’ve ended up at one time or another (or always) doing all of it, and then some.
Examples from my own list of to-don’ts-turned-to-dos:
I’m not going to let my kid snack between meals. HA HA, so funny really. Because guess what? If my kid’s hungry, I figured out the best thing to do is to feed the beast, or suffer the consequences of my non-actions. To this, I tell T to eat up, and often. If you need more evidence on my reasoning behind this, see this post.
I’m not going to get my kid watch TV… or not too much of it anyway. Oh, OK, because C and I never watch TV ourselves, right? Have you ever been to our house during football season? I don’t think the TV even goes off from Thursday night through Monday night. And you know what? Oh well. We can play trains and LEGOs and catch all of the first downs in the meantime, too (along with some PBS and Nick Jr. sprinkled in for good measure, plus a movie or five). Oh, and I do like to take showers daily, so toss in another 30-45 minutes of TV time per day for that also (sorry for wanting to be clean I guess?).
I’m not going to yell at my kid – ever. Oh yeah, RIGHT (see, I’m yelling already). Man alive, I so wish I could say I never, ever yell, but I do, and a lot. And it sucks. And I’m working on it. Daily. Hourly. Minute-by-minute.
I’m not going to ever tell my kid I’m too busy or tired to play. This is the funniest one of all, especially now at the age we are at, because if I have to play toy tea party one more damn time… OK, I exaggerate, but seriously, there’s a lot more floor time requested of me than I really ever thought would be the case, and it does get tiring for me to sit on the floor for longer than 30 minutes at a time. I’m no three-year-old, and I can feel it in my old mommy bones from that hardwood floor after a while. It sucks getting old, and sometimes I just don’t feel like playing anymore. I wish it weren’t the case, but it’s the painful truth.
I could go on, but I’ll stop the list there. While I embrace my perfect imperfections, I know, I really don’t need to gloat about it. That would be about as annoying as anyone who’d choose to go on and on about how perfect they (think they) are… which I guess is my tip of the day. Please, for the sake of your expectations and for the sake of your own and your family’s sanity, just stop trying to be perfect. It’s way more fun being flawed anyway and it provides way more amusing stories and memories in the long run. And thank god these kids are very resilient and forgiving; for that, I am forever grateful. Thanks always, T.
On a somewhat related footnote, I’d like to send out a huge mea culpa of the parental sort. I had posted in a previous Tip Tuesday about how C and I are managing T’s sticker rewards chart. Since this post and since our getting back into rewards charting, we’ve come to learn that taking away stickers is NOT the way to go about disciplining undesirable behavior; well, that is, it’s not unless we’d like to encourage additional undesirable behavior. The first time we removed a sticker from T’s chart it threw him into a tantrum to beat the one he was already having. Hence we’ve decided to stop taking away stickers. C and I discussed it and we realized that our removing a sticker was more to make us feel good or empowered than it was having anything to do with helping T correct his behavior whatsoever, and that’s just not right. A couple of bits of advice from our local trusted parenting coach confirmed our revised feelings and further solidified our decision to change-up midway into this process. All we’re doing now is once per day we visit the chart and either let T know whether it’s a sticker or non-sticker day depending on the line-item. So far since making this change I’d say we’ve made a great plan we can stick with… that is, until we find something else we aren’t doing as right as we could be.