Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Being the Grown Up
I happened upon a blog through a string of seemingly random events yesterday. I think I was meant to find it because the message in the second post on the page really spoke to me. Being Michael's Daddy is the blog. Morning Madness is the post. I don't know anything about this guy and have honestly only read a couple of things on the page. But Morning Madness grabbed me and kind of shook me around a bit. Go read it- I'll wait here until you are done. Wait, wait... while you are there, check out this post, too. *** OK. Done? This dad has captured my life. He has articulated my struggle. And I'm pretty sure it's Jeff's struggle, too. It's the battle I feel I am constantly fighting in myself. Doing what is best for my kids vs what is easiest for me. Why is it so hard to remember and put into action that responding to my kids in the way they need me to will lead to an easier evening or morning or routine? Just like in his Morning Madness example... that truly could have happened in my house, with my child. So often, Teagan is there, refusing to talk, pointing, whimpering, whining, pouting. When I have my "good parent" hat on and am in the right mindframe, it is easy to deal with. I call back to my little script that I learned from this book. When I use it correctly and consistently and calmly... it works. Really well. But I often get bogged down with my own stress, my own whininess, my own adult version of pointing and demanding... and forget to stay focused on the parenting task at hand. My computer game can wait. Checking my e-mail can wait. Sitting down and putting up my feet can wait. Heck, sometimes going to the bathroom has to wait. Getting my good Mommy hat on, getting into that strong Mommy mode... that is where I need to be. I've been really struggling with this for the past few weeks. I find myself battling with my daughter over nothing. I forget to choose my battles and tend to react based on my own selfish desire to win or be powerful. I bully her because I can, because I want her to do things "my way." I want her to fit into my mold. But my goals in parenting don't fit those choices. I want to nurture my children. I want to help them find themselves, discover their passions and joys. How they squirt toothpaste really has no bearing on that. Reading an extra bedtime story really won't have any negative impact- in fact, it will only bear positive outcomes (I firmly believe that it is impossible to read to a child too much). Some battles have to be fought. I can't take her to Miss Lisa's in her pajamas. So she has to get dressed. But I don't have to set up a fight for it to happen. If I stick to my "guns," the TV won't come on until she's dressed. Period. Simple choosing, control, consequences. "You have the opportunity to watch TV. It's your responsibility to get dressed first." The sticker chart still works with her- I just need to be consistent with it. It's hard, too, because I hear Jeff handling things in the stressed out, fighting way and want to stop it. But that is so hypocritical of me because I do my fair share of fighting with her for no reason. I've been praying about it a lot at church and during the week, actually. I feel like I need to find that peaceful, focused place. I know it when I'm there. But pushing aside all the daily bullshit and finding it... has been really hard lately. And that's all on me. I'm the grown up. I'm the one who chooses how I act. I'm constantly giving Teagan messages about choosing, deciding, picking... and then she witnesses my choices where I get bossy, demanding, and yell more than I should. My hope is that by putting this out there, I'll be more mindful of it. I'll be more in touch, again, with the parent I want to be... with the parent my kids need me to be.