Monday, September 17, 2007

Being Consistent

The title of this post does not describe me.

Why?

Because it's so much easier to just give in (less whining, crying and temper tantrums).

Perfect example:
Me: "No, no more cheese. It's almost dinnertime and you already had some."
[Commence non-stop whining, begging, pleading.]
Me: "Here! Just this one more and THAT'S IT!"

I know I'm setting myself up for very bad problems:

No doesn't always mean no.
Whining works.
Throwing a tantrum will eventually get me what I want.
I don't really need to listen.

This is what life has been like in the Trenches since Middle and Baby's birthdays (when they turned 3 and 2 within 2-1/2 weeks of each other in June.)

It hit me like a brick in the face (ouch!) on Saturday morning. Hubby had taken Eldest to football practice, so I was home with Middle and Baby.

From the time their feet hit the floor in the morning, utter chaos ensued:

Fighting over toys.
Whining for snacks.
Begging for TV (that'd be Middle) or "hum" (Baby's word for gum).
More fighting.
More whining.
Not listening.
Multiple time-outs.

Keep in mind this is at 8 a.m.

By the time Hubby got home that morning, I was DONE. I seriously needed a break from the 2 little ones. Both of them. I was not liking them equally.

Hubby must have sensed me teetering on the precipice of sanity. He stepped up and took all 3 boyz to the grocery store.

[I'll wait for your amazement to diminish.]

I had over an hour home alone. And I cleaned, vacuumed, dusted, and scrubbed out my frustration. It helped.

Saturday afternoon my Sis and I did a great 8-mile run. She stayed for supper and we got to chat. She bluntly pointed out to me that my word means nothing to my boyz. Because I am not consistent. And a majority of the time, I'm not even aware of it.

My coping mechanism is to TUNE OUT. To go to my "happy place" (the tropical locale). Thus the noise level escalates because Mommy is ignoring isn't listening.

I'm totally frustrated with the fact that the boyz' behavior is the worst for me. That's telling me something. Not good.

Things need to change. I'm ready to buckle down and make the effort. Stick to my guns. Enforce the rules. BE THE PARENT.

So today I made a conscious effort to:
1. Stay tuned in;
2. Remain positive; and
3. Keep my word.

And you know what?

It was a much better day.

And that's just what this Mommy needed.

29 comments:

hqm said...

Glad you had a better day! I totally understand where you are coming from...it is REALLY hard to be consistant!!!!

A Whole Lot of Nothing said...

Ugh. I'm the same boat as you are. I have two girls, 3 & 1, and the whining seems CONSTANT. I give in way too much - not for the big things, but the little things. I know I'm teaching her the wrong lesson, but it just seems easier at the time.
I need a better day!

painted maypole said...

Good luck. I find that I often don't tackle obstacles with MQ because i feel I don't have it in me to be consistent for her to make them happen. I need a dose of this myself.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Yeah, I've been there (wait, aren't I still there)? Mostly, my problem is bedtime. The girls give me SUCH a hard time about going to bed, staying in bed and going to sleep. Their father? Not a peep. And, no he doesn't beat them or tie them down. But, he doesn't listen to their excuses either. That was a huge wake up call for me. Too often, I try to see things from their point of view, but I am starting to realize that they are 'playin' me!

my minivan is faster than yours said...

They act worse for you for no fault of your own, but that's whom they feel the safest with.

Dr. Phil can kiss my arse. He's so wrong on this one (just ask me)!

Bananas said...

"THAT'S IT!" I'm famous for those two words. It is SO HARD to be consistent. Especially when you're tired, and worn down... the sad fact is it's easier to be a bad parent than a good one. But you're a GOOD one, don't let youself believe otherwise. :)

Jen M. said...

Here's to tuning out and going on a good long run. You are a great mom - NO ONE is consistently consistent. No one. I hope.

Blog Antagonist said...

God...it's so hard isn't it?? Part of my son's "Spiritedness" is that he is AMAZINGLY persistent. He just does not give up. Ever. I try so hard to stand firm, and I usually do pretty well, but there are days I just can't deal with him, and I give in to preserve my sanity. This is always a mistake and I spend days trying to re-establish his expectations in regard to how far he can push before I cave.

slouching mom said...

I'm glad you're seeing a change so quickly. But in your defense, it must be really, really hard to have a two-year-old and a three-year-old at THE SAME TIME.

Shudder.

Southern Fried Girl said...

Honey, you have three boys. The fact that you are not on top of a tower with an Uzi or start taking out people at the mall is pretty damn amazing. From my perspective, over here in no child-ville, it sounds like you do a pretty damn good job. Everyone has things they can improve on and congrats to you for doing something differently and how fab that it turned out so well. :)

JoeinVegas said...

Um, yes, if whining and screaming gets them stuff then they will do it. So yes, consistency, that and lots of wine.

Me Today said...

Great post! I commend you for realizing your situation. That is not easy. I think we all fall into the category of not being consistent to some degree when we have kids. Whining and crying and fighting is so annoying. I'm going to have the same issue with my youngest. He is a tester and I had better start following through now to avoid big problems when he's older. Yikes!
Thanks for the eye opener!

Amanda said...

It's kind of like the running and working out, isn't it. It seems so god awful hard and miserable to get up and out and doing it, and then once you are, I'll be damned if everyone isn't enjoying themselves that much more.

Good job!

MadMad said...

I got nothin' here. I stink as a parent, even after 10 long years. I'm just waiting for college - maybe they'll listen to someone there. So yeah. No advice. I just wanted to say hi, is all. And wish you luck, of course.

Tickled Pink & Green said...

Oh, I hear ya, sista. I have a 16 month old girl (plus an 11 year old) and I know that is not comparable, until you factor in that I'm in my mid 40s)...anyway, sometimes at the end of the day I'm literally looking out the back door window for my husband to arrive and I literally hand over the baby to him as he walks in the door like a baton in a relay race. Then I rush up the stairs before he can stop me.

Tickled Pink & Green said...

P.S. I forgot to add that you know it's bad when cleaning, dusting and vacuming are a welcome relief from the kids!

Life As I Know It said...

Wow, good for you! It is very hard to be consistent especially when all you want to do is stop the whining.

*still amazed that your husband took 3 kids to the grocery store *

cate said...

oh, man...it is SO HARD to be consistent with toddlers...i know all about that! we keep trying different things to keep the monkeys in line...it's really tough!

Candace said...

they are amazing aren't they? I am so worn down. It's a good lesson in being persistent. We can really get what we want in life, if we just behave like our kids! I think I might go into the bank tomorrow and whine to them until they give me 10,000 dollars.

hot potato said...

i think you are doing the right thing. i heard a while back from that rabbi on tv "shalom in the home" that saying "no" to children and backing it up consistantly gives them a strong sense of security and helps to squash an insatiable (never satisfied) appetite that can occur when the rules aren't defined clearly and they all to often get their own way. not following through with "no" sets them up for bigger hurdles later on. as hard as it is to deal with the whining, fits, and fights... the "later on" situation isn't much fun for anyone.

kids want you to say no to them and follow through. they don't know it and they fight it, but nothing beats feeling safe and loved. parenting involves using two hands: the hand of love and affection, and the hand of discipline. (that's from the rabbi too.)

i get the strong sense that your beautiful boys are safe and loved already. quite honestly, you could teach all of us a few things about raising children well. but i totally get where you are at: survival.

so here's to you: taking the control back.

good luck. just remember they aren't little for long. that's what so great about your blog. you document so much of the good stuff that when you look back years from now it will make you laugh and warm your heart.

BOSSY said...

All that and a run too? Gah.

Dena said...

Sarah its weird you just posted this, I was just having these exact thoughts last night.. MY 2.5 year old is winning every battle in my house and it's also because I well (WE, hubby and I) are so inconsistent. She whines and we give in... It's really getting out of hand, and I've even cried a few times!! So I think this week I'm going to go buy MAGIC 1.2.3 I've heard some positives about it, something has to work! Good luck with yours!

Wendy said...

You know since my son started walking and realized how to annoy his sister, I ignore them. If they solicit my help, I simply tell them (mainly my daughter) to figure it out. The real truth is sometimes you can't fix everything and they will scream and cry. I think of it as a lesson in conflict resolution.

Glad your day went better and I agree with your sister regarding many of the parents of the children my daughter goes to school with.

Annie said...

We totally fail in the consistency department most of the time and we reap what we sow, yes we do!

When we step up and take charge, like you did - things are much better. It's all so simple in theory - execution takes a lot of energy and determination, more determination than the kids have, and that takes a whole lot more energy!!

You've inspired me to be more consistent at being consistent ;)

Worker Mommy said...

Good for you. I need to follow your lead.

Lack of consistency w/the twins is certainly going to be my downfall.

Cherann said...

Don't you kind of wish you could make a copy of yourself? One that's consistent and listens to the kids. Then you could leave that copy with the kids and take yourself up for a bubble bath and a good book.

Jill said...

Hey-I'm with you. I have been working on the "NO MEANS NO" thing.

I used to do things like handing them a whole bag of lollipops just to shut them up (pardon my bluntness). That was pretty much like putting an Elmo Band-aid on a hatchet wound.

I think my girls are shocked when I follow through. It's starting to stick now-and it has cut down on the whining considerably.

Kricket said...

I'm famous for rewarding bad behavior. I just can't help it. My kids know when I'm on the phone or blogging, the can ask for anything, whine a little bit and I'll give it to them just to shut them up! I'm with ya girl!

Kila said...

Yes, it is really hard, and especially with 3 boys, I know. Hang in there! To motivate yourself, just picture them as 8 and 9 year olds, much taller and bigger than they are now, being whiney and disobedient and sassy. Much easier to take control now.

Moms always get the worst behavior. It sucks. Good thing we get plenty of rewards, too.

I'm proud of you for realizing what needs to be done. A lot of moms never get it.

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