Parenting is something I thought that with my decade plus of nannying would come naturally to me. Yet I'm continually learning that, like marriage, it takes work.
You see I have weaknesses. I have buttons and as my boys are getting older I feel like not only have my buttons gotten larger therefore making them an easier target, but my son's jobs have also become that of Button Pusher. Lately, I have found myself continuously in a battle with one of my sons. I say jump, he walks. I say walk, he jumps. I say jump hoping he'll actually walk and it's like he reads my mind and gosh darn it he jumps and he'll comment quite literally "what? you said to jump." He knows how to push any and all of my buttons and push them he does. And his screams? This child knows how to have a meltdown. He's been adept at screaming since 14 months old. Oh my goodness does he have it down. It's days spent dealing with this that I'm ready to throw in the towel before the day even begins. And by 7 pm when my husband gets home I have regretted so many words/actions/sighs/etc that have come out of my mouth that I swear I don't deserve to parent these little people. And heaven help me if I have to take all 3 to the grocery store at the end of said day. It's easy for me to feel like I'm a bad parent.
There is a difference though between a bad parent and a good, though imperfect one. A bad parent does all those things and does nothing to change. A bad parent shouts and belittles without apology. An imperfect parent however recognizes the problem and seeks change. An imperfect parent apologizes for wrongdoings and asks for forgiveness. I am a good though imperfect parent.
I am not perfect nor should I expect my children to be. After all, for the most part my kids are just being kids. It's my own stuff that I need to address first. I need to ask myself...Why are my reactions so quick? What is distracting me from my kids? Oftentimes I've found that it's in my perceived need to look like I have it all together that I flounder the most...clean house, nutritious meals, compliant children, fun parties, clean/ironed clothes, I could go on and on. I try to have control of everything and of course my kids are going to push against that control. Feeling that need to have it all together is not only going to make my kids feel like they're failing me, but I will also always feel like I'm failing myself. And that's not fair to anyone. So I've been challenging myself to let go and let them live. Mud fights in the backyard are a must (though I may need gentle reminders from my husband). Fort building, Legos, and/or puzzles need to be daily occurrences. Basically, I've been carving out time to just be with them, all distractions aside, each day. Additionally, as much as I can I try to get my own agenda stuff done when they are preoccupied with other things.
And my son's screams/screeching? Sure, there are some discipline issues that can be worked on but for the most part he is saying Love Me. Love me for who I am, not who you want me to be. Love me for all that I am, not frustrated for all that I'm lacking. Notice that I have feelings and they are different from my brother. Hear me. Put down your phone, turn off the computer, stop doing chores and.be.with.me. And you know what? When I take the time to do just that, I do hear him. I may get very little else done during the day, but I am with him. And you know what else? The meltdowns stop.
**Parents--What do you find distracts you the most from your kids? Am I the only one that feels that as my boys are getting older my buttons seem to be an easier target for them?