Monday, January 28, 2013

Day 1105: Mess

I left her alone for less than a minute, thinking she'd be so happy to play with the closed container for a bit.  Look how proud she is of herself.

And she just looked so stinkin' cute, I had to quickly get the camera to take a picture.  And maybe that is where the problem started.  If any of the other kids  had made this mess, they would have been in trouble.  I even had to get after one of them who tried to clean it up before I took the picture.

What is wrong here?

I know, this probably seems like a gross overreaction.

But, we've been seriously struggling around here lately.

Sweet P has this amazing ability to focus--to the point of completely tuning me out.  Completely.  I have to ask her a minimum of three times in order to get anything done.  "I didn't hear you" and "I forgot" are her two big excuses.  Even if they are true, shouldn't the sound of my voice garner a little more respect?  But, instead of being able to calmly discuss this, she runs off and pouts in her room any time I try and brainstorm with her on how we can change this.

Baby B just pretends like he doesn't understand anything.  This works a lot of the time.  But then I think back and remind myself what we were expecting of the older two when they were his age.  They seemed so grown up.  He's still very much a baby in my eyes.  Most of the time, when I do expect more of him, he rises to the challenge, often as not without so much as a tantrum.  But, I have to consciously remind myself that he is capable of so much more than I automatically fall back on.

And then there's Little M.  Talk about not measuring up.  My Little Man is so so so very capable.  He has such a big heart and so much capacity to learn.  He voluntarily did the dishes twice last week.  We're talking hand washing dishes.  He is my go to guy for so many things when I need assistance.  But, he is so deliberately naughty!  It would appear that he cannot stand to see his little brother happy.  When Baby B is quietly enjoying himself, Little M swoops in to steal whatever he is playing with, to make an obnoxious noise right in his face, to tell him something is wrong with him, etc.--whatever it takes to ruin Baby B's fun, preferably to get him in tears.  He's the same with my pressure points.  He knows those things that drive me the craziest and he'll capitalize on them.  One of his favorites is when I've just issued a particularly harsh negative consequence for a specific offense.  He will promptly commit the offense.  When I follow through on the consequence, he bursts into tears (this boy has one of the saddest sad faces and it has always gone straight to my heart strings) and begs to "earn it back", or claims to have not understood, or been about to obey, or whatever.  Tonight he was a repeat repeat repeat offender.

I don't know what to do with him!  Or with any of them?  I'm feeling so inept as a mom tonight.  What do I need to change to be effective?  Why is it so hard to motivate?  I have really good kids--why can't I inspire them to be better behaved?


And then I look at my darling little Darling A.  And I know that ship is already sunk.  She is every bit my baby.  I melt for her.  How am I ever going to to be consistent with her?  We hate to hear her cry!

Any parenting experts out there?  I need help.  My kids are talented and amazing and capable of so much.  But, I'm afraid I'm so far from inspiring them to get anywhere close to where they can go in life.


Meg said...

I'm NOT an expert here... more like an anti-expert. But I just want to say that you have no idea how much it means to me to hear you say that you are at a loss. Simply because I am at the breaking point as well, and... misery loves company? No... I think really it's just nice to know that I'm not alone.

What got me out of my funk tonight was picturing Wyatt giving his farewell talk for his mission. Totally random, but the thought just gave me a lot of hope. All of these tiny little moments are adding up and one day our crazy boys will be enthusiastic, fantastic missionaries. And we will be so proud. And it will be worth it.

So... that's what I needed to convince my self that I can carry on and do at least one more day of this "Mom" thing. :) Love you!

Becky said...

You're both awesome. It's HARD raising children. But you're also both (along with your spouses and siblings)wonderful examples of what happens when you don't give up. Just love them, and start fresh in the morning.

That said, here are a couple of things that helped us, and if you can figure them out when they're toddlers and not teenagers, good for you!

Use Mosiah 4:15 to help keep Mosiah 4:14. I remember having each child make a list of ways he'd like to be served, then when I heard bickering or unkindness, the offender needed to do something on the list. It wasn't too long before the bickering stopped!

I also noticed a change in the decibel level when we were having family scripture study compared to when we weren't. Often those times just seem like another point of contention, but the overall result is positive.

Finally, I still remember the day when I realized my 11-year-old was deliberately pushing my buttons, and I was the adult and didn't have to let him succeed. I told him straight out that it wasn't going to work any more. He tested it a few more times, but then it was over. It wasn't easy, and I had to keep telling myself not to let it bug me, but it was worth it in the end.

I know this is kind of long (but it could be longer!) and I hope something triggers something that will help. Don't give up trying!!!

Linda said...

Wow, such inspired advice! Motherhood is much much MUCH HARDER than any of us thought it would be, right? How kind of you to be so open about it so that other moms reading your blog will know they're not alone.

Your kids truly are "talented and amazing and capable" - they're absolutely wonderful! (no prejudice here...) Their only downfall is that they're also "kids" and kids are going through stages of growth and learning and becoming ALL THE TIME.

When my own "talented and amazing and capable" kids seemed out of control, I often wished I could close my eyes and find choices A,B,C, or D of what a parent should do printed on the inside of my eyelids, because I was sure I'd know which of the options was best. But that isn't how it's done. Just as they are learning and growing, so are their parents. And that's how it's supposed to be. I made many mistakes as a mom, and look how AMAZING all of you turned out.

My mom was a great example of motherhood, but I know that even she wasn't perfect at it. She loved us, she knew what we could become, and she kept working with us. And that's what I see you doing. I love you!