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Monday, September 5, 2011

The Big, Bad Mama

Sigh.  I feel like I yell too much.  I get disrespected with inconsistent obedience.  My home has been the scene of frustrating walk-offs and glares across the kitchen.  We have times of calm and lots of fun, but what concerns me is the seeming lack of respect for mom.  Rarely does obedience happen the first time.  Often the competition among siblings escalates to shouting matches or bullying.  One of my children is so loud and stubborn that the standoff drains every bit of resolve and patience from my soul.  Sometimes, I scream, glare and bully back. Sometimes I give up and walk away. These are not my proud moments.

When I think about it, there are many more moments of affection and joy, but the times when I am blatantly disobeyed and disrespected steal my joy and rattle my confidence.  The moments of turbulence stand out and are too many to be ignored.  Just like in my marriage I accepted less than stellar treatment, I've accepting it from my children.  I see the pattern, but I don't know how to 'fix' it and have been feeling so discouraged in this department.

When I know a problem exists and I'm at the end of my own ropes for the remedy, then it's time to look outside myself.  I've read so many parenting books and we are beyond that point.  Here's my action plan, all of which to take place in the next month:

  1. Speak with counselor - a children's counselor and discuss methods for training children.
  2. Visit pediatrician - at lease one of my children need to be evaluated for ADHD.
  3. Commit to keeping calm - I've verbalized to my children this week that I will not be raising my voice - AT ALL - and their loud demands will not get my attention.  Not much success yet, but it's still Monday, right?
  4. Wake early to pray specifically for wisdom in parenting and the needs of each child.
  5. Share with others - it helps to know I'm not the only one falling short of perfection.  Last week a friend breathed hope and acceptance into my weary mother's heart with her transparency.  I appreciated it so much and swear her children are all angels!  
  6. Self Care - I say it a lot, but I don't practice it as often as I should.  When I'm frazzled and anxious I respond negatively and harshly to the normal needs of my children.  Taking time for me lets me be in a better place to meet the needs of my little ones.  
  7. Consistency - it's hard to be steady day after day, but from all I've read it's crucial.  Daddy is out of town and the children will be with me for the majority of the month, so we're going to practice new patterns and habits of interacting.  
I'm in the trenches of motherhood and no matter what else happens in my life, these three are my top priority. I have one child who claims not to like school and cries many mornings at dropoff and another who is struggling there with behavior issues.  The one who isn't in full time school is delightfully charming to others yet willfully disobeys or ignores instructions from me.  We are past the age-appropriate misbehaviors and dealing with something more.  My goal is to get a handle on it before these become lifelong choices and patters.  The 'work' I do now is going to set the stage for how we interact when they are 13, 15 and 17 - Oh Lord, help me!