Parenting 101

– Posted in: Losin' It, Misunderstandings, Mouths of Babes, Worst Mom Moments

Meet Annie Blumer-LaMotte, busy mom of three girls and a boy. She sent in this story that’s pure “back to basics.” You can check out more of her writing at her blog, Maximum Chaos.

Yesterday was one of those days that started out with a broken glass shattered across my kitchen floor and ended with kids antagonizing one another and generally acting like brats.

Yeah. Fun.

Finally, at 7:15, I’d had enough and declared it bedtime. I might have lost my temper just a little bit.

It was like I’d suggested we cancel a Disney vacation with the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth that followed my proclamation. All of the munchkins collapsed into bawling heaps on the floor, just further evidence of the necessity of the early bedtime.

I calmly (ahem!) herded them upstairs and started the PJ/teeth/potty routine.

I got E into bed and then lay down with her as is our habit. We chatted briefly and then I kissed her and got up to leave. As I turned away, I heard a plaintive, “Mommy?”

“What, angel pie?”

“Why are you so crabby?”

I stopped in my tracks and did a mental head slap. The child didn’t even know what she’d done wrong. No wonder she was so upset.

As I went back and explained gently that it was her attitude and tone of voice and the way she was speaking to her sister, I wondered how many times I get upset with her and she doesn’t even know why. Isn’t that like Parenting 101?

When she was first born, I read the parenting books and very intentionally laid out my expectations and the consequences of good and bad behavior and did my best to follow through with firmness and love. With each successive child, I fear that I have regressed into knee-jerk parenting — reacting rather than responding. It’s so much easier to give into my short temper and impatience when what the kids need is a loving, caring, thoughtful parent (and unfortunately, I have a legendary, short temper).

Last night was a wake-up call. I only have one chance. I don’t want to mess it up. It was a humbling experience.

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6 Comments… add one

RubberChickenMa July 6, 2011, 7:41 am

What a valid point! My kids are older (15 and 12), but I wonder how often that would be true in our house too. They've done something. I'm upset. But they don't really know what they did. Interesting perspective!
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rachel July 6, 2011, 9:38 pm

I hear you, but unfortunately at this point I have the patience of a two year old. With my 5 and 3 year old fighting non stop and my 5 week old keeping me up all night there is some big time crabby going on!
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Ludicrous Mama July 7, 2011, 5:33 am

I get like that around my sister's kids. With my child, I'm all "Uh-oh! You've got your cranky voice. Let's get you to your room until your nice voice is ready to come back and play!" Then when I go to babysit (and have her and my 2 nieces, oldest to youngest only 23-months apart) I'm all "SHADDUP! I don't want to HEAR it! Go hit each other QUIETLY in the other room!"

@worldsworstmoms July 12, 2011, 12:17 am

There's a lot of pouting that goes on in our house, so no one knows what's happening. Pouting by me, specifically.

@worldsworstmoms July 12, 2011, 12:19 am

I love that you put your patience level as younger than the two kids. At least you're doing better than the infant.

@worldsworstmoms July 12, 2011, 12:21 am

Go hit each other quietly. I guess that's why Nerf has done so well.

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