Here recently by the end of the day my mind is mush, my body is exhausted, and I’m tired of hearing myself talk. I’m at a place where frustration and exhaustion has taken over and stolen the joy I feel staying home with my kids.
I’ve allowed myself to be less patient and more frustrated and angry. I’m looking less at the motives of my kids and focusing on their actions and how they make me feel. I ask myself over and over what I’m doing wrong and how I can make them change their behavior. I ask myself why I’m so frustrated and stressed.
The answer is in my own questions. The thing I’m doing wrong is assuming I can make them change their behavior. That’s why I’m frustrated and stressed. I want them to change what they’re doing. When they don’t change I get frustrated and stressed because I can’t do anything about it. Confused yet? Yeah, me too.
What are your goals as a parent? My goal is to raise children that first and foremost love God. I want to raise children that are respectful, productive, helpful, and loving. I want them to know right from wrong according to God’s standards.
The attributes we want our children to grow into are what we have to focus on when we’re disciplining and teaching them. There are some things that I have been dwelling on in the discipline of my children that aren’t even really necessary.
Here are some things that I’ve got to learn to accept:
- My toddler will climb on everything. He will get caught sitting on the table, kitchen counter, in the bathroom sink, and climbing out the window. No amount of spanking, time out, scolding, or other punishment will cure this. Eventually he will not do this — not because I spanked him or put him in time out, but because he was told that this wasn’t acceptable and he finally reached the age of understanding.
- My toddler will try to put things where they don’t belong. He will try to stuff a roll of toilet paper in the toilet, toothbrushes down the sink, and God only knows what in his mouth. Time and prevention will be the only cure. Until he understands, I will have to keep the bathroom door closed and make sure there’s nothing hazardous laying around for him to put in his mouth.
- My toddler will do things for the sake of seeing what will happen. He will grab full cups and dump them on the floor or on the couch. He will throw food on the floor and then scream because you throw it away. He will dump out boxes of toys and pull out everything in your cabinets, leaving behind a huge mess for you. He’s exploring. It’s aggravating, but he’s learning cause and effect. He’s learning how I’m going to respond to him. This is a phase. Time outs and spanking won’t help. I just need to keep my cups put up and teach him how to pick up his own messes.
- My toddler and my school age child will play too rough. They will hit and kick and possibly even bite. It is my job to teach them how to express their feelings with their words and not their hands. It is my job to teach them that hands are not for hitting. If taught properly, this is just a phase. Samuel will learn to use his words and Josiah will learn to not play rough.
- Kids need to be active. They need to explore and expel energy. I need to give them the tools to do both of those things without causing property damage. If I don’t give them a safe outlet, my house will become a jungle gym.
- I will not always be able to accomplish everything I want to throughout the day because life happens. I may have ten things on my to-do list for the day and only two of them get done. It’s not a big deal. It will get done eventually.
- My house will not always be spotless. My house will not always be presentable. My house will probably look good at lunch, but look worse than it did before by dinner time. I cannot compare the appearance of my house to the house of a working mom whose kids go to school or the house of an empty nester.
Most importantly I need to remember that these are phases and they will grow out of them — eventually. In the meantime I need to count silently to 10, take lots of mom time outs, and take a few minutes to myself every now and then.