Whew – I’m exhausted.
Today was a day of big parenting talks, ever have those days? The kind where topics arise that spur in-depth discussions, or behaviors warrant longer sit-downs. Today, I had both types of big parenting talks, and I had them with all three kids at different times throughout the day. It felt like tag from one kid’s situation to another one’s – topped off with a teary moment at bedtime that needed an energetic mommy-pick-me-up.
There were moments of utter frustration and feeling like I wasn’t being heard or getting through, followed by instances of triumph where I felt like I said or did the exact right thing. I’ve joked that we have our “Oprah Days” and our “Dr. Phil Days,” the picture-perfect and the ugly, and the everything in between. Today had it all!
A few of today’s big parenting talks revolved around Michael who really wanted to go out on a power boat with two other 13 year old boys and no adults. Um, nope. I wasn’t comfortable with that and gave him a, “no” answer which, of course, made him unhappy. He was disappointed, I wasn’t budging, but felt his disappointment. He tried a bunch of tactics, to his credit some were quite creative, but my answer was still a negative, and with me, you’ll never get anywhere with begging, however clever the form.
We talked about safety and choices, among other things. He was so focused on missing out and not getting what he wanted that it dissolved into some snippy talk to me which led to him lose a privilege. Told you, tough day.
As he biked home, he was in a state of upset and even welled up with tears. And here comes my mommy-win moment, ready? It’s not even monumental but it worked! I calmly (that always makes the biggest difference) told him to, on his ride home, think about what he could have done differently, not to think about the wrongs he thought were done to him, and I left him alone, sulking and peddling away.
When he got home, he was calm and we had another big talk, one that he heard with a more open mind. He was able to express his emotions and verbalize his wrong-doings, he was able to recognize possible safety issues. He even told me that when he left the beach he was thinking he was having “the worst summer ever,” but while biking home, he thought about all the really fun times he’s had this summer. How proud I was that he was able to put things into perspective and find appreciation and gratitude from within an emotionally charged afternoon.
This thing called parenting is not easy. It’s not meant to be, we’re guiding young lives and teaching them responsibility, self-sufficiency and how to love and care for themselves. Taking the time and energy to be consistent, to stand by your family values, to come up with creative solutions, and to repeat things endlessly, all adds up and it’s worth it.
So if you feel beaten up – and beaten down – be kind to yourself. Take time for yourself in your days. Smile and pat yourself on the back. It’s often helpful to seek out new ideas, suggestions, and fresh ways to look at a parenting situation. Talk to trusted friends and family, read blogs and books and be open to other ways of trying things as a parent.
It takes boundless creative energy to parent, find things that encourage you and give you tools to help along the way. My hope is that you will find those things in my new book, Naked Parenting.
What kinds of big parenting talks have you had recently?
© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014