Sign me up! Oh yeah, I guess I already did that almost 15 years ago, and then decided I could take on two more positions on top of the original hire. Should we see how long I can drive this metaphor into the ground? Oy!! Parenting is hard!! So is infanting, toddlering, pre-teening, teenager-let’sseehowmuchgrayhairIcangivemyparents-ing, etc., etc., etc.! This was sort of the conversation I had with my middle the other day when he was expressing his frustration over something video game related that naturally involved his younger brother. In the moment of trying to restore calm and explain the situation, it occurred to me that I had no freaking clue what I was talking about! It sorta occurred to my son as well, and he called me on it. It was then I decided to be straight with him, and I flat out said “Dude, I’m learning on the job here!” Then I went a step further and explained that this is my first attempt at parenting a middle child, and consequently his first attempt at being a middle child! It diffused the situation immediately and made us both relax a bit more. It also restored my confidence as a parent and I was able to issue my missive with conviction, “Because I said so!”
Next night, it was my oldest who reminded me that I was in fact the boss in my house, but maybe not so much the grown-up sometimes. He came to me to practically beg for video game time, where he sweetly stays connected to a babyhood pal from Miami, even though it was a school night. I laughed. It was an obnoxious laugh, but I laughed heartily. I explained that it was a school night and late and not happening, noway, no how, no sir. And if that weren’t enough, I kept going and told him he could curse me all he wanted (not that he would ever out loud), that he could be mad, and frustrated, and whatever he needed to be, but that I needed to be the Mommy, and I was doing my job, and I was doing a darn good job of it, too, and I just went on and on, nonstop (kinda like this), until he couldn’t help but smile, and then laugh. Then I laughed, but this time, it was my “evil Mommy wins” laugh. Yeah, you know the one, bwah-ha-ha-ha-haaaa! At that point, he just walked away.
Yep, there’s three kids, so three lessons. My little one, who is just so darned cute it makes it difficult to discipline, was up next. Thankfully I have will of steel and can punish my way out of any mess. Interesting that the theme throughout this piece seems to all be connected to video games. That’s a subject for another post that will be entitled “Parenting: A full-time job with benefits, no vacation, and little to no training, thank goodness for video games!” Seriously though, the incident with my little one came about when I overheard him call his brother some pretty awful names. I went bananas. I did the in your face scary raised voice thing that could make a UFC fighter cry. When I went to his room (where I had banished him) to talk about the episode, I softened as the wave of recollection from my own childhood came over me. I was able to explain to my son that I got as upset as I did when he called his brother names, because my brother used to do that to me. I actually began to cry, and further explained that my brother hadn’t called me names in 30-plus years, but clearly it still hurt. Then I reinforced the notion of thinking before you speak and not lashing out in anger and not calling people hurtful things. It ended with an “I love you, Monkey” and a “love you, too, Mom.” Yeah, I pretty much kicked ass on that one, and those are some of the benefits you get with the job.
The truth is, I don’t do it alone, I am grateful to have an active and present co-parent in my ex-husband who I can bounce things off of and be supported by when an issue comes up, and vice versa, of course. I keep thinking about the birthday gift my kids and I put together for their Dad last year. When I asked the boys what they thought their Dad might want, one of them said “Well, he’s always asking for peace and quiet.” So that’s what we gave him!
I wonder if he’ll let me borrow them sometimes?!
Totems always come in handy when on the parenting job, those moments where I can’t seem to calm down, I work through the deep breathing and visualization techniques found in each Totem Tamer Set! If you want these handy tools at the ready, click on a Totem and get one today!