If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again
If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd finger paint more, and point the finger less.
I'd do less correcting, and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less, and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging, and less tugging.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.
-From 100 Ways to Build Self-Esteem and Teach Values by Diana Loomans. Reprinted in The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.
While visiting my sister a couple weeks ago I flipped through a book she had lying on her table. The No-Cry Discipline Solution. After reading a few pages I knew I had to buy it for myself. So I did.
I received it on Monday and read through it pretty quickly. I have not gotten angry or raised my voice at my children since I started the book. Four days to be exact. For me that is huge. HUGE. Will I get angry at my children ever again? Heck ya. I'm human after all.
But this book is not so much about discipline as it is UNDERSTANDING your child. Put yourself in their shoes. Treat them with respect. Lead by example. Teach with compassion. Help them control their emotions and so much more.
I have implemented all of her tactics this past week and it has changed my life. Is it easy? Absolutely not. But the less frustration, anger or impatience I lose my grip on, the better it is for my children. Do I still feel all those things? Oh my gosh yes, but my kids are KIDS. They are 2.5 and 4.5 and they learn nothing when I react with those feelings. So I'm working on it. A lot.
And because of this book I have learned that my little Diva is so utterly emotionally exhausting. I knew it before but my anger got in the way of really delving into figuring out what she needed, when she needed it, why she's upset, how to calm her down, discipline effectively, talk through emotions, get her attention, help her obey my directions, use her words and sooooOOOooo much more. But anger or frustration truly hindered her ability to LEARN. And because this week I've totally and completely devoted myself to those tactics, I am wiped.out.
Parenting is the hardest job on the planet. No joke.
TELL ME ABOUT IT ®
By Carolyn HaxWednesday, May 23, 2007
Best friend has child. Her: exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): Wow. Sorry. What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group . . .
Okay. I've done Internet searches, I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners . . . I do all those things, too, and I don't do them EVERY DAY. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail? I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events) and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy -- not a bad thing at all -- but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth? Is this a peeing contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids and all us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions.
Relax and enjoy. You're funny.
Or you're lying about having friends with kids.
Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them. Internet searches?
I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand, while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom-friends are either lying or competing with you, is disingenuous indeed.
So, since it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. In list form. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries, questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys, and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.
It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.
It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.
It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.
It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything -- language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity. Empathy. Everything.
It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy, and then, when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend, a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you to mutual friends, or marvel how much more productively she uses her time. Either make a sincere effort to understand or keep your snit to yourself.