Now, how many of you have actually said that to your own children despite the vows that you would never, ever would? Quite a few of you, I am hoping. Because my hand is up and it's waving high.
One thing I have learned about parenting is that you need to be consistent. I believe that both K and I have worked very hard on this. Still, I am sure a passive observer, like the Supernanny, would probably still find areas where we cave that we just don't realize it. After all, if K and I were the extremely consistent parents that we thought we were, why do our kids ignore our requests until we get to the shouting stage?
I have tried my best to live by the adage: Say what you mean, do what you say. If I threaten to throw something in the garbage, I better be prepared to follow through with it. This thought has often given me pause in my dealings with the kdis and that's a good thing. If they aren't listening, am I prepared to follow through and not take them to Nana's that afternoon? Probably not, so I better think of something just as effective that I am prepared to follow through with.
Still despite all of these efforts, I let the mess and the frustration of them throwing their things around get to me to the point that I hauled off 80% of their toys to the garage sale pile. Remember my earlier post about Aunt Irma? While I think this must have been a bona fide post Aunt Irma rage. Cause I just hucked the crap down the stairs and then had to wade through the mess at the bottom to haul it off to the garage. This all happened after about two hours of trying to get them to clean up. I swore I wasn't going to do it because usually if I start to help them they just start slacking and playing while I do it all. I just get so tired of the whole vicious cycle.
Did the kids care? Not really. They just stood and watched their crazy mother throw toys down the stairs. Later while I was hauling it out to the garage, I would catch them trying to sneak down the stairs and steal a toy or two back. Yet, when I asked them if they were sad mommy was taking their toys away, they said no.
This completely flummoxed me since they had been complaining earlier this month about having to get rid of some of the more babyish toys. Still I guess I shouldn't be surprised because while they seemd to cling to their possessions, it seems they rarely play with any of it except to dump it out on the floor.
To. Drive. Me. CRAZY.
What I have realized is that I need to tune into my kids' playing style. While they may think they want a particular toy they see, really their interest only lasts for a week or so before they've outplayed it. So what I need to do is break it down to what the kids seem to like to do and do consistently. (Besides watching t.v.)
- They love to play outside.
- They love to play with water and get dirty.
- They love to craft.
- They love to build things.
- They love to sing, dance and dress up.
None of those things really involve toys except in a way that a toy can enhance that play. Such as O racing his hot wheel through a muddy dirty pile or J using the plastic Dora to float in a boat in the water table.
OMG we could have saved SOOOOO much money and SOOOO many headaches if only we had realized this sooner.
So while I totally regret the episode in that my anger and frustrations got the best of me, I do not regret the self assessment and re-evaluation of the situation that ensued.
I also don't regret how clean their play area looks and still looks two days later.
Am I a completely mean mommy? What is the one mean mommy incident that you regret?
*photo is mine from our previous house*