We took away the toys and the kids don’t care. I don’t think they’ve even noticed.
How do you enact consequences when all the reasonable consequences mean nothing to the offenders? The only real positives to this have been throwing away several broken toys and gathering a bag for donation.
Sigh. We’re taking a vacation instead of continuing to beat our heads against the wall in an ineffective discipline cycle.
I need the break, and I need it badly. I have a thousand stressors at work and at home, and despite the well-meaning advice to just do less, I can’t. I have responsibilities and I feel like I already do the bare minimum to fulfill those. As the worries drag me down and my thighs get bigger, I find myself feeling less and less worthy of the love around me. They say you can’t have it all, but I feel like I can’t even have the least without fighting hard for it.
And Leon’s getting laaaaarger!
My friends ambushed me at work yesterday to bring me some love. I don’t often break down enough to reach out and let people know how I am feeling, but I did, and I’m glad I did. I think one of the reasons I write what I do is that I feel so very alone with my inadequacies. Perhaps there’s someone out there who feels like they’re not measuring up and they can either read my stories and think, “well, at least I’m not as bad as her,” or (and I would prefer this one), “oh, she goes through the same thing and she’s not so terrible, so there’s hope for me yet.” Giving myself grace is the hardest thing in the world for me, and I am thankful that my friends are here to show me grace when I feel its lack.
Like Tuesday night, for instance. I got so upset that I gave myself a timeout. We had come home early from swimming (someone vomited in the pool – not my child this time) (did I tell you that story? Remind me to one day) and they had to close everything down. I hadn’t finished dinner prep, even though I’d done some that afternoon after work and before I picked up the kids (see, and this is where I start to berate myself because I don’t even work full time and I can’t get enough done), so I got out the Goldfish crackers for the kids and sat them at the table while I breaded chicken. All I needed was five minutes and then we could have read or played or gone for a walk. Instead, the boys started throwing Goldfish everywhere.
I did what one does when one is up to one’s elbows in raw chicken: I told the boys to stop throwing food and to pick up the crackers on floor so Buster wouldn’t eat them. When Jamie yelled, “NO!” I washed up and put him in timeout. Charles started to help me clean up the floor when Jamie ran out of timeout and started jumping on the crackers. The floors had just been cleaned that morning.
I put him back in timeout, and he stayed for a couple of minutes while Charles and I cleaned up, then I told them that we don’t throw food and that they had one more chance. As soon as I started handling chicken again, the crackers were being tossed around as if the boys were feeding birds at the park. Hungry birds who apparently needed a thousand Goldfish thrown directly into their swooping, open beaks. I sent them both to separate corners for timeout and started to clean up. At this point, the dog was loudly complaining to come inside from the back yard because he could see the free food, just sitting there waiting for him. Jamie, again, ran over and started to stomp on the crackers. At which point I started crying. And then he laughed and ran away.
As soon as Tony got home from work, I ran away. I grabbed my car keys and I drove off.
It took me about two minutes in the car by myself to realize two things: one, I didn’t have anywhere to go and two, this wasn’t the solution to our problems. My children don’t get to see their dad but one hour each night. They had a babysitter both Saturday and Monday so that Tony and I could attend charitable events for my Rotary club and the local Habitat for Humanity, something we do only a few times a year, though these landed on the same weekend. My children need more me. They don’t need me to run away.
And then I felt worse, because I needed the break from their nastiness. Those kids know how to push every button I have and this week was the breaking point for me. Add all my stresses to children misbehaving and this mama is at her limit.
So we’re going away. We’re taking a trip and leaving Tony and the dog home alone to work all weekend long. Maybe all the togetherness will calm these boys down. After all, we’ll all be sleeping in the same bed, so they’ll get extended mommy time, even if I don’t get any sleep for three days. And maybe I can let go of at least a few of the stresses in my daily life and enjoy our long weekend. I need to find the grace that others are so willing to give me and give it to myself. I need to forgive myself for not having it all together – for every inadequacy I see in the mirror every day: the giant hips and flabby arms that seem to go hand-in-hand with me growing a baby; the business deals that will determine our future; the health problems of my parents and in-laws; the work I don’t get done at home; the time I spend with my feet up instead of working; the love and affection I have inside of me that I don’t show my children or my husband. Instead, the good stuff: I’m growing a healthy baby, the completion of our family; we have fantastic opportunities to grow our profitable business; my parents are still alive and kicking; I do a LOT of work at home, even if it’s not enough and it’s never done; I have to relax on occasion or I will wear myself out; my children and husband know I love them to distraction.
I’m a work in progress, but even when I feel like I have to relearn the same lessons every year, at least I’m still trying.