This is one of those posts I’ve started a couple times only to be interrupted by the very things this post is about. Even when I start writing far past the time where we should be having a conflict.
I’ve said this before but I don’t start writing until 9:00 pm (at the earliest) so if it seems like the posts aren’t as peppy as they should be there’s a reason but this one has me particularly exhausted.
I have run probably dozens of 5Ks, and 10Ks,. I’ve run 18 half marathons and one full, I’ve competed in sprint and Olympic distance triathlons. I’ve never done an ultra, nor do I have any interest but what I’m about to talk about has me more exhausted then ANY of those.
Parenting is wonderful, it provides a level of contentment that I didn’t even know existed. I use to think content and settling were synonyms. After E was born, I realized they are VERY different (You can read about it here). I’m content, I’m happy and I wouldn’t have it any other way…
there are times, there are days when they test my endurance more than ANY road race or triathlon ever will. The timing has been a little different for each but now with an 18 month old and a 4-year-old, I feel like a broken record. Wait..let me back up…
When E was born, I got this piece of advice:
Try not to say No. It’s defeating.
I’ll admit, at first, it sounded like pretty sound advice and the last thing I wanted to be was a negative nancy. It worked for a while, probably from 18 months till about 2 1/2 years but about the time MiniE cam along, I grew tired of trying to find different ways to say No when all I really wanted to say was
NO, you can’t swing from the couch to the arm chair like that!
So finally, I lost the battle, or what I thought was a battle except the only one I was fighting with was myself. Now with two of them both in varying stages of maturation, I’m finding myself saying “No” more than I care to admit. However, what’s even more exhausting than saying it is sticking to it.
I have two parental pet peeves:
- Threatening with something that doesn’t fit scenario (crime that doesn’t fit the punishment)
- Not following through
It’s exhausting but I’m trying for their sake and mine to stick to my guns, hold true to my provided consequences and make sure they are reasonable. The toughest has been sticking to my original response.
No means no.
I don’t know, maybe this makes me a strict parent or whatever but I want them to understand they aren’t going to get away with something that I feel is wrong. I’m judicious, I swear but when there is disrespect, or safety in play…there’s a lesson to be learned.
Then this happens and I start to crumble a little inside. How can you say “no” to this?!
You just do. You have to but I will say that with E, now it doesn’t just end with No. When he gets mad, we are able to have a conversation and that’s been just as tough but also extremely rewarding. Rather than just sending him to timeout and letting him “cry it out”, we have a conversation. I ask:
Why are you crying? Why are you upset?
I’ve been really surprised at the answer. Sometimes he’s not mad at me at all. Sometimes I find that he’s mad at himself because he thinks he’s a “bad boy” when I never used those words. Profound doesn’t even begin to cover what I go through when we have these moments.
Yes, it’s all exhausting but it’s amazing, it’s loving and I hope at the end of the day or at least when they are 35 and dealing with it with their own kids, they will look back and thank me.
Until then, I’ll keep doing my best, it might mean a few less-than-peppy posts but that’s just the way it will have to be.
Trust your gut, listen to your kids, they have more to say than you think.